What does Facebook's new VR and AR platforms mean for your brand?

Category: Social Media Date: Saturday, 29 April 2017 09:34

Last week’s 2017 F8 Facebook event caused quite a stir as they unveiled their augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. Whilst the AR features showcased are mostly still in beta mode, the VR technology is available to a limited audience. Today Multitrix reviews some of the key functionality and what it could mean for your brand.


AR: The Camera Effects Platform

This platform is like Snapchat on steroids and gives creative power to the user. In the BuzzFeed video below you'll see the platform takes the idea of Snapchat lenses and extends this functionality to other objects and parts of the scenery. The video shows how photo and video sharing might be taken to the next level. 

https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFeedTech/videos/1298622390258734/

This platform could make creative content production even easier, but much like the app model, effects have to be submitted and reviewed by Facebook before being made available. Going forward we could see consumers creating an even greater share of the most popular content online, just by using their social apps? The possibilities for your brand to produce their own AR content are impressive, but so too are the possibilities of leveraging newly AR-literate influencers to create some of this stuff on your behalf.


Huge advertising opportunities

Snapchat lenses and filters are already being sponsored. With Facebook's Camera Effects Platform, this potential is hugely multiplied. With a range of objects being recognisable, from cars to clothes, furniture to buildings, food to scenery, the creative applications should allow Facebook to create some very cool branded experiences. 


Adding info cards to real world objects

One of the immediate uses of the AR Studio in the Camera Effect Platform is to add information cards to real world objects. This has broad implications but is particularly interesting in education as the smartphone evolution of making real-world learning more fun has had limited success. Facebook's use of precise location data and not just visual triggers looks like it might expand the possibilities for annotating the real world.


Creative uses vs functional ones?

Labelling of real world objects will be a super cool and functional use, but the real gem in AR is actually identification and search – pointing your camera at something (let's say a bottle) and being told what that thing is and either where to get it or what to do with it.

This is functionality is somewhat around already, but hasn’t quite taken off  –  I.e. Amazon Firefly, Google Goggles and Bing visual search.  As Pinterest and other tech companies enter the visual search space again, it seems Facebook is concentrating on fun aspect. Most likely the fun side of AR is probably the only proven use case on a large scale currently, so Facebook is arguably putting its money in the right place.

VR - Facebook Spaces

Facebook’s explainer video for Spaces is the quickest way to understand the platform. It's a heady mix of communication through avatars, 360-degree scenery, content sharing and 3D drawing. Watch it here:

https://www.facebook.com/FacebookTips/videos/10155260579068466/ 


360-degree content 

There will be many opportunities for your brand to create 360-degree content for your customers to explore. Facebook's new release says: "You and your friends can relive personal memories from your own Timelines, or even make new ones as you explore things that interest you from people and Pages you follow."

Brands such as Thomas Cook, Ted Baker and Renault have all experimented with AR/VR and the addition of social interaction makes for an interesting prospect from an experiential/events marketing point of view as it allows a salesperson to interact with the consumer within the content, rather than simply whacking a headset on a person —which is a much more personable and enjoyable experience. 


Patience, headsets aren’t common place… yet!

Amongst the general populace VR headsets are few and far between at the moment, which means that as Facebook Spaces is rolled out; many interactions must necessarily be between one caller in real life and one in VR. It will take time to decide whether these interactions work?

Your brand won’t need to worry about this for now, as truly social experiences in VR will depend on headset penetration increasing dramatically. 


The markets appetite for animation?

It’s unknown whether people will enjoy these types of experiences. Whilst the millennials and youngsters might want to hide behind an avatar, it won’t for everyone.  Only time will tell if AR and VR make real experiences all the more valuable.

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Are your brands iOS Apps Up to Date?

Category: Mobile Marketing Date: Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:09

Back in September 2016, Apple announced plans to start removing outdated apps from the App Store, with the aim of eliminating all Apps that are non-functional, non-compatible with latest version of iOS and Apps that do not adhere to the current guidelines.

With iOS 10.3 Apple added a few new things, one of those is a tool to identify 32-bit apps that may be rendered obsolete in the next version of iOS. The second was a “name-and-shame” list of sorts for legacy apps, via a warning message that pops up on apps that have not been updated to take full advantage of 64-bit processors. The message informed users that not only do 32-bit apps slow down their devices, but that they will stop working completely with future versions of iOS. 

Over 47,000 Apps have already been removed, so here's what you can do if your Apps are in danger of being eliminated:

  • Firstly, find out if your mobile App is still using the old 32-bit support. To check, open settings, tap on general, tap on about and select applications. This brings up a list of the installed apps that are 32-bit support. If your app is, you'll need to make some upgrades.

 

  • If sales don’t match or exceed your internal expectations stop releasing compatibility updates. Not every developer who leaves their apps languishing on App Store without an update is lazy it might just make good business sense.

 

  • Don’t rely on app usage to provide benefits to your target audience, consider making updates—even small ones—and posting them periodically. Updating apps can be as easy as changing the version number and recompiling with the current software development kit, if there aren't bugs to fix.

 

  • Make sure your App is gaining customer feedback, usage analytics and competitive analysis and then use the knowledge you gather from the results to maintain and keep your App up to date and successful.

 

  • Finally, when you do make upgrades, consider that the iOS updates Apple releases usually contain dozens of enhancements that can improve your user’s experience. Figure out how your business can leverage these opportunities and consistently improve.

Updating your App is beneficial to your business. Why? Because if your Apps are being actively maintained and updated on a regular basis. This will ensure your App is compatible with latest versions and security expectations. Remember at least once a year Apple releases an iOS update.

Here’s what Joe Puthur, president of Mortgage Coach, an app that helps consumers make mortgage decisions, had to say: 

“Business owners who have maintained their apps and demonstrated that they're both relevant and essential via periodic updates and a growing audience will benefit and gain visibility in their respective spaces. 

Not updating your apps today may end up costing you more tomorrow. “In every enterprise solution category—ERP [enterprise resource planning], CRM [customer relationship management], POS [point of sale]—there are new modern disruptors, often both mobile and cloud-based, delivering far more value for far less investment," says Puthur. 

Taking on the small, short-term pain of maintaining and updating your App will always to reap benefits because the ROI of being mobile optimised is usually very clear. The App store is a crowded place so ensure your App is performing its best and most importantly can be found.

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Latest social media trends

Category: Social Media Date: Thursday, 20 April 2017 22:03

Social media continues to change the way companies market their brands and engage with customers. It’s a business essential and your brand should take a close look at how effectively it uses social media and learn how it can be done better.

“Businesses have started moving away from the idea of social media being a separate entity and are now fully incorporating it into their marketing, PR and customer service campaigns," says Todd Grossman, CEO of Talkwalker, a marketing analysis tool that assists businesses in developing a social media strategy and measuring results.

 “Many business owners now realise that the data produced by social networks holds a treasure trove of marketing and PR information."

Amidst the many platforms, it's often challenging for a brand to know where and how to focus social media efforts. But knowing what's trending may help you pinpoint where to focus your efforts and here’s a few trends you can leverage.

 
Visual Storytelling Is a Growing Trend
 
One of the most powerful trends in social media is live video and visual storytelling is a big trend.

“With support from Facebook and Instagram in the form of automatic push notifications to followers, it's possible for a business to quickly garner a sizeable live audience," says Jay York, social media manager for EMSI Public Relations. He has extensive experience in social media marketing dating back to the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal.


The interactive nature of this platform allows brands to take questions and directly interact with their following."

All kinds of brands are getting strong engagement from this form of social media posting, and social networks are also favouring this kind of content by pushing users to post live videos — particularly via mobile. 

You should aim to make videos less than 30 seconds. Longer video can certainly be worthwhile, but know you have a significant chance of losing viewers before they reach the end, so grab them early.

Social Media Engagement is becoming a Necessity

Connecting and engaging with businesses is something that customers increasingly seek and expect and this is one of the reasons that video is increasing in popularity, as it encourages two-way communication. If you simply post content and then fall flat on engagement your followers will lose interest. They want to hear from you if they comment or ask a question on your posts.

Most brands fail to add this to their social media strategy ad whilst its true that content is king, if you engage your customers and then fail to keep that interaction, they may be left feeling you're just a computer and not a person.



Social Messaging is another important trend

As customer service quickly becoming more socially influenced, brands must find new resources and channels for handling customer inquiries. Facebook has released several tools, including automated messaging, away messages and more to provide more control to brands, while ensuring they're able to assist customers before any escalation.

Today's consumers don't want brands aggressively pushing their way into social media feeds," says social media strategist Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, which connects brands with influencers. “Pop-ups, banner ads and disruptive brand messages aren't welcomed.

As consumers seek to learn about new products on their own time and when it makes sense for them, we can expect continued resentment over perceived intrusive marketing to further deepen in 2017. Consumers will vote with their feet away from social platforms that overly inundate them with brand marketing."

That being said, don’t just use social solely as a channel for promoting your own content. It’s a great channel for promotion, but if that's all you do, your audience will turn off. Share and comment on posts that you find interesting, even if they don't mention your brand.

Think about what's in it for your followers. Instead of just promoting a sale, tell customers what's in it for them by explaining how much they can save. Build your followers by being a leader who shows you're also an active follower.

  

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