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Snap’s Virtual Object Creation Accelerates the Metaverse Shift

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In what some are calling a game-changer and a clear move toward the metaverse, Snap launched virtual object creation and shared its latest research paper, which outlines a new way to create 3D digital assets from photos and videos of objects sourced from online collections, like Google images.

The process, which Snap is calling ‘Neural Object Capture and Rendering from Online Image Collections’, allows AR and VR creators to search for an item on Google, select a group of relevant images, taken from different angles, and automatically fill in the gaps, enabling 3D object creation without tedious scanning.

As explained by Snap:

“This approach could unlock the ability for an AR creator or developer to digitize any object in the world, as long as there are photos or videos available of it found in an online image collection. This is a significant step towards the goal of creating a library of AR digital assets to overlay computing on the world.”

This could mark a big step for Snap’s own AR ambitions, and could set the platform up for the coming metaverse, where people create their own virtual environments that others will then be able to visit, interact with, and even purchase digital and real-world items from, within the VR space.

Meta has been looking to its advances in eCommerce and to expand its virtual item library, with brands encouraged to scan in digital versions of their products to enhance their in-app listings. This new process from Snap eliminates the need to manually scan their products.

Snap is presenting this new paper at SIGGRAPH 2022. We will keep you informed of any new details on this acceleration in building new AR and VR experiences. If you want to learn more about how you can prepare for the metaverse, contact us today.

The Digital Marketing Trends Shaping New Customer Experiences

By Brand Engagement, Content Marketing, Insights & News, Social Commerce, Uncategorized No Comments

It can be increasingly challenging to keep up with digital marketing trends as they change so quickly.

To help marketers and digital leaders navigate this new landscape, we’ve identified the key trends to help you improve engagement and drive conversions this year.

1. SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS

TikTok Will Continue to Grow & Brands Need to Take it Seriously

The rapid rise of TikTok has seen the app reach 1 billion users and counting. The platform has enormous engagement (U.S. users spend up to 850 hours a month on the platform) and enables brands to create hyper-personalized content that truly connects with customers.

In terms of the platform’s revenue, TikTok was the top-earning non-game app in 2021 with more than $110 million spent by users. This just shows the earning potential of the app for marketers looking to drive sales amongst young consumers. 

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

Influencers have also played a role in TikTok’s rise with many earning huge amounts through sponsorship deals. Battisby believes that brands are now taking notice of influencer marketing on the platform.

In the platform’s early days, it seemed to be a place for kids and teens and the influencer who want to reach them. But, today, we are seeing influencers like Gordon Ramsey and financial influencers like @johnefinance and @breakyourbudget who help GenZers learn about planning for their financial futures.

Social Commerce Will Become Seamless

During the pandemic, social commerce took off and is expected to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025 according to an Accenture study – a growth that’s three times faster than traditional ecommerce, aided by hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt.

2022 is set to see the experience of social shopping evolve as platforms work behind the scenes to enable customer payments without leaving social media apps, creating a seamless customer experience. Gen Z and Millennials are predicted to be the biggest spenders as they will account for 62 percent of global social ecommerce revenue by 2025.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

The key to driving engagement is for brands to create compelling shop windows on Instagram. It’s no longer enough to rely on one great image, companies need to have multiple images per product and add keyword-rich descriptions. Video is also crucial as the popularity of the format  – as witnessed by TikTok’s growth and Instagram’s recent transition – is exploding across all audiences. 

YouTube Advertising Will Explode

YouTube is going to explode in terms of investment from advertising in 2022. As more people move away from linear TV, fragmentation with subscriptions, and streaming services all means that more advertising spend is going to move to YouTube.

Last year YouTube’s global revenue (through its parent company Alphabet) grew to nearly $29 billion, up almost 46 percent from 2020. This level of revenue puts the social media platform on par with Netflix and is a result of the rise in more traditional TV advertisers on the channel, direct response ads, and brand advertising.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

2. DIGITAL MARKETING JOB TRENDS IN 2022

Marketers Need to Upskill in Digital

As brands clamor to engage, promote, and convert successfully online, the need for digital talent across industries is intense.

A recent whitepaper, ‘Perpetual Evolution’, from The Economist Group, revealed that securing talent with the right skill set is the number one challenge that the digital marketing industry faces, while the lack of training to upskill marketers ranks seventh.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

This demand is great news for marketers but poses a challenge for many in the industry who lack digital know-how or experience in digital marketing. So what digital marketing skills will be in demand in 2022? Social media skills remain in high demand, along with SEO and SEM.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

The Digital Gig Economy is on the Rise

Over the past decade, many workers are pursuing a more flexible ‘gig’ lifestyle for their professional lives. The emergence and rise of online services and apps such as Airbnb and Deliveroo have offered new ways of working for people rather than a 9 to 5 traditional job.

In fact, according to a recent Mastercard study, half of the U.S. population will do gig work by 2028.

This gig economy opens up the door for marketers with in-demand skills. We are seeing more creative or digital marketing professionals choosing the digital nomad route as this enables them to dictate their own working hours and have flexibility.

3. DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TRENDS IN 2022

The Metaverse Will Become a Marketer’s Playground

While it has existed and evolved for years, the metaverse saw a boost in interest after Facebook changed its parent company’s name to Meta in October 2021.

This move, according to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is because “the metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people, just like social networking was when we got started. Over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards.”

So what is the metaverse? Basically, it’s virtual worlds in 3D that people can connect through Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Imagine having an avatar that looks exactly like yourself with you exact measurements shopping in a virtual store. You would be able to try on clothes and see what they look like on your body from the comfort of your own sofa.

While we are still a few years away from reaching critical mass with the metaverse, brands are beginning to embrace it now to build on their customer experiences.

According to eMarketer research, there will be 65 million people that use VR and 110 million using AR every month in 2023. That’s a lot of potential young customers to have in one space.

The Next Big Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

Artificial Intelligence Will Hinder & Help Data Privacy

Privacy issues continue to plague brands as more customers demand transparency and control over their own data and we are seeing increasing concerns as AI continues to evolve the customer experience.

According to a Gartner study, 40% of privacy compliance technology will use AI by 2023 while global spending on privacy is expected to reach $8 billion by 2022.

However, companies can use AI in their data privacy initiatives to classify sensitive data and use it to search data to identify individuals that have asked to be forgotten (a specification covered under privacy regulations like GDPR).

The bottom line is the digital marketing space is changing rapidly and brands need to ensure they are testing new tactics and technologies while building the right presence across these new channels. If you need assistance taking a future-forward look at your brand’s digital presence and engagement, contact us today. Our experts are here to help.


Meta’s Developing Spatial Audio Tools to Enhance Virtual Experiences

By Social Media No Comments

Despite the failure of audio platforms like Clubhouse to gain critical mass, audio continues to reign supreme via podcasts and it helps create immersive experiences, bringing virtual realms to life.

In fact, according to Meta’s latest research, in order to facilitate true-to-life AR and VR experiences, Meta is now developing spatial audio tools which respond to different environments as displayed within visuals.

Meta is focusing on the commonalities of sound that people expect to experience in certain environments, and how that can be translated into digital realms.

As explained by Meta:

“Whether it’s mingling at a party in the metaverse or watching a home movie in your living room through augmented reality (AR) glasses, acoustics play a role in how these moments will be experienced […] We envision a future where people can put on AR glasses and relive a holographic memory that looks and sounds the exact way they experienced it from their vantage point, or feel immersed by not just the graphics but also the sounds as they play games in a virtual world.”

This could mean the metaverse will be much more immersive, and could play a more significant role in the customer’s experience than you might initially expect.

Meta’s already factored this in, to at least some degree, with the first generation version of its Ray-Ban Stories glasses, which include open air speakers that deliver sound directly into your ears.

Ray Ban Stories

In fact, Meta is so committed to audio, the platform is making three new models for audio-visual understanding open to developers.

“These models, which focus on human speech and sounds in video, are designed to push us toward a more immersive reality at a faster rate.”

We will be watching to see how Meta builds its spatial audio tools to enhance its VR and AR systems. In the meantime, if you need assistance with your social media strategy, please contact us today. Our teams are here to help.

The Metaverse is Coming. Are you Ready?

By Insights & News, Uncategorized No Comments

As digital advertising continues to become more complicated and marketers seek new ways to integrate SEO, PPC, and UX, along with emerging social channels, changing regulations, and growing tactics like automation and personalization, we want to share the top trends for 2022 that will help brands expand their reach and awareness while driving revenue.

Although augmented reality and virtual reality have been utilized by marketers for more than a decade, we will see an increase in the creative use of these technologies and – more importantly – in the adoption of these tools by consumers thanks to 5G.

source: eMarketer

The metaverse will not only provide a new virtual realm in which customers can engage with brands, it will also deliver a new set of metrics for marketers, including how long virtual objects are held in view and where users are looking when experiencing an ad. These insights can help shape new, and more meaningful, customer experiences in the very near future.

If the past twenty years have taught us anything about consumers in the digital space, it’s that they want rich, immersive experiences.

Soon, static images and, even videos, will seem as quaint as a fax is today. The metaverse will deliver fully interactive 3D and even 4D experiences that enable customers to engage with brands in a new, personalized way.

In fact, the entire customer journey will soon take place in the metaverse. According to AdWeek, “The metaverse enables brands and consumers to co-create content in ways that we haven’t even discovered yet.”

In other words, user generated content will become more immersive and will, in many ways, become a two-way conversation or co-creation between the customer and the brand. Instead of watching an ad that features a favorite personality, customers will experience a hologram of that personality and can engage directly with him or her. Instead of buying clothes online and returning them because the fit isn’t right, consumers can “wear” the clothes in a 3D virtual setting in a try-before-you-buy manner.

As with any emerging trend or channel, the brands that get there first will win. If you aren’t already exploring how these virtual worlds will transform your brand’s customer relationships, you are falling behind. Reach out to us for ideas on how to leverage the metaverse today for a more profitable tomorrow.