Industry leaders on the future of media

Sam Ramlu, managing director of Method.

What do you think will be dead in five years? (products, companies, trends etc.)

It’s quite confronting being forced to think five years in the future let alone what might not even be around in that time.

A quick glimpse into the future is both exciting and terrifying all at once. I think the biggest things that will suffer/improve will be physical items – some we take for granted yet take up a lot of valuable resource and energy to create.

Here’s my take on the top three things that will be dead in five years.

Hardware – PCs, consoles, tablets, phones, HMD as we know it will be gone. Rather, we’ll have dummy devices that stream content which will all be in the cloud and we’ll replace some of these devices with eyewear that does much the same.

Gaming is the latest to go the way of streaming with Google’s Stadia launching this year and Microsoft and Sony’s unique partnership for a competitive offering. 

Cash or card? How about neither? Debit and credit cards have reduced the need for cash, so much so that many retailers are surprised at the offer of cash as payment. I think in five years they’ll be as good as gone with Apple Pay and digital wallets on the rise and payment through your phone, watch, and eventually, eyewear will be the new normal.

Receptions and customer service – I don’t mean good service will cease to exist but I think a lot of basic customer service will be replaced by AI and receptions (and front of house staff) will be a thing of the past.  

Davied Bowes, CEO of Zavy.

What should you be measuring in social media?

There is no shortage of metrics in social media, but some measures are better than others.

Firstly, any social media metric that you’re measuring should closely link to overall business performance, meaning that if the metric is improved then your business will enjoy more sales and growth. Secondly, you need to have a competitive comparison. It may sound great that your measure has improved by 20 percent, but that doesn’t sound as good when your competitors have grown the same metric by 50 percent.

Zavy has identified that engagement is the key social media metric to measure and optimise. In a recent study of 2,500 businesses, we established that the deeper the level of engagement (e.g. a share, rather than a like), the deeper the correlation to business growth. A higher level of engagement with your business on social media is commonly achieved by capturing what is relevant to your audience and speaking to cultural moments, including key dates and events as well as contemporary issues such as single-use plastic bags.

On top of this, sentiment is important to track. Unlike traditional media channels that ‘broadcast’ their message top down, in social media brands grow from the bottom up, with people, across enormous amounts of interactions. Understanding this sentiment with a competitive context is essential.

Social media is often used to create presence and reach. But to win against your competitors you need to create more and deeper engagements with positive sentiment attached, and this requires metrics that go beyond the number of ‘Likes’

Julian Thompson, director of Mosh. 

If Instagram was to remove its ‘Like’ counts, will it have an impact on influencer marketing?

Removing ‘Like’ counts shouldn’t have an impact. Marketers should already be looking deeper than just ‘Likes’.

If anything, it will force marketers to do better due diligence before engaging an influencer. To evaluate the value of a potential influencer, first look at who is engaging with the influencer, and try to establish if these people are the right audience for your brand.

If an influencer is ‘influencing’ the wrong people, it doesn’t matter how many of them there are, or how often they’re double-tapping. If you start with small influencer collaborations, and measure actual results like your own follower growth, leads, or sales using tracking URLs, then high level metrics such as ‘Likes’ don’t really matter.

Once you’ve got evidence that the partnership is delivering value you can easily scale it up. If it isn’t, you can move on without having invested much. If anything, removing ‘Likes’ is a good thing. Marketers will need to consider a variety of metrics when engaging an influencer, as well as trying out a variety of methods to see what works. It’s up to the influencer to present their case, and for the marketer to test out their street cred!

Samantha Osborne, managing director of Mindshare New Zealand 

What keeps you up at night?

Easy! The wellbeing of our people! How does our industry allow people to burn out and move on? 

A colleague said, “I’m done with seeing the smart ones go. The hard workers get ‘rewarded’ with more work and weekend email!” We see broken marriages, health issues and now ‘mental days’. It’s unhealthy and unproductive. 

We want people to do great work, have pride in it and feel comfortable sharing their concerns. People are the only asset that matter. We need to find ways to invest in them because that will grow our value, and business is built on growth.   

What is Mindshare doing? We are investing in wellness programmes, exciting parental policies, soft skills, resilience training, ‘speak up’ lines and more. We want open conversations and solutions that work.  Our young people are our future. Without them we are nothing. Let’s sort it. 

Ian Howard, CEO of Little Giant 

What’s the biggest thing voice has to offer marketers? Do you have a good example of a brand incorporating voice technology into its mix?

There’s a slight irony in the fact that in order to supply this contribution to a discussion on voice, I’m having to sit at a keyboard and move my fingers and thumbs up and down repeatedly. It’s baffling that in a world in which we’re increasingly fixated by the idea of removing friction from the experiences we create, I still have to do that in order to turn my thoughts into documented words.

You can imagine that this won’t remain the case for long. With the emergence of more smart assistants, and machine-learning enabling better natural language processing, it won’t be long before the gestures we take for granted now are replaced wholesale by voice commands as natural as the way we communicate with each other and by extension, the way we communicate with brands. 

So, what does that mean for marketers? Well for years the holy grail has been to deliver value to our consumers and customers in the right way and at the right time. As the latency between the right time (when people really need it), and the right data signal (when we know that they need it) decreases, we’ll have the opportunity to connect in the instant.

That’ll be the real opportunity that comes with voice – for the first time we’ll be able to have truly live, totally contextual and entirely natural interaction with our customers, at scale. And it’ll be those that have the most in-depth understanding of their customer’s needs, and who deliver to those needs in the most useful and valuable way, that will be best set to take advantage of that capability.  

Bob Haynes, head of programmatic at GroupM New Zealand

What excites you most about technology?

For me, what excites me the most about technology is AI and its many applications. And technology’s unique ability to add measurable value, both to myself as an individual in today’s modern society, and to businesses that want to innovate, grow and succeed in their ultimate purpose. 

This is obviously very prevalent in digital media and advertising, where we as an agency are fully committed to making sure that we deliver measurable value and outcomes to the business and brands we represent, and who are reliant on us and our expertise in investing their media dollars most effectively on their behalf. To deliver on this requires not only the best talent and strategic minds, but equally important, the utilisation of our proprietary technology and artificial intelligence platform. 

Without it, we mere mortals are simply unable to process data fast enough. It empowers our traders with simple tools to build powerful, customised algorithms that make millions of decisions every nanosecond. Enabling the right marketing and media strategy, using the abundance of high quality and compliant data assets to our disposal, fuelling the predictive capabilities of our proprietary we use to invest, making millions of decisions every nanosecond, helping us as humans to discover in real-time how we can deliver the absolute highest value to our client. How can that not be exciting!?

Brett Hancock, founder and managing director of Born Digital.

What worries you the most about technology? 

I {heart-emoji} technology! I have been living and breathing it every day for over 30 years. 

Technology is moving fast and its exciting, I love learning about all the exciting new breakthroughs in health tech, AI, IOT and robotics. If I had to worry about one thing, it would be security. Now that pretty much everything about me and my business is stored in the cloud somewhere, I worry about how evil machine learning AI powered super hackers might one day get into all my cloud-hosted information.   

With access to my all my work documents, emails and banking info – someone could cause me a lot of pain. And, what if all the banks get hacked and we all lose our life savings? Now I’m not ready to start storing cash in a shoebox under my bed in preparation for judgement day, but I do have some money in a couple of non-related banks and in a crypto wallet just in case. I’m excited about the possibilities for technologies like Blockchain to provide a greater level of security over our online data, so I can get back to playing with the new technology and not fearing it.

Simon Birkenhead, CEO of KPEX

With the international tech giants under the spotlight in the wake of Christchurch terror attacks, is there an opportunity for KPEX to shine?

Even before the Christchurch attacks, brand safety was already a high priority for brands. It’s why KPEX only partners with New Zealand publishers that provide premium, curated content so advertisers don’t have to worry about their ads appearing against unsavoury content or fake news.

We even voluntarily stopped all ads within articles about the terrorist attacks, at great financial cost, because it was the right thing to do. It’s unlikely Facebook, Google or YouTube would ever do this. However, choice of ad platform is not just about content. User behaviour on premium sites is also different to social platforms.

Content engagement is higher, so dwell time is longer and, importantly, scroll speed is lower. Therefore ads are in-view for much longer – in fact 10 times longer on editorial sites than on social sites. Not all ad impressions offer the same value, and advertisers who simply chase the lowest priced ad placements without considering the site quality run the gauntlet of brand risk, ad fraud and low ad impact. 

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