Every year, we do a deep study of the products, trends and technologies that shape our relationship with media. This work generates a thorough understanding of consumer preferences and enables us to answer seemingly simple yet very layered questions. What makes up our media landscape? How is it changing? Where are the pitfalls? The opportunities?
We answer these questions and more with this year’s findings, which we share with every brand we support. Until then, here’s a sample of the full report.
Data rules, and brands must respect it
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will go into effect in 2020, placing more scrutiny on brands and how they utilize consumer data. In advance, consumers are exercising more control. Out with third-party data. In with zero-party data—which customers own and willingly provide to brands. Marketers who act with transparency, protect their customers’ privacy, and abide by the law will maintain and earn their trust.
Trendsetters evolve, new entrants carve out influence
Many of the most popular social platforms continue to experience growth, while data traffic companies like LiveRamp are positioned well to support privacy and responsible data usage. Despite Facebook’s record of largely negative news, the platform continues to realize year-over-year growth, thanks to Instagram Stories and advertisers’ sticky relationship with the platform. Google’s “near me” searches are steadily rising. The company is also teasing the integration of Google Virtual Positioning System (VPS) with Google Maps. Still, we have to remember, not all Google products flourish (RIP, Google+). Brands should be mindful of where they’re concentrating energy, time and budget, and maintain a balanced mix of channels to reach customers.
Sound strikes back
The ecosystem of sound is leveling out. Audio is really the oldest form of storytelling, and it’s making a resurgence with smart speaker adoption, readily accessible content, scale for marketers, and new types of interactive audio like Spotify’s voice-enabled mobile ads. Many of us have migrated our share of ear time to include some form of digital audio like a Pandora station or a favorite podcast. As content explodes and listening increases, marketers need to keep an eye on negotiable pricing and new types of message placements.
Video is king
We’ve got an insatiable appetite for video, whether it’s local broadcast TV, cable subscription or a favorite YouTube channel on a connected TV. Some viewers prefer to avoid advertising in their video with platforms like Netflix or HBO Now, but even Netflix is starting to blur the lines in brand integration. Marketers must pay close attention to which content people view on which platforms and when. Doing so, we can continue to communicate with willing customers, as long as we ensure the messaging matches their preferences.
Experience is a treasure
Unusual and creative experiences lead to extraordinary engagement. Marketers are successfully blending technology and physical space to create impact through synesthetic experiences—the joining of objects with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor—to evoke emotion and ultimately engagement. These experiences make for amazing content that can be easily amplified. Beyond the single stunt, however, retail stores are creating experiences with more staying power. The kids’ store Camp, for example, partly owned by BuzzFeed, blends merchandise, media, play and learning via a curated set of sponsors. Marketers should continue to embrace the convergence of technology to create new experiences that resonate with their specific customer set.
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