Half of adults age 18-24 in the United States who own smartphones have installed the Snapchat app, according to recent data from comScore.
That's a significant increase in usage compared with the same time last year, when just 30% of 18-24-year-olds were using Snapchat.
Use of the mobile messaging app has also spiked with older Millennials, age 25-34, with 20% now using it—up from around 8% last year.
Usage among non-Millennials, adults age 35+, has not increased at the same rate, remaining under 10% for the past year.
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Snapchat's combined penetration for both Millennial segments (18-24 years old and 25-34 years old) is now at 32.9%, making it one of the most used social apps with the age group, the analysis found.
Only Facebook (75.6% penetration) and Instagram (43.1%) have more Millennial smartphone users than Snapchat.
The rest of the major social apps now all have fewer Millennial users than Snapchat, including:
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COMMENTARY: Snapchat is a mobile social app designed for smartphones and tablets that allow users to chat and share short videos of moments in their everyday lives with their friends. Users control how long their friends can view their message. Users can set a timer up to ten seconds and then send their message. Their friends have that long to view a users message and then it disappears forever. Snapchat lets the recipients take a screenshot, and notifies the user if they did so. Because Snapchat is a mobile social app, users can use it to build relationships, collect points, and view their best friends. Snapchat is instantly fun and insanely addictive. Checkout these videos of Snapchat:
Courtesy of an article dated August 22, 2014 appearing in MarketingProfs
With its LiveRail acquisition, Facebook has set itself well up to compete with Google and AOL -- two of the largest Internet companies and leaders in the programmatic space -- when it comes to digital video advertising.
LiveRail reached 37.2% of the U.S. population in May, third behind BrightRoll (51.3%) and Specific Media (44.4%), according to comScore’s May 2014 U.S. online video rankings. That was slightly ahead of AOL (35%) and Google (34.1%). LiveRail has been third behind BrightRoll and Specific Media since February 2014. AOL was ahead of LiveRail in January 2014.
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Facebook’s desire to be more competitive in the video ad market did not come cheap. TechCrunch has reported that Facebook paid between $400 and $500 million to buy LiveRail, which would make it one of the priciest ad tech acquisitions we’ve seen to date.
In addition, LiveRail was expected to go public at some point in the next six months. It would have been the second supply-side ad tech company to hit the public market, following Rubicon Project.
Real-Time Daily reached out to ad tech and video industry experts to hear some initial reactions to Facebook’s power play.
Mike Shehan, founder, CEO and president of SpotXchange --which was sixth on comScore’s May 2014 list with a reach of 32.6% -- said:
“We want to congratulate LiveRail on their acquisition by Facebook, and believe the collaboration between these two companies will have a huge impact on how data is used in digital video. This news is very significant for our industry in several ways. First and foremost, it validates that the video sector continues to be a top driver of growth within online advertising.”
David Burch, senior director of global communications at TubeMogul, which was seventh on comScore’s list with 31.3% reach (note: TubeMogul is on the buy-side, not the sell-side), also weighed in. According to their CEO.
“We first partnered with LiveRail back in 2011 and are the largest buyer on their exchange. We’ve been assured that our existing integration and partnership with LiveRail won’t change with this acquisition; if anything, our relationship will strengthen. We believe that the main reason our partnership with LiveRail is so fruitful is because we serve different masters -- LiveRail helps publishers while we’re beholden to brands. This creates a sense of balance and trust for brands and publishers alike that is missing from the market today, where many companies are a one-stop shop and are trying to take money from all sides."
BrightRoll CEO and founder Tod Sacerdoti believes the news “reinforces the importance of video to marketers and publishers globally.”
“As brands and agencies invest more in sight, sound, and motion, buyers and sellers of digital media are realizing the need to have a dedicated video strategy in place along with the technology to enable it.”
According to a Facebook newsroom post announcing the acquisition, Facebook has a similar line of thinking. Facebook’s VP of ads product marketing and Atlas wrote in the newsroom post:
“More relevant ads will be more interesting and engaging to people watching online video, and more effective for marketers too.”
Victor Milligan, chief marketing officer at Nexage, says the acquisition is significant for mobile advertisers, given Facebook’s mobile-first strategy.
“The acquisition affirms what we know in mobile advertising -- that video, and rich media for that matter, are core to brands embracing mobile.”
Nexage recently reported that video was the fastest-growing vertical in terms of inventory growth on mobile; 516% more mobile video ads were available for programmatic buying in Q1 2014 compared to Q1 2013.
“Without doubt, they will soon represent the majority creative.”
Bertrand Quesada, CEO of Ebuzzing, a video ad platform, thinks the news is an “obvious indicator” that Facebook wants to expand its online video presence.
“They have made serious investments into video in the past, and buying LiveRail -- with its programmatic and targeting capabilities -- was a logical next step to advance Facebook’s own technology.”
Quesada is also curious how LiveRail’s existing publisher clients will react to the news.
“The implications of this move for LiveRail’s premium publishers remain to be seen, but publishers tend to be very conscious about third-party access to their data. When Google acquired ad optimization platform Admeld back in 2011, Admeld lost all its big publishers because Google would have access to their data.”
COMMENTARY: Facebook vice president of ads product marketing and atlas Brian Boland writes in an official blog post on July 2, 2014:
"Today we’re announcing that we have agreed to acquire LiveRail, an advertising technology company that helps companies like Major League Baseball (MLB.com), ABC Family, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion serve better ads in the videos that appear on their websites and apps. LiveRail was founded in 2007 and offers a comprehensive platform for online video publishers that help them find and serve the best ads possible. LiveRail also helps marketers by providing them with access to premium video inventory and the information that they need in order to decide where to show their ads. What LiveRail ultimately offers is a complete advertising solution for video publishers."
"We believe that LiveRail, Facebook and the premium publishers it serves have an opportunity to make video ads better and more relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who watch digital video every month. More relevant ads will be more interesting and engaging to people watching online video, and more effective for marketers too. Publishers will benefit as well because more relevant ads will help them make the most out of every opportunity they have to show an ad."
In an announcement of its own, RiveRail said that the company now has "hundreds of active customers,” and delivers more than 7 billion video ads each month.
LiveRailwas the top U.S. video ad property in March 2014 by number of ads served, at nearly 3.9 billion, according to comScore. LiveRail, which connects publishers and advertisers, has customers including PBS and Sony Pictures.
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It wouldn’t be surprising if LiveRail’s technology and tools are integrated into Instagram as well. In March, Instagram signed its first advertising deal with ad agency Omnicom for $100 million, not too long after finally adding support for video, which commands the highest engagement and monetization, as we reported.
LiveRail was founded in 2007 by Andrei Dunca, Mark Trefgarne, and Sergiu Biriș. The company previously raised a total of $12 million in funding from Pond Ventures.
LiveRail allows its customers to place their video ad budgets on their programmatic video ad marketplace and spread their video media dollars across multiple publishers while many content providers tend to sell directly to the brands that want to advertise around their content.
In late April, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer finished up Facebook's Q2 2014 earnings call with news that Instagram and, perhaps even more importantly, online video ads, weren't going to substantially contribute to earnings this year, investors were not amused. Facebook's stock price took a dump. What's the problem? According to both Zuckerberg and Sandberg, Facebook's video advertising platform wasn't ready for prime time.
The recent announcement that Facebook has acquired LiveRail for a reported $500 million reinforces what many investors didn't seem interested in hearing a couple of months ago: Facebook isn't going to rollout video until it can be done right. Like Facebook, one of LiveRail's claims to fame is its utilization of data to better target and deliver video ads. If we know anything about Facebook, it's that it loves, and knows how to utilize, user data.
It now appears very clear that LiveRail was the missing piece that Facebook needed to bring real value to advertisers willing to place video ads on the social giants platform. Facebook has accumulated a huge cache of consumer data about its users, especially the type of digital content they watch, particularly video content, how much time they spend watching videos, their favorite brands, and how much time they spend on the site. When you combine this with LiveRail's ability to match video ads to a viewer's online behaviors, this makes for a dynamite combination.
Who uses Instagram: men or women? And what top brands do they prefer to follow on the visual social platform?
The answers vary by country.
Instagram is heavily favored by women in Thailand (65%), the Philippines (64%), and Vietnam (62%), according to a recent infographic by TOTEMS (formerly known as Nitrogram).
By comparison, Instagram users are predominantly men in Saudi Arabia (85%), Iran (82%), and India (75%).
Regarding top brands, more women than men follow them (53% vs. 47%). The top brands with the "manliest" audience are energy drinks and sports brands, and the top brands with the "most girly" audience are cosmetics and fashion.
To find out more about gender on Instagram, check out the infographic:
You put so much work into your awesome content that you expect it to go viral as soon as it hits the Internet. But after you publish it, no one seems to care...
So, why isn't your brilliant content catching fire? For five likely reasons, according to an infographic by WhoIsHostingThis.
One reason is the lack of emotional appeal. Content that arouses curiosity, amazement, astonishment, uncertainty, humor, and admiration has a greater chance of going viral. Negative emotions do not inspire sharing, however.
Bad timing can also affect whether your content goes viral. For example, weekends are not the best time for sharing content. WhoIsHosting this suggests,
"Find the days and times when your content is most in-demand."
Other factors that influence content's virality are poor design, lack of share-worthiness, and poor distribution.
To find out more about what's hindering your content from being shared, check out the infographic:
How a 19-year-old hacker behind Oculus Rift set out to invent a gaming headset but ended up reviving a dead technology and building a global communications platform, worth $2 billion to Facebook in a surprise deal announced this week
After WhatsApp and Oculus, Is There Anything Facebook Won’t Acquire?
To understand why Oculus Rift matters, it helps to know who John Carmack is. You already know his work, even if you don’t know his name: Carmack is the programmer who in the early 1990s cracked the problem of how to write a video game that takes place in three-dimensional space.He’s the reason that when you play a state-of-the-art game, you’re not leaping from platform to platform or wandering through a two-dimensional dungeon, you’re running and jumping around in proper space-time, all six axes in play, backward and forward, side to side, up and down. He’s responsible for Quake, the first true 3-D game, which begat Halo and Call of Duty and all the rest of it. Carmack did for computer games what Masaccio did for painting: he turned a plane into a space.
The legendary John Carmack from id Software is pushing hard to make VR headsets a part of every gamer's standard equipment. (Click Image To Enlarge)
As such, he’s the principal architect of a medium that has generated literally billions of person–hours of entertainment over the past 20 years, and like most people who’ve started a revolution, he keeps a weather eye out for the next one. That’s how he spotted Palmer Luckey and Oculus Rift two years before Mark Zuckerberg and most of the rest of the world.
On March 26, Facebook announced that it was purchasing Oculus VR, the company Luckey started in 2012, in a deal worth $2 billion. (See my blog post dated March 25, 2014) The social-networking giant is getting top-flight engineering expertise as well as the technology behind the company’s flagship and only product, a virtual-reality headset. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
Two billion dollars is a lot of money—a head-snapping amount—for a social network to pay for a two-year-old hardware company with an ultra-nerdy name that has yet to ship a consumer-ready product and whose founder is still only 21. But what’s really surprising is that Zuckerberg is putting down a massive bet on virtual reality, which until very recently was considered not just a failure but a punch line. The Oculus deal makes for a twist ending to one of the greatest and weirdest comeback stories in the history of technology.
Oculus VR CEO and co-founder Palmer Luckey (Click Image To Enlarge)
Palmer Luckey—the name suits him—grew up in Long Beach, Calif., the son of a housewife and a car salesman. He was a natural-born tinkerer. “Self-taught!” is how he describes himself.
“Explore the world around you, take things apart, put ’em back together. You can learn a lot if you do nothing but spend your entire life in your garage working on projects or in your room reading on the Internet.”
As a teenager one of Luckey’s hobbies was taking apart old video-game consoles and reassembling them inside portable cases. Another one was virtual reality.
It was an odd hobby for a person Luckey’s age because the received wisdom at the time was that VR was a failed technology. Everybody has an idea of what VR is, or what it’s supposed to be: a simulated, three-dimensional, interactive world that surrounds you completely. It’s been a staple of science-fiction classics—-Neuromancer, Snow Crash, Tron, Star Trek, The Matrix—and a core component of our collective pop-cultural vision of the future for decades.
But apart from niche applications like designing cars and surveying oil fields, VR never made it to market. As Luckey puts it,
“The idea existed, the will existed, the people existed, the demand existed—and the technology did not.”
It baffled engineers, frustrated consumers and ate up billions of dollars of R&D money. Like flying cars and robot butlers, VR is one of those revolutions that went from wow to lame without ever actually materializing in between. Nintendo tried its hand at it in 1995 with the Virtual Boy game console and lost millions. The list of virtual-reality products that launched and then died of neglect is long.
Luckey owns most of them. He probably has the world’s most complete collection of VR headsets anywhere, more than 40 of them at last count. He bought them because he was among the very few people anywhere who still thought virtual reality was cool. Unfortunately, none of the headsets worked very well. He says.
“I didn’t start out trying to build something. I started out trying to buy something that would do what I wanted. And it became apparent that there wasn’t anything like it.”
So he started building it himself.
Luckey wasn’t the only person who still cared about virtual reality, but he almost was. There was a small community of true believers, less than a hundred, who hung out on a web forum called MTBS3D to talk about it. (MTBS stands for “meant to be seen.”) Luckey was one of them. John Carmack was another.
Carmack thought VR had potential too, in spite of all the failures, and every few years he would check in on the state of the art to see if it was usable yet. In April 2012, Carmack was tinkering with a VR headset made by Sony, and he posted about it on MTBS3D. Luckey responded. He told Carmack about his own prototype, and Carmack said he’d like to buy one. Luckey was in awe. He says.
“You cannot take money from Carmack. It would be like if Jesus said, Give me your clothes.”
He sent Carmack the prototype, his only working model, for free, via regular mail.
In 2012, what interest there was in VR was mostly in creating a kind of virtual cinema: you’d look in the headset and see a simulated version of a giant screen hanging in the air in front of you, and you’d watch a movie on it. Not many people did. Not only was it Skymall stuff, it was pricey—Sony’s head-mounted set costs $1,000.
Luckey’s device wasn’t like other headsets. Luckey’s device was different. It was designed to run games and to immerse you in them. It ran fast, and its field of view was very wide: the display wrapped around to eat up your peripheral vision, putting you well and truly in another world. Luckey says.
“That’s the only way to get any kind of immersion. I didn’t want to just have a TV you could wear.”
Carmack agreed. He adapted his latest game engine for Luckey’s headset. Two months later he took it to E3, the biggest video-gaming trade show in North America, where he announced to a startled press corps that virtual reality had finally arrived. A lot of people started asking Luckey for demos. Among them were Brendan Iribe and Nate Mitchell, both alumni of a gaming-software company called Scaleform.
“The first time I saw the Rift, it was in a hotel in Long Beach. Basically Palmer had a bunch of circuit boards, and a bucket of cables and wires, all this stuff tangled up. He set it up, plugged it in—it took him a little while, and I was sitting there being like, Is this really going to happen? Is this going to work?”
At that point Luckey’s prototype was just a box that you held up to your face, running a simulation of a bare room. But when Mitchell looked inside it, something new happened. He says.
“There was no interactivity, nothing moving. But it gave you the sensation that, wow—there’s a world inside this little box.”
Two years later, the Oculus Rift—the dorky name is a point of nerd pride—still doesn’t look particularly futuristic. It looks like a pair of chunky ski goggles with opaque black plastic where the lenses should be. Time will tell whether it’s a gateway to a new virtual frontier, but one thing is clear already: you look weird wearing it.
Oculus Rift headset (Click Image To Enlarge)
But put it on anyway—it embraces your head slightly more forcefully than would be ideally comfortable—because you’ll get the rare sensation of experiencing a technology that is genuinely new. Google Glass feels like what it looks like: you put it on and think, Yup, it’s a pair of glasses with a tiny screen in one lens. Oculus Rift is different. It’s not what you expect.
The first time I tried the Rift (which seems to be winning out over Oculus as the shorthand of choice) it showed a simulation of a craggy, rocky mountainside. I turned my head experimentally, and the view changed, with no discernible lag, just as it would have in reality. Instinctively my brain started looking for the edge of the image—but it didn’t come. I kept turning until I was looking all the way behind me. There was nothing but mountain back there.
Then I looked up and watched snowflakes sift down out of a gray sky straight into my face. That’s when my brain admitted defeat. It surrendered to the illusion that it was in another world. It wasn’t going to find an edge. There were no edges. The Oculus Rift is the first visual medium that doesn’t have a frame around it.
Another demo put me in the driver’s seat of an old-fashioned race car. Just sitting there, without even starting the engine, was a revelation. I leaned over and stuck my head out the window and admired the car’s exposed left front wheel assembly. If I leaned in to the dashboard I could read the fine print on the gauges.
When you’re in the Rift you become the camera. You control the point of view with your body, the way you would in reality.The Oculus Rift has limitations. The resolution isn’t high enough yet, so you have a slight sense that you’re viewing the world from inside a screened-in porch. Look down and you’ll notice that something’s missing: your entire body. Oculus can bring your eyes and, with headphones, your ears into the virtual world, but nothing else. You haunt the virtual world as a floating, disembodied spirit.
And yet it’s convincing. It’s visceral. VR offers a new kind of illusion. There’s a name for it in the industry, this deep and abiding conviction that you’re somewhere else: presence. I tried a simulation of a dogfight in outer space, and when my one-man fighter was shot out of the mother ship into the cold black void, my stomach dropped through the floor. After South by Southwestthis year, a viral video circulated of the actress Maisie Williams trying an Oculus Rift simulation of the 700-ft. wall of ice in Game of Thrones. She’s standing on solid ground, but she has a full-blown panic attack—she’s afraid of heights. The illusion of being on a cliff edge is tenacious. Mitchell says.
“You can’t do that on a TV monitor. You can’t do that on a phone. You’ve never been able to do that before in the history of humankind. You know you’re not going to fall, but your brain’s saying, Don’t take that step.”
Two years after he mailed his prototype headset to John Carmack, Palmer Luckey is somewhere else: a black glass office tower in Irvine, Calif., the headquarters of Oculus VR, where he now has the title of founder. Carmack, 43, is his CTO. After 22 years he quit his job at Id Software, the company he co-founded, to work at Oculus. Brendan Iribe is now Oculus’ ebullient, hyperverbal CEO. He left behind unvested options from his last company to come to Oculus. It has that effect on people.
Why could Oculus solve VR when nobody else could? The answer takes some explaining. VR presents an intractable mass of interconnected engineering challenges, most of which start with your brain.The problem with your brain is that it’s smart, and it’s difficult to fool. The human brain is constantly taking in data about the world. Some of it comes in through your eyes; some of it comes from your vestibular system, your inner ear, which provides your sense of balance and orientation. Your brain’s constantly cross-checking those data sources to make sure they match up. If they don’t, bad things happen.
Say, for example, you’re wearing a virtual–reality headset that is telling your eyes that you’re on Mars. If you move your head, the view of Mars has to change too—instantly, with no latency, the way it would in reality. If it doesn’t, your eyes get out of sync with your inner ear. Even a delay of 50 milliseconds between head-turn and view-change is too much. Your brain will spot it.
In fact, it’ll get really upset about it. So much so that it makes people feel nauseated—it’s one cause of a phenomenon known as simulator sickness, which is similar to motion sickness. Individuals’ tolerance for latency varies, but at Oculus they peg the maximum allowable lag at 20 milliseconds. On a technical level, that’s a challenging specification to hit. By comparison, an eyeblink takes about 300 milliseconds.
A headset also has to deliver new frames to the eye absurdly fast in order to keep the image from smearing or freezing when you move.It has to have two tiny high-definition monitors in it, one for each eye, and they have to cover a field of view wide enough that it blankets your peripheral vision. It has to be simple enough to mass-produce and cheap enough that people can afford it. It has to be light enough that it doesn’t hurt your nose.
Getting this kind of precision requires tight integration of hardware and software—it’s one of the mantras you hear around the Oculus offices. And beyond that, it takes a solid grasp of the fundamentals of gaming technology. That’s where a guy like Carmack, who invented some of the technology in question, comes in handy. Irebe says.
“The science around this is so close to the metal. It’s so close to what bits are happening when. Carmack knows he can go in and get that fully optimized.”
Oculus began on Aug. 2, 2012, with a campaign on Kickstarter. The goal was to raise $250,000; the project passed that figure in two hours. By the time the campaign closed 30 days later, backers had pledged $2,437,429. Since then Oculus has taken 75,000 orders for its development kit, which is a nonfinal, prerelease version of the headset intended primarily as a tool for people who want to write software and develop content for it. In December it closed a $75 million round of financing from venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Then, of course, came the Facebook purchase.
Not even the founders saw it coming, or not at first. Zuckerberg first met Iribe last November. Irebe recalls.
“He came down and we showed him some of the internal prototypes, and he got so excited about the vision of what we were doing and about the potential that this is truly the next computing platform. He actually said that to us. And it’s like, ‘Wow! We are looking at this whole thing being just that gaming platform. But tell us more, Mark.’ And he started to describe it, and we started to believe it too. And we started to relate it to a lot of the experiences we were having.”
It had been dawning on Luckey and Iribe and their colleagues for some time that they might not be as clear as they thought they were on what virtual reality is actually for. It began as a gaming technology, but it turned out first-person shooters weren’t the killer app they expected. Irebe says.
“Pretty quickly we realized, ‘O.K., maybe running down hallways at 40 m.p.h. isn’t exactly the most comfortable thing to do in VR when you’re sitting in a chair.’ As we started to build these made-for-VR experiences, we started to realize that intense gaming, where there are bullets flying at your head, can be actually a little too intense.”
So they started thinking more broadly about what exactly it was they were building. Iribe mentions virtual vacations and a 3-D VR encyclopedia as future possibilities.Mitchell describes a “magic school bus” that could take a bunch of kids on an instant field trip to Florence to look at Michelangelo’s David. But the really big opportunity, the mainstream, billion-user opportunity, was in virtual reality as a next-next-generation communications medium. Irebe says.
“When you add other people to it, and you can actually see somebody in that place and you can make eye contact, and you can look at them and they can look around, you can now have this shared sense of presence in this new gaming experience, entertainment experience or just social experience that really starts to define what virtual reality is all about.”
The news that Facebook was acquiring Oculus was not received with universal happiness in the gaming community that had backed the company in the first place. The announcement on Oculus’ blog quickly grew a comment trail 900-plus posts long essentially arguing, in various ways, that Oculus had abandoned its hardcore hacker roots to become a bland, corporate, three-dimensional ad-serving platform. Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, was an early backer, and he visited the Oculus offices earlier this year. He summed up the attitude when he tweeted to his 1.54 million followers,
“We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just canceled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.”
Luckey is quick, very quick, to assert that this isn’t a pivot away from gaming and toward something else. He says.
“Nope. No pivot. We’re doing what we’ve always done. We’re continuing to operate independently, and if anything, we’re putting more resources into games, not less. This lets us invest in content, make better tools for content, better developer relations, and build a much better platform for games.”
Iribe is right behind him:
“People have not even seen our final form. There are so many cool things that happened directly because of this deal. It’s one thing to have an initial first impression of a deal that might not make sense on the outside. It’s another to see the proof of it once the big picture becomes clear.”
Iribe points out one concrete benefit for users: cheaper headsets. Now Oculus can afford to sell them at cost.He says.
“It changes our priorities from making money to making virtual reality happen."
Iribe rejects the idea that he and his colleagues sold out. He says.
“If anything, I think Facebook got an incredibly good deal. If we stayed independent, we could probably have made a lot more.”
Brian Blau, a consumer technology analyst at research firm Gartner, says,
“They want to seed the market. They want to get it in front of more developers and more early adopters. And that’s the way to do it, to give it away as cheaply as they can.”
Zuckerberg clearly has a lot of faith in the Oculus team, because as far as they’ve come, there are a lot of technical challenges left to solve before virtual reality can become a social medium at all.It will have to track more than your head: it’ll have to track your hands, your mouth, your facial expressions, your gaze. That’s not part of the existing technology. At the moment virtual reality is still a pretty lonely place.
It will also have to morph into a form factor that nontechnophiles will be willing to put on their faces. And it will face competition. Earlier this month Sony unveiled a new VR headset of its own, with the working name Project Morpheus.It will presumably connect to its popular Playstation 4 console, which already has millions of users.
Sony's VR headset, a.k.a. Project Morpheus, is a worthy competitor for the Oculus Rift says The Verge. (Click Image To Enlarge)
For the next few years at least, Oculus VR is going to be what it started out as: a high-end gaming peripheral, supplemented with content from adventurous creatives in the broader entertainment world. Irebe says.
“We’re working a lot with people who want to do things like immersive movies or music videos or meditation or relaxation applications. It’s kind of like the beginning of film. It’s going to take this whole new set of mechanics and engineering to master it. We have no idea what really works in VR. People ask us, What’s the holy-grail app going to be? I have no idea! Don’t know.”
The uncertainty doesn’t bother him.
For now, Luckey and Carmack and the rest of them are still poised at the crest of the wave. Their money worries are over. Now they just have to safeguard what made Oculus so exciting in the first place, back when it was just a box with a room inside it. Luckey says.
“I think people have always wanted to experience the impossible. That’s one of the reasons games have caught on. They want to actually do things themselves, have a say in how that world works, instead of just watching someone else do it.”
COMMENTARY: I can certainly see a bright future for Oculus and its Rift virtual reality headset. The development of applications running on Oculus Rift will be key, as it was when Apple introduced the iPhone to the world, and again when it introduced the the iPad. The fact that many Kickstarter contributors were techies and 3D virtuality applications developers, and they will be receiving a copy of the Oculus Rift developer's tookit is a good start.
Oculus has the ability to do what Zynga did for Facebook with its social games. This means potentially lucrative 3D virtual reality games or even 3d virtual reality social games could become a big part of Facebook's future income streams. Facebook is still too dependent on advertising revenues, and could feel the pinch, if the economy goes into a tailspin. They must diversify. The departure of Zynga, left a huge, gaping hole to fill, and Oculus could just be what Facebook needs, but only time will tell.
That $75 million in new venture capital will certainly come in handy, but if Zynga is any indication, a whole lot more, perhaps as much as $500 million in additional VC rounds, will be needed to take Oculus into a big league 3D virtuality gamemaker.
I am still not sure how Facebook's 2D social platform will work in a 3D virtual reality world. Is there a future for 3D virtual reality social networks? Is this the vision of Mark Zuckerberg? Is this how Facebook users will connect and engage in the future? I can assure you that a 3D virtual reality Facebook will not be for everybody but the most overzealous and affluent Facebook users, who just have to have the next best thing to enrich their social media experience.
Having said this, I don't believe that Facebook will be running in a 3D virtuality reality format for quite some time, perhaps five years on a limited basis is my guess. Or, possibly never. Of the forty or so startups that have given 3D virtual reality a run for its money, not one has managed to generate substantial revenues, or any revenues, for that matter. Oculus could become the next big loser in that effort. It is going to take lots of capital, bright and creative 3D virtual reality software developers, and the technology to support this will have be developed. It's going to be a bandwidth eater for sure. I don't see 3D virtual reality apps working very well with good ole standard American WIFI. You will need really fast DSL line to do it reasonably well, and this raises the bar, and the cost to the consumer. So only time will tell whether Oculus will become Zuck's next big bad investment, or a huge success, taking Facebook to the next level in social networking.
Courtesy of an article dated March 26, 2014 appearing in Time
"The problem: 71% of marketers in 2013 were unable to deliver satisfying metrics or reporting to demonstrate clear ROI."
"One issue regarding ROI is that text-based content assets are difficult to track once syndicated. Video, on the other hand, is much different."
What makes video easier to track and measure? Some 43% of video marketers are able to capture content metrics across all channels compared with just 16% of non-video marketers, according to research cited in the infographic.
You also can track many metrics for video marketing, such as individual viewers, duration of views, and much more.
To learn more about video marketing and ROI, check out the infographic:
Sixty percent of that video time is spent watching product videos, and 52 percent of consumers report “watching product videos makes them more confident in their purchase decisions.” Three out of five consumers are willing to spend at least two minutes watching a product video, and one in two consumers are less likely to return a product after they’ve done so.
Mobile shoppers are three times as likely to watch a video as desktop shoppers, and half of all smartphone users viewed a product video on their device over a three-month time period. Invodo reports, “shoppers who view video are 174 percent more likely to purchase” than those who did not.
American adults prefer original digital video content to news, sports and daytime programming on television, and they like it almost as much as they do primetime TV, according to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and GfK.
Some 22% of American adults now watch original digital video content each month, bringing the monthly audience size to 52 million—a 15% increase since 2013—the study found.
Watching original online video content is particularly popular with younger adults age 18-34 (39% do so) and males (25% do so).
Younger viewers and men are also more likely to watch other digital streaming video types, such as TV programs online and amateur videos.
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Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 1,011 US adults (18+).
Average Time Spent
American adults watch 23 minutes of of online video per day on average, up significantly since 2010 (10 minutes), though down slightly from last year (24 minutes).
TV programs online are the most popular format (9 minutes per day on average), followed by online movies (7 minutes), nonprofessional video clips (4 minutes), and professional clips (3 minutes).
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Online video viewing peaks in the evening for all demographics.
Younger males (18-34) report watching more amateur videos during most of the day compared with younger females.
Viewing of TV programs online skews female from 9 PM to midnight.
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Location and Devices
87% of original online video viewers only watch content at home.
46% of original online video viewers watch on their smartphones and 41% on their tablets, levels almost twice those of a year ago.
48% use internet-connected TVs to watch original digital video.
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About the research:The report was based on data from a survey fielded in March and April 2014. GfK screened over 2,300 American adults age 18+ to find individuals who watch online video at least once a month and then completed full interviews with 1,011.
Here's a little secret: Almost all digital communication is actually measurable (direct) marketing. And, if done correctly, it will fatten the bottom line.
Just like old-school direct marketing, digital thrives on data; it can be measured and tested, and we can learn something from each campaign that we successfully complete, offering hope for ever-improving results as we move forward onto our next marketing/communication effort.
As a seasoned direct response marketing guy who has also done dozens of digital marketing campaigns, I've put together a checklist to keep in mind as you create your next digital marketing masterpiece.
1. Establish credibility from the onset
People are more skeptical today. They do not want to click on your banner ad, visit your landing page, open your email, watch your video, or read about your product or service in social media channels. Understand that.
Customer/client testimonials are a great way to establish credibility; but, better yet, be consistent in always approaching your messaging from the angle of what common problem most of your prospects have that your product/service can fix. Now don't laugh... but, to see how it is done, watch several well produced long-form and short-form infomercials.
2. Give your prospects a reason to act
What compels a prospect to click your ad after seeing? You need to prompt the prospect to take the desired action you are seeking, in a soft-sell kind of way. If you can give them a reason to act, your campaigns will work better.
Keep in mind, as you determine how to get them to take your desired action, that most people hate to be sold to. However, a lot of those same people love to buy. It's all in how you position it. Think about the ads that you click and why you do so.
3. Think and write from the prospect's point of view
It's not about you, the advertiser or marketer; it is all about me the reader, your prospect. Use "you" in your copy and talk more about them and less about you. Lose the jargon and simplify things. People today crave simplicity, so keep your prose simple if you want to succeed.
Imagine sitting across from your prospect at their kitchen table and having a conversation with them. If you can write from that vantage point, you'll be able to simply articulate the features and benefits of your product/service.
How you would market to a married mother of four is different from how you'd market to a single dad of four, right? In B2B, how you talk to the CEO is different from how you communicate with the IT director, correct? Then why does so much digital marketing treat the space like mass media properties? I refer to this approach as the mass media mindset. As digital marketers, we need to lose this mode of thinking—fast. The digital space is the most segmentable of all media; to be the most successful, take advantage of that fact.
Begin by profiling your current customers and modeling your prospect universe from both an offline and an online vantage point. Doing so will give you more information in the event you decide to turn a single-channel campaign into a multichannel campaign. See what segments emerge and understand what story your data is telling you. By understanding each key segment, you can create message relevancy more quickly and thus lift results and ROI.
5. Your media mix is crucial
Talk about options... Today we have so many media choices, to say it is overwhelming is an understatement. Determining your optimal media mix is the key to the outcome of your campaigns. As in direct marketing, start small and add one media option at a time, whenever possible, to determine what's working and what is not.
Keep in mind that the media mix will likely vary by segment, and that's a big benefit that digital offers over more traditional media: uber-segmentation and customizable media plans based on the behaviors of each prospect group you uncover.
6. Ask for the sale, or at least have a call to action
Do not be afraid to ask the prospect to take the next step. Clickthroughs rarely matter; it's the conversions that count. If you do not have a call to action or you don't ask for the sale, you are leaving money on the table. At the very least, get them to visit one of the landing pages you set up and ask them for the order there.
The measurable marketing playbook says to ask for the order and then ask again. For inspiration, I refer you once again to infomercials and good direct mail copy.
As marketers we should be excited at all the testing options that digital provides us, combined with the ability to read results and adjust in real time. We have creative tests, copy tests, messaging/offer tests, media tests, landing page tests, and on and on.
Yet, we still do not test enough. Testing is what allows us to determine what is working the best and to do more of it.
We can act faster than ever today thanks to digital. So test away and learn and grow.
Nearly three-quarters of consumers (73%) say they are more likely to purchase after watching videos explaining a product or service, according to a recent report from Animoto.
The survey of 1,014 US consumers also found that nearly all respondents (96%) say they find videos "helpful" when making purchase decisions online.
In particular, 93% find online videos useful when comparison-shopping, 87% find them helpful for researching additional items from the same brand, and 93% find them valuable for instructions post-purchase.
71% of respondents say watching video content produced by businesses leaves them with a positive impression of those brands.
64% find it helpful to watch videos to learn more about a company they may purchase from.
58% consider companies that produce video content to be more trustworthy.
83% respondents say the ideal length of a video to inform a purchase decision is five minutes or less.
42% would like to see more product description or service demonstration videos, such as 360 degree views of products.
For more results from the survey, check out the following infographic:
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COMMENTARY: According to the third annual Reel SEO Video Marketing Survey, 93% of marketing professionals used video as part of their strategy in 2013, and 71% increased their video spend from 2012 levels.
But, as budgets increase, marketers are going to need to set some realistic content goals to realize ROI.
To get you started with a practical approach, I've compiled a to-do list for jumpstarting your video marketing. If you implement even a few of the following initiatives, you'll impress prospects, demonstrate a commitment to a medium your customers crave, and remain relevant and competitive within your industry.
Let's take a look at how you can make 2014 the year you excel with video.
1. Schedule a biweekly video release
I know what you're thinking: "Mike, at the rate I'm going, it's a challenge to make one video a month!" But it's all about how you dedicate your resources. Frequent, and thereby timely and relevant, video releases are made far easier if you invest in someone dedicated to video production.
Whether hiring a director of video strategy (as we've seen major B2B companies doing) or a videographer who can shoot and edit your footage all in one, investing in amazing talent can make all the difference between proactive and merely reactive video campaigns.
If you can only invest in one dedicated hire, I'd recommend a videographer. A good videographer should be able to produce at least one short video a week or 52 videos a year for around $1,000 per video, on average.
2. Modify your video strategy based on engagement data
After committing to a regular video schedule, you'll want to keep the overall content direction loose. There's no use shooting a month's worth of video in two weeks when your video engagement data might reveal that your videos are ineffective at holding viewer attention.
If your video analytics show that viewers drop off after 30 seconds, it could mean that your 15-second intro is too long. If you shoot videos from week to week, analyzing the data after each week, you'll have the opportunity to modify your message based on how your potential customers are actually interacting with your content.
3. Keep your content focused and fluff-free to hit a minimum of 60% audience retention
As noted, analytics can reveal whether your videos are working to hold your audience's attention, and prolonged engagement is something you can aim to improve over time.
For most videos, audiences will drop off long before the end; this year, you should aim to have less than 60% of your audience drop off before the final call to action. How? By keeping your content focused.
If you design your scripts to qualify your target audience immediately (e.g., "this video is for marketers"), you'll notice a steep drop in attention initially (people will qualify themselves: "I'm not a marketer, I'm out"), but you'll end up holding your actual target's attention for the entire video—and, hey, that's the goal!
If your target audience typically drops off really early, keep altering your video scripts with the aim of maintaining their attention for longer. That is something we do at Vidyard, and we've become pretty good at retention based on what we learn from past videos. In a recent campaign for Dreamforce, we released a video via targeted email to let our customers know that we'd be at the event to meet with them. The video, a spoof, featured a sales rep acting as Chris Farley's Tommy Boy character. And it held attention span like we've never seen before:
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As you can see in the chart, 70% of people watched the 1:05 minute video until the very end.
4. Create a video for every part of the marketing funnel
If your video strategy ended after you released an explainer video, you're doing it wrong. Leads need various pieces of information at different parts of the sales funnel, so create videos to engage and nurture at every step of the customer life-cycle.
Prospects are doing more than half of product research independently these days, and having video on your site to educate them during this process is perfect; it's the next best thing to getting to pitch in person.
5. Get your customers on camera!
Forget the text-based customer testimonial; get your customers to say great things about you on camera. A video case study is a great way for potential clients to become situated with your products or services. A video hub of customer success stories is hugely persuasive, because a customer's emotion really comes through via video. Prospects can view several clips when visiting your site in a short time, so make sure video testimonials by representatives of multiple industries are available 24/7.
6. Get your sales team on camera!
A well-placed, genuine piece of video content is like the salesperson who never sleeps, and it's even better when your actual sales reps are involved! Capture your message with approachable, enthusiastic members of your sales team so your prospects can put a face to the person they should reach out to if they have questions. Your video call to action can include your sales reps' contact info.
7. Make funny and timely holiday videos
When scheduling your regular releases, plan for funny holiday features. These are just as much fun for you and your team to make as they are for prospects and customers to watch. Many of your teammates new and old will surprise you with their talents, and you'll have a blast in the process. Check out our Frankenbot Halloween video to see what I mean.
8. Commit to tracking your performance
It's crucial you understand how your library of amazing video marketing performs with your audience. Your YouTube channel is a great way to gain a presence in relation to search, but it's not enough on its own to connect your videos to ROI. You must track and measure audience engagement for video so you'll know what to modify or amplify within your strategy.
Technology has changed a lot in the last 30 years—even the last three! Today’s consumer is more connected than ever, thanks to the proliferation of digital devices and platforms. Content once available only via specific channels, such as print and broadcast television, can today be delivered to consumers through their multiple connected devices.
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These changes are driving a media revolution and blurring traditional media definitions. In fact, Americans now own four digital devices on average, and the average U.S. consumer spends 60 hours a week consuming content across devices. In Nielsen’s Digital Consumer Report, we explore this transformation and examine how the everyday lives of consumers are now intertwined with the digital world.
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At the heart of this shift is the proliferation of digital devices. A majority of U.S. households now own High-Definition Televisions (HDTVs), Internet-connected computers and smartphones, giving consumer more choices for how and when they access content. Two-thirds of Americans now use smartphones, allowing them to take media content wherever they want, and they also to use the devices throughout their purchase journey.
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The swift adoption of mobile devices has been bought home as well, where second-screen activities have transformed the TV viewing experience. Eighty-four percent of smartphone and tablet owners say they use their devices as second-screens while watching TV at the same time. Consumers use second screens to deepen their engagement with what they’re watching, including activities such as looking up information about the characters and plot lines, or researching and purchasing products and services advertised. One of the more popular second-screen activities is using social TV: roughly one million Americans turn to Twitter to discuss TV on an average day.
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Social media continues to play an important role in the lives of U.S. consumers. The report found that two-thirds (64%) of social media users say they log on to social sites at least once a day via their computers, and half (47%) of smartphone owners visit social networks on their devices daily. Mobile devices are certainly driving the growth in social media, as social media app usage increased 37 percent in 2013 compared to last year.
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Given the fast-moving evolution of digital media, it’s more important than ever to have a clear view of what consumers are doing today to understand the implications for the future. To learn more about how these trends in digital technology are propelling the new multiscreen, constantly connected lifestyles of consumers, download Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report.
THE NEW SOCIAL NORM
Social media usage continues to grow as the need to stay connected with social networks becomes ingrained into the daily lives of consumers. Almost two-thirds (64%) of social media users say they use social media sites at least once a day via their computer.
But, increasingly, consumers are reaching for their smartphones over traditional computers to access social networks. Almost half (47%) of smartphone owners visited social networks every day and in the last year, and the unique audience for social media smartphone apps increased 37 percent.
As digital consumers find their own mix of devices and platforms to access and engage with social media, they are building profiles and connections on multiple social networks as well. While Facebook remains the largest social network in both the Web and mobile, consumers are embracing other social platforms such as LinkedIn (up 37% among users), Pinterest (triple unique users on smartphone apps), and Instagram (nearly double the number of unique users in 2013).
WHERE WE GET SOCIAL
While the home remains the most prevalent location for logging onto social media sites, today’s constantly connected consumers are active on social media sites anywhere they go. Two in f ive (39%) Americans get digitally social while at work, and one in f ive (21%) have logged onto social sites while in the bathroom in the past 30 days.
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Courtesy of an article February 10, 2014 appearing in Nielsen