SXSW 2015: Insights on Ad Technology and Innovations Beyond Shia LeBeouf’s Heartbeat App
After more than 20 years of SXSW, the conference that brings together thousands of startups, brands, marketers plus filmmakers and musicians continues to impress.
While each individual’s experience at SXSW is different, the true power of SXSW is in how it convenes different audiences while showcasing new innovation and the latest industry trends.
BPI attended the Interactive portion of the conference and spoke on three panels about the future of the LGBT movement with Scott Zumwalt, how to close the gender gap in business with Jen Nedeau and a main stage interview between BPI President Andrew Bleeker, Dan Rather and Dan Pfeiffer on the changing media landscape.
Here are a couple of our larger takeaways from the conference. For more marketing specific insights jump to the section below:
- Meerkat Steals The Show: Meerkat, the mobile broadcasting app that distributes live streams via Twitter, proved that SXSW is still a place where tech companies can break through. Despite the news at the beginning of the conference that Twitter pulled Meerkat’s connection to its social graph, the press attention only gave the app more visibility. By the end of the conference, you couldn’t go to a party without seeing someone “meerkating” the scene to his or her online audience. Many people have tried to tap into the live stream market before, but the differentiator with Meerkat is that it doesn’t require an invitation to view the stream. You can simply start broadcasting and distribute to your audience on Twitter. The public facing stream maintains accountability and keeps the feed clear of spammers (for now).
- On-Demand Economy Makes It Easy To Optimize Your Life: The on-demand app economy was out in full force at SXSW. Beyond transit services like Uber, Car2Go and Lyft, a subtle theme at SXSW is how busy tech people are optimizing their life through new apps such as Reserve, Alfred, and HomeJoy, among others. The key theme seems to be: why waste time doing laundry, cleaning or making dinner reservations when you could be launching the next big tech product.
In addition to our major takeaways, we zoned in on marketing trends as well. Below are a few insights from several panels on ad metrics and the future of mobile:
- Publishers and Brands Agree on Power of Viewability: Viewable ad inventory continues to be a primary focus of brands, advertisers, and publishers at SXSW. At one panel, a speaker from The New York Times predicted that in the next year, major news websites will be redesigned to maximize ad viewability. Read about how we ensure viewability in our ad campaigns here.
- Advanced Ad Metrics Still Needed: Publishers who spoke at SXSW recognized the need for more sophisticated campaign metrics as advertisers demand more accountability. Representatives from Vox and Medium strongly agreed that some measure of attitudinal shifts – not engagement or time on site – is what needs to be measured.
- Native Advertising Needs To Evolve: The promise of native advertising hasn’t fully been realized due to a lack of targeting capabilities. Publishers who are trying to win at native advertising see the need to facilitate more sophisticated message delivery, such as sequential messaging across channels.
- Lack of Quality Plagues Mobile Ads: Big corporate brands like Coca-Cola, Kraft and Papa John’s talked about how they are nervous to expand their mobile presence with mobile ad units due to the lack of production quality. Coca-Cola’s marketing team has extremely high quality demands for TV ads and worry their brand is damaged by ad units on mobile that can’t hold a similar quality.
- Moments Matter (But Know When It Isn’t Your Moment): Panelists from big brands agreed that key moments matter especially on mobile, but too often feel they are trying to inject themselves into moments that don’t make sense for the brand (then suffer for it).
- Pre-Roll Wins All Day, Every Day: Among mobile units discussed, there was unanimous support for how to expand the use of shorter pre-roll programs via mobile platforms and use pre-roll as a national extension of branded story-telling.
Finally, on what not to care about at SXSW, that came from Shia Labeouf’s panel where he demoed the “power” of heartbeat-watching apps. Yes, you can actually listen to his heartbeat here.