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Transforming Tomorrow: 2021 trends in AR/VR

Technological advancements like Voice Recognition, Artificial Intelligence, Data-driven Marketing, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality have become the need of the hour for every business to sustain and flourish.Especially with Covid-19 pandemic hit, business having to switch to all things digital for the sole purpose of replacing physical presence with virtual presence, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality has seen a sharp rise and this increased demand has led to AR and VR gain popularity in various industries, be it from entertainment to retail to real estate. Augmented Reality has seen unmatched growth in 2020. Market leaders like Microsoft, Apple (ARKit 4) Google (ARCore) , Facebook (Oculus VR)are now using and developing AR supported technologies to enhance product performances, optimize functions, greater app support, improved navigation and tracking. AR in shopping & retail industry is transforming with virtual viewing, trial rooms, and shopping options. Classification and Identification of facial cues and expressions through AR/VR is being utilized for mixed reality. Artificially intelligent systems are replacing basic communications, content creation, budget allocation & email personalisation. From AI-enhanced PPC Campaigns to Chatbots, AI is changing the digital game for advertisers. PPC Campaigns are handled effectively by humans, but AI-powered technology can help discover new platforms, optimise budget allocation, and scrutinise better targeting. Portable Augmented Reality gaining fame due to its ease in usability and functionality.

Signal now fastest growing app due to WhatsApp privacy policy

Amid the brouhaha over new and controversial WhatsApp privacy policy that is set to come into force from May 15, privacy-focused messaging app Signal became the fastest-growing app globally, including in India, both in downloads and monthly active users (MAUs) in the first quarter last year, according to a new report. Another encrypted messaging app Telegram was at the third spot in downloads and number two in MAUs, according to data provided by app analytics firm App Annie.  Signal is gaining immense popularity owing to its simplicity and focus on privacy. People are switching to Signal in record numbers because companies who sell ads have a harder time focusing on the things that users actually want. The upcoming WhatsApp privacy policy has actually helped Signal and Telegram grow their user base. Facing a backlash in February, WhatsApp deferred its new data privacy policy by three months that is reported to be sharing users’ data with Facebook (which the company has denied).

Social Commerce – 40% consumers shopping more frequently

A year into the pandemic, as consumers look to minimise touchpoints that could lead to viral transmission, there has been a marked preference for contactless payment, voice-activated shopping and social commerce. Loyalty program InterMiles’ maiden ‘Consumer Spending Sentiment Index Report’ found that 70 per cent of consumers have shifted payment preferences from cash or card to UPI or e-wallets post the pandemic outbreak. 44 per cent of consumers even said that they’ve started using UPI services more than cash or cards. The report, based on responses from more than 11,500 members across India, also found that there is a sure shift to social commerce with as many as 40 per cent of consumers stating that they now use social media channels like Facebook and Instagram more frequently for shopping. This instant content to commerce behavior is anticipated to revolutionize the marketing ecosystem in the country, while also allowing SMEs increased visibility at low costs. 31 per cent of respondents said that their usage of digital voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home, for shopping, increased through the course of the pandemic.

LinkedIn eyes influencers and audio with new features

LinkedIn is updating its product and developing new features with influencers in mind. The platform is launching new tools and a “creator mode” to help users build a following on the app. Along with these tools, the platform is also in the early stages of testing audio features similar to those on the app Clubhouse. Its investment comes at a time when supporting creators has become key for all social platforms. Users who land on a creator’s profile will be prompted to “follow” rather than “connect” with them by default. Creator profiles showcase a user’s articles, posts, and newsletters above everything else, including their professional resume.

Voice search up by 270% – Hindi voice search up by 400%

GroupM, in association with exchange4media and research partner InMobi, has launched a report which will take you through the industry landscape of Voice marketing and on how brands can use voice to create a sound strategy for their products. One of the key aspects of technology that has changed the way we interact with our devices is the element of Voice. Consumers are using voice technology to order food, get directions, make reservations, book travel, etc. Indian internet users are fast adopting this search tool and finding comfort in regional language. Active internet users in India touched 574 million in 2020 and those accessing internet through phone being 99% of that has resulted in an increase in voice search by 270% and a rise in Hindi voice searches by 400%. Despite being at a nascent stage, Voice is growing at a very rapid pace. Majority of Indians being multilingual find voice easier to use for searches versus typing, in fact over 100 million cricket queries in Hindi were received by Assistant in the 2019 cricket season while 60% users in general use Google voice assistants on phone, throwing up a host of opportunities in urban and rural India. Voice is set to become a vital medium and India will see a revelation in the years to come. Indian marketers and media planners consider this as a huge and scalable market to tap with the ample opportunities present in this sector. Not only in urban, but voice is foraying into the rural markets as well. Rural India is progressively turning to voice to get tasks done. Marketers must understand various facets of voice.

India sees 200% rise in time spent on mobile lock screens

The time spent by the average Indian on his mobile phone lock screen has increased by 200% in the past year, with the average user unlocking his phone at least 70 times a day mainly to consume lock-screen content, according to the first India Lock Screen Report 2021 by Glance, an InMobi group company. The report, titled ‘What India Consumes on Lock Screen’, said the average user spends at least 25 minutes consuming content on Glance, which uses the lock screen to provide personalised and locally relevant, live content to users. The report found that there was a huge preference among the users for video content, which reported a 182% increase in consumption. InMobi’s short video app, Roposo, reported a 30% increase in engagement. Comedy and music were the most popular genres while users from non-metros preferred to consumer content in regional languages. Entertainment as a category led in terms of content consumption followed by news and nature/wildlife. As a result of this, Glance has also emerged as a platform for new movie trailers and song releases, it said. Videos accounted for 64% of overall content consumption, while articles (texts and images) accounted for the remaining 36%. With the Internet becoming more accessible and affordable, the consumption of video content in smaller cities has almost come on a par with metros and large cities. Cities such as Lucknow, Pune, and Patna are consuming more videos than Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata. There has also been a 153% growth in mobile gaming during the lockdown.


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