Where tech is going and what marketers should know
The technology that marketers have to contend with is constantly changing. Not only do marketers have to make sure the right creative is delivered, they have to be sure it fits the best platform for reaching target audiences.
During Advertising Week, we spoke with VaynerMedia’s Gary Vaynerchuk, Verizon Media’s Iván Markman and HitRecord’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt to understand where tech is going and what marketers should know about it.
Watch the video above for more, or read on to delve into each topic.
Gary Vaynerchuk on text and TikTok
Vaynerchuk, the outspoken CEO and founder of agency VaynerMedia, spoke to Ad Age about what tech is inspiring him these days. He says he’s paying close attention to two things in particular: text messaging and TikTok. (At Advertising Week, Vaynerchuk interviewed TikTok VP Blake Chandlee.) TikTok is a social media platform that Vaynerchuk has already invested in, mostly because of its potential to reach Gen-Zers, who he says can influence other generations as well.
“I always get excited when a platform starts hitting tens, if not hundreds of millions of users," he says. “Whether it becomes Vine or Social Code, or becomes Facebook or Instagram, I don’t know, but it’s hit the scale and consciousness that it now deserves attention.”
Texting is another marketing vehicle Vaynerchuk adamantly stands by. He recently started a platform called WineText.com, which texts users daily wine offers, an extension of his family’s business Wine Library, and has invested in beverage brand Dirty Lemon, which allows consumers to order by text.
“Over the last decade plus, we as humans have not let brands and companies into text. We let them into email, they ruined it, and we’ve been very cautious,” he says. “Over the last year, I’ve noticed more people are giving their phone number to be marketed to, to be sold to… It’s going to be a big topic in these halls in 24 months.”
Why Verizon Media is poised for a 5G revolution
5G is coming and advertisers are doing everything in their power to stay ahead. Verizon has already launched the technology in roughly one-third of the 30 cities earmarked for 5G by the end of the year. At Advertising Week, Ad Age met up with Iván Markman, chief business officer at Verizon Media, the telecom giant’s content subsidiary (previously known as Oath) to discuss the impact 5G is going to have on its ads business, such as how it’s powering the company’s updated augmented reality ads.
“Think of any of these ads powered on steroids,” Markman says of the jump to 5G. “Essentially, you can do a lot more. It’s a lot more vivid, more instant … the type of experiences you can power are quite unique. We’re doing a bunch of experimentation.”
Verizon Media has its 5G Labs, which it uses to trial 5G concepts, and opened its RYOT 5G Studio in L.A. in April, which is where the “experimentation” with new products and media formats that Markman speaks about is playing out. The studio has a full-motion capture stage and a “5G node” which is being used for speeding up wireless data transfers.
Verizon is also placing emphasis on its AR ads; 5G especially helps enable the interactivity between AR and live events. The company is launching AR ads on its full-screen native Moments ad platform, which serves ads across Verizon’s Yahoo apps, including News, Weather, Sports and Finance. It follows Verizon’s rollout of AR ads on Yahoo Mail over the summer where Verizon Media saw average engagement times of more than 60 seconds.
New updates to the ads themselves include the option for users to flip the camera to take selfies within the AR experience, while new “Face Features” allow them to try-on AR products like makeup and clothes. Macy’s will be the first advertiser to run a campaign using the new features, says Markman. Home Depot and Pottery Barn have previously run campaigns using Verizon Media’s AR ads.
The focus on AR is rooted in belief that native advertising is only going to continue its rise, says the company, pointing to an eMarketer finding that states U.S. advertisers will spend almost $44 million on it in 2019.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt on his platform HitRecord
Actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known for his roles in “Inception” and “10 Things I hate About You,” founded HitRecord 10 years ago. Now the platform, where artists can collaborate on different projects, from music to videos to books, has grown to 600,000 users and has worked with a multitude of brands.
What was once a production company and hobby for Gordon-Levitt has turned into a profitable company (in January, the platform raised a $6.4 million series A round) and works with the likes of LG, Samsung, Sony, Levi’s and nonprofits like the National Parks Foundation to generate revenue and turn out works of art. It’s latest partnership is with Zappos, where HitRecord artists will collaborate on an assignment featuring stories about holiday traditions around the world. At Advertising Week, Joseph Gordon-Levitt joined Zappos' Shelby Stilson on stage to discuss the new partnership, and Ad Age spoke with Stilson about the details.
Despite the platform’s growth and collaborative nature, Gordon-Levitt wouldn’t lump HitRecord in with other social media platforms. Speaking with Ad Age during Advertising Week, he says artists using HitRecord don’t have to “bring out their claws” and compete for followers to get monetized. It all comes down to the quality of work.
“I think there’s fundamentally something different with how people treat each other. Most of the online platforms are not really about collaboration, they’re more competitive, they’re like a popularity contest,” he says. “Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, etc. get their users to compete with each other for attention, because attention is what ultimately makes money. That’s not how we make money.”
Since monetizing users for good work is a goal of the platform, how the platform handles users’ intellectual property is important.
“We don’t demand exclusive rights to people’s content at the point of contribution. That’s weird. People aren’t used to giving exclusive rights to something they’re putting on the internet, and I don’t think artists would really like that,” he says. “When you upload something to HitRecord, you’re giving a non-exclusive license for HitRecord to take the fruits of the collaborative process and if there’s monetization, people get paid.”