MarTech and AdTech News Headlines Update on April 08, 2021

CNN has a great series called Colorscope that explores how colour is used across cultures

I watched the one about pink, which cheekily suggested that pink wasn’t a colour — just a tint. “It’s simply light red with a better name.” Apparently, the colour pink makes you less violent “which is why a number of prisons are painted in it.” Isn’t that too little pink too late? Preemptively paint the planet pink, I say, and avoid the whole prison business in the first place. They get different animators and directors from around the world to do each film, all roughly 90 seconds long. Also featuring blue, red, white, green, yellow, purple, black, gold, and orange. Thanks for the link, Simon.

Image dissolve transitions are cool

They’re even cooler when you do them with CSS. What would you even do with this?

  • “Transition between site/section backgrounds
  • Transition between backgrounds in an image carousel
  • Change background in reaction to either a click or hover
  • Remove a custom poster image from a video when it starts playing”

This guy wrote a user manual for a tool that 192 million people use every day: Twitter

“Twitter does a horrible job of showing you its advanced features. Here are 10 of them you probably know nothing about:” I mean, advanced search is a whole world unto itself. Then this genius antidote to doomscrolling: create lists of your multiple interests, then pin them to the top of your timeline and swipe between them. There is also a tip on tweet styling: make lists using bullets instead of lists using dashes. Huh.

Dark is everywhere

Dark patterns are UX-design-speak for web or app design that manipulates you into making certain choices around your attention or money or data. If the new U.S. government has its way, the growing movement to ban dark patterns will lead to policy.

  • Instagram uses dark patterns with the language it employs by asking if they can “use your app and website activity” to “Provide a better ads experience.”
  • The Deliveroo app will use modals and popups to advertise deals that will hide the ‘close popup’ X button by making it the same colour as the background.
  • Check that trial you signed up for in 2012 . Is it still automatically charging your credit card every month without telling you?
  • Cheers to that NYT subscription I once tried to cancel for ages which finally involved having to actually speak to a real person to explain my outrageous behaviour. See under friction-as-a-service. (Has this changed yet?)
  • Or that newsletter ‘Unsubscribe’ link you just cannot find (as opposed to the Adobe Illustrator beta feature newsletter I put myself on ages ago that did away with the ‘Unsubscribe’ button altogether.
  • Or that popup ‘Subscribe’ button that tries to shame you for not subscribing by saying lame passive aggressive crap like “No I don’t want to be the smartest person in the world.”

Laws and policies around privacy, consent, and data are hard to create and implement without it being a blunt instrument, but good regulation can work. “It can really turn the internet into somewhere that’s nice to be instead of like a complete Wild West environment. And we need it.”

Every now and then you see a thing that reminds you that you’re already living in the future

Digital fashion is one such thing. The Fabricant is a digital fashion house — and they mean digital as in digital clothes made with not-cloth. The website is filled with faceless (and often hand-less and foot-less) models wearing digital couture. They use the word ‘phygital’, and the writing is a bit hokey (“we’re not fashionistas, we’re fashionauts.”), but The Fabricant is the real deal. “We create digital-only fashion that can be used and traded in virtual realities.” What is digital-only clothing? The Fabricant assures us that they are “showing the world that clothing does not need to be physical to exist”. Scarily enough, that makes sense. I think the idea is that as we move ourselves seamlessly between the digital and physical, it isn’t always going to matter whether that dress you’re wearing is made of an acrylic-cotton blend or a looping animation blend. Especially if you build a business plan around digital fashion, hire great animation talent, and put them in a room with incredible fashion design talent. If that’s you, you can download a FFROP (a ‘free file drop’) like, say, a file of Marques Almeida’s digitally inflated puffer jacket, add your own styling to it, and upload. (The submissions are gorgeous, diverse, and incredibly accessible.) It helps that they do business with Vogue and Puma. Is it realistic to expect the fashion industry to “reimagine seasonal runway shows as an entirely non-physical 3D experience?” Are you, fashion maven that you are, ready to give “‘thought couture’ a place alongside haute couture?” And is The Fabricant “uploading humans to the next level of existence?” I don’t know, but I think this is a truly great idea, it makes perfect business sense, and to a guy who understands absolutely nothing about fashion, it looks amazing.

Getting sound right

Music and sound effects have the power to make content stick in our memory. 45-years on and the iconic Jaws theme still has the power to terrorise beachgoers. When it comes to content marketing, music and sound is just as important as it is in Hollywood blockbusters. The right music attaches itself to your brand, triggering memories and emotions.

Music and emotions

Music and sound definitely matter if you want to evoke an emotional attachment to your content. Scientists have been able to map 13 key emotions that are roused by music. They range from amusement and triumph to fear and annoyance. We’ve all had an annoying jingle or song stuck in our head before, so understanding how music works is the difference between engaging content or an irritating earworm.

Is music more memorable?

Audio branding agency PHMG conducted a study of 1,000 consumers and found that 66% believe music is more memorable than visuals in marketing. A study by YouTube found consumers had a stronger brand experience when ads were audible and viewable. It’s clear music shouldn’t be an afterthought — both the audio and video need to complement each other.

Singapore and Chinese big tech

Singapore is becoming an attractive destination for Chinese tech companies looking to escape regulations designed to decrease the platforms’ growing power. TikTok owner ByteDance has set up a regional HQ while Alibaba is embarking on a property and hiring spree. Geopolitical disputes with the USA and India have seen a renewed focus on Southeast Asia by Chinese tech giants.

Singapore and US big tech

While China’s tech platforms are looking to operate out of Singapore, the USA’s tech platforms are using the island nation to protect itself from China-based hackers. Google and Facebook are funding two new transpacific fibre optic cables connecting the US with Singapore. These cables usually run through the South China Sea but America has claimed this is too risky as it provides an avenue for China to “acquire Americans’ personal data”. It’s hoped the new route will protect data while also further opening up the Southeast Asian market to Facebook and Google.

Continued hacks

Protecting data from hacks is a serious concern for big tech firms. Microsoft recently revealed four zero-day vulnerabilities in its Exchange Server. These were being exploited by cyber attackers using techniques developed in China. A zero-day vulnerability is a software security flaw that software vendors don’t have the means to patch, which can then be exploited by cybercriminals. Such vulnerabilities occur regularly. Considering the personal data big tech stores, keeping it safe is vital to commercial and reputational interests.

Clubhouse’s Trend

Twitter reportedly tried to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion but nothing came out of it. Bloomberg says it’s not clear why the talks stalled. It’s crazy to think how quickly Clubhouse went from being a product to a feature — every single platform is building one. This is also a company that has zero revenue and is major privacy breach waiting to happen. All that for $4 billion?

Facebook is beta testing some kind mashup of Clubhouse and IG Live. Hotline looks like Clubhouse, but it’ll also let you turn on your camera.

Even Spotify is planning a Clubhouse competitor. But this one could be useful for creators: Organise your live audio room, hit record, and it automatically goes out as a podcast on Spotify via Anchor. LinkedIn is also building a Clubhouse clone. Actually, of all the clones out there, this is the only one that makes sense.

Clubhouse is becoming a big deal in South Korean politics. Jaewon Byun, a disability rights activist in Seoul, lobbied six mayoral candidates about their plans to combat the coronavirus-induced social exclusion and isolation of people with disabilities. Nobody replied. Then he got on Clubhouse for one candidate’s AMA session, and jumped in with a question and a request to meet. He got his answer — and a meeting. No wonder the app is called inssa in Koren slang, “which is derived from the term ‘insider’”. Traditional campaigning is pivoting towards the world’s favourite gatekeeper-free audio chat app. “Clubhouse entered South Korea at precisely the right time to ride this trend. As high-profile politicians started announcing their bids for mayor, the app [is] the nation’s most downloaded iOS application.”

Clubhouse users can now send money to their favourite creators and speakers on the platform. This is an important path to monetisation for creators, but here’s the best part: 100% of the money will go directly to the creator. Take a moment to think about where all this is going: Micropayments are the biggest trend in media — just look at the new opportunities that came out of Substack, IG, YouTube, and now fresh audio formats. This is the gateway to more independent, single-operator micro-media startups.

Using Instagram Stories

We all know how new functions are added to social media platforms. Someone finds success and the rest copy. Instagram copied Stories directly from Snapchat but reached a much wider audience. About 15 seconds long and only viewable for 24 hours, they’ve proved hugely popular amongst users.

Why Stories matter

Instagram is a great discovery tool for brands, with 83% of users claiming they find new products or services on the platform. Because of Stories’ limited life span, they create a sense of urgency amongst your audience. More importantly, customers don’t feel like they’re being bombarded with marketing messages. New products and promotions or influencer posts are gone in 24 hours.

How to stand out

While video Stories generally outperform image-based ones, there are some other tricks to getting noticed. Animation is one option, and it’s pretty easy to do. There’s a range of animation apps any novice can use to create eye-catching videos. There’s also the Instagram Live feature which gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers or potentials in real-time. Essentially, Stories let you experiment with your brand personality.

Social media safety

Social media is often considered the wild west of the online world. Fake news and conspiracy theories spread rapidly while online trolling and abuse is rife. Slowly, social platforms are realising this is an issue they have to tackle. In an attempt to protect younger users, Instagram has introduced new features to prevent predatory behaviour. Meanwhile, Twitter is considering a Safety Centre to make users more aware of the rules.

Why platforms should care

When high profile figures start leaving social media, the platforms should probably take notice. French professional football coach and former player Thierry Henry has quit all social media “until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright”. He’s far from the first celebrity to quit because of toxic racism, bullying and abuse.

Protecting users from themselves

While there is plenty more social platforms could do to curb abusive behaviour, users also need to take responsibility. A recent trend of posting COVID-19 vaccine cards on social media is opening users up to identity theft and scams. In the end, social media safety has to come down to platform regulation and user education.

Interesting Marketing Video to Watch

Oracle travels to Rwanda to show how the digitisation of the HPV vaccination process saves lives and offers more data to measure the effects of immunisation.

PayPal shares the story of a seafood distributor using QR technology so customers can trace the source of the catch and shop sustainably.

Microsoft uses a striking but simple form of animation to showcase the suite of software available with its 365 product.

Mebo produces traditional medicine to apply to skin burns and has used digital and cel animation to show how its products treat everyday accidents.

Despite a global pandemic and widespread lockdown, Grab is keeping Singapore’s hawker experience alive and well.

Japanese sports equipment manufacturer, Yonex, offers a quirky and inspirational look at the daily work that goes into building a tennis racket. #FarBeyondOrdinary #Yonex75th

Boutique breweries are no longer niche operations. But individual creativity is still celebrated, according to Canada’s Hamilton Brewery.

B2C Europe uses toy car-inspired animation to make its cross border logistics solutions easier to understand.

German typography expert Erik Spiekermann’s explanation of the creativity behind fonts is brought to life via typeface animation.

Published by Silvia Emma

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