As the marketing manager, I had the privilege of representing Zeality at Ad:tech 2016 in New York City. Ad:tech is the original industry authority for marketing and media technology, where marketing, technology and media communities assemble to share new ways of thinking, build strong partnerships, and define new strategies to compete in an ever-changing marketplace.

After reading this mission statement, it makes perfect sense that Virtual Reality (VR) would have a clear presence at this years conference. Everyday, we see and read about new evidence of growth in the VR industry. From the release of the PlayStation VR console to the highly anticipated Google Daydream VR phone, it is becoming more clear that this industry is creating a space for itself at a rapid rate. Subsequently, we are watching interest and adoption for VR across the world, changing what we consider an immersive experience.

It’s no surprise that the advertising and marketing worlds want to learn more about VR. Over the 2 days at ad:tech, I took away the following key things:

  • Companies have already started to move towards utilizing VR experiences to increase engagement.
    • We are finding more companies are developing branded content or placing their products strategically within the content. Major media companies, like our partners Showtime, are also gearing their content development towards 360 videos. All of these changes indicate that the brands and companies we know well are considering new ways to optimize opportunities in VR. Companies like VirtualSKY are building ad networks to support implementing advertisements within VR content.
  • Advertising and Marketing agencies are looking to explore opportunities in this unknown frontier.
    • While at ad:tech, we had the chance to connect with some inquisitive people from leading agencies and companies in advertising and product solutions. Some questions we received were “how can my company or clients product gain exposure in a VR experience?” or “what are ways to make this technology more appealing to consumers and clients?”. These same questions really got me thinking about the infinite possibilities available to us.
  • There needs to be more testing and discovery to determine the real capabilities of VR on a larger scale.
    • By the end of day 2, I realized we as an industry need to evaluate the purpose and potential of VR. It’s clear that there is a growing awareness that VR is the next frontier for interesting and innovative ways to advertise products and companies. We just need to figure out what exactly that looks like and how we can optimize the benefit to both clients and consumers alike. Ultimately, agencies, brands, tech partners and clients need to come together and encourage experimentation.

The biggest realization I had while at ad:tech was that as Virtual Reality creates a reputation as a powerful vehicle for experiences, we have come to a pivotal point where the next steps taken are remarkably important. If done correctly, I think that we have an opportunity to customize user experiences and buyer potential for every client and consumer. Advertising and marketing through VR has the potential to take companies deeper with their audiences and brands closer to the narrative they want to encourage. As an active contributor to this new and unexplored medium, I can’t wait to see what happens next and I am excited to be apart of a company like Zeality so willing to push the boundaries for this new industry.