DIGITAL & MEDIA PREDICTIONS 2014
Millward Brown experts from around the globe predict the hottest multi-screen marketing trends for 2014, and provide recommendations to help advertisers change channels with confidence.Click here to begin
Millward Brown experts from around the globe predict the hottest multi-screen marketing trends for 2014, and provide recommendations to help advertisers change channels with confidence.Click here to begin
The notion of marketing activity being online or offline or mobile will cease to be a meaningful debate in 2014.
“Screen Agnosticism” refers to both the way consumers watch video content and the mindset marketers need to adopt when planning video campaigns. Marketers will move beyond preoccupations with classifying the full array of screen sizes and the appropriateness of content for each. Instead, they will adopt an agnostic viewpoint where the benefit of maximizing audience has primacy over optimization by channel. Meanwhile audiences will consume video content by whichever means is most convenient in a given moment. Content is king and the screen is simply the most convenient window through which to view it.
This might be long-form content on mobiles or short-form content on connected TVs. It could mean beginning an episode of your favorite series on your mobile during your evening commute, switching to the TV when you get home, and then deciding to watch the next episode on your tablet in bed. Similarly you may receive a great piece of viral content on your laptop at work, which you then show to your partner via your smart TV later that evening.
The availability of video content and the technology to view across devices have coincided to create the conditions required for this behavior change to become the norm over the next 12 months. Products like Chromecast and AppleTV make syncing content across screens effortless, and YouTube now remembers where logged-in users left off when they restart a video at a later point in time, on any device. At the same time, ads are seamlessly optimized for the screen size at the point of exposure—essentially a YouTube ad campaign running as online video and mobile video can also appear on TV—the screen is simply dictated by consumer behavior.
So for marketers, the implications are clear. If, when you create a video ad or a piece of video content, you picture in your mind a nuclear family sitting on the couch watching a TV, you’re misunderstanding the multitude of ways video content will be consumed globally in 2014.
This will necessitate an ever greater focus on research to understand exposure across devices in order to plan the optimal utilization of media in an agnostic way and deliver strong creative assets efficiently to video audiences.
Rob Valsler, Singapore
In 2013, the internet exploded with a new trend: micro-video. There are now many websites that allow users to upload short videos, typically shot on a mobile phone. The trend started with Vine, a Twitter service allowing for six-second looping videos. However, competitors were quick off the mark and include Instagram video (15 seconds), MixBit (16 seconds), Tumblr GIFs (short animated images, similar to Vine) and numerous smaller players like Viddy, Qwiki, Tout and Klip.
In 2014, this trend will continue with more video uploads across a fragmented set of platforms. This phenomenon is likely to continue to be largely mobile focused, but already desktop Vine aggregators are becoming popular and Vine content is being shared on established platforms such as YouTube. For the short term, micro-video will continue to be dominated by Vine, Tumblr and Instagram–Vine due to the fact that it largely popularized the format, Instagram due to its already massive user base, and Tumblr GIFs due to the extreme resurgence in the format’s popularity.
Micro-video offers the promise of more engagement than traditional online video for brands, with branded Vines four times more likely to be shared than traditional online video. This makes the trend an enticing one for those brands willing to leap in feet first. These short formats, however, demand a focus on creativity coupled with simplicity, a trend that may well transcend micro-video and start to influence more traditional online video and perhaps even TV advertising. Marketers may be tempted towards the longer timeframe offered by Instagram, since this is closer to a traditional length execution, but this risks not taking advantage of the unique audience that both Vine and Tumblr provide. At the moment, the bulk of the branded content will be shared virally as opposed to paid promotion, but if the history of advertising on platforms such as Twitter and YouTube repeats, then within a few years commercialized advertising on these platforms is a near certainty.
The popularity of micro-video ads, coupled with the ease with which the content can transcend the mobile, tablet, PC and even TV gap, could eventually result in micro-video becoming the most portable video format across screens.
Brands should remember that the existence of a platform does not necessitate brand presence. Rather, brands must make fundamental decisions about where they should be active, how appropriate these formats are to their target consumers, and whether they can adequately pursue a micro-video strategy before embarking in this direction. Getting the creative and the tone right within these restricted formats is not straightforward, but many more brands will no doubt follow the leads of Coca-Cola, Oreo and Red Bull to experiment further in this space.
Jarrod Payne, South Africa
Hot on the heels of rising tablet and smartphone ownership, wearable technology looks set to be the next big thing that will start to break into the mainstream in 2014.
The health and fitness market will continue to play a key role in bringing wearable technology closer to consumers; many mobile health wearables such as Nike+ and the Fitbit tracker are already available and growing rapidly.
Smartwatches such as those from Pebble and Omate have recently been joined by offers from Sony and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear; Apple’s long-rumored “iWatch” may well appear in 2014 too. Tackling things from a slightly different viewpoint, Google Glass is also likely to expand its restricted “Explorer Program” to a wider public launch in 2014. The collective ingenuity, competitiveness and marketing muscle of these firms means that 2014 could see the start of a wearable tech explosion. Wearable devices look set to evolve from “nice to have” tech to “something I want” and then to “something I need.”
Wearables will transform the way we interact with our existing screens since they enable users to read instant messages, take photos, listen to music or conduct a search, all without reaching for their smartphone. No single device has yet nailed this perfectly and some safety and privacy concerns are emerging, but wearables are getting ever smarter and improving iteratively.
With virtually limitless applications to a number of verticals, the wearable technology market will represent a huge value proposition for many ecosystem members, from manufacturers to app developers through to advertisers.
Wearable technology will offer unique media opportunities for brands to captivate target audiences and build meaningful differentiation. Brands could create a device of their own such as Nissan’s Nismo watch or work through friendly apps to enhance the consumer experience. The challenge will be developing a deep understanding of what consumers want from these new wearable screens so that brands can deliver something useful and relevant to their existing proposition.
Adriana Sousa, Brazil
Consumer use of “screens” as a primary media vehicle is not new news. Television has been the mainstay for years to reach the broadest number of consumers. But think of the recent explosion of other screen-based devices; we interact with screens in taxis, airplanes, billboards, ATM machines, and video games as accepted and expected parts of our daily information flow. Screen-based mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are becoming universal, adding a social, local, mobile, and highly personal component to our consumption of messages on screens. For example, my new mobile device describes itself as “Life Companion” when switched on and, given how many times I feel compelled to check it each day, it is an apt description.
In this “always on” world of interaction with many media, the importance of understanding each consumer encounter with a brand grows dramatically. This understanding requires a 360 lens, since no interaction is isolated from all the others. They continue throughout the day, across various moments we all experience, but are often delivered in personal ways.
From a marketing effectiveness perspective, this means that granularity is the key to insights and decisions. Marketers need windows into the specifics of each consumer’s interactions with each screen for each brand. However, marketers struggle because the digitized data that sits behind this is not yet fully linked across screens. The perfect single-source data set with all of an individual’s exposures, attitudes and actions is yet to exist. However, in the era of Big Data, this is changing. Consider that the totality of a household’s exposure to advertising on TV is recorded by set-top boxes, and viewers’ mobile devices are being equipped to listen to TVs via audio fingerprinting. These mobile devices already capture numerous interactions from social media and can be leveraged for short attitudinal surveys. Those survey responses are in turn being linked to panels that are tied to other consumer behaviors and choices (specific sales, traffic patterns, etc.).
In 2014, the technology to tie together the pieces of the multi-screen puzzle will be leveraged on a much wider scale than in the past. The central question will remain: How are all brand encounters uniquely and synergistically impacting sales and brand perceptions? The ability to passively tie together multi-screen interactions will gradually enhance our ability to answer this question.
Bill Pink, USA
Less is more. In a multi-screen world, we focus on various stimuli in quick succession. More often than not, we use “Fast Thinking” to make quick decisions about what we will interact with, taking only 1/20 of a second to make decisions on the appeal of digital stimuli. Brands that design their content with a direct and to-the-point approach will tend to succeed. Minimalist designs such as Apple’s icons and the tiles of Windows 8 help us focus on specific information and have been designed to work well across multiple screens. Other brands will also increasingly adopt a minimalist multi-screen mindset as they architect their future brand aesthetic.
In the latest installment of the James Bond series (Skyfall), Daniel Craig’s character has an encounter with his new, younger Quartermaster (“Q” played by Ben Whishaw). They meet in the National Gallery and admire a painting together before Q hands over a gun and a radio. Compared to the more exciting gadgets of yesteryear (jetpacks and wristwatches with lasers), these offerings seem benign and dull. Yet later on in the film, they prove invaluable.
Our own eyetracking results for digital display ads suggest that just one appealing visual is enough to attract attention. That attention is retained more by ads with a crisp, clear appearance that require minimal cognitive load. A brand such as Dove (and its Real Beauty campaign) has exactly the right kind of visual identity to benefit from this learning and deliver strong impact across online, TV, and mobile screens (as well as in print and outdoor media).
The 2013 BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands positions Corona (a beer from Mexico) as the top brand in the region. Most people have seen Corona advertisements; sunny beach backdrop, sounds of waves gently crashing into each other, the bottle front and center; a sense of tranquility—minimalism at its finest! This approach continues to transfer quite seamlessly across screens. Brands that interface with their consumers with this in mind, will most likely capture their attention faster and retain it for longer. With so many screens to look at and so many competing distractions, instant recognition via minimalist design is increasingly the aim of great brands.
Jorge Bueso, Honduras
Multi-screen device usage is creating a new landscape for content consumption that can be simultaneous or sequential and can be driven by related or unrelated content.
“Meshing” is simultaneous usage of multiple devices for related content. For example, this could be watching the cooking channel on TV and searching for the recipe online. Marketers will tap into this by ensuring their advertising content is an extension of the programming content. Messages will be relevant, fluid, and related. Real-time social marketing is a specific application of meshing that requires brands to be ready to respond immediately to social media comments and will be increasingly expected as more brands seek to be part of the social TV conversation. Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout set a bar that others will now seek to surpass.
“Stacking” is simultaneous usage of multiple devices for unrelated content. For example, this could be checking social media while a football game is on TV. Marketers will tap into this by understanding that unrelated distractions can sometimes be just as welcome as an extension of what’s happening on TV. Brands with no connection whatsoever to sports may reach out online to the long-suffering partners of sports nuts during games.
“Shifting” is sequential usage of multiple devices for related content. For example, this could be browsing for airline tickets initially via a smartphone but completing the purchase via a laptop. Marketers will tap into this by ensuring the consumer experience is consistent across all platforms. Responsive web design (adapting web content to every device—mobile, tablet, PC) will become non-negotiable in 2014. Added to this, being able to track the consumer’s path to purchase across devices will be key, so that there is no break in the brand experience journey.
The final piece of the multi-screen media puzzle is sequential, non-related content. The same person reads news on their smartphone during their evening commute, and then tunes in to a TV drama at home—two completely unrelated events, but still two opportunities for a single brand to contact that consumer. Marketers will tap into these opportunities via deep audience understanding. The exact multi-screen sequences will be hard to predict, but precise targeting and consistency of messaging will deliver success.
All of these multi-screen behaviors offer brands new opportunities for connecting with people if they can understand and navigate the landscape.
Monique Leech, South Africa
2014 will be the year in which we truly start to understand the consumer path to purchase across all off-line and online touch points. The concept of the omni-channel consumer is well understood, with businesses striving to ensure a seamless consumer experience across all touch points, including brick-and-mortar stores, call center interactions, and direct mail outreach as well as screen-based personal computer browsing, mobile device usage, and TV advertising exposure. Although consumers seamlessly move across these channels, many businesses have yet to set up systems to optimize the consumer experience across them. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that market research to help organizations understand these channels and their interplay has been disjointed at best.
There was a time not long ago when organizations had little visibility into the tactics that actually bore fruit. The industry responded to this challenge by devising smart but not entirely satisfying ways to measure success. The emergence of a digitally-enabled world promised an eminently more measurable environment. However, there were now two disparate measurement realms: the traditional non-digital realm and the digital realm. Organizations had their traditional research and their digital research, with little overlap between them. Then the mobile revolution rapidly changed consumer behavior, compounding the measurement challenges and introducing yet another silo of market intelligence.
The good news is that the market research industry is responding. Market intelligence vendors are standardizing, aligning, and integrating measurement systems and metrics. 2014 will be the year in which a standardized omni-channel view of consumer behavior will become a reality, allowing organizations to truly understand the path to purchase for their consumers. For instance, we already know that 32% of flat-panel TV shoppers will consult online reviews before visiting a store, 72% of shoppers want to see TVs in a store before considering a purchase, and that 53% of shoppers will subsequently visit that retailer’s website. And soon we will be able to go deeper. We will have integrated data to understand the role of each online and offline touch point on the consumer path to purchase, across all channels and all digital devices. We will then be able to segment that path to purchase data to derive valuable insights to power both strategic and tactical marketing investments.
Conor O’Mahony, USA
Consumers are spending more time in front of the TV with digital and mobile devices, and social media is the main way people are interacting with TV content. In the past year, it’s become clear that social TV is, for all intents and purposes, Twitter TV. There will be other platforms, like Facebook or other niche networks, that will now amplify their presence in the space and may expand the arena; however, Twitter will continue to define social TV in the immediate future.
One way advertisers are already taking advantage of this is via TV ads with hashtags and promoted tweets using that same hashtag. Another way is via branded tweets targeted at the chatter around a specific TV show. In 2014, the social TV opportunity will be expanded as Twitter introduces additional audience-based targeting opportunities. Based on their data connecting TV to social media usage on the second screen, Twitter will be able to define like-minded communities organized around TV viewing habits. Eventually this will lead to more sophisticated psychographic targeting when those audiences are further segmented based on other interests and habits.
For brands that are title sponsors of a show or an event, this means they will be able to continue targeting their show-specific audience long after the event itself, and not necessarily just when those people are tweeting or reading about show-specific content. This puts less pressure on real-time “meshing” of TV and a second screen, as brands can also target these audiences at other potentially less distracting times. It also opens up opportunities for advertisers to participate in social TV in a broader way, by replicating a TV target audience in the Twittersphere—for example, by targeting people interested in all kinds of sports programming, not just those watching one specific sports show. In this way, social TV marketing will evolve from being just a narrative to becoming part of an audience’s lifestyle.
Anne Czernek, USA
Smartphones are at the hub of young consumers’ lives. Mobile use is deeply personal for this generation, and the bulk of their living, learning, and buying will shift to smartphones even as they continue to multi-task across their other digital devices. Because of this, youth-focused brands will lead the field in providing a seamless multi-screen experience across devices in order to retain attention and to drive brand consumption among this audience.
These marketers will need to keep in mind that the younger generation is very fickle. Even on the smartphone, they move constantly between social media sites, micro blogs, internet browsers, and instant messaging applications. Only the most innovative, forward-thinking and relevant marketing, offers and products will succeed in holding their attention. Creating a “buzz” in their digital sphere and being able to connect with them at their level, in a language and style that is youth-centric, will be crucial—especially for niche brands that depend on word-of-mouth referrals.
Marketing efforts will therefore focus on multi-screen strategies that primarily reach the younger generation via social media with something exciting and fun, since these social networks are rapidly becoming the platforms for all their information-seeking and decision-making. A brand that can “befriend them” will in turn be assured of loyal brand ambassadors who endorse and broadcast their choice to their world. These brands will also be perceived to be more credible.
Constant innovation will be key in 2014 since the youth of today are attracted to game changers as well as trendy and fashion-forward brands. Therefore, successful youth-targeted mobile ads will be noticeably different from conventional TV ads or even online ads, in order to demonstrate that the brand is on-trend and up to date.
Rakesh Kumar, Singapore
It is clear that consumers now live in a multi-screen environment, where TV consumption is being supplemented by ever more time spent viewing other screens. Adapting to this change remains a huge challenge to marketers, especially those big advertisers who historically relied on mass TV media. Marketers want to follow and communicate with consumers as they journey across multiple screens, but some still have concerns about whether laptop, tablet, and smartphone screens are large enough or delivering high enough video quality to ensure good advertising attention and effect.
Our evidence suggests these concerns are unfounded and that appropriate budget allocation across screens will increase ROI. One recent Millward Brown study in China found that transferring 40% of the TV budget to other screens increased total reach by 20% and reduced investment required by 30%. Evidence such as this will continue to drive growth in online video advertising, especially pre-roll, during 2014.
As marketers increasingly plan for multi-screen video success, we will see many interconnected developments. More video advertising will be created to work well across all screens, and not just optimized for TV. Organizations will restructure as they realize that TV and digital media buying can no longer be split. Many multi-screen video strategies will be defined by a focus on optimizing cost-effective reach. To enable this, more use will be made of unified media measurement currencies (e.g. TV and Internet GRPs) as well as multi-media reach-based optimization tools. Last, but by no means least, further effectiveness learning about the roles of different screens in building specific brand associations will prove the value of multi-screen strategies and will also be used to improve future campaign performance.
Peking Tan, China
More than ever before, our lives are filled with colorful glowing rectangular screens that show us anything from revolutions in Cairo to recipes for kale, all in an instant. Marketers are obsessed with the four screens—TV, PC, tablet, smartphone—and how to get their messages across via these platforms. But, before that conundrum is solved, the very question itself may be changing.
Technological innovations are taking the traditional screen beyond the TV, PC, tablet, and phone and onto gadgets from glasses to watches to clothing—and don’t forget elevators and taxis and bike shares. The screen as we know it is changing into something we may barely recognize. Now, beyond our multi-screen strategy, we must answer the question: “How do we market across clothing, wearable devices, and LED light-up cars?”
Those who thought that Google Glass was innovative because it could project a message literally in front of the wearer’s eyes will be astounded to see some of the platforms that will be coming in the next year: clothing woven with flexible LED thread and flexible processors built in that can deliver messages and capture data (Nike is already experimenting with this), advertising infused with heat sensors to market ice cream on a hot day (as was done in London), and LED-covered taxis that geo-locate to deliver messages relevant to the neighborhood it is passing through. The very idea of a simple screen is being blown up.
For marketers, the challenge now becomes: “How do I create and deliver a message that is constantly contextually relevant and what data do I need to have that message evolve?” An added challenge is the question: “How do I ensure that the creative is even more appealing, given the proliferation of messages is exponential?”
Now is the time to start thinking about these questions, before you see someone on the street with a T-shirt that flashes an ad for your competitor whenever they walk by your store.
Catie Williams, USA
Before digital came along, many marketers almost exclusively obsessed about TV as if it were the only touch point that mattered in brand marketing terms. Many now risk swapping one obsession for another by focusing on “multi-screen” alone. However, the most successful marketers will be the ones that implement truly integrated multi-channel strategies that stretch well beyond "screen" media.
In truth, this narrow mindset was partly a result of the inadequate approaches used to evaluate multi-channel performance. However, more sophisticated evaluation methodologies, such as our own CrossMedia Research, shine a clearer light on the truths of integrated marketing performance. The most telling facts are that:
All this has happened despite the explosion of digital (“screen”) media options across the globe. Screen media do perform well within our CrossMedia studies, but we are sure that marketers who think more holistically than “screens” alone, and who implement truly integrated multi-channel strategies will be the biggest winners in 2014.
James Galpin, China
Consider the role your multi-screen media plays in the overall channel mix. People don’t yet spend their entire lives staring at screens (though it may sometimes feel that way!).