2 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
As we embark on another year, the only constant in the world of
marketing and communications seems to be that of change.
Here in Australia, 2015 saw the ‘official’ arrival of Netflix, a
telco outbid Foxtel for EPL rights, and two TV networks merged
to become a new force to be reckoned with.
In our 2015 Trends book, we predicted the rising importance
of trends such as emojis, entertainment on demand, ad-free
subscriptions and voice activated services.
This year’s trends involve two big themes:
• The rise of closed, competing ecosystems
• The development of artificial intelligence and actionable
I hope you find the trends we explore in this book both
interesting and thought provoking. Please feel free to discuss
any of the content with me or a member of the Carat team.
National Head of Product, Carat Australia
and thanks for taking the time to read our view on the
TOP 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016.
310 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
STAYING UP TO DATE
A big thanks from the team here in Australia goes out to
Dan Calladine, our Global Head of Media Futures, working out
of our Carat London office. His original 2016 trend predictions
are the foundation of this work. Be sure to follow him on Twitter
Thanks also goes to Christine McKinnon, our Head of Insights
here in Australia, for her consumer-led approach to interrogating
the relevance and implications of these trends on our shores.
Finally, thanks to Tess Murphy, our Marketing Manager, for her
contribution to content, editing, and managing the contributions
of all involved.
To keep up to date on what you need to know in the world of marketing,
communications and technology, stay in touch via any of the following platforms:
Follow us at
To receive our fortnightly
WALLED GARDENS 7
THE RISE OF AD AVOIDANCE 11
THE EVOLUTION OF SEARCH 15
MESSAGING & NOTIFICATIONS 19
ALGORITHMS VS. CURATION 23
7 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
Consumers are confronted with an overwhelming (and exponentially increasing)
amount of content every day, particularly in the online space. The authors of
that content – brands, publishers, their friends – are all battling for a slice of that
consumer’s finite amount of attention.
Distraction is everywhere, and dwell time is rapidly dwindling. In response to this,
we are witnessing a resurgence of the ‘walled garden’ online. Walled gardens
are closed online eco-systems where the publisher has complete control over all
applications, content, and media. They are also able to restrict access to non-
approved applications or content.
Examples of walled gardens include Snapchat Discover, Facebook Instant Articles,
Twitter Moments, and the ‘YouTube for Kids’ app. Walled gardens often occur within
apps based on the ease and speed of use.
The incentive for publishers to implement walled gardens is two pronged:
firstly, and most simply, the ability to keep their audience in one place for longer,
given they can browse third-party content without ever leaving the platform.
This minimises potential for distraction, and maximises the publisher’s share of
engagement and time spent, enhancing their ability to monetise their content.
Secondly is the ability to gather valuable consumer data. Consumers within a
walled garden have a persistent and unique ID in the form of a pixel that allows
the publisher or platform owner to track, engage, and better monetise the user in
their content consumption.
Perhaps the best example of this is Facebook. Their requirement for users to log in
across all devices in order to access the platform means they know exactly who their
users are, the content they consume, and on what device.
The benefit to the consumer is a more relevant and seamless experience, as
seen with Facebook’s highly targeted, contextually relevant advertising. The level
of publisher control also means that advertising must adhere to set standards
that are highly mindful of the user experience. As a result, native advertising
tends to dominate.
8 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
Facebook’s Instant Articles landed in Australia mid-2015, with key publishers
Buzzfeed and The Guardian securing launch partnerships with the platform as
a step towards a smarter content distribution strategy.
Uptake of Twitter Moments has been slow due to the current cost to advertisers;
currently this is being pioneered by key players in the film and entertainment space.
We have seen strong uptake of Snapchat Discover locally with NewsLifeMedia,
CNN, MTV, Daily Mail and VICE as partners. In addition, brands like KFC,
Telstra, Westpac, CommBank, and Mondelez-owned Sour Patch Kids are already
using this platform to share stories and create conversation with their audiences.
• Walled Gardens are here to stay: Walled gardens are likely to continue
to proliferate at the expense of the open web. Brands will need to choose
major partners and work with them to create deeper and richer solutions
that will likely favour a bespoke native content approach for each.
• Be prepared to adapt your programmatic approach: The return of walled
gardens also has ramifications for programmatic advertising. Bespoke
formats mean that programmatic advertising will become more challenging,
and data-tracking delivery and performance more siloed. In response to
this, Carat and Amnet are currently collaborating with publishers to resolve
limitations and test native programmatic.
• Leverage opportunities to evade ad blocking: The threat of ad blocking
could also be seen as an incentive for publishers to move to walled gardens.
On the open web, it’s easier to identify and block ads; within walled gardens,
publishers have more control over how ads appear, making them more
difficult to block with ad blocking technology.
910 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
ALL WITHIN THE WALLS OF SNAPCHAT
Some interesting Snapchat stats that show why marketers
‘want inside that walled garden’:
19% of American teens
believe Snapchat to be the most
important social network – that’s
more than Facebook!
3m viewers per day
— the average number for
Cosmopolitan on Snapchat Discover
4b video views a day
That’s the same number as Facebook!
generated by iHeartRadio via
Snapchat during its two-day music
festival in mid-September
Source: AdWeek, October 2015
11 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
THE RISE OF AD AVOIDANCE
Every day, people weigh up the perceived value exchange between consuming
ads and getting free content. Whether it’s FTA TV ads, a pre-roll video on YouTube,
or an ad interrupting their favourite Spotify playlist, they have to decide whether
or not the incentive of accessing that content free of charge justifies the investment
of their attention in your ad.
Up until now, the balance of power has tended to favour advertisers as the ‘gatekeepers’
of that content; the toll that needs to be paid to access the content ‘freeway’.
However, the tables are starting to turn.
The recent proliferation of cost-effective content subscription services – online radio,
video on demand, music-streaming – means that advertisers are quickly losing their
bargaining power. The lure of ad-free environments for a nominal cost – not to
mention access to exclusive content e.g. Netflix Originals – is becoming a far more
Put simply, consumers are opting to pay the ‘toll’ in dollars, in order to make
savings in the currencies of time and attention – our most valuable commodities
in this ‘attention economy’.
Even for those not willing to part with monthly subscription fees, the rise in
popularity and accessibility of ad blocking technology means advertisers are still
not on easy street.
These changes in the local landscape are challenging advertisers to work harder
and get more creative in determining the value they are able to add to the equation.
12 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
The penetration of ad blocking technologies in Australia is estimated to be
approximately 18%; that’s 3.7million people currently using these services.1
Traditionally, ad blocking software was largely the domain of the desktop but is
now far more prevalent across mobile devices. Further illustrating this point, the
day immediately following the launch of iOS 9, Apple’s latest operating system,
two content blockers – ‘Peace’ and ‘Purify’ – entered the Top 20 app charts in
both the US and the UK, with Peace even taking the number one spot in the US.2
Music streaming services, like Spotify and the recently-launched Apple Music,
continue to aggressively promote their subscription services. Spotify estimates
that approximately 30% of Australian subscribers pay for their premium service –
notably higher than the global average of 25%.3
Global streaming giant Netflix, which now has over 69 million paying subscribers
, popularised the idea of paying for ad-free video content rather than
getting it for free, subsidised by advertising. 2015 saw the introduction of Netflix
to Australia; having reached over 968,0005
homes already, it has far outpaced
local competitors Stan and Presto. The average (global) subscriber household
now watches a staggering two hours of ad-free content per day.6
With the introduction of new player, YouTube Red, to Australia in the not-too-
distant future, this will throw yet another VoD option into the mix, creating an
even more competitive and difficult-to-sustain market.
• Remove reliance on standardised ad formats
Publishers are placing increasing emphasis on ad formats undetectable to ad
blockers. Native advertising & sponsorships, executed well, will ensure brands
are able to continue their conversation. Alongside this brands should consider
using their own products as vehicles to deliver additional content (think Coca-
Cola’s #colouryoursummer campaign).
• Brands to become publishers
Purposeful content will become the currency of the attention economy.
Brands can’t rely solely on traditional media outlets to generate this,
but instead should invest creating or curating it themselves. Don’t
underestimate the role consumers can play in this process either.
1310 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
OF AD BLOCKING
IN AUSTRALIA IS
18% OR 3.7MILLION
1 PageFair, August 2015
2 The Guardian, September 2015
3 Mediaweek, August 2015
4 Huffington Post: Tech, October 2015
5 Roy Morgan, October 2015
6 BTIG Research, April 2015
15 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
Search is rapidly evolving, becoming more sophisticated (and admittedly, more
complex) every day. This should be music to the ears of users, who will be
increasingly able to reap the benefits of search functionality that is both more
platform-specific and user-specific, offering unprecedented levels of personalisation.
Given the proliferation of connected devices, it should come as no surprise that
more Google searches now take place on mobile devices than on computers in
ten countries, including the US and Japan.1
This change in device preference has a broader ‘ripple effect’ on the search
industry. More search on mobile means more voice search via the likes of Google
Now or Cortana, more visual search via Blippar or Pinterest, and more location-
based search via Yelp or LonelyPlanet for example. All this creates not only a wealth
of opportunities for personalisation, but also innovation.
For yet another example of the impact of users’ love of mobile search, look no
further than the fact it is now possible to search content within mobile applications,
rather than being ‘limited’ to the web alone. This will soon start to roll out across
wearable devices and augmented reality, becoming increasingly user-friendly and
further engrained in our everyday lives.
The rise in popularity of personal assistant apps will also have an impact on the
way we search. Rather than waiting to be told what a user is searching for, personal
assistant apps – such as Facebook’s mysterious ‘M’, Google Assistant, or the
beloved ‘Siri’ – will specialise in anticipating user needs and providing prompts.
With the hotly anticipated mainstream arrival of artificial intelligence, the predictive
abilities of these ‘PAs’ will only be further enhanced. Imagine a world where after
missing a flight, all it takes is a voice driven query to your PA to have them shop for
and buy new flights and accommodation (based on your brand, price, and historical
preferences), cancel meetings and apologise to the family.
Not quite as exciting as that prospect, but still important, is the continuing trend
towards understanding how search works with other digital and offline channel via
attribution. Paid search especially, is too-often looked at in silo, invariably inflating
and/or deflating its collective contribution to effectiveness.
THE EVOLUTION OF SEARCH
1 Google Inside AdWords, 2015
16 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
In this bold new world, search or app optimisation will no longer be for the sole
purpose of gaining a higher ranking in web or app store SERPs as a way of
driving more prospects to your owned assets.
Instead, advertisers will be going out to proactively find consumers, wherever they
might be. Advertisers’ products, brand information, and pricing data will all need
to be flexible enough to reach users anywhere – whether via smartphone, social
media, wearable device, gaming console, Occulus Rift etc. The best among
them will do so intuitively, before the need even is realised.
TECHCRUNCH.COM DEMONSTRATES THE NOT-SO-
DISTANT FUTURE OF SEARCH — The Car Repair Scenario
Future search bot: Hey Dan, your car is reporting that your brake pads need
replacement. Would you like me to schedule a service appointment?
Future Dan: Good call. Please do.
Search bot: Sure thing, Dan. There are five mechanics within a 2.5km radius
of your house that have good reputations. Shall I get you quotes from them?
Search bot: Looks like Jay’s Auto will be the most affordable option, but they
don’t have available appointments until Thursday at 3:30pm next week. Jim’s
Garage is $30 more, but can take you tomorrow at 11:00am or 2:30pm.
Do you have a preference?
Dan: Let’s go with Jim’s at 11am tomorrow.
Search bot: I’ve booked you at Jim’s Garage at 11am. I’ll let you know
tomorrow morning when it’s time to leave.
Source: Techcrunch, September 2015
1710 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
Cross-platform functionality is mandatory: Ensure that your brands are visible
to as many technologies as possible, with a seamless user experience across all.
Invest in advertising and marketing technology: Technology that understands
path to conversion online and offline, de-duplicated across search, digital media,
social, apps, and direct traffic is essential. Think Doubleclick Search, Google
Analytics, and Google’s Mobile SDK.
Invest in forward-thinking marketers and agency partners: Don’t limit yourself
to a single discipline – look for learnings from a range of agency partners across
multiple disciplines such as data, technology, creative and analytics.
Paid search prices will rise: As organic search becomes more complex, paid
search prices for generic keywords is likely to rise. It’s also likely to be harder for
new brands to cut through, which will be an issue if their strategies are driven
solely by search – diversification is essential.
19 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
The way people communicate has changed dramatically in the last
decade, driven predominantly by the ubiquity and immediacy of smartphones.
This shift in behaviour has seen the popularity and uptake of instant
messaging services skyrocket.
In 2015, more messages were sent than emails, according to Juniper Research1
In addition to the big global players such as WhatsApp (900m monthly active
users), WeChat (650m), Facebook Messenger (800m), and Viber (236m), a number
of newer messaging services have emerged to cater to massive consumer demand.2
New battle lines being are being drawn as newcomers including iMessage, Kik,
Line, and Jott make their mark on the category. At their core, these apps offer
simple text messaging services, however they are rapidly evolving in response to
changes in user behaviour. For example, messaging apps are now becoming far
more visual, allowing users to share everything from images to videos, reflecting
broader shifts in the way we communicate via technology.
The evolution of messaging apps has also created another layer of functionality
– integration with other service providers. For example, in China you can use
WeChat (their most popular messaging service) to book a cab with the Didi
Kuaidi taxi company. They have also integrated with online payment provider,
AliPlay, to make paying for your cab as quick and easy as calling one.
WeChat is now even powering communication in some towns in China, enabling
users to use the app to book doctor’s appointments and flights, or even report
incidents to the police.
Facebook has been testing its new digital personal assistant service – ‘M’ – within
Messenger, which can complete tasks and find information on your behalf. It can
purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants or travel
arrangements, make appointments and more.
1 Juniper Research, September 2015
2 Statista Statistics Portal, September 2015
20 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
Notifications are predicted to be the starting point for all
interactions on smart phones
— the average number for Android
users, currently increasing at an
5.5 messaging apps
— the average number of
messaging apps a user interacts
with on a weekly basis
are social messages
(almost 40 per day)
represent an astounding 79%
of all messaging by volume
Source: Techcrunch, April 2015
2110 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
While Eastern countries are leading the charge in frequency of usage
(almost double that of Western users)1
and service bundling, there are
significant differences in the way the East and West use messaging services.
Australia’s favourite messaging apps (Viber currently has the top spot with
a unique mobile audience of 2.348m)2
are used for just that – messaging;
our local market leaders all offer communication as their core functionality.
While the local market is beginning to test the waters with additional
functionality, which is expected to lead to incremental increases in average
sessions per user, it is unlikely we will reach the scale of functionality seen
in Eastern countries.
The mass uptake and evolution of messaging services has major implications
for brands if they want to continue to have a presence in consumers’ digital
Evolve your customer support offering: At a practical level, brands should look
to evolve their customer support offerings beyond existing channels to include
new messaging platforms. They will also need to ensure their content fits into
the new world of messaging, from enabling ‘share’ functionality to extend to
these apps, to exploring full integration of content within the apps themselves.
Take note of your surroundings: It is not just a case of producing content
that works on different mobile operating systems; it has to work with the
ecosystems and protocols of different app platforms to reflect the changing
way people communicate.
1 App Annie, December 2015
2 Nielsen, 2015
23 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
Every single minute, 400 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube1
users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content, 347,222 new Tweets are sent,
and nearly 220,000 new Instagram photos are posted2
Users naturally need help navigating this veritable avalanche of new information.
Algorithms have emerged as a popular and efficient way to do so, surfacing
content – songs, news, videos, shopping, and more – that, based on their
previous online behaviour, should be of interest to them.
Algorithms are getting smarter and more finely tuned every day, making
newsfeeds ever more nuanced and contextually relevant.
A smart algorithm should be able to predict new areas of interest based on
previous behaviours. A poorly executed algorithm, however, can limit the scope
of discovery considerably; tightening the sphere of focus by serving up ‘more
of the same’.
What even the best algorithms lack however, is the human element; the ability to
overlay a filter of context or taste. An algorithm can recommend you something
new based on your previous interests or what is broadly popular at the time, but
it is not a ‘taste-maker’. It doesn’t drive the agenda, it responds to it.
This is where curation comes in. In instances where advocacy, expert opinion,
and advice are important i.e. music discovery, commerce, and news, there is
now a feeling that curation can be a more effective solution.
ALGORITHMS VS. CURATION
1 Reelse, July 2015
2 DOMO, August 2015
24 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
Algorithms are currently being used to varying degrees of success by most,
if not all major publishers in Australia. Some of the most effective algorithms
in this market however, are those being used by Facebook and eBay. The focus
for most publishers moving forward will be finely tuning their existing algorithms
to improve output.
Curators, on the other hand, are experiencing a resurgence in popularity since
being initially dethroned by automation.
Twitter Moments, for examples, relies on human curators to serve up the best
pictures, highlights, and headlines from any given ‘moment’ or major event,
hand-picked to tell the most compelling story.
Apple’s Beats 1 online radio station relies on a team of world-class DJ’s and
music experts to help listeners discover new music. This is determined purely
by taste, rather than factors such as ‘most-played’ or genre-matching.
Pinterest even has a curated store within the app, with taste-makers selecting
the most interesting products on the platform, rather than serving up a
collection of the most ‘liked’ or ‘pinned’. It would appear that even in the era
of automation, the human element and the idea of expert endorsement is still
hugely important to consumers.
Rather than either method being superior, curation actually works most effectively
when used in combination with algorithms.
Take Spotify for example. Users are able to have music suggested based on
what they’ve listened to previously (automation based on algorithms), and can
also follow music experts and artists for their recommendations and curated
2510 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
• Get to know the algorithms out there: Brands will need to develop an
understanding of platform specific algorithms to ensure the content that
they create and publish is optimised to work within its constraints.
• Learn to work with curators: Curators are becoming increasingly important
for bringing attention to new products. Brands need to learn to work with
curators in creative new ways – for example, you can see this as a new
alternative to SEO for gaining popularity and traction.
• Make sure you pick the right one: Curation makes trust and authenticity
even more important – picking the right curator is essential. The skill involved
in curation costs money, so there will be opportunities to advertise in, or
sponsor curated content.
of new video are
uploaded to Youtube
pieces of content are
shared to Facebook
photos are posted
EVERY SINGLE MINUTE...
Source: DOMO, August 2015
27 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
As the world becomes more mobile, location – and by default, maps – are
becoming increasingly important. One of the key drivers behind this trend, apart
from the desire to find our way around quickly and easily, is the increasing emphasis
placed on localisation.
General information is rarely of any use these days, particularly for commercial
products and services. Customers don’t want to know where all your stores are;
they just want to be shown the one closest to their location. Online dating app
users don’t want to be connected to love interests on the other side of the city, let
alone the country; they want someone in their local area. Busy commuters don’t
want to book just any cab; they want to be shown the one closest to them and track
its progress on their smartphone.
As time continues to cement its place as our most valuable (and scarce) commodity,
we are always looking for the shortest distance from A to B, literally and figuratively.
It comes as no surprise then, that maps are considered the future of localised
search. With Google and Apple Maps dominating mobile devices, alongside
innovations such as in-built navigation within cars and watches, people are using
maps more than ever before.
To meet the needs of an increasingly time-poor user, real-time map features are
continually being developed. Google Maps now shows when a business is busiest,
so people can time their trip to avoid lines. Google and Apple maps both provide
transit directions alongside predictive travel times and traffic congestion measures.
In fact, maps can and should be seen as their own ecosystems, rich in opportunities
to power innovative location-based experiences for their consumers.
For example, iFit in the US integrated Google Maps technology into their stationary
fitness equipment to allow people to pick a virtual route and see their progress on
the map as they run or cycle. Using StreetView and an elevation API, they have
successfully created an immersive real life experience.
MAPS & LOCATIONS
28 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
In addition to just plotting pins on a map through strong SEO and keeping their
business details up to date, Australian brands across a multitude of categories
are using maps for diverse applications.
Carsguide recently introduced a new Trip Planner tool that uses location-based
search through Google Maps to enable would-be car buyers to plot a route to
see all their selected cars in a single day.
Tourism Victoria worked with the Google Street View Trekker to map out beautiful
and remote locations accessible by foot. The images taken were stitched into
panoramic digital renderings and published on Google Maps, allowing interstate
and international tourists to take a virtual trip to Victoria in order to better plan
their trip to the state.
Insights garnered from Google Maps are also being used to help companies
improve service delivery. An Australian cancer service provider uses Google
Maps to connect patients with their closest support groups and cancer services.
They also recently used it to research distances patients had to travel to
access essential healthcare, information which then helped them advocate for
improvements in treatment and support.
Then there are the simple but effective mandatories; retail advertisers BWS and
Big W use dynamic mobile display units and geo-location technology to integrate
maps within ad units showing users the distance to the nearest store. Facebook
has also integrated geo-location ads into their offering for local stores.
2910 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
AMONG THE TOTAL MOBILE POPULATION...
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
Get Creative: Brainstorm new ways to use maps for business planning, real-time
intelligence and customer engagement.
Make sure your SEO is in order: The number of consumers going online to find
a local business continues to grow every day. With this hyper-local digital trend
reshaping business, companies of all shapes and sizes must have a strong SEO
presence that drives traffic online and instore.
View the journey as an opportunity: Consumers look at maps when planning
shopping trips and experiences – brands should see journey planning as part of a
1 IN 4
ARE INTERESTED IN LOCATION
Source: Nielsen, September 2015
31 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
Sci-fi fans rejoice; Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one step closer to mainstream.
A super computer named Eugene Goostman has successfully fooled a human
judging panel into thinking it was a thirteen year old boy, becoming the first
machine in history to pass the iconic Turing Test.
The 65 year-old Turing Test evaluates a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent
behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Eugene’s
success is both a ground-breaking and controversial milestone in the field of
AI is now being applied to allow people and objects to be recognised, both in
broad ways such as gender and approximate age, but also in ever more precise
and complex ways.
As part of its extensive machine vision research to improve facial recognition,
Facebook has developed a new algorithm that can recognise people based on
attributes like hair, personal style, and body shape.
While still in its infancy, Google Photos boasts that it lets you “search by what
you remember about a photo, no description needed”, using search criteria such
as ‘find the photo of me at the beach’.
Visual discovery app, Blippar – which uses image recognition to deliver content
and information on items in the physical world – can now recognise branded items
using attributes beyond the logo alone.
At the simpler end of the spectrum, Pinterest has introduced visual search to help
users find ‘visually similar results’ to a particular image.
Key industry players are investing heavily in AI as a mechanic to help users sort
through and categorise the deluge of content out there; the ability of these
‘intelligent systems’ to recognise and distinguish between objects in an image is
absolutely integral to their success.
32 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
Locally, Shazam has partnered with Digimarc, Universal Pictures, Southern
Cross Austereo and Warner Bros to launch its visual recognition functionality,
able to transform static images into ‘dynamic pieces of content’ via the Shazam
app. This functionality enables brands to deliver content that supplements
above-the-line (ATL) activity to add an engagement and response-led layer
to brand campaigns.
Outside of the advertising space, we see AI being applied to make a positive
difference. For example, Marita Cheng, 2012’s Young Australian of the Year,
has developed ‘Aipoly’ – an app that uses AI to help the blind to ‘see’. The
apps uses ‘convolutional neural networks’ to deconstruct images, analyse them,
and then describe them verbally.
• Image is everything: It is now more important than ever for brands to ensure
that all associated imagery and assets (i.e. design, packaging and logo) are
as distinctive as possible.
• Do what you can now to prepare for the future: To make way for the
developments set to be delivered by AI, such as the ability to predict and
service consumer wants and needs, brands can leverage existing capabilities
afforded by data and targeting to demonstrate relevance.
3310 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
AI HAS REACHED THE POINT THAT A
HAS BEEN ABLE TO FOOL
HUMANS INTO THINKING IT
WAS A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD
BOY TO PASS THE ICONIC
IN THE FIELD OF ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE, THERE IS
NO MORE ICONIC AND
CONTROVERSIAL A MILESTONE
Prof. Kevin Warwick, The University of Reading
35 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
The world of social media is all about self-expression; in this space, we have
an unlimited capacity to share our emotions through a variety of channels and
mechanics. However, this wealth of information lies largely untapped due to the
limited ability of the platforms that house it, such as Facebook, to interpret the
meaning behind what’s being shared.
Sentiment, much like images, has always been a difficult thing to interpret. While
automated tools such as Radian 6 and Sysomos have made progress towards a
better understanding of sentiment, they continue to struggle with understanding
integral elements such as context, tone, slang, and double negatives.
In 2015, we saw a variety of changes implemented in major social platforms to
allow users to express their emotions more explicitly, in a manner that can be –
to a degree – quantified.
There is no better example than Facebook’s new reaction test, which allows users
to show their reaction with more than just the standard ‘Like’. The six emoji
reactions are ‘Love’, ‘Haha’, ‘Yay’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, and ‘Angry’, and should make it
easier to interpret the sentiment behind the ‘Like’.
Scary as it may be, Emojis are actually our best (or rather, simplest) hope in the
struggle to accurately interpret sentiment. For example, users can now search for
Emojis in Instagram captions and the text descriptions of YouTube videos, using
them as rudimentary classifications of content tone.
The most exciting aspect of this development for brands is that it will further allow
brands and platforms to gauge how consumers feel about them, their products
and their ads, and ideally adapt accordingly.
36 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
In 2015, we saw a partnership between News Corp and social video ad platform,
Unruly, to bring emotional programmatic targeting to Australia (they were later
acquired by them globally).
Emotional programmatic targets the consumers most likely to experience a
strong emotional connection to a specific video, the intent being that videos
will only be served to ‘prime targets’ – those most likely to emotionally engage
with the content – as determined by the Unruly Share Rank. Interestingly this
kind of sentiment analysis is also being utilised by stock traders to understand
whether or not there is positive or negative sentiment around a particular stock.
While this notion isn’t entirely new, the continued development of the mechanics
of expression and analysis will help make this information more valuable and
ideally more viable in the future.
Try not to fixate on achieving (only) positive feedback: Whilst increased
expressiveness will allow brands to better gauge consumer sentiment, it also
presents itself as a red herring in that brands may become fixated on achieving
‘positive’ feedback. With this in mind, it’s recommended brands do not set rigid KPIs
around sentiment and instead look for richer insights in the information gathered.
The days of day-part targeting could be numbered: While advertisers were
previously able to hypothesise mood and emotional state based on the time
of day i.e. more optimistic in the morning or seeking distraction in the afternoon
slump, sentiment analysis could potentially make this more of an exact science
in the future.
Emotional programmatic is here to stay: Ad targeting based on desired
emotional response is expected to become more prevalent in the future,
delivering not only in emotional engagement metrics, but also core business
KPIs such as recall and purchase intent.
3710 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
RIGHT MINDSET, RIGHT MOMENT:
TELEFONICA RESEARCH HAS PUBLISHED
A REPORT SHOWING RESEARCHERS
ARE ABLE TELL FROM A SMARTPHONE
USERS’ MOBILE ACTIVITY WHETHER OR
NOT THE USER IS BORED, WITH AN 83%
PARTICIPANTS WERE THEN SENT
CONTENT ON BUZZFEED. THOSE USERS
THAT HAD BEEN IDENTIFIED AS BEING
IN A ‘BORED’ STATE WERE MORE LIKELY
TO READ THE SUGGESTED CONTENT.
Source: Trend Watching, 2016
39 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
The pricing of goods and services is becoming increasingly flexible and dynamic
thanks to the advances made in real time data use. While it’s largely considered
to have had its start in the airline industry, dynamic pricing has since permeated
a range of other industries.
Uber certainly helped pave the way by employing real-time pricing based on
supply and demand for their ride service. Since then, dynamic pricing has moved
on to take the retail industry by storm, making big waves particularly in the
‘Repricing automation’ – automatic pricing updates based on matching or
under-cutting competitor price points – has until now typically been a luxury
reserved for big-name retailers only, however it is now becoming more accessible
to online retailers of all sizes.
Online retail is the ideal industry for dynamic pricing given its fast-paced and
adaptable nature. It is far easier for online retailers to update their prices –
all it takes is the click of a button – than it is for bricks and mortar retailers.
There is also the added benefit of consumer data and tracking. Online retailers
are able to see a great deal more information about a shopper, such as purchase
history, location, operating system etc – and should ideally be able to leverage this
data to offer more personalised pricing, promotions, and incentives.
Industries such as airlines, hotels and event-based booking companies are all
experts at leveraging consumer data to become more profitable. Furthermore,
they have evolved their use of data to develop strategies to hone in on specific
needs across customer segments.
40 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
The airline industry continues to be a leader in dynamic pricing practice,
applying multiple strategies to ensure they stay competitive. These include
pricing determined by customer segments, peak times for travel and peak times
Retail giants Amazon and eBay both utilise dynamic pricing to help sellers be
as profitable as possible, while providing a quick and easy solution for buyers
The popularity of Uber is also on the rise, as is the price of every trip; a surge
in demand translates to a surge in fee charged. By leveraging the changes in
supply and demand, Uber has been able to alter its pricing on a daily, if not
hourly basis. Generally these higher rates are applied during peak times on
weekends, holidays, big events, and in inclement weather.
This price surge can:
• Reduce demand for cars (less people wanting to pay a higher premium);
• Create a new supply (more incentive for new drivers to hit the road);
• Or shift supply (drivers) to areas of higher demand.
4110 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
• Competition will increase beyond e-commerce: As real time data systems
evolve and improve, so too will the diversity of applications for dynamic
pricing outside e-commerce alone. Innovations such as the introduction
of electronic shelf labels, for example, will also help level the playing field
for bricks and mortar retailers, enabling them to better compete with
• Pressure will increase on all aspects of the consumer journey: The concept
of dynamic pricing will increase pressure on the other service elements within
the retail experience, including customer service, shipping speed, return
policies, etc. It is important that the full user experience is evaluated and the
competition in this space also understood.
• Data needs to be up to date: Brands need to make sure they are in a position
to measure and act on the most relevant customer and external data.
STRATEGIC DYNAMIC PRICING
In retail, strategic dynamic pricing is based on multiple market signals:
SUPPLY & DEMAND
DATE, TIME OF DAY
Source: Marketyze, June 2015
43 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg famously said that the future of communication
is telepathy; that technology will one day become so advanced that people will be
able to send thoughts to their friends.
While at face value the concept might seem unfathomable, it is actually not beyond
the realms of possibility. Advances in the field of artificial intelligence, such as those
we touched on in our AI and Recognition section, mean the capacity of technology
to interpret non-traditional cues – those outside written or spoken commands – is
improving every day.
Two years ago, scientists at the University of Washington even managed to
harness the brain signal from one person and use it to stimulate the motor cortex
of another, inducing them to press the fire button on a computer game. Cue
In actual fact, there is already assistive technology available in market that allows
communication in the absence of written or spoken commands, such as the
equipment used by Dr Steven Hawking.
On a simpler scale, wearable devices like smart watches and brain activity trackers
are already collecting a great deal of the required data to power this new frontier.
The future could very well be interaction via brain signals or the reading of
physiological signs like your heart rate.
Consider the opportunity that lies in something like recent Kickstarter success,
Emotiv Insight. Emotiv Insight is a wireless headset that measures brainwaves and
translates them into meaningful data, tracking attention, focus, engagement,
interest, excitement, affinity, relaxation and stress levels.
The opportunity for brands (and humanity, of course) is unprecedented. The
next logical step though – and perhaps the most challenging – is the accurate
interpretation and application of this data.
44 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
IMPLICATIONS FOR BRANDS
STATUS IN AUSTRALIA
Telepathic technology first made its way to our shores via Uniqlo’s ‘UMood’
offering in its Sydney store that analyses customers’ brain signals to suggest the
perfect t-shirt to suit their mood. Developed by Isobar Australia, ‘UMood’ aims
to improve the customer experience and drive increased purchase intent through
profound and proactive personalisation.
Across the globe, a hands-free Tinder app has been created for the Apple
Watch; it relies on heartbeat to determine a left or right swipe – after all, the
heart doesn’t lie.
Researchers at Telefonica (one of the largest private telecommunications
companies in the world) have even been able to identify when customers were
bored or stressed, based on phone activity such as frequency of opening apps
and intensity of use.
While there may still be a long way to go with telepathic technology, we will
continue to see new innovations and ways of connecting with brands in this
space in the coming years as access to the technology improves.
Telepathy can create deeper and more unique brand experiences:
Together with image and sentiment recognition and dynamic pricing, telepathy
demonstrates how AI is starting to be used to remove conscious human
instructions, and provide an unconscious understanding between technology
Telepathy can give you a better understanding of your consumers:
Telepathic technology can help brands determine a more holistic view of
consumers, including reactions that they’re not able to articulate, enabling
the creation of richer relationships.
4510 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
DR. MICHIO KAKU, PROFESSOR OF THEORETICAL PHYSICS
AT THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AND AUTHOR OF
"THE FUTURE OF THE MIND” TALKS ABOUT THE INCREDIBLE
IMPACT OF TELEPATHY:
In the next 10 years, we will see the gradual transition
from an Internet to a brain-net, in which thoughts,
emotions, feelings, and memories might be transmitted
instantly across the planet. Scientists can now hook the
brain to a computer and begin to decode some of our
memories and thoughts.
This might eventually revolutionise communication
and even entertainment. The movies of the future will
be able to convey emotions and feelings, not just images
on a silver screen. (Teenagers will go crazy on social
media, sending memories and sensations from their
senior prom, their first date, etc.). Historians and writers
will be able to record events not just digitally, but also
emotionally as well.
Perhaps even tensions between people will diminish, as
people begin to feel and experience the pain of others.
Source: Huffington Post, May 2015
46 10 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
AdNews, ‘KFC Ventures into Snapchat Marketing’, June 2015
AdNews, ‘Snapchat Eyes Brand Dollars’, August 2014
AdNews, ‘CommBank Joins Snapchat’s Growing List of Brand Users’, August 2015
AdWeek, ‘Here are 6 New Snapchat Stats that Show Why Marketers Want Inside that Walled Garden’, October 2015
Forbes, ‘3 Things about Walled Gardens That Drive Publishers Up the Wall’, October 2015
THE RISE OF AD AVOIDANCE
ADWEEK, ‘Users Revolt Against Pre-Roll’, April 2015
BTIG Research, ‘Netflix is Eating TV’s Dinner’, April 2015
Huffington Post: Tech, ‘Netflix Gained 3.6 Million More Subscribers in 3 Months’, October 2015
Mediaweek, ‘Spotify Australia and NZ MD Kate Vale on Where Australia Sits in the Global Market’, August 2015
PageFair, ‘The 2015 Ad Blocking Report’, August 2015
Roy Morgan, ‘Netflix Now in Over 1 in 10 Homes, Reaching 2.63million Australians Aged 14 and Over’, October
TIME, ‘Here’s How Apple Could Change the Web Forever’, September 2015
The Guardian, ‘iOS 9 Adblocker Apps Shoot to the Top of Charts on Day One’, September 2015
THE EVOLUTION OF SEARCH
Google Inside AdWords, ‘Building for the Next Moment’, May 2015
Techcrunch, ‘Facebook’s Messenger and the Challenge to Google’s Search Dominance’, September 2015
Wired, ‘Search Today and Beyond: Optimizing for the Semantic Web’, 2014
MESSAGING & NOTIFICATIONS
App Annie ‘Top App Predictions of 2016’, December 2015
Juniper Research ‘Mobile and Online Messaging’, September 2015
Nielsen ‘Mobile Ratings Report’ 2015
Statista Statistics Portal, September 2015
Techcrunch, ‘Notifications are the Next Platform’, April 2015
Tencent Holdings ‘Third Quarter Results’, November 2015
ALGORITHMS VS CURATION
Chaos Theory, ‘Man vs. Machine: Are Algorithms or Human Curation the Answer?’, December 2015
DOMO, ‘Data Never Sleeps 3.0’, August 2015
Fortune, ‘Would You Rather Have Apple’s Human Editors Filtering Your News or Facebook’s Algorithms?’, June 2015
Huffington Post, ‘When It Comes To Reputation, Judgement Trumps Algorithms’, December 2015
Reelse ‘Vidcon 2015 Haul: Trends, Strategic Insights, Critical Data, and Tactical Advice’, July 2015
Tubefilter, ‘YouTube Now Gets Over 400 Hours of Content Uploaded Every Minute’, July 2015
4710 MEDIA TRENDS FOR 2016
MAPS & LOCATIONS
Cloud Sherpas, ‘Case Study: CarsGuide.com.au Drives Improved Consumer Experience with Google Maps for
CarsGuide, ‘Find the Right Car for You with the News Carsguide.com.au App’, May 2015
Forbes, Google’s Map Features Find Their Way into More Cars’, September 2015
See Further, ‘Drive Customer Acquisition, from Digital to Personal’, 2015
Tech Crunch, ‘Google Search Now Shows You When Local Businesses Are Busiest’, July 2015
Tech Insider, ‘Nine Ways to get The Most out of Google Maps’, December 2015
Nielsen, ‘The Telstra Smartphone & Tablet Index’, September 2015
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE & RECOGNITION
CMO, ‘Shazam Launches Visual Recognition Content Offering for Brands’, May 2015
CNET, ‘The Surreal Dreams of Google’s Image Recognition Software’, June 2015
Mumbrella, ‘Shazam launches visual recognition function‘, May 2015
MYOB, ‘Artificial Intelligence Changing the Future of Business’, September 2015
Social Media Today, ‘Why is Facebook so Keen to Develop its AI Capabilities?’, November 2015
University of Reading, ‘Turing Test Success Marks Milestone in Computing History’, June 2014
AdNews, ‘Unruly and Newscorp Bring Emotional Programmatic Targeting To Australia’, December 2015
The Australian: Business Review, ‘Tapping Twitter to Gauge Stock Sentiment’, July 2015
Trend Watching, ‘5 Consumer Trends for 2016’, 2015
CPC Strategy, ‘How Dynamic Pricing is Disrupting Online Retail in 2015’, April 2015
TotalRetail, ‘Why Dynamic Pricing is the New Standard in E-Commerce’, January 2015
Business Insider, ‘This New Apple Watch App Uses Your Heartbeat to Decide Who Your Match is on Tinder’, July 2015
Digital Trends, ‘Facebook’s Future is Telepathy, Mark Zuckerberg Says’, July 2015
Emotiv, ‘Emotiv Insight: Brain Activity Tracker’
Luxury Society, ‘The Secret to Luxury Online for Millennials’, September 2015
Huffington Post, ‘7 Top Futurists Make Some Pretty Surprising Predictions About What the Next Decade Will
Bring’, May 2015
PC World, ‘Clothing Retailer Uniqlo Uses Brainwaves to Match Customers with T-Shirts, October 2015