South by Southwest 2015 (SXSW) recently took place in Austin, Texas. The SXSW Interactive portion of the program is a bit like spring break for technologists, interactive content producers, and digital marketers. The technology, creative campaigns and startups who receive attention at SXSW are usually good indicators of the important trends to watch in the coming year. Julie Diaz-Asper, Founding Partner & CEO at Social Lens Research, spotted two of those key trends for 2015.
Here are two key trends for marketers to watch carefully:
- The Ongoing Evolution of Social
Social messaging had a big year in 2014 with SnapChat becoming a hit and WhatsApp selling to Facebook for $19 billion. But the Meerkat app, a simple live streaming app, proved there is still space for innovation in social media, especially when it involves video and mobile. The Washington Post offers one of the best overviews of what exactly is Meerkat here.
The app gained more than 120 million users, was closed down by Twitter and raised 12 million all within three weeks of launch. The Meerkat app quickly became a must- use tool among SXSW influencers. Pete Cashmore, the founder of Mashable, helped fuel the craze by live streaming with the app at SXSW.
Is Meerkat an early winner in social live streaming or a short-term fad? Time will only tell. But given users’ large appetite for both live sharing experiences and video, it stands to reason that apps that combine the two will be a safe bet.
- Brand-funded content raises the bar:
SXSW 2015 experienced an infiltration of branded interactive content Shark Tank-like competitions such Vitamin Water’s Project Hustle and Mastercard’s Priceless Elevator Pitch offered startups opportunities to pitch concepts, win prizes and crowdfund projects.
Cisco premiered Detected, a documentary about a connected bra that offers early cancer detection. Pepsico, the official SXSW soft drink, offered a Mountain Dew skateboarding virtual reality experience with top skateboarders. One of my favorites brand activations was Mophie‘s use of Saint Bernard rescue dogs to rescue attendees with low batteries via tweets.
Media Post presented OMMA SXSW, a conference within a conference for digital marketers, extending their event to two days in 2015.
These are just a few of the wonderful examples of immersive brand experiences at SXSW. Expect to see more brands take their content to the next level with immersive experiences, creative partnerships, and high-tech components.
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Julie Diaz-Asper is the founder of Social Lens Research. Social Lens has a proven track record of using a mix of social marketing techniques and sound research methodologies to better engage and gain deeper insights (mobile optimized research exercises, focus groups, social contests).Julie has over two decades of experience helping large organizations to innovate and pursue new market opportunities including American Express, AARP, Google Multicultural, Univision, Consumer Reports en Español, Cabot Cheese, Mobile Future, CX Act, HITN, Immersive Youth Marketing and Inspire Agency.