At a time when advertisers are struggling to get mobile right, how do you think they should approach delivering innovation through new technologies such as VR?
Virtual reality is gaining significant momentum globally, especially after Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus, a leading brand in the VR hardware space. VR has attracted the attention of huge brands like Google, Samsung, Apple, and Sony, who are all investing an exponential amount in proprietary VR technology and products.
The Internet, TV, and mobile, have fundamentally altered the methods through which brands engage and reach their consumers. VR is an up and coming platform that will majorly change the way advertisers and brands get through to their consumers. In this day and age, viewers have a wide range of choices for video content and streaming platforms. This is the reason why most media companies are constantly aiming to find new experiences they can provide to their consumers to differentiate themselves from other brands. These experiences include 360 video, 360 live streaming, as well as VR.
On the whole, VR enables marketers to communicate stories more effectively, as well as empathize and engage with their consumers in a more technologically feasible way than was possible in the past. Integrating into this innovative medium can result in the creation of compelling advertising as when used correctly it proves to be highly immersive and experiential.
What are the gaps when it comes to agencies and brands adapting to new technology and platforms and what can be done to address them?
When any new or upcoming technology is introduced to the market, there are often misconceptions that it is too technical, expensive, or time consuming to implement. Assumptions are often made without the correct knowledge about the technology. Educating brands is important in supporting the implementation of innovative technology that can comprehensively benefit them across the board. Brands need to focus on where consumer trends and interest are heading, and create a strategy that highlights the steps they need to take in order to become more digitally savvy. Approaches to marketing need to be continually reviewed and refreshed to ensure the best possible strategy is in place, and if any changes need to be made.
With new tech comes the promise of more and better measurement in the region. Yet, the MENA region continues to remain data-poor. What can be done to tackle this?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t understand it, improve upon it and achieve better results. The MENA region has significant opportunity for growth when it comes to greater and better measurement, and video is the perfect type of content for gleaning valuable insight into viewer behavior. Video is far superior to text-based content when it comes to delivering meaningful marketing data because with video, you know exactly what was consumed and can drill down to individual viewers to uncover who watched what, for how long and what they did afterward.
When it comes to video content it is important to understand your brand’s most popular videos and channels so that your can use this information to shape your overall video marketing strategy. On an individual video level you may want to track the performance by looking at metrics such as play rates and engagement scores. This will help your brand to learn what types of content work best for your audiences so that you can tune it going forward to deliver better results. Most professional online video platforms (OVPs) will provide a solid set of video specific analytics out of the box, but to understand how video is performing in the wider context of your marketing programs it’s important to plug those metrics into your overall marketing analytics data so that you have a full view of your audience’s’ behavior.
What are the trends you’re seeing for the coming two years in the fields of digital, mobile and new technologies?
The growth of video marketing will result in new content and delivery options becoming more prevalent. In Saudi Arabia, there is a growing focus on content ownership driven by the fact that YouTube penetration is second highest in the entire world. The maturation of the market is urging content creators to find ways to monetize their content, which in the past has been difficult on a free platform. In the UAE, for example, the e-commerce trend has been picking up momentum, especially over the last two years. This has encouraged several retailers to move to online retail platforms, utilizing digital marketing and video to help transition from traditional brick and mortar sales to an omnichannel approach. The increasing cost of running a traditional store may also encourage brands to explore online options. At the same time, online retail can be a double-edged sword. Though convenient for consumers due to ease of purchase, it struggles to provide consumers with many of the valued elements of the in-store experience, such as being able to get a sense of the look and feel of a product or receiving customer service and advice. We are already seeing this gap being bridged with the introduction of ‘shoppable’ videos, VR, live streaming of events, and guided video tours. This trend will continue to grow in the UAE with the rise of consumer confidence in the security of online payments such as Verified by Visa.