What we learned at SXSW17

We recently attended SXSW Interactive. We like to stay ahead of the curve on all things digital, and there are some important technology updates that will impact your business in the short and long term.

Wait… What do those letters mean?
SXSW = South by Southwest.
It’s a seven-day extravaganza, and a major component is the SXSW Interactive Festival. This brings together experts from tech, media, robotics, publishing and digital fields to talk about the latest trends and future projections.

Why did we go?
Being the first to know about new tech trends helps us help you.

What does that mean for you?
You get future-proof campaigns. As long as we’re on top of the latest technologies, we make sure your campaigns are in line with emerging tech and consumption habits.
I attended with our associate media director, Sara Lennon. Together, we assessed the rapidly changing media landscape and what impacts technology was having on the way we reach consumers. We also got a better understanding of fundamental cultural shifts and industry disruption occurring due to the accelerated advancement of technology.

What do you need to know?
Here are the top three trends we identified at SXSW that are directly impacting our campaigns:
1. AI – A Disruptive Infant
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly growing in proliferation. Whether or not you realize it, it’s already impacting your life through Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, video games or credit card fraud detection. There’s a lot to cover on this topic, but I want to highlight a disruption that’s impacting the Google business model. As AI assistants become smarter, will users ever see paid search results? Will AI change the art of discovery online (and the ability to insert ads) completely?

2. Image Is the New Search
Machine learning is now extremely advanced in analyzing image content and context. Google photos, Pinterest and Liketoknow.it are just some examples of platforms that use image recognition to improve UX, search and marketing attribution. Experts predict continued improvements will shift our online interactions to be overwhelmingly image-based.

3. Now the TV’s Watching You
We all know the best way to reach consumers and drive action is with the right message, on the right medium, at the right time. Obviously.
But the next big shift from programmatic to in-market targeting is predictive data, and how it’s being used to reach consumers based on shopping intent. This is shifting prospect targeting from programmatic to in-market – which is basically allowing us to better understand when exactly is the “right time.”

Predictive modeling can mean reaching a consumer before they’ve made the decision to buy. Smarter cars mean serving audio ads when the driver is actually listening. And televisions? Well, they’ll know exactly who is watching the TV and programmatically serve a relevant ad.

Creepy, right? But extremely effective.

Want to know more? You’re in luck.
We put together a presentation with all the major trends. You can find it here.

P.S. Here’s a preview of the themes. Get excited.
• AI is a disruptive infant
• AR + VR + 360 = “cool” story
• Image is the new search
• Beacons are real
• Fake news fight
• We lost you… Attention spans suck.
• Now the TV’s watching you
• The next…

Andrew Halfman

- Author -

Andrew Halfman

Senior Digital Strategist