HackerAgency and FCB executives from all over the world recently returned from four days of meetings with the biggest digital media technology companies in Silicon Valley: Google/YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and Facebook/Instagram. We were treated to a first-class education which included a deep dive into consumer trends, technology shifts and a preview of the next wave of advertising opportunities across these communication platforms.
I’m going to race through the major things we learned and discussed. I hope to go deeper soon.
First, major consumer trends:
- Every one of the organizations we met with has a major focus on video as THE communication format of the near future. And it’s all about mobile.
- Two-thirds of the world is still not on the Internet. Google and Facebook have programs dedicated to putting the Internet into the hands of those without access.
- In the developing world, technology has skipped computers and has moved straight to mobile. However, most traffic is on a 2G-level network on a feature phone, so text is still king in these markets.
Second, technology shifts:
- Personal assistant plus voice input (in addition to keyboard) is getting better all the time. Siri, Alexa, OK Google and Cortana are listening and responding. We’re at the beginning of interacting with artificial intelligence on a daily basis.
- We’re seeing more focus on better user experiences. All the companies we visited are thinking about how to create more engaging, richer, digital ad experiences for better performance and higher monetization.
- People are talking about the integration of analytics across customer touch points. Everyone realizes that one touch does not drive a behavior change, so a massive amount of work is going into understanding multi-touch marketing attribution across channels.
- We all know mobile pages load too slowly on cellular networks, so tech giants are supporting the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages project.
Third, new creative opportunities:
- Changes to something as familiar as Google search results are always big news. No ads on the right rail for Google will have a big impact on CPCs, impression share and quality score.
- Deep linking into mobile apps is critical for mobile app promotion and a better user experience.
- Conversational video ads on Twitter rolled out earlier in the year. They include a call to action with customizable hashtags to encourage customer engagement.
- Cinematic pins on Pinterest allow brands to target specific user types (foodies, travelers, etc.) and use motion while the user scrolls but stop when the user stops.
- SnapChat’s ads are an overlay over images. They have released an on-demand platform so you can create your own overlays and target individuals within a specific geography (down to 5,000 square feet) for a specific number of days.
- Facebook Live streams to your network and competes with Periscope.
- Facebook Canvas provides a deeper rich media experience on Facebook. You can use a combination of videos and still images to tell a story—and call-to-action buttons are available, too.
- 360 Degree Video on Facebook lets you showcase your story in an immersive way when the user controls what they look at within the video.
We were very fortunate to get learning sessions with the largest tech advertising players in Silicon Valley, and we look forward to executing many of these new creative ideas with our clients.