Marketing never slows down. No matter which tool dominated the landscape last year, you can be guaranteed that new trends will take the stage throughout 2017. The trick is to be ahead of the game, to anticipate changes before your competitors do and to prepare accordingly!
This month, Digital Dialog analyses this year’s biggest predicted marketing trends and we also get up close with Instagram stories. Read on…
The rise and rise of Augmented Reality
2016 was the year of augmented reality, with Pokémon Go’s success proving that users are ready for AR. Snapchat selfie lenses have helped to bring AR to the forefront of marketing (we’ve written about Snapchat in more detail here), and in 2017, we’re likely to see Facebook becoming a major player in this space. The social networking site has started to experiment with lenses and masks in Facebook Live – allowing users to try on a variety of different masks when sharing live video. As with many new trends, smartphones are likely to help to scale AR, rather than headsets or glasses.
How will travellers benefit from AR?
Travellers love convenience. Augmented reality helps to ensure that holiday planning is a seamless, simple and interactive process. Apps can be used to enhance the ‘in-destination-experience’, allowing travellers to navigate around, discovering information and reviews about nearby locations, checking out entertainment and dining choices ahead of time and on the go. Rather than taking a shot in the dark when choosing a restaurant, travellers can instead look through virtual menus and take tours of venues to get a feel of the ambience. Augmented reality technology ultimately allows travellers to experience planning and travelling in a more in-depth and enriching way and will become a consistent part of the marketing landscape in 2017 and beyond.
Virtual Reality goes mainstream
For most consumers, their introduction to VR technology will have been around experiencing viral videos via Oculus Rift headsets. The buzz was generated after Facebook purchased the technology in 2014. This helped to promote VR devices and put them firmly in the public eye. However, with headsets retailing at around £550 each and the necessary camera equipment costing a small fortune, initially VR wasn’t accessible to everyone. More recently, cheaper VR devices have become available – such as Samsung’s Gear and Google Cardboard. The next couple of years will be key when it comes to marketers and advertisers using this new realm of storytelling as a platform…
Virtual reality is still in its infancy, but the travel sector has grabbed the opportunity with both hands to make the most of the benefits. When it comes to attracting new visitors, virtual travel provides a great opportunity. Virtual tours of hotels, cruise ships and resorts are already commonplace, so adding VR content into this experience is the natural next step and there’s clear potential for brands to make the most of this emerging opportunity. There’s also space for VR to be included in travellers’ planning process: instead of reading a review or downloading a brochure, users could experience their chosen destination in 360-degree video and immersive audio – Thomas Cook’s ‘Try before you fly’ VR campaign, which earned the travel company a 190 percent uplift in their New York excursions and a 40 percent ROI, is one such example.
Live video takes centre stage
It was only a matter of time before social media users started to demand more and more in- the-moment content, so they could have access to events they’d previously been unable to access. This is why live video grew in popularity last year, with a range of apps and platforms offering a live streaming functionality. In 2016, Facebook made the most of this, with users apparently watching live videos more often and for longer than non-live videos. Twitter also connected with Periscope last year to allow users to embed live broadcasts directly into tweets, offering broadcasters access to new audiences. And earlier in January, Instagram introduced live video streaming as part of their Stories feature.
How can the travel sector benefit from live video?
It’s important to be where your audiences are – especially when you’re using social networks to build your brand. Live Q&As with staff members and local experts, live coverage of events as well as personalised tours of hotels, are all ways which the travel sector can jump onto this opportunity.
It’s clear that the growth of immersive media means that consumers are going to expect more and more convenience when it comes to planning their holidays. 2017 is all about providing travellers with the most up-to-date information, simply, informatively and interactively. AR, VR, 360-degree and live video are all not-to-be-missed opportunities for destinations, resorts and hotels to showcase their local areas, facilities and entertainment options.