From real-time marketing to live activation
Live is a cultural transformation.
Ken Wong is the lead designer behind the acclaimed mobile game Monument Valley and the newly released Oculus VR game Land's End.
As this illustration from Bloomberg Businessweek's 2016 Design Issue illustrates, real-time exchange powered by new technologies has radically changed the way we live, work and play.
Technology has firmly shifted the balance of power in favor of consumers who can now research, compare and purchase anything instantly and have it delivered anywhere. Today marketers must be always on and always live, leading many to embrace a 'working live' philosophy.
Adopting the key principles of both real-time marketing and responsive design is allowing brands to deliver on the promise of real-time like never before.
Real-time isn't a singular tactic, but a larger strategy: live activation. When done right, a well-defined live activation strategy has the ability to connect with consumers at the right moments, while strengthening both brand relevance and audience relationships.
With real-time conversations dominating newsfeeds across social channels, MEC took a deeper look to better understand audience behavior and how consumers are contributing to the conversation during television programming.
Read MEC Spotlight on Live Activation
Social platforms embrace live video
Live web video is taking off in 2016.
Platforms are increasing their focus on live products, creating new opportunities for brands. Recent developments include:
- In February, Mark Zuckerberg declared live video a top priority; at F8 this year, the company said it has built a way for people to stream via devices as well, such as drones.
- Twitter recently won a bidding war for the rights to live-stream NFL games.
- Snapchat has rolled out a channel for “live stories”—short video compilations chronicling current events from multiple perspectives.
- Instagram has promoted video reels from the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl.
- In January, Google debuted real-time advertising service for its sites and apps, including YouTube.
- Amazon.com has been investing heavily in live video, and it recently unveiled plans for its first live daily talk show.
"Ustream, a live video technology acquired by IBM in January, says people spend two to three times as much time watching videos of an activity as it is taking place rather than after the fact.”
– Bloomberg Gadfly
Read more: Bloomberg Gadfly says 2016 is the year when tech companies go gaga for live Web video.
Twitter has been the alpha dog of live environments - but is it still at the top?
Twitter has been making headlines in 2016. The NFL deal and the company's integration of Periscope, have increased live video capabilities dramatically. But in January, it shook up its executive suite, and there have been ongoing questions about user growth.
CEO Jack Dorsey believes the next decade will be even more grand for Twitter. He's particularly high on Periscope’s potential to facilitate social conversations around live video streams of everyday events, big and small. He sees the app as yet another way that Twitter will serve, in the years ahead, as the biggest, most enlivening watering hole ever devised.
Read Bloomberg Businessweek's recent cover story on Twitter's 10 year anniversary, including interview with Jack Dorsey
Watch Emily Chang's interview with Twitter COO Adam Bain on Bloomberg West:
Facebook is betting big on live video.
Since Facebook Inc. rolled out live video for celebrities last year, the service has become a popular tool for broadcasters to entice TV viewers to watch shows when they air - a challenge in the era of Netflix and Hulu, when audiences have more options than ever.
Ben Blatt, ABC’s head of digital marketing, said in an interview: “We want to continue to encourage and incentivize audiences around the idea of meeting up at a time and place for a shared experience.”
ABC isn’t alone. The Fox network used Facebook to bring viewers backstage with country singer Keith Urban on “American Idol,” while Discovery Communications Inc. asked the stars of its nonfiction shows to answers fans’ questions. More than 2 million watched Captain Josh Harris answer questions before the season premiere of “Deadliest Catch.” The actual episode drew 2.55 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.
Read more on Bloomberg.com
"We're certainly interested in the power and ease of it... but if you're asking me whether it can scale -- no one knows."
-- Bloomberg Global Head of Digital Scott Havens on Facebook Live and what it means to publishers
Will you use a live platform for marketing in 2016?
- Definitely -- it's already in my roadmap
- It's very likely -- but I need to understand how to max my budget
- I'm exploring it -- but I need to learn more about the options
And then there's Snapchat.
Earlier this year, Marriott International, PepsiCo, Amazon.com, and Budweiser had ads appear within Snapchat’s Super Bowl coverage - the company's highest-profile marketing deals yet.
And even bigger than videos posted by Kylie Jenner—who has 10 million followers on the platform—are Snapchat’s own Live Stories. These are mashups of news events culled from the feeds of Snapchat users and produced by the company’s 100-person content team of producers, editors, and a handful of journalists, who sometimes add commentary or contribute more footage.
Live Stories segments such as New York’s 2015 Snowmageddon and the Coachella music festival have drawn viewership in the tens of millions. The company says users watch roughly 8 billion videos on its platform each day, about the same number as Facebook, which has 10 times as many users as Snapchat. According to Nielsen, 41 percent of adults in the U.S. under 35 spend time on Snapchat.
Read more: How Snapchat Built a Business by Confusing Olds
"Snapchat.. has found big success with a "Live" feature that compiles video snippets from bystanders and participants at events like the Kentucky Derby or the final day of Fashion Week in Paris."
– Bloomberg Gadfly
The Next Frontier
Ecommerce goes live
An emerging space for brands and consumers to interact
Facebook unveils chatbots at F8 to drive ecommerce
Last year, Facebook opened up Messenger (the second-most-popular U.S. mobile app behind Facebook itself, according to ComScore) to a handful of partners. That's allowed people to use Messenger to hail an Uber, or track an order from Everlane.
Now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is dramatically expanding plans for Messenger. He outlined plans at the recent Facebook Developer Conference for having users chat with artificially intelligent bots to do everything from getting sports updates to ordering a car service.
Further into the future, Zuckerberg sees people interacting with virtual representations of places and objects, accessible through digital applications, instead of purchasing the objects or traveling in real life. “A lot of the things we think about as physical objects today, like a TV, will actually just be a $1 app in an app store,” he said at the conference.
Read the full story on Bloomberg.com
Read MEC's Fast Take on F8
"we have 15MM businesses… and 900MM people using messenger – and they send over 1BN messages a month to those businesses.”
- David Marcus, Facebook VP of Messaging Products
Watch the Bloomberg TV interview
And Facebook isn't alone
Artificial intelligence is already enabling meaningful real-time interactions, and retail tech startups are building new algorithms:
- Tencent Holdings Ltd., a Chinese Internet giant that operates WeChat, Asia's most popular messaging app, has supported robo-accounts for years.
- Telegram, a secure, global messaging app rooted in Russia, has bots all over its network.
- Slack Technologies Inc., a messaging startup run by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, offers automated services that answer questions or chime into chat rooms with notifications.
- Startup BloomReach works with retailers to combine browsing and purchase data from their sites with data on what's trending socially to serve relevant content to consumers in real-time.
"In China, 700 million people use Tencent's WeChat to pay their taxes, split a dinner with friends, hail a cab or pay the rent."
- Bloomberg Gadfly
Read more from Bloomberg Gadfly
Are you developing a strategy for creating social opportunities for e-commerce?
- Yes, it's a priority to be on the leading edge of new developments
- Yes, but I'm still getting a handle on the tech
- No, I need to learn more before I can develop a strategy