Using virtual reality to promote the university brand: When do telepresence and system immersion matter?

Jie Shen, Yanyun Wang, Chen Chen, Michelle R. Nelson, Mike Z. Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While virtual reality (VR) has been shown to increase a sense of being there (i.e., telepresence) and enhance audience perceptions of the content, few studies have examined the impact of the varying degrees of ‘system immersion’ on persuasion outcomes under different VR viewing conditions. To fill this gap, our research investigates consumer perceptions of a branded VR experience of a university campus tour under different viewing conditions across two studies. In Study 1, we interviewed 17 participants who experienced the VR tour on Oculus Rift CV1. Emerging themes from the data revealed a sense of telepresence, enjoyment, and appreciation for going places not available to participants in real life. Study 2 employed an experimental design where participants viewed the same content using one of the three VR devices that varied in system immersion (smartphone, Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift DK2). Telepresence and its impact on recall and persuasion were measured. Results show that all three viewing conditions had equal capacity to create a sense of telepresence. Perceived telepresence negatively impacted recall of targeted locations in the virtual tour, whereas telepresence positively correlated with intentions to recommend the campus to others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-393
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Marketing Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 18 2020


  • 360-degree video
  • Virtual reality
  • system immersion
  • telepresence
  • university branding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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