Tagged in: technology

email marketing

Maximizing email marketing success

Emails are forever

Yes, we’re consuming the social days and people mostly receive all the information from the Social Medias. But in marketing terms, some goodies like direct marketing and email marketing are essential in every brand’s strategy. You may find this strange, since Social Medias segment your audience like no other media can, but know that good email campaign can build you strong customer relationships, provide you with some valuable data and even boost your ROI. But, no email campaign is easy to execute.  And it is not only the execution. As soon as you send that email, you need to maintain the focus and effectiveness in all your next campaigns. email marketingThis means having your customers get attracted by your subject, having them open your email, read the content and most of all, not deleting the email.

Treat your email campaign like every other advertising campaign you have. Convey your message to the right audience, with the right tone of voice, with the exact edginess the consumer would like to receive and with the effectiveness like all your other ads you place. Email is the medium that is and will be forever, so below are few tips for having a successful email marketing campaign.

Who is this mail for?

Know your audience. This is the first must-have in delivering a successful email marketing campaign. Yes, your subject will ultimately attract the customers, but not if it reaches a wrong ones. Consider your customers the most valuable asset you have and place them in a clean neat list. Know their interests, free time and internet habits. Never ever spam everybody with your emails. And most importantly, don’t ever assume “they might like”, Know if they’re going to like, since this is the only thing that matters. Start with building your list. email marketingThe easiest thing you can do is offer your customers free sampling or discounts in order to receive permission for their contact details. As soon as you have the permission focus on asking hem the precise questions you need, guarantying your customers on data security. Ask only what you need and never too much since too many questions will lose your potential customers. Have a visible unsubscribe option for them, to make them sure they’re not obligated to follow you, but they’re doing it because they want to know more about your brand and products. Never spam. Never! Have a clear privacy policy that never fades your customers’ trust. And last but not least, always make sure that your list is up to date. Mail addresses change but you need to track the return emails and always reach your customers.

Set your objectives and start with them

It is the same when starting a new business. You have to have a clear and moreover achievable objective and purpose of the business itself. Understanding the objective of sending emails will lead to the path of success. Understand your emails as a whole of several important fragments that equally produce deliverables. When having an objective for the overall email campaign, you don’t just focus on your subject alone. The subject will have the desired click, but if the content doesn’t deliver what your readers were interested within the subject, your email goes to trash. Keep the close connection between the subject and the body of the email. Even if your email has outstanding content, if it is not related to the subject and is not in the customer’s field of interest or is too misleading, the customer will not read the email. Both your broad and narrow objectives should be in line with your audience. Mix and match and deliver meaningful email content that will eventually be beneficial for both you and the readers.

Catch the reader’s attention: use catchy but clear subject

Yes, his majesty, the subject. It is important to make it catchy to grab the reader’s attention, but more important is to deliver a message that will genuinely generate an interest in reading the entire mail. Be honest. Tell them exactly what your email is about. If your email is beneficial for them, let them know within your subject. email marketingThink about what you will say and how will you say it. If possible, write your subject so it generates an instant emotion about your email. Curiosity would be the perfect emotion to create, but urgency and sympathy will also do the work. Or you can simply go with call to action. Intriguing yet inspiring subject line delivers higher click-to-open rate. But, try to loose “FREE” in your subject. This is often used by selling spammers and most likely will not be clicked. Think more in terms of an opening line to a conversation you’re about to have with your customer. You grab his interest with the introduction but continue his interest with the content of your conversation.

Converse while focusing on the message

If you have already set your objective, it’s clear than email campaigns are more than communication. They send out what you have to say. They release your message. So in order to deliver your message right, you need to focus. First of all it would be highly useful if you subscribe to newsletters from other companies. As you do, you’ll start thinking like a customer. You’ll easily notice what messages you open and which ones you delete without even clicking. When writing your copy, always use conversational tone, make it direct and include call to action. Your readers will genuinely want to click on your emails if you let them know they receive valuable content. Drive their curiosity, not only in reading your emails but in visiting your website and ultimately buying one of your product or services. When an email speaks a concise and direct conversation to a specifically crafted audience, it can drive immediate and emotional benefit but also leverages curiosity. And when the conversation has started, you need to focus on maintaining it and extending it even further, by listening to the audience and adding some extra value for them. Make them engage with your emails. Ask them what they would want to know or have, like some juicy info, specially crafted offers, new services and discounts and always include your link to your emails. Try to personalize each message and even ask the readers to participate. How? Make sure you always include social buttons so the readers could easily share the content of your emails and continue the conversation on all other Social Medias.

Test your messages and measure the success

You’ve come up with mail concepts, you have good subject lines and you’re about to launch your big email campaign. Stop. Before sending your email out, you need to do the test. You need to test out the look, feel and performance of your emails in order to achieve optimal results. For example, you have two concepts that you think would work great. Test them both between your employees, or friends. Find out which one performs better in terms of subject, body, call to action and you will have your winning email. There is a standard A/B testing for subject lines that determine whether your message is the right one to go to your readers’ inbox. Also emphasize the images. Always use clear, royalty cleared images and even better; make photo shoots to have your own image base. Make sure all the links are in right position, all clickable, all delivering the reader to the right destination. The last thing you would like is to carry your customer to a different location than desired one.

email marketingAfter all tests have ensured your email is ready and you send it and launch your email campaign, make sure you’ll able to measure the results. Measuring will help you see what works and what doesn’t for your audience which will allow you to have better and better future campaigns. Try to gather as many data as you can. Look up for real-time reports and results via Google analytics or similar tools. A successful email marketing campaign will indicate high percentage of people who have opened the email. The open/send ratio improves with considering all above points, especially accentuate the audience segmentation. But ultimately, the success of your email campaign will be resolved at the moment when you truly understand the email as your marketing medium.

Automation as a tool

There is a great advantage in email marketing. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. You can automate your email marketing. It’s easy, affordable and can save you a whole load of time, while letting you more space in developing your other strategies or creatively express yourself. Orange Interactive Technology creates customized email marketing automation solutions, enabling you to build stronger relationships with your audience, while measuring your results and keeping track of all previous and next campaigns.

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E-commerce Marketing trends for 2017

Online shoppers are here to stay

It is already the fourth month of 2017. By now, the total number of internet users worldwide has reached 3.5 billion from which 40% have bought at least one thing online. Or in plain imagesnumbers, that means that at this moment there are more than 1.4 billion customers worldwide available to be attracted by the e-commerce players in the market. And those numbers are about to rise as marketers everywhere are doing everything they can to get the piece of the online shopping pie. As e-Commerce itself is rapidly growing, marketers are using all possible forms of marketing channels and techniques to stand up against the already large competition and get more customers to shop their brands. But this refining of the e-Commerce marketing is constantly making customers even harder to win.

It’s all about the user experience

As it grows, the market becomes more innovative increasingly technology friendly. With all those new means, like VR for example, not only that attract new customers, but they boost their engagement, creating an extraordinary user experiences. And customers really care about that.  Companies and brands working in line with behavioral trends and following the consumers instead the otherwise will easily succeed in their e-Commerce marketing planning. Knowing the customers, not only current but potential ones as well and integrating their behaviors into the planning will be beneficial for both sides. For example, knowing that nowadays 51% of Americans prefer online shopping rather than in-store — number that rises to 67% for Millennials and 56% for Gen Xers will help you in your further positioning if you’re delivering in the US market.

E-commerce-web-development

The megatrends in e-Commerce

Looking at the numbers, one can easily conclude that brands without online stores are doomed to disappear. Starting from the fact that 2017’s customers owns at least 3 devices – smartphone, tablet, and computer, they expect quick, easy, and, above all, user friendly online shopping experience. So make this your starting point in the planning. Brands will need to be both aware of and benefit from the latest trends in ecommerce. To make it easier, we’ve identified several e-Commerce trends for 2017 to be taken into consideration in order brands to ensure both online and in-store sales growth.

  1. Be mobile friendly and advertise on Mobile: If you own a site that is not responsible for mobile devices, you’re wrong on so many levels. They are convenient and accessible making the customers addicted to them. So, if your customer is constantly holding a device, the chances they indexwill shop from it are really high. Some researchers show that 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. So, if you don’t own a responsive web site, you’ll be losing at least 70% of the visitors. True that mobile site doesn’t sound like a marketing tool, but if you think about advertising your products or services on Google or Social Medias, more than 0% of the traffic will be mobile device generated. PewInternet.org has researched the US population, concluding that two thirds have a mobile device and using it for the majority of their online searcher. 40% of the Americans abandon a slow loading website. While 74% of them return to mobile friendly websites, 67% were more likely to buy from a mobile friendly website. So, to conclude, making your website responsive, thus mobile friendly, will ultimately lead to more visits and necessarily to maximization of sales.

content-marketing

  1. Content Marketing: It’s 2017, customers already hate advertisements and over 200 million of them have installed an ad blocker. No one wants to be spammed anymore. So now what? You pull out that king card and win those customers with content. There are many companies that already sell thanks to content marketing. Communication with audience in all possible ways will both cost you lower and generate you 3x as many leads. It is simple – people love to be consuming content and creating interesting, relevant and catchy content will definitely increase your traffic and help you in sales growth.
  1. Listening to the customers and understanding their journey: Let’s face it: if one user has a bad experience on your website, he might never come back. Or even worse, a word-of-mouth campaign those customers bring can mean a big failure for a brand. This makes the user experience (UX) of your website now more important than ever. Following and understanding the customer journey by using Google analytics or any other analytics tool available should become top priority for any brand. No one should afford loopholes in their websites since they will lead to sales drops. As Brian Solls in his new book X: The experience when business meets design says: “Experiences are more important than products now. In fact, experiences are products.” So a smart thing to do would be to surf your website as if you were a customer. Shop like you would do on any other site. See what works well and what doesn’t and figure out a way to make the annoying stuff easier.
  1. Consume the technology, engage with VR and AR: From day to day harder it gets to become a market leader. The competition is fierce and overwhelming. So earlier you vrstart investing in the futuristic marketing, the sooner you’ll stand out from the competition. And by futuristic marketing, we mean investing in the “next big thing” which right now is the Virtual and Augmented reality. Take PokemonGo for example. It became a massive viral hit last year. And the total amount of active VR users is forecasted to reach 171 million by next year. So the time is now, take this advantage and improve the eCommerce experience with VR. Make your product virtually presented so the online shopper experiences them as he is in your physical store. Yes it is an expensive cutting-edge of technology. And yes, if you can afford it, go for it and immerse your customers with and VR experience.

 

  1. Take what your customers give you with User generated content: The idea of motivating your customers to generate content for you has been ongoing for a while now. users-social-media-contentBut is not as easy as it sounds. A brand should really stand out to have its customers speak instead. Being relevant, unique or even funny are among the attributes a brand should have to trigger conversation from its customers. And believed or not, user generated content id 20% more influential than any other media but much harder to have. Increasing the conversation should be among top of the planning list for eCommerce strategy for this year. Especially when 70% of consumers consider product and brand recommendations from their social circles trustworthy and 46% trust online reviews posted by other customers. In comparison, only 10% trust banner ads on websites. So, ask your customer to post images from your products, give them a hash tag, give them coupon or small rewards and increase the conversation for better sales.
  1. Invest in Review Marketing and Social feedback: And by invest, we mean try really, really hard about this. Today you’ll win a customer based on the reviews. It’s pure psychology. People like to be a part of the pact. They believe s recommendation they receive from a close member or someone they trust. So, the right thing to do now is to have a small incentive investment in your current customers in order to gain new ones. It will ultimately pay off. Numbers say that almost 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews from other customers. So if we haven’t convinced you yet, these numbers should.
  1. Hire a professional Influencer: Influencer Marketing can really help you increase your reach and ultimately your sales, if you do it right. And the right way to do it is by knowing and finding the right influencers. Whichever platform you choose (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat or Instagram) they each have different influencers. And it is still human recommendation. Consider influencers as brand ambassadors. Have them say what you have to say instead of you and have them interact with a community that will eventually become your community. And if knowing that almost 74% of consumers use social media channels to make purchase decisions and the previously stated facts that they believe user recommendations over brand ones should motivate you enough. As soon as customers relate to your brand it will be much easier.

 

  1. Make your customers feel special with a Loyalty program: It is quite easy. Reward your current customers for their loyalty. Coupons or points for discounts on every purchase will make them really happy. At the same time it is quite a good trigger for other customers to become yours as well. Attract the “onetime shoppers”, intrigue the “browsing shoppers” and reward the “loyals” and you will definitely rise your online sales.

 

  1. Be everywhere. Use an Omni-Channel selling. You have an banner-building-b2b-omni-channel-commerce-platform2eCommerce site. Your online shop is seamless. But why restrict? Put your products everywhere, on all selling platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Jet, etc. This may seem like a contrary-marketing for you but you are wrong again. Multichannel shoppers do shop more often and they do spend over 3 times more than single-channel shoppers.

 

Other important marketing channels to focus your eCommerce in 2017:

  • Wallet payments
  • Triggered emails
  • Better & Free Return Shipping
  • On-Site Personalization
  • Social Media And Google Search Buy Buttons
  • Marketing automation
  • Non-robo response
  • Video marketing
  • Data driven from SEO
multiscreen

Creating videos for the multiscreen world

Living the Screen Age

We are yet not aware how quickly the screens have taken over our lives. From an information tool, the screens have become a sole provider of not only information, but also entertainment, connectivity, communication, transactions, controlling, education and even friendship… Today, there is a different screen for every purpose and every need. And we spend hours gazing into them like in and endless pond of the unknown.

 “People have always loved watching screens. We have all felt the attraction. 00xp-screens-master768In early days of television, before we got a set of our own, I remember the fascination of televisions on display in store windows. Like everyone else, I’d stand on the street gazing in the magic of the moving images and feel the future had arrived.” – Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide Saatchi&Saatchi.

But what are we looking at? A better self? More useful information? Our ideal friends, products or services? And with this entire constant screen looking, now more than ever, the content, context and usage of all those screens with skill and creativity has become even bigger of a challenge.

The world revolving around multiscreen

The family of screens has grown multi-numerous. From Totem screens, to Television screen, Computers, Tablets, Laptops, Home theater screen, Smartphones, Gaming consoles, macbook-apple-imac-computer-39284Music players, Movie theatres, Billboard screens, In-flight screens, Car screens, ATM screens,  Security screens… We touch them, we tap them, pinch, zoom, swipe… We fully interact with each and every screen around us, drawing everything out from them.  They feel real, intimate, they deliver content and at the same time the screens are physical, likeable, they love to play. They have become our loyal companion who tells us stories, makes us connected and most of all, shows us we belong in this world.

“If you can’t deal with screen language, you aren’t literate. – John Seely Brown

Today all publishers, creators and storytellers are speaking the screen language. They are trying to convey the right content for the rights screen day-to-day. And delivering it foregoes knowing the audience, the screen evolvement and creating a superb story.

During this screen evolvement days, the sight, sound and motion have become the best formula for speaking the screen language. Or to put it simple – the video. Videos have become the ideal technique for telling stories. Having something to watch, that has visual content in motion, combined with audio is the absolute best way to deliver the on-screen story.  People urge excitement; they are passionate about music, they are attracted by color and motion. And when shaping all the ingredients into one contextually right product, you will easily deliver your message.

Are all screens equal?

Do they look and feel equal? No. Every single different platform has different viewing concepts. The media has dramatically evolved after the “digital” happened. multiscreenAll the new screens that emerge require more and different content. The divergence of screens comes in many different matters, whether is the size, the media, and the purpose which of course dictates the content itself.

Nowadays, as Smartphones has become the backbone of our daily media interactions. They have the highest number of user interactions per day, making the TV the boring screen. Nevertheless, in this digital era, even with this variety of screens, people try to expand even wider and create new media and new innovative ways of spreading their messages. So, not only have the screens evolved. The consumers themselves have also evolved. They’ve developed different consumer needs. They require different storytelling styles. Viewers no longer put up with unattractive content. They want to skip whatever bores them. And over the days, the viewers have become less tolerant to digital ads then TV ones. They skip ads or pay premium to have ads free content. The TV content is more often viewed on demand, meaning that the audience that seats passively in front of the TV is constantly lowering.

Can the same video be used in all screens?

The ultimate and most frequently asked question. Whether is an attempt for saving money or time, most of the clients would rather have the same video to be played on all platforms. Is that the right decision? Certainly and absolutely not. The single story creates stereotypes, closed perceptions and the multiscreen world is the utter contrary. Every platform expands to new wealth of possibilities and most importantly they create a unique, direct and emotional connection with the consumers. And not only the context but the duration is also of great importance in video content. As TV charges broadcasting per second and you should optimize your messaging based on the media budgets, the problem on the digital platforms is entirely different. No one watches video content longer than 15 seconds on social Medias. So another problem occurs. Telling your story right and telling it short.

storytelling-multiscreenThe power of storytelling

As Wittgenstein wrote, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” Great stories are broad yet are easy to understand. Great stories touch us, they are contagious, connect with emotions. They have context, introduce us to great characters, teach us something new, something smart, and open us up to new worlds, especially to the world of our imagination. But all along, every story follows a simple idea: What happens next?

Emotion is what makes a story memorable and inspiring. Stories engage us, feed our curiosity, and make us want to consume more. And the storytelling is just that; creating an emotional experience and passionate commitment between the story and its viewer or the reader.

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” – W. Somerset

In the past years the amount of information that is being communicated on daily basis has overwhelmed the traditional storytelling styles. But thanks to all the exploring possibilities, the new storytellers inquire new answers to the digital age. Their stories are built to overcome the information overload and be placed in the multiscreen as their home. Or as writer Barry Holstun Lopes have said “Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.”

The right video for every viewer

People like to do several things at the same time. Screen experience is really important to them especially when they spend most of their time holding one and receiving all the info from it. But people differently engage digital content. TV watchers are becoming the fading audience beaten by on-the-go generation that consumes as many messages as possible. So what would the right way to deliver the right video to the right viewer?

Emotion. No matter when, no matter what, the video should always have and create a certain emotion. This will further connect your customer to your brand. So, when doing a video-multiscreenvideo you should always ask yourself is your video enjoyable in all contexts? Does it create and emotional response? Does it have enjoyable yet engaging creative?  And believe it or not, the best way to achieve the emotion is with combination of audio and video. Never go mute. And if you do, always use subtitles. It is important your video works on mute. So put supers, eye-catching details. Your viewer should be attracted in the first 3 seconds, or he will continue scrolling on his home page. Another important thing in contextualizing is the video length. The video should never be it longer then is has to be. Attract the viewers in the first 3 seconds and finish your video in 15 to 20 seconds.  Be catchy, straightforward and use nice colors and motion. And be smart. Optimize your videos for all the devices you plan to use. Stretch them optimally on how people view it.  Think like you are in their mobile devices, tablets and their social medias. And last but not least, use smart branding. Show your brand, product or service in the manner of the platform you set the video for. Be a brand who thinks like its consumers, get close to them and give them exactly what they want.

SmartCity

Smart cities, are we living there?

IoT is changing the game

We are all digitalists. Modern citizens living in a modern, digitalized era. IoT-Smart-CityEvery day we wake up more connected and more productive thanks to the tools and devices out there helping us to have all the complex things in life done simpler. What was once the Internet is now The Internet of Things. All the digital solutions are now making life more endurable and enjoyable and goods more approachable. The Internet of things is the smooth switch to smart technologies, helping us to save energy, to improve our safety, and even improve our business. And the game is truly being changed since we’re starting to live in completely connected homes and the living is made so much simpler and easier thanks to Smart Cities.

Enhancing the quality of life

The sole purpose of connected-life premises is not only to have your friends online at all time, but to make life easier and people more self-aware, mindful and conscientious. smartCityThe new digital dimension enhances the quality of life. It helps people gather real-time information that can help and improve living in so many spheres. The intelligent solutions are helping in saving the environment by cutting energy use, lowering carbon emissions, reshaping and lowering waste production. The new digital platforms will help calculate the quantity of water drops we use thus saving the amount of water we spend. They will increase the security of each and every one of us. Smart solutions will reduce dangerous jobs for people, making them being operated more safely and much more effectively by autonomous and self-driving devices. The benefits will also emerge in the fields like medicine, architecture, economy, education and even entertainment, making our lives better by all means.

The cities of the future

We live in the same cities as before, now much more improved. The cities themselves are changing and adapting to this new digital dimension providing the citizens an easier and more comfortable life. All this thanks to the M2M technology that enables actions and information exchange of all networked devices without any human assistance. Urban environments are already experiencing the benefits of Intelligent lighting, the self-driving public transport, the Intelligent Traffic management. So how will our everyday life be better living in the smart city? Let’s have a common, yet not a pleasant scenario: if a gas leeks, SmartCitythe smart home sensors will be able to detect the change and notify the officials, who will be able to immediately locate the nearest available crew to be sent onsite. The automatic traffic lights will be adjusted so the field crew gets onsite quickly, while the digital signage could inform the other traffic participants of the situation and alert them on driving changes. The other residents of the building could be alerted immediately, they would be able to leave the site with the automatically set public transport, and they could also participate in further sharing of the information in order to have the problem fixed in the fastest and easiest possible way. It is a simple example of how smart city technology could help and make living more enduring and cities more adaptable to its communities and citizens.

smartcity

Smart City solutions

Smart City solutions are based on the critical points of living in big cities. And the Smart parking systems are among the best solutions because they notify the drivers when a free parking spot emerges and in big cities with a lot of vehicles, this will mean lowering the citizens’ time and the air polluting. Or in numbers, by lowering the average parking-search time from 15 to just 12 minutes will lower the CO2 emissions by 400 tones in cities with average 5 million people. Nowadays, most of the bigger cities have interconnected and using Intelligent transport systems. This helps in public transport coordination and providing real-time information. Smart taxis are helping the customers even now, enabling them to book a car with an application, while using their location to find their quickest ride available. smartcityAnother popular Smart City solution is the Traffic management. Having monitoring of all road systems and informing the drivers of their best route at any given time. The traffic management solutions will automatically manage the traffic lights and reduce overcrowding to the minimum. There are cities that are currently testing the systems of Smart grids. This solution will provide the necessary amount of electricity depending on the demand, maximizing the power efficiency. On the line of electricity saving, the Smart urban lighting will also reduce the energy waste by adjusting the intensity of the light depending on the people who are around or turning it down when nobody is on the street. In living the environmentally friendly lives, Smart containers and Waste management help people a lot. These solutions will increase the efficiency in waste collection leaving the cities cleaner. Smart Cities are cutting down the billboards, printed posters and delivering the information on the Digital-signage. All of the urban ads will now be tailored to each citizen personally helping the customers to see and buy things they like with app clicks from the signage. As technology grows bigger, the innovations become smarter providing help in all aspects. The future Smart city maintenance will help the citizens to communicate with city representatives through their smartphones making the city damages being repaired faster.  And all that, without any human assistance. Only technology solutions.

Masdar City in Abu Dhabi

There are few great examples of Smart Cities around the world and the 67cb5dfc24e7ccb676970e9c87fd91dfMasdar City in Abu Dhabi is one of them. Having relying only on solar and renewable energy sources, this city with its unique construction was created to be a sustainable and very friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. The construction itself, helps in maintaining a pleasant temperature and having a breeze push for a slight cooling effect. The buildings in Masdar assembled closely together to create streets and sidewalks shielded from the sun. Initially, the design of the cities banned cars and the transport is via public mass-transit and personal-rapid-transit (PRT) systems, onto the existing roads and railways.

Amsterdam Smart City

Another city that pushes itself to innovativity and smart solutions is Netherlands capital, Amsterdam. Over the years Amsterdam has become social, open and sustainable European1019-header-94793a6c02879bdbda21ff86a963b201-ASC_V2G_infographic_770.jpg pearl promoting IoT challenges, involving more than 100.000 Energy Neutral Homes, motivating and involving the residents and homeowners to develop cost effective and sustainable houses in their neighborhoods. They have already implemented the Smart Parking and the Smart Waste solution and over the years Amsterdam is known for the bike-friendly living and Smart Transport solutions, running on solar or renewable energy.

By now we all want to live in a city that is fully digital that offers smart solutions and helps us in delivering easy living. Unfortunately, for full implementation, we’ll have to wait a while, or move to a smarter place.

shopify-facebook-advertising

Facebook Ads: Small Business Luxury

The cost of being liked

Being liked in all aspects of life comes at some price. Whether a good behavior, knowledge, trendy clothes or even the most modern gadgets. Its ironical that the most precious things in life are facebook-advertising-sydneyfree whereas the most essentials ones come at a price. As an example, one might remember the days where companies used to quote: ” Let’s put that on Facebook, it’s free!”. Since those early days, Facebook remained at the very top of its game, and no wonder today it is one of the best advertising platforms for small and large businesses alike. Today, Facebook has reached over 1.79 billion monthly active users, in an industry where total digital media spends are at 38% of the total media spends. Digital media has now replaced TV media as the number 1 medium for advertising. Moreover, it enables target specific audience marketing. Brands can pick and choose the customers who receive their message based on interests, geo-location, and demographics. In comparison to other advertising mediums, Facebook remains economical when compared to the results it delivers.

Limited ad space competition

In the past few years, Facebook ads have risen in popularity. Its not a mere coincidence that the number of small businesses who advertise on Facebook has grown larger, narrowing the ad space. This growth has created an imbalance of supply and demand. Reports say that in the first quarter the average ad price has increased by 5% and but this has not turned away advertisers, who continued buying ads. But, with the rise of the ads, that the Cost-per-Clicks have also increased, making the small-budget campaigns under performing.

4 million active Advertisers on Facebook.

Its no surprise that as the social platform grew, the number of brands competing to get a chunk of all that foot-fall, grew as well. This intense growth made easier for bigger companies to spread wider. Bigger brands had bigger budgets and dedicated teams who consistently manage the online Facebook advertisingstrategy and thus able to make the overall ads performance better. However, if you are a small or struggling business the chances of you spending a lot of time and money on managing your Facebook performance are lower. So, is there a solution for improving your performance? At our deepest repentance nowadays you cannot make a Facebook strategy without ads. With Facebook ads, businesses have 8x more engagement than an unpaid organic post. Our studies have shows that Facebook advertising can also help brands achieve upto 192% more conversions, 92% higher ad recall, 31% greater brand awareness, and 35% lower cost per conversion. There is one less battle to win the war.

Alternative strategy boosting

The best way to start is by listening what the platform has to say. Use the information Facebook provides and optimize your targeting. Include or exclude audiences based on their interests, age or locations to make your ad reach exactly the customers you need. As the Facebook ads differ from Facebook Advertisingyour daily posts, you need to make your copy catchy since its important to grab your eye’s attention from among the never-ending scroller. Another solution might be to launch multiple ads. Instead of creating just one, we suggest you create a couple of ads, playing with the visuals and with the text so to know which one performs best. It us also important, just like everything else today, to make your ads mobile responsive. Responsive ads must be your single biggest agenda since Facebook users use the social network from their smartphone app. However, today with this intense competition for the ad space on Facebook, companies start to experiment with many alternative and innovative approaches to growing their audience or engage with it.

Engaging Influencers  

Today, the struggle is to have the trends and creativity work together and become contagious. It is about building relationships and memorable experiences. It is about unique performance and engagement. And probably the best way to make all this happen is by engaging influencers.Social media influencers are the bloggers, Instagrammers and all other people who have a wider community of loyal followers. Using them in your strategy will help you build the desired relationships with your audience. No matter how big the Facebook Influencersinfluencers’ audience is, they can reach the crowd easily and in a way that your brand may not be able to. In example, mid-level influencers, like bloggers or instagrammers with ~ 100,000 followers have higher engagement in comparison to the top ranked influencers or even celebrities. Their audience may be smaller but definitely more loyal, driving around 16 times higher engagement than the “Mega” ones. Also, user reviews has become one of the most important influencers in buying a product, right? Well, with influencers, you’ll have very influential online reviews of your products or services, placed directly to your audience, making them believe that it is not only their right choice but also their only one. And most importantly, our research shows that in this millennial era, 90% of the consumers trust “peer recommendation” and only 33% trust the ads.

In the end, whether you decide to go for the economic Facebook advertising or maybe increase your budgets for the tailored ads or even still widening your budgets further to hire an influencer, this is still the best way to place your brand online. So make the most of the social platforms and shine bright like a diamond!

Online Shopping

Online Shopping: Are You Addicted Yet?

The power of “add to basket” button

Generally when people browse retailers, or web pages that sell certain products or services want to have a buying option. Not having an e-commerce solution it’s a huge mistake. It’s 2017, a period where annoying shoppers by reminding them to visit a physical store is not considered cool, especially when shoppers love the online experience. How much ever sparkle and fun it adds to your pexels-photo-230544Saturday visiting a mall for shopping fares lower than online shopping where experience is concerned, the latter is far better, and doesn’t require leaving the house, office or the place of being at the moment!

Unless selling goods for old people, most retailers consider their customers as digital and contemporary. They like to have their options open and not waste too much time. They want to be able to quickly and easily look for what they want, find it and buy it. Online shopping not only is faster, better and much, much easier for them, it quickly becomes their only shopping option.

E-commerce will become a ‘traditional’ business, says Alibaba’s Chairman and former CEO, Jack Ma “We anticipate the birth of a re-imagined retail industry driven by the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.”

It’s in your phone, so you shop on the go
The “everywhere convenience” can easily create the first online shopping addiction. Shop wherever you are, whether in the office, at home, while waiting in the car for the lights to turn green, Online shoppingwhile lying on the beach or before going to bed at night. The Online shopping platforms are open 24×7. And for no-timers, this might be on the top of the why-shop-online list.

Addiction grows bigger knowing that a shopper, in online shopping model, has the power to compare prices from different sellers just in a matter of clicks. The freedom of choosing the best and most affordable product online, while saving time and energy is a blast!

It’s you and you only

Let’s say you are a tech freak or you really, really want to be the first to get the hands on some new or discounted item. Well, new arrivals or big discounts pull crowds in stores. This possibility makes online shopping a paradise if you hate crowds. Plus, nowadays online sales tend to have more significant discounts than offline ones. Take Black Friday and Cyber Monday for instance. So, no spending your precious time, no waiting in lines and no driving (so no traffic jams). It will only take a simple browsing and just a few clicks, whilst wearing your favorite pajamas. Maybe this crowd avoidance is the most obvious benefit to get you hooked on online shopping. Well, if not…

There’s everything online!

Were you thinking about green sunglasses? Bam! OEMFD40You found them online. You would even find better red ones. When shopping online, there are much more products and many more options. A thousand styles, color combinations and price ranges. Are you shopping for the whole family? No problem, it’s done in few tabs only. Instead of wandering around multiple stores you can choose from the variety of online products. You can easily shop at multiple stores at the same time. And even more important, online stores never close up! Payment is always available via your credit card, or yet more, there is pay-on-delivery option to pamper you even further.

No more Out-of-stock freak outs

How many times have you gone to the mall to buy some new clothes and your number or color was out of stock? Almost always in offline sales, all good products are gone in no time. But not online! If out of stock, you can still order it and receive it as soon as it becomes available again. Email subscription to your favorite online stores makes things even easier. You get notified of new arrivals, sales or products coming back in stock again. In short, there is a slight or no chance at all that you miss buying your favorite products online.

The addiction has grown bigger, right?

You have developed an everyday habit of revisiting several retailers to see if they have promotions, sales or new arrivals. There is always an opened tab of an online store or you have a full shopping cart in your browser, waiting for the “buy now” click. Your mailman has your cell phone number. And he’s calling on the weekly basis. You get carried away and shop from work. Almost all the websites you online shoppingvisit have ads and banners from your online stores. Your inbox is full of promotional emails, codes and discount newsletters. Discount or sale emails give you heebie-jeebies. You’ve learned your way and shop only from free shipping and free return stores. You’ve started receiving packages you forgot to order or something you ordered twice since you forgot to order it the first time. You get a bit depressed every time an item you want is “sold out” or hasn’t arrived on time and you “needed just that”. When your friends invite you to the mall, you quickly respond with “I can order that online.” You have more than one shopping mobile apps. And finally, you are stressed out every time an item that arrives is not as you’ve expected.

Well, face it; you might be addicted to online shopping. Congratulations.

 

Marija Stardelova                                                                                                                                              Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology

Travel planning

Sites and apps a traveler should use, like, NOW!

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Moving past January, it is time to start planning your next big travel. So many places, so little time, right. Well, let’s help you take the hassle out of your next travel with a few tech solutions. Choosing an app or a good travel website can be time-consuming, and we hope to be of help by providing you some of the best free travel apps and most useful travel related websites for 2017. Let’s make the where-to-go and where-to-stay a bit easier and maybe even flawless! From finding interesting and rarely explored routes, to finding the cheapest flights and accommodation, to helping you experience the cities like a local, these apps and websites we’ve chosen for you will ease out the planning and make your travel more enjoyable.

Flights, Planning and Travel routes

Planning can be a nightmare, but at the same time it’s challenging and fun; getting to know all those places, routes and flight combinations. Here are a few websites/apps to give you some ideas, insights and to ease your travel planning and costs.

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eDreams.net – is a flight generator, helping you to book your next vacation at lowest prices. Actually, it might be one of the best flight generators out there. How? The fast and really efficient website (and app as well) is getting the best deals and discounts from over 450 airlines showing you the cheapest, shortest and smartest option for flight tickets. You can easily choose flight options, companies and other services like great deals for hotels, cars or combo deals at best prices. The mobile app is fast and free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

rome2rio – this is one of the best online trip planning platforms out there, helping you discover how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, car and ferry. The website (and app ) calculates all the possible routes for your desired destination (or an entire trip), giving you options for different transportation combinations together with pricing and approximate time of arrival. Rome2Rio’s travel search engine contains route information from over 4,800 transport operators in over 158 countries. The website even provides accommodation, car hire and suggests things to do in the selected destination. The mobile app is easy-to-use, free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

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utrip – is a free and easy to use travel-planning platform providing travelers the greatest planning and traveling experience. The platform makes it easy for travelers to create their perfect trip quickly and in a matter of clicks, combining the best of both worlds-artificial intelligence and human experience. Having a vast travel database curated by local area experts the traveler can not only choose their destination but also their interest, budgets and traveling preferences. The powerful AI algorithm on the platform creates millions of potential combinations and possibilities for the travelers’ profile. This may include hotels, sites, activities and restaurants, creating a personalized day-by-day journey with maps. Unfortunately, this AWESOME platform still has limited places inboard. The mobile app is free, and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

Holiday pirates – pirates indeed, this platform offers amazing and unimaginable last minute offers. You can browse through the offered deals or start searching your own. It generates the cheapest accommodation and travel options and gives you last minute deals for the desired places. Its only fault is that the service is not enabled worldwide. You can only choose the deals originating in 11 countries. So, if you search deals from the UK, you’ll have to plan the trip to the UK first. The mobile app is also free and you can download it for iPhone or Android.

Flightstats – as the name says, Flightstats is a global flight tracking platform. It provides flight status, tracker and sends flight alerts. You need to know the airline company and the flight number in order to get tracking. The platform also provides airport overview, shows the departures, arrivals, maps and tracking of airports. It’s a great tool for busy schedules, connection flights or if you have to wait for your friends arrival. Their app is also free of charge and you can download it for iPhone or Android.


Booking and Accommodation

If you decide not to use trip generator and go manually and book everything, after managing your transport, you’ll need to start planning your accommodation. From our experience, we have selected some of the best lodging apps and websites so that you get the most from your trip.

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Airbnb – In an era of aggregators, Airbnb became one of the best platforms for accommodation. Making you feel at home, staying at people’s homes or even with them can be a truly enriching cultural experience. Both the website and the mobile app are well organized, helping you find the perfect accommodation for your trip, based on your budget, preferences, and interests. You can browse through hosts’ feedback and you can also chat with them for any questions. From our experience, Airbnb is a great and quite affordable service for group travelers. Hosts are almost always very polite and helpful and if you’re up to it, they can make your trip local-like. The mobile app is free and you can download it for iPhone and Android.

Booking.com – unlike airbnb where you choose to stay in people’s homes, Booking.com offers you deals for hotels, hostels and rental apartments. The website (and mobile app as well) offers you great-value travel deals and place suggestion. But most importantly it has 1,138,034 properties worldwide. Most bookings are made with credit cards, but some venues do no mandate a credit card at the time of reservation – instead you can pay upon arrival. The Destination inspiration is also a cool option, which helps you find monthly destinations based on your preferences such as accommodation price, weather, and popularity. Unfortunately, hosts are not always responsive, since the emails do not go straight to them but through booking’s service, which might be a setback sometimes. The mobile apps are, however, free and you can download them by scanning their code on the website or on the following links: iPhone and Android.

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Kayak – is another well-organized travel generator, providing you with accommodation options concerning hotels and private rentals. The search is generated among hundreds of hotels at once, providing the best price. You can also choose to compare the Kayak offerings with other services like booking.com, hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline to make sure you receive the cheapest or best option. Moreover, Kayak includes a car rental generator engine, so that you don’t lose time in searching mobility options through separate car rental portals.The Kayak app is also free and can be downloaded for iPhone and Android.

Hotel Tonight – you just got notified you need to travel? No problem, because with the Hotel Tonight travel app you can book at the last moment since the site offers fantastic last-minute deals on great hotels. With downloading the app, which is, of course, free for both iPhone and Android, it’s easy for you to find a hotel at no time, even in the case of missed or canceled flights.


Getting around

Once you’ve booked everything and finally arrived at your destination, it is time to get around, experience the most out of the place you’ll stay in and more importantly not get lost. If you thought we would recommend Google maps now wait till we tell you it’s our second best app for the purpose.

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Maps.me – is the best choice of maps for your travel. It is the fastest, the most detailed completely offline search mobile app. Maps.me include the maps for the entire world (yes, even the smallest villages and islands) and not only maps – museums, restaurants, shopping malls – everything, literally everything!. The maps never freeze, you operate them smoothly zooming in and out, and with the GPS Positioning and compass, you can locate exactly where you are. The app also suggests features and points of interest. As soon as you download the app, for free for iPhone and Android, you download the maps of the places you’re about to visit, using your Wi-Fi connection and you start exploring completely Offline, saving money on roaming charges.

Google Maps – Everyone is already familiar with Google Maps, and the mobile app is considered one of the best navigation apps out there. It is another solution that also works great especially if you have saved places which are then easier to access with the suggested local transportation options. It works best when online, but you can also download some areas for offline use as well. If you don’t have it, get it here for iPhone and Android.

Uber – If you are not a fan of the public transportation and you don’t like spending time walking, there is another solution, usually cheaper than the local taxi. Again, on the platform of shared-economy apps, Uber is a ride-sharing app currently active in around 77 countries and 527 cities, making it the biggest car-sharing platform. The app enables you to easily request a ride giving you a choice of vehicle rates and fare quotes to choose. Even more convenient, you can connect with the selected driver, track the car’s location, and securely pay using a credit card. It is easier than looking for a taxi when abroad but more expensive than the public transport. Also, you can sign up for a ride, or you can become a driver yourself. The app is free for both iPhone and Android.

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Citymapper – called the Ultimate Transport app is specially designed for confusing cities! The app makes A to B trip planning easier with estimated time of arrival and including all transport types (subway, bus, rail, ferry, bike and car sharing). It is the best way to find and utilize public transportation. Citymapper is a great solution if you are a first-timer in a city and using the public transport. The app displays the arrival and departure schedules of all available transport means and what’s even better, you can add and subscribe to particular train or bus lines, and the app will send notifications when you need to get off.The app is available on the web and also free to download for iPhone and Android as well.


Where to go next

We’ve got you covered with the transport and getting out and about at your destination, now we get to the fun part! Want to try the local specialties, the best cuisine or just need a cup of extra tasty coffee? Or maybe you would like to go to a museum or an art gallery? Here is a selection of apps that will help you find the best places during your stay.

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Stay.com – The best way to experience a city is by taking suggestions from locals. And Stay.com has recommendations from locals neatly organized in custom tailored guides. Every traveler picks the city to travel and browses the previously created guides, exploring the best places to eat, drink, and have fun. It is the app for urban travelers, and its only flaw is that not all cities from the world are yet available, but the list grows daily. Download the iPhone and Android app for free.

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Trip advisor – is the biggest site for travel insights, reviews, and suggestions. It includes hotels, holiday rentals, things to do, restaurants and flights, but most important of all; it includes local picks, customer opinions and user rated experience. It will help you decide where you wanna grab something to eat based on the client reviews. It includes a wide range of guides, whether you want to choose a budget eats or a luxury one or you want to experience the local cuisine, culture and landmarks. Trip advisor is the largest and most popular web platform also serving all mobile platforms, so you can easily download it for free for iPhone, Android, Microsoft.

Google Trips – Well, it’s Google’s relatively new travel tool, helping travelers plan and organize their travels in all-in-one platform. From having all your reservation and confirmation numbers pulled from your Gmail or other inbox, to suggesting you must-visit places, to automatically discovering new sights, and tracking your travel info at all time. Google Trips also stores all the data offline, so you can access them at any time. So you don’t have much to do, the app does almost everything for you. You can download it for free, for iPhone and Android and enjoy your travel.

Guides by Lonely planet – the newest addition to the Lonely planet family, the Guides – is helping the ultimate travelers to get to know the destinations to the core directly from their mobile device. Whether you want to explore the best destinations or you want to know more about your next travel destination, Guides offers you useful tips and advice from on-the-ground experts making the Guides the ultimate travel resource. Get the iPhone and Android apps now for free and start exploring for your next trip!

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All photos via pexels.com

Foursquare – ultimately, but still imminent Foursquare is widely popular and most commonly used application for finding the best places in the area. Working online, you’re able to locate the coolest places the best food, nightlife, and entertainment in your area. And how do you know the places are good? Well from user check-ins and reviews. For years now users have been checking into places, posting photos of their food, drink or favorite places first via Foursquare itself and later via Swarm, making the app the best tool for discovering hidden places. It’s a must, and you better try not to forget using it on your next trip. Explore via your iPhone, Android or Windows for free.


There are of course many other apps and websites you can use for travel assistance, but this is our little selection. We’ve used them, and we’re quite happy with the provided experience. Don’t forget to snap everything from your trip, check in on Facebook and post the photos on Instagram as well, since no travel is ever complete without these two apps, right?

Feel free to tell us how you found our suggestions; if you liked us, we’d send you newer and better apps as they arrive.

 

Marija Stardelova                                                                                                                                   Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology

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Virtual Reality: You can’t help but say “WOW!”

Familiarity with VR

By now, you don’t have to be a tech geek to be familiar with Virtual Reality and its influence to modern living. But just in case, probably the shortest and simplest explanation about VR you’ll ever get is that Virtual Reality is a computer generated environment that enables you to experience a different reality.

How VR works

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By using several software technologies that generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations, combined with hardware devices (display screens, goggles and headsets), VR replicates a real environment, creating a certain imaginary setting. Through simulating a user’s physical presence in a given environment by looking around and moving around in it and enabling him to interact with the space, creating artificial sensory experiences like sight, touch, hearing it opens up a new, never before explored dimension of user experience.

By now, VR comes in several different forms to choose from – the cheap headsets that work with your phone or the much more expensive options that require a powerful PC or gaming console and some space to move around. Whichever you choose, the VR set will visually separate you from the space you are physically in and take you to the places you’ve always wanted to visit; it will engage you in a video game without moving from your couch or let you experience a movie as if you are part of it.

How can VR help in easier living?

Having all things in mind, the big question inevitably pops up: So, with such power, how can the VR help people in making their lives easier. Well…. It kinda does…

Architecture: Trends come to a time where architecture becomes virtual before it comes real. Nowadays, users can step inside a virtual building, look around in all directions, walk into rooms, climb stairs or even walk along the edges of an under-construction building. In design process, architects also use VR to visualize or choose the finishing options like wood, stone, marble, and bronze… In one word, users can explore any building around the world, inside or out, including the ones that don’t yet exist… This is both terrifying and extremely useful and practical at the same time, making it easier for the user to understand and have a clear image very quickly.

Health care and Medicine: Medical VR is an area with fascinating possibilities and its benefits are truly versatile. VR simulations can be an effective treatment for everything from intense pain to Alzheimer’s disease to arachnophobia to depression. How it works: basically, the worst pain can be eased by manipulating the human mind: the less you focus on pain, the easier it feels. Hence, swamping the brain with an overload of sensory inputs and distracting the patients from reality helps them with their pain.

Whoever has gone through a hospital experience, surely knows that it can be really stressful. Moreover, this can also be a mental burden, especially for small children who miss their parents, their friends or their home. Thus, VR can make hospitalized children feel like they’re at home.

There many other useful practices of VR such as watching or performing operations, relaxing chronic patients, meditation, rehabilitation and speeding up recovery for patients who survived a stroke or a traumatic brain injury, treatment for PTSD, etc. More recently, hospitals are using VR simulations to help war veterans reviving the traumatic events they’ve experienced, in order to understand their traumas and hopefully figure out a way to deal with it.

Art and History: Believe it or not, the Louvre is one of many museums providing a unique Virtual Experience tour. Becoming an enormously high-rising trend, more and more galleries and museums are using it and creating engaging and one-of-a-kind experience tours for their visitors. Whether being high resolution artworks, 360 degrees of panoramic painting views and full exhibits, journeys through ancient temples, reconstructed versions of archaeological sites, or imagery explanation of history and heritage – the VR can bring something to people that no longer exists, even reconstruct in its original form. This is making it possible for them to experience a favorite place over and over again, in an entirely different way.

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Gaming: Obviously, today video games are one of the main interests for VR. Especially that VR will give game designers the freedom to take gamers to previously unexperienced levels. Now that players can reach out and touch things or turn their head to look, instead of mastering a complex controller, a unique gaming experience and feeling as being inside of the game is possible for the first time in history.

Tourism and Lifestyle: Virtual tourism can be the next big thing. Thanks to VR now everybody could travel and visit Paris, Barcelona, New York… But why stop there? The possibilities are endless, we can conquer Mars, or even planets outside of our solar system. We can swim along whales at the bottom of the ocean, experience stampedes in the savannas, and climb the Himalayas, everything from the comfort of your home.  Whether watching a 360-degree video someone took, or experiencing a 3D generated simulation, you can now replace the real world with your dream place or destination of choice.

Education: Another great and very important advantage of VR is of course in education. berlin-1429878_1920Now, thanks to Virtual Reality students could take a class trip to ancient Rome, visit Verona to look at the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or try an open-heart surgery without any risks. This global distribution of VR content and access will undoubtedly influence a pedagogical shift as these new technologies spread out and become more available. Some forward-thinking educators are even using 3D printers to print their own customized HMDs with their technology students.

Are there any Social aspects of VR?

But, here comes the psychological question: How being “virtually present in an artificial environment” can improve social relations? At this point, the future of virtual reality is often publicized as a dystopian view of millions of people spending hours alone each day, with huge gadgets stuck to their face, enraptured by fantastical, imaginary worlds.

If we look the other way around, it is going to be millions of people spending time together with friends, family, colleagues, and new acquaintances, experiencing moments together no matter the physical distance between them. Or in other words, no matter where on the globe, you’ll be able to be in the same room as your friends or family.

As we speek, the social platforms are implementing the VR into their content management. Just yesterday Facebook launched the 360 degree video for Facebook Live, which will sooner or later enable all users of the social platform to create even more immersive real-time content, and is the the next step towards social in virtual reality.

So, what we’ve learned so far:

Having recently experienced an amazing HTC Vive in-person, VR is definitely integrating the physical and digital. It brings people into the same environment to hang out, while enjoying different activities. It is giving participants superpowers or putting them into even more fantastical, immersive environments, unable to experience IRL. While you’re in VR, you are completely separated from reality, which only confirms with the seeing is believing philosophy.

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We at Orange Interactive, are extremely proud to be part of the VR development, helping industries, social researches and bringing closer the new innovative technologies to people every day.

 

Marija Stardelova

Marketing Specialist and Blogger, Orange Interactive Technology