Virtual reality will change the way we discover things
This post was written by Adam Singolda, the founder and CEO of Taboola.
Innovation is necessary for growth. As the saying goes, "If you're not moving forward, you're going backward." And nowhere is this truer than in digital.
Over the past 20 years, people's relationship with information has changed rather dramatically. Originally, people went to big portals to look for things, then they moved to search engines where anyone could search for anything and find it. Today, the script has flipped, and information is finding people in a personalized way through sites like Facebook and recommendation engines like Taboola.
In this new, chaotic web where everybody is fighting for attention, marketers face two main challenges.
Knowing clients and data
When marketers build direct, intimate relationships with existing and prospective clients, they gain the ability to aggregate important data that can help them execute on their goals and prevent other companies from coming between them and their clients.
There are innovative brands that increasingly allocate resources to communicate directly to consumers - Casper and Dollar Shave Club have launched media sites where users can interact with their products and content, as well as buy the products directly on the site, and Airbnb and Uber have print magazines - all to ensure users can get closer to their information and include the brand in their daily routine.
Platforms and fragmentation
This is somewhat related to the first challenge. With so many platforms available for communication - social, chatbots (where users opt in to a conversation via activating a service bot), virtual reality, and augmented reality - how do you leverage all this, and stay relevant?
While you want users to talk to you directly as a marketer, building quality data around what you hear, how do you sift through and find the useful parts of this fragmented information? If a user isn't speaking to you as a brand, they are speaking to your competitor.
One way to deliver a quality experience is through virtual reality and augmented reality. As I think about the next three to five years, it's clear that there will be two kinds of platforms where people will spend their time, and now is the time for brands to think about participating.
The first will be at home, where we'll enter a new world, a virtual one, that will include games, chat/social, and the discovery of things. This is a tremendous opportunity for innovative brands to be first, to introduce their messages in a smart and native way, whether it's product placement, meeting a virtual person, or something else.
The second opportunity will be outside the home, integrating regular life with AR. Marketers can augment everything we do with local data, providing another level of context. Similar to Apple's App Store, it will open up a whole new marketplace for this augmented world: applications that allow you to speak in different languages and ones that better help find information.
The future of consumption and how we discover things
Since the introduction of Oculus Rift for consumers in 2015, marketers have fixated on virtual and augmented realities. And why not? They tap a new sensory experience, bringing two-dimensional messaging to life through realistic, immersive environments.
To get some help in thinking about what the future might look like in a virtual world, we turned to computer-science students at UCLA with a challenge. We asked them to imagine how publishers can harness the power of VR for content consumption.
Dietrich Anaya, the winner of the Taboola Virtual Reality Challenge (see video embedded below), developed a simple but powerful way to let users navigate the content and videos they want to see, and those they want to skip, using only a slight move of the head.
Working with aspiring engineers such as Anaya provides a glimpse into this next phase of what VR content marketing could look like, as well as the evolution of content in a virtual world.
Change is always scary, but it helps to step back and think about the transformation of marketing as it has adapted to keep up with technology. Once companies move past the initial trepidation, they will find countless ways to meaningfully engage with consumers and tell powerful visual stories, hopefully with the help of VR/AR.
For more information about the Taboola Virtual Reality Challenge, watch the video below.
Interested in how content discovery can drive results for your business? Learn how the world's largest discovery platform can help.
This post is sponsored by Taboola.