Outlook 2018: VR will become mainstream in 2018 - Gurmit Singh, Oath Inc

Gurmit Singh
Gurmit Singh

It’s an exciting time for the digital industry as it is growing at a healthy pace. The year 2018 is expected to witness emerging trends which will further offer new opportunities for brands and advertisers to experiment, says Gurmit Singh, VP and MD – India Business, Oath Inc. 

Changing content trends: Encouragingly, we will see increased sophistication from brands in the content space, as they move away from seeing it as something of a nice-to-have to being a fully-integrated and fundamental aspect of a campaign. To avoid pigeonholing themselves, marketers will start exploring different combinations of topics, formats and content moments to tell their story. A varied content portfolio ensures that they don’t over invest in one area and under invest in another, which helps brands engage with consumers when they are in multiple need-states. 

Programmatic: Programmatic might just be a buzzword in India currently, but this is set to change as programmatic will soon command a big share of the pie once more advertisers start recognising its benefits. 2018 will see wide adoption of programmatic buying and selling at higher ratios across businesses as they hone in on more sophisticated ways of automating campaigns and more people drop the “spray and pray” approach. 

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: With this technology becoming much more accessible, VR will become mainstream in 2018. Consumers are driving increased demand for this fully immersive video format. We expect the quantity of content offered in VR to grow in the coming year. Consumers are most interested in using VR for entertainment (movies and TV), virtual tourism, science and nature footage and virtual shopping. 

AR is especially attractive to brands because consumers can access this video content through devices they already own. The same number of consumers engage with AR on mobile devices as they do through a VR hardware device or video game console. 

We expect to see more brands provide AR experiences in 2018. It is believed that AR and VR will be among the top revenue drivers of all new video formats in 2018. 

Artificial Learning: AI is also on the rise. We have seen it permeate through many marketing disciplines in 2017, but mostly in disparate ways. In 2018, as AI and machine-learning become ever-more prominent and sophisticated we’ll see more widespread adoption across industries and disciplines. Ultimately, we’re going to see consolidation of AI technology across multiple disciplines in the ever-present search for holistic understanding of the user. 

Vertical Video on Mobile: Brands are beginning to invest significant sums in platforms that require vertical content, which isn’t surprising, given that people are spending more time on their mobile phones. There’s a ton of people watching videos in the upright position. So many, in fact, that marketers should be prepared to include the format into their production book and spend money promoting it on social channels. Advertising in the vertical video format will be the norm in the coming year. 

Trends & red flags to watch out for 

We are expecting the advertising industry to evolve at a major pace in 2018 and it would be interesting to see programmatic command a big share of the pie. The programmatic landscape has seen a lot of change over the last year. The shift towards mobile programmatic has been one of the biggest developments as it offers massive potential. Advertisers are now finally shifting away from desktop as buyers have reached critical mass, focusing efforts more on mobile. It will be exciting to see the mobile programmatic growth to exceed desktop growth at an even higher clip. Mobile video will further push this forward, as more inventory becomes available to programmatic platforms. 

We also expect to see the ecosystem come together and collaborate to pursue a more holistic approach to programmatic, including standardising metrics, setting expectations and building creative and planning capabilities to fill gaps in data quality. 

Digital evolution also comes with its share of challenges that the industry needs to address. With mobile ad revenues upscaling year-over-year, it is no doubt that it has become one of the targets for attackers. Ad fraud has become a critical issue, which this industry needs to resolve together. As an industry, we need to focus on educating the consumers about ad blocking. They need to understand that advertising on the Internet is for their own benefit. If all the ads are blocked, then the growth of the Internet industry will be impacted. All the players in the industry need to come together and increase awareness around this. In addition, we need to work tirelessly at providing a contextual, relevant and engaging advertising experience for our users. 

One of the reasons why consumers get annoyed with ads is when their mobile experience is obstructed by lengthy ads or intrusive ads. Personalisation in every aspect of life has become a consumer’s top demand. Hence, consumers don’t appreciate an ad which is not related to them or are just promotional. They expect advertisers to intelligently consider their interests and their environment and target them accordingly. It is very important to ensure that the ad is of utmost quality. No user appreciates an ad which is poorly loaded and is not properly configured for the device.

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