Virtual reality takes on new dimension
Oh, to work in the world of virtual reality! The medium has been through a lot lately. With a lukewarm reception at the Cannes Lions and just a few promising examples of the technology’s potential, investors could be forgiven for hedging their bets. But fear not, for a recent Nielsen survey of 8,000 consumers found that consumers might actually be ready for VR. Whether the world’s of marketing & advertising are ready, is another matter entirely.
According to a report released this month by Nielsen’s Media Lab, 24 percent of respondents said they are likely to use or purchase VR in the next year. The number of people who said they didn’t plan to try it fell even further when given a rudimentary explanation of its potential applications.
There was more good news for marketers interested in VR, too. Harry Brisson, Nielsen’s director of lab research noted that those interested in VR “are ‘triple-A’ consumers: Not only are they early adopters of new products and services, but they’re advocates for the brands that they use and love.” This is great news for companies already investing in VR, but it’s important to remember, when it comes to virtual reality, nothing is quite as it seems.
Instagram doubles advertising base in 6 months
Instagram announced this month that it has increased its advertising base to over 500,000 businesses. The social network reached half a million advertisers just a few months after hitting 500 million active users, and the mobile photo-sharing growth doesn’t show any signs of abating. Speaking at a press briefing this month, Instagram’s head of brand development for EMEA Amy Cole said the top five advertising verticals on Instagram were now consumer packaged goods, eCommerce, retail, entertainment and technology.
In a bid to encourage more brands to engage with their audience, Instagram introduced ‘Business Tools’. The service allows companies to add a contact button to their page and provides more detailed data regarding the personality traits of their followers. The service has proven a hit, with 1.5 million businesses converting to a new profile on Business Tools.
The app’s ‘Stories’ feature, although derided as a Snapchat rip-off, has proven to be a big hit for businesses too. Cole explained the impact Stories has had on marketers. “We have seen brands make use of the fact that you can message people through stories and they go straight into your direct messaging. It gives brands that extra flexibility.”
Youtube debuts new Call to Action TrueView feature
This month saw Google introduce a new format for YouTube TrueView video ads. TrueView for Action allows for in-video ads to be tailored to a specific action. So rather than a generic ‘Learn more’ link appearing alongside the ad, brands can now choose their own phrase. Not only does this help banners achieve greater brand relevance, it allows advertisers to develop more specific ad campaigns.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP of ads and commerce at Google, announced the new feature at the DMEXCO digital media conference in Germany this month. Ramaswamy said TrueView action ads will be tested throughout the year. With the reporting and user experience being fine-tuned, the aim is to make the new format available globally.
Google explained the option would be particularly useful for advertisers in “high consideration” industries, like those in financial services, automotive, or travel. Google will test this format for the rest of 2016, but we could see it rolled out by as early as next year.
Yahoo confirms massive data breach
Yahoo found itself in hot water this month after confirming a massive data breach that affects hundreds of millions of users. The hack, which Yahoo confirmed this month, saw the birthdates, usernames, passwords and email backup details of half a billion users leaked. However, the tech company was quick to calm fears of a risk to people’s personal financial accounts with an official statement:
“The ongoing investigation suggests that stolen information did not include unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information; payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system that the investigation has found to be affected.”
The attack was first reported back in August when a hacker, going by the name ‘Peace’ claimed to be selling the private information of over 200 million Yahoo accounts. The details were allegedly put up for sale on a hacker’s marketplace called The Real Deal. At the time, Yahoo acknowledged they were aware of the claim, but stopped short of confirming or denying its authenticity. If you’re a Yahoo user, click here to check if your account has been hacked.
Snapchat debuts Video-Enabled Sunglasses
As far as first hardware products go, Snapchat’s Spectacles could actually be a step in the right direction. As the tech startup looks to branch out beyond the world of app technology, there was a real danger of the company forgetting what made Snapchat so much fun – short & snappy user generated content. Thankfully, if the video-recording eyewear unveiled this month is anything to go by, user-created content is still an integral part of the formula.
Snap Inc (the tech company’s new corporate name) started calling themselves a camera company a few months back, and with the release of Spectacles, Snapchat is clearly planning to go way beyond the much-loved mobile app.
The Spectacle debut this month revealed that users push a button near the hinge of the glasses to record up to 10 seconds of first-person video. Each new button-tap records another video, allowing you to create several quick, first-person clips in a row, which can then be sent via the app to followers. The prospect for what users can do with an extra hand now free probably don’t bear thinking about, but it’s certainly opened up new markets for the image messaging pioneers.