What to Expect in 2017: A VR/AR Takeover

The following is a guest contributed post from Vincent Cacace, CEO and founder of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Vertebrae.io. Over the course of the past twelve months, virtual and augmented reality have made some serious headway towards mass-market adoption. With major media companies like Lionsgate and...

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opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Vincent Cacace, CEO and founder of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Vertebrae.io.

Over the course of the past twelve months, virtual and augmented reality have made some serious headway towards mass-market adoption. With major media companies like Lionsgate and Disney investing substantial resources in VR, Playstation arming its community with the tools for experiencing immersive gaming, and applications like Pokemon Go and Snap, Inc. Spectacles introducing everyday uses for AR, this ride shows no signs of slowing down.

What remains to be seen in 2017 is the emergence of a sustainable economy. The obvious choice is advertising, which will finally allow investors to start seeing a return on the billions of dollars they have been pouring into the industry. And with research studies — like Nielsen and YuMe’s report that VR prompted a 27% higher reaction in users and kept them engaged for 34% longer than traditional ads — the need for an accessible advertising platform to power the mediums is becoming more and more evident.

2016 laid an excellent foundation for promotional VR/AR technologies, and in 2017 more and more brands will inevitably seek out a slice of the virtual pie. But in all emerging markets there is uncertainty, and all we can do is look towards the future. Here are four predictions about what is in store for VR/AR in the upcoming year:

  1. VR/AR Ad Formats and Measurement Standards will be Defined: Vertebrae is working closely with the Interactive Advertising Bureau to develop metrics around the concept of gaze. In order to justify brand expenditure, qualifying consumer engagements in a multi-dimensional, more dynamic VR environment is a challenge industry stakeholders must embrace.
  1. Brands will Love Location-Based Augmented Reality: Snap Inc’s Spectacles product just cracked the code on a new physical-meets-augmented world advertising market. Pointing Spectacles at certain objects unlocks filters and AR objects—just imagine the implications for sporting events and concerts. Inside a stadium or theater, you could unlock brand-sponsored filters and connect with fans.
  1. Everyone and Anyone Will Go Live in VR: We’re seeing a lot of creativity in the live+VR market, and no industry will drive its growth more than live sports. Fans can now watch a sporting event together in-headset in a virtual room with friends that are scattered around the globe. Brands and publishers are jumping on board to support this trend– NextVR partnered with the NBA and NFL while LiveLike partnered with the MLS to broadcast events in live VR. And to mobilize the average user, Facebook just announced Facebook Live will support 360-degree video in 2017.
  1. Movie Trailers will be Released in VR: VR allows for immersive storytelling, and 2017 will see a wave of movie studios embracing VR/AR as a movie trailer medium. Lionsgate collaborated with Vertebrae for the Blair Witch VR experience– the first ever VR movie trailer served via a VR ad network.

No one knows exactly what’s in store for the VR/AR industry in the year ahead, all we can do is try to prepare for the future. 2016 proved that VR/AR marketing activations work, while 2017 will involve fine-tuning and experimenting with the perfect approach to this mysterious and magical medium. It’s an undoubtedly the most immersive storytelling medium we have ever experienced, and it will only continue to get better. Embrace it and enjoy it, because we are all along for the ride now.

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