Carat Global has been producing trend reports for over 5 years, looking at new technologies that will become more important and relevant to clients.
The trends for 2017 are all growing in importance, and will all have implications for clients.
The trends for 2017 involve two big themes:
The evolution of content, including live video, sports rights, and augmented reality
The growing links between digital and physical worlds, including identity, the expectation of speed, and controlling the IoT ecosystem
We have been producing trend reports for over 5
years, looking at new technologies that will
become more important and relevant to clients.
In past reports we’ve covered issues such as:
Several of the 2017 trends highlight the
resurgence of ideas seen a few years ago –
following the pattern of Gartner’s Hype Cycle
and finally becoming mainstream and useful.
Trends for 20172
− Evolution of Content
− Live Video
− Sports Rights
− Web TV
− Branded Content
− Virtual & Augmented Reality
− Digital to Physical
− Identity & Verification
− Software to Hardware
Trends for 20173
It’s been possible to stream Live Video within
apps since early 2015, and in 2016 has
become very popular on Facebook, Twitter,
YouTube and elsewhere.
While Live Video brings authenticity, it doesn’t
need to be grainy and shaky.
Live Video also doesn’t necessarily have to be
“live”, it can be scheduled for later
transmission, use multiple cameras and more.
Trends for 20176
Lots of people and brands are using Live Video.
Candace Payne became the first live streamer on Facebook to hit 100m views when she made a film
of herself wearing a Chewbacca Mask in May.
BuzzFeed is experimenting with lots of different Live Video formats, often very low budget but very
engaging, for example putting rubber bands on a watermelon until it explodes.
Live Video also works with Out Of Home screens - Lucozade did a ‘Wait Training’ programme where a
fitness instructor led a class in a bus shelter.
Trends for 20177
Live Video can also have high production
values, examples of which include:
• Cheddar, which now provides live streams
from the New York Stock Exchange on its
• Burberry, which live streamed a catwalk
show on Facebook in London in September
• Donald Trump’s election team, which made
daily live broadcasts on Facebook, seen by
Anything that can benefit from being live can
now be live with very little cost, via free apps
and global distribution.
Trends for 20178
− Consider what content they have that people
would be interested in seeing – don’t go live
for the sake of it
− Think about the audience – do they have an
audience in place, or can you appeal to
− Expect to use paid media to get people to
see the content
Production barriers and costs will decline, and then
it’s about the content, the personalities, the ideas.
Longer videos, including build-up and re-caps, are
more likely to be seen.
Use it to:
− Add immediacy and authenticity to existing
marketing and content
− Provide a different point of view, including
behind the scenes
Trends for 20179
Sports (and other) rights are becoming hotly contested, as global
technology and media companies become interested in content
that is proven to be popular.
The new live video technologies allow sport to be streamed easily
- Early in its life Periscope users abused the service by
broadcasting streams of pay per view TV sports events.
Twitter and others are buying sports rights to use the content on
Universal did a deal with Snapchat and BuzzFeed to let them
adapt their Olympics content for broadcast through their platforms
– it wasn’t live, but it attracted very large audiences.
Digital channels also add a social layer to sports viewing – people
can watch, react and chat within the same platform.
Trends for 201711
Twitter has a deal with the NFL to stream a live match every
Thursday evening, with related tweets alongside. The games are
reaching an audience of over 2m.
The BBC achieved its highest ever live streaming audience when it
showed the England Vs. Wales Euro 2016 match on the BBC
Sport website (the match happened during UK working hours).
Apple and Wimbledon developed an official app for the 2016
finals for Apple TVs, iPhones and Tablets. It had no live action,
but it allowed viewers to see inside the tournament with photos,
videos, scores and more.
Trends for 201712
Lower production and distribution costs mean that
it is viable to screen more events; plus a global
audience might make something economically
viable, where a national audience wouldn’t.
At the same time, sports like cricket and NFL are
trying to be more global with wider appeal.
eSports rights are also valuable – Twitch streams
live gaming tournaments and Drone Racing!
Netflix and Amazon could also be potential
bidders for rights.
Trends for 201713
Brands already associated with major events
need to be ready to exploit these partnerships
across new channels.
Digital channels will have far more commercial
opportunities, and fewer regulations – there will
be more ways for brands to get involved.
It would also be a good time to get involved
with sports not currently considered to be
globally popular, if appropriate to the brands’
audiences, as other exciting sports could now
easily find global audiences e.g. Rugby Sevens,
or the rise of UFC which has shown how quickly
a sport can become global.
Trends for 201714
It is getting easier to put video from the web and apps onto TV screens, whether through connected TVs,
or via cheaper connectors such as Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.
Netflix has trained people to put web video onto the biggest screen in the home; now lots of other services
are taking advantage.
Young people already spend more time watching online video than broadcast TV, and this will accelerate.
Web TV will provide a return path so that content can be more easily interacted with, for example making
Trends for 201716
Twitter has produced new apps for Chromecast,
Fire TV Stick and games consoles as part of its
NFL live streaming programme, to make it easy
to transfer video from the app to TVs.
Facebook is also allowing users to put video
from the site onto TVs easily via Apple TV,
Chromecast and other integrations.
Gaming platform Toca Boca has produced a
video app, making it a global kids TV channel.
The connected TV is now the most popular
device for accessing BBC’s iPlayer.
Trends for 201717
The Grand Tour, Amazon’s car show with the former presenters of Top
Gear, started in November and broke streaming (and piracy) records.
Programmes like The Grand Tour, are currently ad-free, but Web TV will
bring the opportunity for TV ads to be targeted like web ads.
Facebook is already experimenting with putting its ads into the breaks in
video content on Apple TV and Roku devices.
Web TV will also bring new ad formats, including overlays.
Trends for 201718
Brands can now make what they want, and put it where they want.
This makes things more complicated for brand content; there are different
rules determining what works on different platforms. For example, TV is
generally ‘lean back’ so needs higher production values, whereas smaller
screens are ‘lean forward’ therefore generally need shorter pieces.
Ads within online video can be more targeted than on broadcast, and if
TV also becomes ‘addressable’ it will be easier to target some audiences,
but at the same time could miss others altogether.
Trends for 201719
Branded content is not new – soap operas were
created as regular shows paid for by FMCG
brands, in order to allow them to reach
audiences of housewives.
However, what is new is that content is taking
on a greater importance. There is now a more
systematic focus on making more content for
specific audiences; using the best partners to
make and distribute it, retaining the rights, and
even looking at ways of monetising it.
Trends for 201721
Coke TV is a multi-market initiative from Coca
Cola, where the brand acts like an influential
YouTuber – it produces lots of content, posted
regularly, including regular shows.
Red Bull has a long history of creating content
and now has its own RedBullTV app, with
multiple shows from multiple producers which
can be watched online or via apps on TVs.
Trends for 201722
Some brands are even creating their own formats, to potentially allow
them to make shows that could become a revenue driver.
Mondelez, P&G, Unilever, PepsiCo and GE are all following models like
this, to some degree.
Pepsi has established its own 'Creators League' production department,
including a 4,000 square foot physical studio space in New York.
Mondelez produced a VR game for the Samsung Gear VR, for sale at
$2.99 on the Oculus store.
Trends for 201723
The level of involvement in branded content will depend on
audience expectations and how easily they would accept
content from that brand.
It’s now easier to make any content and for it to appear
anywhere. Brands should consider if there are any existing
formats which could be licenced, or create their own.
It could also be a good opportunity to expand relationships
with brand ambassadors, or find new ones to move into new
Trends for 201724
Trends for 201725
2016 was going to be the year of virtual reality, but the most popular
content turned out to be augmented reality.
Both VR and AR will continue to be very important in 2017, but in
Trends for 201726
Oculus Rift, HTV’s Vive, and Sony’s Playstation
VR all came out in 2016, and with them came
lots of games, ‘experiences’ and 360° videos.
Cannes saw its first awards for VR campaigns,
including one for the New York Times, which
gave out over 1m Google Cardboard viewers to
readers. It is also regularly making VR films to go
with its regular content, for example a 360° film
There was 360° content for the Olympics from
official coverage available in apps.
Several media owners are now offering 360°
video ad formats including YouTube & Facebook.
Trends for 201727
Pokemon GO put AR into the spotlight and
became the fastest app to hit 500m downloads
within two months of launch, and is still
generating plenty of revenue.
AR is becoming popular with luxury and fashion
apps, as it allows people to try on new looks, or
even make-up. However, for it to be effective
the experience has to be seamless; bad visuals
will deter buyers!
AR is also great for instructions and training.
Caterpillar is creating AR apps and devices to
show how to maintain its vehicles and more.
Microsoft’s new HoloLens offers a combination
of augmented and virtual reality. It’s available
to developers already, and has content from
partners like NASA.
Trends for 201728
For both VT & AR to take off there needs to be a combination of the
technology matching expectations, and new consumer behaviours.
Augmented Reality is likely to be the more popular in the short term,
as far more people have the technology and understand how to make it
work. It could well start to take views from video channels – for example
for ‘how to’s’ and ‘unboxing’ moments.
VR could become huge in home entertainment, but needs to find its
own language for users to replace the recognised ways of following films
and other video.
Trends for 201729
Chatbots are automated identities within
messaging apps, set up to answer common
queries and more.
Together with other conversational interfaces like
Siri, Cortana, Allo and Alexa (used in Amazon
Echo), chatbots are a way of distributing content
in a very targeted way, by answering people who
have asked specific questions.
Trends for 201731
Over 30,000 chatbots have been developed for
Facebook Messenger since they were enabled in
These range from Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced
Latte, to Domino’s pizza ordering bot, to one
from Absolut that lets people find a free drink in
Bots have been on Kik’s messenger platform
since 2015, and now more than 2bn messages
have been sent on there by branded bots.
Google’s new messaging app, Allo, includes a
search bot able to interpret questions as search
queries and deliver answers.
Trends for 201732
Chatbots on Facebook Messenger can now take
payment via PayPal, potentially making them
part of the sales process, especially for existing
In China WeChat has been integrating
payments for longer, and is now an essential
part of doing business in China.
Trends for 201733
Chatbots can fulfil many tasks from answering frequently asked questions,
to taking orders, to being a fun way to express the brand’s personality.
Brands should consider where their content sits.
Brands interested in using the new conversational interfaces need to
ensure that their data is ‘chatbot ready’ – that is, capable of being
interrogated and interpreted by the different interfaces like Facebook
Messenger, Siri, Alexa etc.
Brands should always test internally and on a small scale before launching
Trends for 201734
DIGITAL TO PHYSICAL
We’re coming to a time when advertising is more
about communicating to people you do know,
rather than people you don’t.
We’re also moving from probabilistic identity (you
assume that these users on different platforms,
online and offline, are the same person), to
deterministic identity (you know that they are).
Publishers and advertisers are trying to create a
single ID for consumers across devices and
platforms, online and offline, so that a user’s ID
can be ‘recognised’ whenever they interact.
Trends for 201737
Sales and marketing can be much more
seamless when the identity of the customer is
known, for example:
• Subscription retail – Dollar Shave Club was
bought by Unilever so that its relationship
marketing techniques could be extended to
• Amazon Dash buttons – each click is tied to a
specific Amazon Prime household
• Amazon Go – at Amazon’s proposed new
physical store, shoppers check-in when they
arrive, then just walk out after they finish, and
are billed automatically
Trends for 201738
Services will try to get their audiences to identify
themselves as much as possible.
The latest version of the Uber app will let it
access the users’ calendars and more, to get a
closer idea of where they will be at different
times, so they can anticipate when they may
need to travel.
Payments all involve verification of identity,
and innovations in this include things like
Mastercard’s ‘Pay by Selfie’ where biometric
factors like facial recognition can be used to
Trends for 201739
Marketing will become more about targeting people already known to you,
allowing more tailored and personalised messaging.
Data use is crucial, as is respecting privacy. All actions carried out by brands
need to have a clear consumer benefit.
Brands need to have systems that will both manage data securely and also
be able to make the data as useful as possible – the newer a company, the
more agile and powerful their systems are likely to be.
Trends for 201740
Trends for 201742
Now that most digital activity takes place on a
mobile device, speed of access has become a
Google, Facebook and others are working on
the architecture of pages and apps to ensure
that they load as quickly as possible.
The speed of digital is setting expectations in
the real world.
We are starting to see the seamless integration
of online and offline. For example, the Uber you
see on your phone is soon the Uber parked in
front of you.
Trends for 201743
Google is making the mobile web faster with its
Accelerated Mobile Pages (a new way of coding
mobile pages) and is now taking load speed
into account in search rankings: the faster the
site, the higher it could appear in the results.
Google also says that faster ads are much more
Facebook’s Instant Articles, uploaded into
Facebook by publishers rather than accessible
on the publishers’ site, mean that they load
Trends for 201744
Speed is also becoming more important in the
• Uber found that people’s expectation of
how long they should have to wait for a taxi
fell by 30% in one year
• Amazon’s Prime Now is bringing down
delivery time to one hour in some places
• Burberry and others have sold clothes as
soon as they are on the catwalk, rather than
waiting for them to be in-store
Services are also working on offline access,
caching information so that it can be accessed
without a connection at all. This is a
particularly big issue in the developing world.
Trends for 201745
The expectation of speed both online and
offline will increase.
It should be one of the main criteria that brands
use to assess how well they reach their
customers’ expectations – both digitally and
Content needs to be optimised to ensure that
all pages, apps and ads load as quickly as
possible, while still having full functionality.
Trends for 201745
Trends for 201747
Proximity is becoming very important in
marketing – not just location, but the proximity
to other objects that may be moving.
Bluetooth Beacons were a great hope of
location-based marketing, but may be
superseded by other technologies’ use of
wifi instead of Bluetooth – when people try to
log in to wifi they can be targeted.
Out of home marketing is also changing rapidly.
For example, a campaign for Santander was
able to show a location-based ad to passengers
before their trains were leaving the station.
Waiting for Santander pic
Trends for 201748
Snapchat has started to use location in more of
its campaigns; for example Krispy Kreme used
a lens that was only available in its stores for its
‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ promotion in the US.
Partnering with Netflix, Cornetto used proximity
to create ‘commitment rings’ for couples –
Netflix would only play if both were in the room
at the same time, so neither could ‘cheat’ by
watching an episode without the other.
Lots of work is being done to develop the
possibilities of location-based tracking:
• Google and Facebook are both tracking the
effectiveness of ads in driving customers in-
store, and Snapchat is also working on similar
• Proximity is also being used to generate
audiences for future targeting, e.g. people
who went to the cinema in the last month, or
people who go to festivals
Trends for 201749
Finding another pic
Proximity is about bridging digital and physical.
Location needs to be seen in conjunction with other factors like time and
audience – a great location at 8pm on a Friday night might be a terrible
location at 11am on a Sunday morning and vice versa.
Trends for 201750
Trends for 201750
Companies known for software and being
online only, are starting to produce their
own hardware products.
The reason for this expansion is that they
want products specific to their needs, that
they can control every aspect of.
Part of Apple’s success is that it controls
every part of its own technology – screen
sizes, memory, security – and now others
also want this level of control.
Trends for 201752
Amazon produced its first hardware,
the Kindle eReader, in 2007. They’ve recently
increased their focus on the physical, releasing
their voice-controlled Echo and Dash buttons
within six months of each other.
Google has previously relied on others to make its
tech, but now has two new branded products: the
Pixel phone and its voice controlled Home. It has
also bought companies such as Motorola and
Nest, that make tech hardware.
Snapchat has announced the release of its
Spectacles – a wearable video camera that takes
clips perfect for sharing.
Even Uber is in the process of making its own
Trends for 201753 Trends for 201753
These companies’ motivation is to own the Internet of Things ecosystem –
being present in homes, and deciding what operating system goes inside
It also allows new partnerships; for example, Amazon with large consumer
goods companies for their Dash buttons.
Trends for 201754
Trends for 201754
Trends for 201755
Software follows hardware; just as the
iPhone led to Angry Birds and
Instagram, new devices will lead to new
apps and opportunities.
Brands need to ensure that they work
with the biggest ecosystems, but also
talent-spot the future stars.
Finally, hardware shows a software
company’s brand essence and is a good
reminder of how important a clear vision
and focus is.
Dollar Shave club - http://fortune.com/2016/07/19/unilever-buys-dollar-
Dash Buttons - http://www.wired.co.uk/article/amazon-dash-uk-launch-
Amazon Go -
Uber - http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2016/11/uber-now-lets-you-navigate-
Mastercard Selfie - https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/04/mastercard-
Speed and search - http://searchengineland.com/google-says-page-
Speed and ad effectiveness -
Uber & expectation -
Catwalk to Checkout -
Offline access -
Next level Beacons - http://meshh.com/
Santander - http://pioneeringooh.com/santander-uses-dooh-and-real-time-
Krispy Kreme - https://www.cnet.com/news/avast-ye-mateys-talk-like-a-pirate-
Cornetto - https://youtu.be/ytDg67aWxjM
Google store visits - http://marketingland.com/google-expand-store-visits-
Amazon Echo - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Echo
Google Home - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Home
Snapchat Spectacles - https://www.spectacles.com/
Uber cars - https://www.ft.com/content/736b1f1c-6534-11e6-8310-
2016 TRENDS REVISITED
The big players have got even more powerful
in 2016, with google and Facebook taking a
larger share of ad spend than before. They
are also investing in content to strengthen
their ecosystems - for example Twitter paying
to stream NFL games.
CHALLENGES TO ADS
Both ad-free content and ad blocking grew
in 2016. Netflix subscribers grew to over
86m, while Amazon grew too and broke its
own streaming records with 'The Grand
Tour'. All of this content is ad-free. Ad
blocking rose, but publishers fought back
more effectively, taking a strong line against
people who access sites with blockers.
THE EVOLUTION OF SEARCH
Amazon's Echo was one of the gadgets of the
year, and has produced over 100 video ads
showing off the voice search. Google
introduced in-app search, Apple added paid
search to the app store, and Snapchat bought
Vurb, a search technology company.
MESSAGING & NOTIFICATIONS
Both Whatsapp and Messenger hit 1bn active
users in 2016, with WeChat coming in thrid
globally at 700m users. Facebook enabled
chatbots and games within its own Messenger,
and more than 30,000 bots have been made to
Algorithms vs Curation
Algorithms, or gaming algorithms was one of
the stories of the year, shown by how quickly
fake news could spread on Facebook.
Curation also continued to grow, partly driven
by problems with algorithms - for example
Facebook is now testing a curated news
section, similar to Snapchat's Discover, which
is only for approved content partners.
2016 TRENDS REVISITED
MAPS & LOCATION
Maps were big news. As a location-based
game Pokemon GO used maps heavily,
bringing virtual creatures to real streets.
TripAdvisor got into mapping by buying social
mapping service CityMaps, and Google made
a VR version of Google Earth for the HTC Vive.
Facebook bought MSQRD, the popular face-
swapping app. A Russian app, FindFace, went
viral - it claims to be able to recognise people
with 70% accuracy. Recognition is also being
used in self-driving cars, and there is even a
Messenger bot called ‘wrf is that?’ which will
tell you what is in photos you send to it.
Facebook didn't introduce a way of targeting
ads based on sentiment, but Twitter did.
Snickers created a Hungerithm campaign,
which used social media monitoring to change
the price of the bars in Australia, dependent on
Price was an issue this year, but less than we
expected. Uber still uses surge pricing (an urban
myth says they use it when you have low battery
and no alternative but to book), and Lidl
experimented with dropping prices in the run up
to Christmas in the UK, based on Tweet volumes.
We didn't see telepathy as such this year, but
there were some interesting examples. For
example, The Washington Post app can tell if
you're bored and suggest different stories.
HEAD OF MEDIA FUTURES