Digital Dash: VR sport enters big league, Facebook upgrades targeting & more

Digital Dash: VR sport enters big league, Facebook upgrades targeting & more

1. Best seat in the house? Intel signs deal with MLB to live-stream in VR
In a really hermit-like way, I can see the benefits of watching sports at home. No queues, no crowds, no big heads on the row in front.

The problem is, and has always been, that a TV screen just can’t capture the atmosphere, excitement or intimacy of the real-life experience.

But maybe VR can.

Intel definitely thinks so – the tech giant has recently acquired two VR companies and already collaborates with the NBA and NFL. And this week marks a three-year partnership deal with Major League Baseball, which will see one game a week live-streamed in VR.

If you’ve got a Samsung Gear VR headset and Intel’s True VR app, this means you’ll be able to watch the game from a whole variety of different camera angles. You’ll also have access to on-demand team stats and exclusive commentary. All for free.

If you think this sounds good, there’s a real treat coming up.

Intel are working towards becoming a VR leader, and future plans include a fully-immersive, real-time VR experience that puts you right at the heart of the action (think player’s perspective) and lets you create personalised 3D highlights that can be shared with friends.

Take a look at Intel’s 360-degree replay tech here. It’s just a taste of what’s to come:
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2. New Facebook Lookalike Audience means you can now target users who mirror your best customers
The most treasured group of people for any company is the high lifetime value customers: the beautifully behaved bunch that spend like you wish everyone would. There’s a massive difference between these loyal ladies and gents and the ones who are the commerce equivalent of a one-night stand.

Getting more people to become high lifetime value customers is always a priority for businesses. And the big news this week is that Facebook is now letting you create a Lookalike Audience – a group of users who match (but don’t crossover with) a particular customer segment – based on their similarity to that exact group.

By uploading a customer file arranged by lifetime value to Facebook’s ad manager and setting it up as a Custom Audience, you’ll be able to set up a Lookalike Audience made up of people who are demographically, characteristically and behaviourally matched to the customers who have historically spent the most with you.

The point of this is that Facebook will be able to target people who are much more likely to not just buy from you, but buy from you over and over (and probably spend well each time too).

It’s a little strange that you currently have to manually collate and upload the data in order to use the feature, when technically Facebook’s Pixel could just autogenerate it. It’s likely though that this is related to Facebook being able to wipe website data after 6 months (not much use when you need a lifetime figure).

3. Spotted! 5 Facebook tests you’ll want to take note of
Facebook has got to be the hardest working social network out there. As one batch of updates hits the market, there’s always another in testing, almost ready for rollout.

Want to know what’s coming up in the next few weeks/months? Here’s a set of sneak peeks:

Messaging: not only will you soon be able to respond directly to a Facebook post in Messenger but you’ll also be able to tell when a page Admin is online. In addition, new comment stream notifications will let you know when a message has been responded to privately.

FB_active admins

Albums: some users have reported being able to add posts, check-ins and more to their albums. An event page of sorts is created for the album, which can then be edited and shared with a select group of people.

Post saves: the metric will soon be visible on posts, sitting just above reactions, comments and shares.

Community tab: for some, this has replaced the ‘Likes’ tab and leads through to a page that focuses on videos and images (engagement) as opposed to base numbers.

Learning: it looks like you could soon be able to create education courses within Facebook, via page-linked Groups. We’ll listen out for more on this and will keep you in the loop.

4. Back-to-school campaigns, lesson 1: launch a month earlier than planned
After a long summer full of fun, kids are generally a little gloomy about the prospect of heading back to class.

Brands however are all over back-to-school, loving life during the year’s second biggest spending season (the first being Christmas).

But while many coincide campaign launches with the last few weeks of the holidays, new US data suggests that spending and searching actually peaks as early as July. Hats off to all those super-prepped parents.

It seems it could well be worth considering early-bird promotion tactics for future B2S campaigns.

Research from Bing also threw up some interesting results related to back-to-school shopping.

Apparently apparel is the top search category, with the highest click-through rates seen throughout July and August. The data also showed – take note SEO teams – that 72% of such searches were unbranded.

Either that’s super relevant info and worth a keyword strategy review, or… not important at all because you’re kind of afraid of anyone who doesn’t use Google so wouldn’t want to target them anyway.

5. Mobile location data used to correctly predict store closures
In-store advertising company InMarket has software development kit that’s integrated into 700 apps on over 50 million active mobile devices within the US.

Frequency of retail store visits is just one of the data sets that’s captured, and it’s turned out to be a very significant one.

For a new report, the company tracked non-grocery store visits from January – May and each was given a loyalty score based on the frequency of visits. Turns out those with the lowest scores were doomed – by June they’d announced layoffs and store closures.

Those with the highest scores however, thrived, and are now expanding.

customer loyalty data

You’ve got to wonder whether the rankings take into account how likely people are to visit a particular type of store. I’m assuming that’s why grocery stores were ruled out. But you’d think Walmart and Target etc. might fall into a different category than Nine West, Disney and the like. Hmm.