A collision of thoughts

 

I just attended the 1st US edition of the Collision conference in New Orleans.
A 3 days marathon of start up pitches and product demos, talks by founder, developers, media execs and investors.

I focused my time mostly on keynote sessions to get a good feel for tech and media tends.

Here is what I captured.

I am not going to write about the strategic value of data, the astronomic rise of video, the audience fragmentation push and pull game, the importance of native content or the need to experiment with bots, etc…

All these topics were definitely highly discussed but I’d rather share fresh new insights that I haven’t heard much about before.

There are 2 of them.

1- VR is better with AR and AI:

VR was at the center of many many, many conversations. Every company, every start up seems to be involved in some way or another.

It is like we are recreating the invention of the moving image but instead of doing it over 100 years, it is happening in 3 to 5 years.

The impact of VR on our lives, our social interactions, our empathy is (will be) huge.

From the New York Times Displaced documentary covering the refugee crisis, to Charity water story telling, to Cirque du Soleil working on integrating VR into their shows, or recording important moments of our lives with the new Samsung VR camera being released next month….

VR is the next big thing. That is pretty obvious.
What was interesting at Collision conference was to hear about what will happen when VR is here, at scale.

 VR will be bigger with AR and AI (and vice versa)

The potential for VR + AR +AI merged together deepen utility and “enterpisification” in the work place, education and general life experiences…

For instance, imagine a VR experience with voice recognition, space tracking, hand movements and personal data all in one.

You are in a VR experience, you turn your hand up, your emails appear, speak to dictate your response, swipe right  and it calls the person you want to communicate with…

As screen definition improves, processing power speeds up, content creation becomes simpler, new human behaviors that we don’t even know could be possible will emerge simply because the VR echo system exists…

This is a good transition to the next insight.

2- Ethics:

If we are going to create robots and attempt to enhance human genetics and physiological functions, we need to solve ethical questions that didn’t need to be asked before.

I started to think about that at SXSW where I saw a few engineers giving presentations that we were closer to philosophy than technology.

Right now we know 2 stages of life “alive” and “not alive. So where do robots fit in and how we define their missions in society?

Andrea Keay, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics has endless knowledge and opinion about that. Here is one of her previous keynote.

What about the fascinating applications that Halo Neuroscience will have not only on sport performances but learning, education, medicine… how can the device be used without aggravating inequalities?
Is it pushing the limits of the human conditions?

As you can sense, the Collision conference was a great experience.
After 3 days of hyper stimulation, my brain was ready for some relaxing rhythm at NOJazzfest.

 

Marie Sornin

Trends from SXSW- Day 2

Today I focused as much as I could on sessions about videos with a brand panel about Live videos and  a session New York Times CEO about VR .
Here is a summary of day 2 (and the last day for me)
Live video:
Just one year after its launch at SXSW, Meerkat has announced that it is abandoning live streaming
Many keynotes from SXSW were periscoped from the official @handle of shows/ influencers- check this one out if you are a fan of Mr. Robot.
Everyone is convinced that Facebook live is perfectly set up to be (a) the leader in live video: It’s got the reach/ it’s integrated with the Facebook experience & is easy to use.
Mashable had a big partnership with Facebook Live a booth at the Mashable house.
Periscope is perceived like the best tool, best features and a must when it comes to Live video strategy.
Advertisers love the lightweight/ low production budgets of live video + the fact that the audience is totally integral from to the storyline
Some grey areas for advertisers are:
They haven’t figured out when to start promoting a live video campaign (early is frustrating for the audience, close to the broadcast only brings little reach).
They all agree that it is important to promote live content across multiple platforms: FB/ Insta/ Twitter
VR:
VR cameras are already becoming easier & cheaper to access, however production and story telling still remain very complex.
Cross function collaboration is paramount to execute VR well.
Monetization potential is strong for the future but for now, budgets & commitment are only coming from partners innovation funds and from those ready to take some risks (doesn’t mean budgets are small, just scarce)
Based on the New York Times experience, we are not too far off from citizen journalism in VR. The Olympics might be the tipping point where we start seeing a lot of VR content from professionals as well as amateurs.
Google is fully invested in supported media outlet to produce VR content (Google cardbord + developing computing power & Software?)

Trends from #SXSW- Day 1

I concentrated my selection of keynotes and panels focused on the future of media.
Here are the key trends that emerged from what I have seen on the 1st day of SXSW.
1- Marketing moments:
From Google, to Facebook, Twitter and start ups in the advertising industry. Everyone is shifting from audience clusters to moments that matter.
Intent is the new demographic.
Marketing mastery is about predicting intent and providing passive automation (amazon, for instance, is already very good at it. ever noticed? no? that’s why they are good)
2- Instant gratification/ gamification:
In the wake of Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat, services like Uber, Instacart, Postmates and now magic & operator are transforming consumers expectations in fields a lot broader than social media.
These features are becoming key to consumer loyalty.
3- Connected devices:
The internet of things; that is when your car will allow you to buy a ticket for a movie on your way to the mall and have the soundtrack of the movie added to your playlist by the time you get out of the theatre.
This is making the 2 above points extremely more complex.
It is not about multi screen any more but a simple and ubiquitous user experience. That is the goal sought by marketers
For now, the majority agree that the experience must be centered on the smart phone. The device that is still at the core of the connectivity.
4- VR:
VR is the hot topic on everybody’s mind, from sport to media to retail.
It all seems very experimental still, which of course brings the questions about computer power and graphical computer. How long until this really hits us?
Haven’t heard a lot about live video yet, but that’s day one.
I have some more exploration to do!
Tweet @mariesornin if you are at #SXSW2016

MEDIAWATCH #4: China

It is slightly more difficult to find robust information about the Chinese media landscape than any other country I have researched so far.

Here is an overview of what I have compiled from multiple sources

Chinese media landscape

Download the Mediawatch PDF

Additional read if you want to go deeper:

The State of Chinese Advertising

Social, Digital & Mobile in China 2014

Marie Sornin

How to organically grow your followers on Twitter?

I have committed to volunteering at Kevin Richardson wildlife sanctuary in South Africa in 2016.
Until then, I am helping him and his wife Mandy with their digital and social media presence.

They recently asked me for advise about how to organically grow their followers on Twitter.
I thought that the tips I prepared for them, could also be valuable for you.

Here they are.

1- Know who you are talking to:

  • Use Twitter analytics to understand the profile of your organic audience and track your performance over time.
    Go to analytics.twitter.com to activate.
  • Define conversation themes based on your followers traits. You will be more interesting to your reached audience end therefore more users might follow you.

2- Leverage all your marketing material:
Twitter is the best touchpoint to enable your audience to interact with you in real time. Remind them when they see your brand!

  • Your online assets of course:
    • Embed your Twitter timeline into your website:
      This will show your live activity and entice your website visitors to follow you.
      If your website template is not pre built with this feature, click on this link to know how.
    • Same goes for the the follow button:
      Add a follow button to your website and email signature (if you can’t figure this out, just write your @handle with a hyperlink)
    • Try adding call to action to your videos:
      Add a screen at the end of your videos with a call to action to follow you on Twitter (always showing your @handle + a clear call to action).
  • Your offline ones as well:
    • Show your @handle on all your marketing tools: brochures, business cards, leaflets, sales receipts, newsletters T shirts, vehicles, cup cakes,….Wherever people might see your brand when they have their mobile phones handy, add Twitter. Be creative with it, try things out!
      Remember that “Follow us on Twitter” or the Twitter bird is not enough. Be specific, show your @handle: Follow us on Twitter @mariesornin
    • This is also true for speaking engagement/ public appearances:
      Include your @handle in your slides, call out the audience to follow you when you start.
      Get your staff and the conference/ program organizers/ audience to live Tweet the key elements of your speech. Make sure that they mention your @handle and # of the event in their Tweets.

3- Give and Get:

Like in any conversation being engaging is key to making people want to talk to you again.
Twitter works the same way.
When you are engaging to your current followers, they will carry your message out extending your “earned” visibility and consequently bringing you new followers.
There are several ways of doing so on Twitter, here are some important ones:

  • Let people know what to expect from Twitter account: Your photo, bio and URL on your Twitter profile are the 1st thing that people will see. Make it impactful and catchy.
  • Follow people who are important to you. They might follow you back
  • Mention people’s @handle in your tweets, tag them in your photos. They might reply, favorite and RT you (generating a greater earned footprint for your content)
  • Reply to the users mentioning you in a timely manner. They will feel engaged, gratified and will help spread your message to their followers when you need them to!
  • Tweet around the clock: your followers might scattered around the globe (Twitter analytics can tell you that), you must be visible to all of them regularly.
  • Use Twitter native tools: upload your photos on Twitter (links to an Instagram photo will get way less engagement), shoot videos from your mobile, build website cards to Tweet your site pages, try Vines & GIFs.

4- Leverage moments:

  • Insert your tweets in current topics of conversations.Use Search.twitter.com to find the the right #. Use them in your Tweets.

Try these tips and check the impact on your followers growth over time.
Alternate your implementation, don’t do everything at once so you can understand what pushes the needle and focus on these points.

And of course, since I work at Twitter, I couldn’t finish this post without a little push to our promoted products: if all that is working for you and you want to take it one step further, you can also add a Promoted Accounts campaign.

Any other tips that are worth sharing? Comment below!

Marie Sornin for @lionwhispererSA
After all that, if you care that at this current rate Lions might be extinct in 20 years, give Kevin a follow on Twitter: @lionwhispererSA