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The Week’s VR + AR News: Buzz Around SXSW

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Three Hundred Sixty Trifecta: Advertisers find that 360 Snap videos are the most effective Snapchat format. Also, YouTube radically improves YouTube 360, while Facebook launched Facebook 360 and VR livestreaming.

Snap Outta It: Adobe is testing VR ads, even though it believes the future lies in AR marketing. Ad agencies agree… err, or disagree. 67% of marketers want to incorporate mixed reality, but are mixed in their support: 58% of agency executives said augmented reality campaigns will be more successful than virtual reality this year, with 42% saying the opposite to be true.

Advertising, Augmented: Advertisers at SXSW cast their votes for augmented reality. RYOT’s poppin’ purses off pages of ELLE magazine with AR. Nat Geo is using AR to let attendees see the world through Einstein’s eyes (a promo for ‘Genius’). SXSW generated some buzz around mixed reality — quite literally. Buzz Aldrin, NASA, and a mini Holographic Buzz used a VR flick to educate the masses about colonizing Mars.

Buzzing into Beast Mode: How do we jump-start VR’s golden age? Through collaboration and incubation. Verizon Ventures + R/GA launch a tech incubator, while Cortney Harding explains why silos = RIP VR. A collaborative model is necessary for virtual success. So start sending those friend requests! Swipe right! Do whatever you’ve gotta do, especially if you’re a startup.

Virtual Reality Dies in Silos
TV[R]ev — Cortney Harding

Virtual reality has a huge problem with silos, and that could be what kills it before it even gets off the ground. Because content companies are often providing the funds to create experiences, they want exclusivity on showing them — and again, that makes perfect sense, but doesn’t always translate into the real world. A more collaborative model might mean short-term losses, but it’ll mean long-term gains for everyone; alas, these are all big, for-profit companies with quarterly reports and bottom lines, and that generally means somewhat shorter term thinking.

These 8 Topics Had Attendees Buzzing at South by Southwest
Adweek — Christopher Heine

At SXSW, marketers including National Geographic, Walmart, Universal Pictures (#TheMummy) and NASA showcased VR activations. But VaynerMedia founder Gary Vaynerchuk notes, “People are worried about VR when they haven’t figured out how to do a proper Facebook ad spend.”

Facebook Debuts its First Dedicated VR App, Facebook 360
TechCrunch — Lucas Matney

After investing billions into VR, Facebook has finally launched its VR app: Facebook 360. The app will serve as a hub for the 360 video and photo content posted to the site. Facebook says there have been over one million 360 videos and more than 25 million 360 photos posted on Facebook to date. At launch, the Facebook 360 app will be available only for the Gear VR mobile headset, available in the Oculus Store.

Oculus Samsung Gear VR Users Can Livestream Directly to Facebook
Adweek — David Cohen

Oculus VR announced new social features for the Samsung Gear VR: more video content for its Oculus Rooms feature, including 360-degree videos and the ability to livestream directly to Facebook and Oculus Voice speech recognition.

The Latest Trend in Snapchat Ads: 360-Degree Video
Digiday — Tanya Dua

According to Michael Rucker at OmniVirt, there has been “an uptick” in the number of advertisers looking to run 360 videos on Snapchat because it provides for a far better clickthrough rate and much higher engagement than regular video ads on the platform. It is a good option for brands — especially at a time when recent stats show that 69% of American adults skip regular Snapchat ads “always” or “often.”

How YouTube Is Making Virtual Reality Look Better
Fast Company — Daniel Terdiman

YouTube has taken principles from the video-game industry to improve the quality of its YouTube 360 videos. The next step for Google and YouTube is helping to turn what they’ve already created into an industry standard.

SXSW: VR and AR That Works: RYOT Partners with Magazines
Advertising Age

AOL-owned RYOT is working with magazine publishers, using AR to make print covers and ads come to life– with the Elle magazine app, you can scan an ad and see a luxury bag pop off the bag. On the VR front, RYOT has an emotional film called “Bashir’s Dream.”

National Geographic’s SXSW Augmented Reality Activation Promotes Einstein
Adweek — Christine Birkner

National Geographic’s augmented reality activation “Further: Base Camp” at SXSW makes it possible to get into the mind of Albert Einstein, and promotes NatGeo’s new scripted series, “Genius,” which premieres in April.

How VR is Helping Buzz Aldrin and NASA Educate the Masses
Adweek — Christopher Heine

At SXSW, Buzz Aldrin and NASA debuted “Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars” explaining his futuristic POV on how humans can colonize Mars.The VR film is made by a partnership between Aldrin with 8i and Time Inc., which will spearhead distribution of the content via its many digital outlets. The trio plans to do additional VR chapters in the story down the road. 8i even made a mini holographic Buzz with AR at SXSW.

Work Out with Steph Curry in VR
Fast Company — Daniel Terdiman

Thanks to YouTube 360 and Degree deodorant, you can catch sweaty Stephen Curry in a 360-degree video.

67% Of Agencies Want To See More VR/AR In Ad Campaigns
MediaPost — Chase Martin

According to a new study by Vibrant Media, agencies see value in AR advertising, while clients appear to be leaning toward VR. The study found that more than 67% of agencies want to see more AR and VR in digital advertising campaigns.

Study: VR Equipment Market Mixed
Multichannel News — Jeff Baumgartner

A recent study from IBB Consulting found that 56% of consumers paid for VR equipment, compared to 44% who received it for free or as part of a smartphone package.

Adobe is Testing VR Ads, Yet Believes AR Will Be More Valuable to Marketers
The Drum — Katie Deighton

Adobe Primetime demoed how a brand could potentially interrupt a VR experience with an immersive ad at this year’s Mobile World Congress. Adobe believes brands are leaning towards experimenting with VR in the short term, but that the future is with AR + retail activations.

Marketing in China: How Brands Close Sales with Virtual Reality

The main way people are going to use virtual reality and interact with a brand will be in VR commerce. We have a travel client who says when you sell something through VR, it’s increased sales by 180%.

How VR Startups Can Survive the Slow Growth of 2017
VentureBeat — Dean Takahashi

It’s a great time for indie VR creators, while the big players must be sure not to get caught up in the hype and focus on longevity.

Verizon Ventures and R/GA Partner to Launch a Digital Media ‘Venture Studio’
TechCrunch — Anthony Ha

Verizon Ventures and R/GA are announcing a new incubator program called the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio. The Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio will invest in up to ten early-stage companies focused on areas such content creation, AI, eSports, VR and AR, and interactive advertising. Verizon and R/GA’s venture capital arms will jointly invest up to $100,000 in each company, taking a 1%-6% stake in the companies.

How to Drive Marketing Success with AR & VR Technology
Digiday — Jay Samit + Allan Cook

Here are four ways brands can build their VR/AR initiatives: find ways to enhance the shopping experience, ensure your experiences build trust, build value for your business and your customer through customizable experiences and products, and match your message to the medium.

Knott’s Berry Farm Adds Virtual Reality Attraction
Los Angeles Times — Hugo Martin

Next month a VR attraction will debut at Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park, putting virtual reality headsets on up to 16 visitors at a time, letting them shoot futuristic blasters at robot creatures in a battle to save the historic ghost town.

The Number of VR Companies Grew 40% in 2016
VentureBeat — Dean Takahashi

The Venture Reality Fund reported that the landscape of companies it tracks in the virtual reality market grew more than 40% in 2016.

Snaphash is an Augmented Reality Weed Doctor for Your iPhone
The Next Web — Bryan Clark

Snaphash is a photo-centric app for weed growers with a new augmented reality feature that lets users scan potential grow locations and analyze the site to give you the optimal location and setup to match the space.

Each week, we bring you the most relevant stories covering the business of virtual and augmented reality, which we produce with our partner Vertebrae, the native ad platform for VR/AR.