Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are becoming more and more important as the technology is becoming more sophisticated and companies are learning how to use it to improve the lives of their customers.

For marketers, it is important to understand VR and AI trends to not only learn about the changing wants and needs of their customers, but also to learn about what tools might be available to help them better connect to their audience.

Here are a few of the latest VR and AI trends that you need to know about if you are online marketer:

Investment is Thriving

Investors are scrambling to put their money into virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools, and there is no sign that the money will stop flowing anytime soon.

More than $2.5 billion has been invested into virtual reality companies alone since 2014. So far, 2016 has seen the most investing activity yet.

What this means for marketers is that more VR and AI tools are going to be developed and will soon change the way we connect with customers. There is no telling how powerful these tools will become with so much money being thrown into their development.

Pokemon Go and Snapchat Show Potential for AR

Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality. Instead of creating a totally simulated world, AR adds virtual elements over the actual environment.

Pokemon Go and Snapchat both use augmented reality, and both have proven that this technology can be wildly popular and very powerful for marketers.

Pokemon Go is an app game that imposes virtual characters over the environment. Just hold up your phone, and the camera will show a cartoon character hanging out on your couch or even sitting on your partner’s shoulder, depending on the gameplay in the moment.

Pokemon Go proved to be more than another app game. It became an overnight sensation, and it gave marketers powerful new opportunities to connect with customers. People were flocking to businesses that were designated as PokeStops or gyms, and businesses capitalized on that by offering special promotions.

Snapchat uses augmented reality in its filters and lenses. It allows people to take a photo that includes a flower crown mounted perfectly on their heads or to shoot a video that shows them with a dog nose and tongue. They are silly features that encourage strong user engagement.

Businesses have been able to capitalize on these features by offering their own. For example, Starbucks created a custom filter that let people take a photo of themselves with a new, specialty drink. It engaged people and spread awareness about the new drink.

AR may seem like a gaming feature or a gimmick, but it really engages people, and if used properly, can really help marketers drive sales. Marketers should be looking for these opportunities to be a part of the future growth.

There is a push for video to be as close to being in the same room as the action as is possible. That means that live video has become more popular, and now so is 360-degree video.

Instead of looking at a single frame of content, this type of video looks at everything that is happening in the room – almost as if you were there and exploring what was there yourself.

Few marketers are currently using 360 video, but it is easy to see how this can create a more dynamic user experience. Imagine how much more compelling your product demonstrations or tutorials would be with a more expansive view of the environment.

We expect that as this video type becomes more popular, we will see innovative ways that it can be used in marketing.

Targeting is Becoming More Precise

Artificial intelligence is becoming smarter, and one of the benefits of that for marketers is that they can better target their strategies to reach more of their desired audience.

Artificial intelligence is at the heart of many other tools that are being used by marketers right now, and it will be a critical component of marketing tools in the future.

Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are here to stay. It’s important to keep track of the latest trends to make sure you are a part of the current events and not trying to catch up to your competitors.