As the new year begins, PerformanceIN continues its annual tradition of connecting with performance marketing experts to get their single biggest prediction for the industry in 2017.

In this piece, Andrew Buckman, managing director EMEA at OpenX, explains the phenomenon of Pokémon Go and how augmented and virtual reality – driven by machine learning – will steal the show in 2017.

Augmented reality (AR) technologies have progressed at a rapid rate this year. The phenomenon of Pokémon Go has played a vital part in this – headlines such as “Man catches Pidgey on Pokémon Go as his wife gives birth” convey AR’s addictive appeal to users. Amassing 15.4 million weekly active players, the game created an entirely new market segment. Needless to say, what’s to follow in 2017 is a proliferation of AR gaming and entertainment experiences that will look to advertising as a monetisation model.

AR superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world; virtual reality (VR) creates an entirely new, artificial environment presented to a user through a helmet or other device. While VR is gaining pace, it’s clear AR is leading the way in new, experimental gaming technologies.

Machine learning will play a crucial role in the growth of AR, VR, mobile video advertising, chatbots, and live video – all trends we expect to see take centre stage in 2017. To enhance the user experience, these technologies will be empowered by backend systems running complex machine learning algorithms.

These algorithms will impact speed and user targeting, and increase ad effectiveness and consumer engagement through personalisation – all the while reducing costs for publishers, demand platforms, and ad tech providers. As they increase their use of in-house and third-party data, machine learning’s ability to optimise consumer experience and connection will see its true potential realised in 2017.