With so much going on in the world of media and technology, we want to share with you some emerging tech trends marketers should be aware of. Ben Smith, Callahan’s Director, Media & Emerging Technology, has compiled a list highlighting those trends and briefly discusses each.
From Instagram Reels and the increased need for QR codes, to fighting hate speech with AI and combating isolation with VR, Ben covers everything a marketer should prepare for when planning for 2021.
Augmented Reality in E-Commerce
AR has seen increasing use in supporting e-commerce, and during the pandemic that’s accelerated significantly. Not just to showcase products, but to replicate elements of the traditional store experience. This week, Amazon released a nice upgrade to their AR shopping app with their new “Room Decorator.” Rather than viewing just individual items in AR, you can now add multiple items at the same time to visualize how a whole set of products could fit together in your home or space.
The Resurgence of QR Codes
Another interesting impact of the “touchless” culture created by the pandemic has been a significantly increased adoption of QR codes. While this article talks about QR codes previously being dismissed as a marketing gimmick, this is not exactly true. QR codes shifted to be more practical and integrated, less novelty use. QR code readers are now native to our phones, not a third-party app install. And they are baked into popular apps like Snap and Instagram. Also, the more fickle approach to QR codes is more U.S. specific. In many countries, they are widely used on a day-to-day basis. Visit China, for example, and it would be difficult not to use QR codes multiple times a day for even routine tasks.
Fighting Hate Speech with Artificial Intelligence
We hear a lot about hate speech and content moderation challenges, often with platforms being criticized for an inadequate response. One of the interesting technical challenges in moderation is the role of AI in proactive detection of content and supporting moderation at scale. However, the challenges are immense, and in many ways, platforms are both having to invent new technology in real time and engage in an aggressive and constant battle with those seeking to circumvent detection. If you’re interested in understanding some of those challenges, here’s a great overview.
Every Minute of the Day
Every minute of every day: 41M users share WhatsApp messages, 500HRS of YouTube video is uploaded, 347K users post Instagram Stories, 147K photos are uploaded to Facebook, Zoom hosts 208K participants. These are just a few of the numbers from the 2020 update of Domo’s annual “Data Never Sleeps” infographic.
Making Creative Impact With Text, Timing and Format
This short video from Facebook IQ is the latest in their series highlighting how seemingly small considerations — such as the phrasing of a title or the aspect ratio of a video — can have a big impact on driving increased engagement and stronger business results.
Instagram Reels: What, Why, How
You’ve likely heard about Reels, and they are definitely something for brands and marketers to be aware of–more as an additional creative opportunity within Instagram than something entirely new. If you have questions, here’s a great overview of how to create, share and view Reels. Remember, it’s a brand new feature in its early stages. Expect product updates on a regular basis.
Since we’re talking Instagram, I’d encourage you to think about the platform and how it can be leveraged. It’s easy to think of Instagram simply as photo and video sharing. What it really is: photo and video sharing in the feed, Stories, and Reels; longer-form video sharing on IGTV; a content creation toolset; private messaging platform; group chat; video chat; live streaming; micro-blogging; fully integrated shopping and checkout platform; payments platform; nonprofit fundraising platform. The list keeps growing.
Combating Isolation with Virtual Reality
I’ve long talked about virtual reality as a platform for creating a sense of presence without proximity. So it’s exciting to see an organization like AARP leveraging VR specifically to help combat the very real and increasingly significant challenge of social isolation and loneliness.
As with many other technologies, VR use has accelerated with the pandemic (Oculus headsets are selling faster than they can be made). Not just for personal use, but by brands seeking to create immersive experiences with customers at a time customers are less able to visit them in person. Or seeking to replace experiential marketing with something virtual and scaleable. And a quick prediction–watch for a new, even lower-cost, Oculus headset being announced by Facebook in September.
Finally, a few new email newsletters I’d recommend for an interesting and worthwhile addition to your inbox.
Under Glass – A new website and newsletter focused on giving a design breakdown of what it considers to be the “world’s best new digital products”.
Exploding Topics – A website and newsletter that “surfaces rapidly growing topics before they take off” based on analysis of search, conversations, and mentions across the internet.
Creative Minds Weekly – Another new launch, this one promising “A weekly roundup of highlights from creative technology, advertising, unexpected trends”.