Throughout 2017, I’ll be posting periodic briefings on key emerging media and technology trends and opportunities our team is watching at Callahan. I’ll also be highlighting key industry events we’re participating in and reporting from.
These are a few of the trends and opportunities we’re paying close attention to, and will provide future updates on.
Facebook Coupons – An anticipated Facebook Coupons product will likely build on Facebook Offers, allowing brands to deploy and promote coupons with unique claim codes through secure, controlled distribution and redemption. We expect seamless integration into the Facebook App, rapid coupon deployment, no setup fee and distribution via Facebook’s powerful audience targeting. This presents valuable opportunities for clients that currently distribute coupons.
Optimizing Content for Artificial Intelligence – AI already plays a key role in Facebook, running more than 6 million predictions every second in the News Feed. Facebook’s DeepText analyzes what we type with near-human accuracy, photo content is currently analyzed by AI, primarily to assist visually impaired users, and soon, video will be analyzed in real-time. AI will play an ever-increasing role in deciding who sees our content, and we must start thinking in terms of nontraditional optimizations, ensuring that both copy and creative include key triggers to establish audience context.
Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality – While we’re still in the relatively early stages of consumer VR, there is significant consumer adoption being driven through high-profile product releases such as PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, HTC Vive and Best Buy’s in-store promotion of the Oculus Rift. While true consumer mainstreaming is still several years away, we’re seeing major investments in consumer VR content in news, entertainment and sports industries, to name a few. We’re also starting to see the real potential of VR to transform social media. In the meantime, augmented and mixed reality technologies are evolving at a rapid pace and (in contrast to VR) create experiences that keep us present, connected to our surroundings and allow us to share and interact with those who are around us physically.
Each of these platforms raise the bar in terms of creativity and user experience, while also offering tremendous opportunity for immersive storytelling, experiential marketing and deeply engaging brand-consumer experiences. Branded experiences are already being deployed at a steady pace, and now is a great time for brands to begin exploring, understanding and experimenting with the technology to ensure they stay little ahead of the curve.
Social Customer Service – Social continues to grow as a customer service channel, though the disconnect between brand and consumer continues to widen as many brands fail to engage or engage in a way that lacks the speed or authenticity required, proving to be damaging. We recommend a regular audit of your social customer experience.
Video – Video content will continue to dominate, and Facebook will continue shifting towards being a video-based platform. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter already support both produced and live 360 video (Twitter currently in beta only for live 360), and immersive 360 video will continue to grow in popularity, offering brands valuable new opportunities for engaging storytelling and product demonstrations. Facebook Live will also play an increasingly significant role as it competes against TV networks and cable with both on-demand and live broadcasts, and insertable advertising. For brands, the opportunities are plentiful, with everything from thought leadership and education to product launches and even brand-owned chat or lifestyle shows broadcast on a regular schedule.
Facebook Messenger – Messenger Bots will play a valuable role in personalization, customer service and content distribution. Bots will become easier to create and deploy through self-service platforms, though user experience design will be critical for effective deployment. We also anticipate more marketing opportunities within the Messenger platform, providing highly personalized engagements with existing customers and connections.
Twitter – We’re watching for some major platform refreshes in the first half of 2017, especially around better controlled abuse, editable tweets and the ability to follow interests and topics rather than just users.
Snapchat – We’re expecting to see an IPO in the first half of the year. Prior to that, we anticipate self-serve advertising options expanding beyond the current Geofilters, opening the platform to a slew of new advertisers. We also fully expect to see Snapchat enter the live video space, with potential for first person livestreaming via its Spectacles product.
CES – Consumer Electronics Show 2017
2017 kicks off with CES – the annual global consumer electronics and technology trade show in Las Vegas.
As usual, I’ll be attending CES to identify and summarize key trends for the coming year, especially those that impact consumer-brand engagement and retail experience.
If you’re interested in real-time updates from the show floor, you can follow along on Twitter @benasmith. I’ll also be providing a recap in a future blog post. And for any Callahan clients interested in a more detailed online presentation, please contact your Callahan Account Manager and we’ll be happy to arrange this.
Technology focus at CES:
I’ll be focusing primarily on smart homes, home entertainment, smartphones and personal communication, automotive (especially autonomous technology), artificial intelligence, intelligent assistants, virtual and augmented reality, 360 and VR content creation, pet wearables and technology, home and retail robotics, drones, and personal and commercial 3D printing.
At least 50 percent of my time at CES is always spent specifically focusing on startups, where much of the grassroots innovation happens.