News outlets are finding new ways to keep readers engaged by using interactive visuals, including virtual reality, to expand on traditional text and photos as a way to tell the story.

The Associated Press now adds VR and 360-degree videos to immerse its readers more fully in its articles as well as other types of interactive graphics. A report on Alzheimer’s disease takes users on a journey through the nervous system to see how plaques interfere with signals passing through the brain; coverage of the Olympics displays an athlete’s achievements when you hover over her photo.

Expanding the use of VR applications

These days uses for virtual reality go far beyond video games. Fortune.com reported that the Patriots and other NFL teams use 360-degree video as part of their training, and the 2017 Super Bowl included views from certain players’ points of view via Intel’s 360 Replay. Other fields exploring what virtual reality can do include education, travel, criminal justice, and medicine. With low-cost VR headsets increasingly more common, the average person is more likely to have access to such a device, making it a logical method of communication.

Enhancing customer experience with technology

So what does this mean to you as a digital marketer or publisher? With interactive media becoming more mainstream, new uses of emerging technology can create resonance with your customers. A colorful interactive graphic tends to catch the eye of skimming readers, keeping them engaged longer, and interesting, attractive presentations are more likely to be shared on social media, thus bringing in potential customers.

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Expanding beyond traditional videos to VR and interactive marketing that changes depending on customer response has been proven successful; for example, Google’s search function learns from the user’s search history and suggests matches similar to those that have been relevant previously, and a UK coffee company is experimenting with a digital poster that evolves its design as passers-by interact with it. Putting readers in control of what they experience is an added dimension to establishing or strengthening brand loyalty.

Examine what’s available in these fields and see how it can be applied to your company’s current practices. You may discover new ways to attract readership and to build on relationships with existing clients.

Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at vahe@stateofdigitalpublishing.com.

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