It’s sometimes hard to tell the signal from the noise as marketers try to hitch themselves to new technologies and the cultural changes they bring. But advertisers leveraging the popularity of video games to create powerful marketing moves looks a lot like signal. As we’ve noted before, the days of traditional ad platforms dominating our attention are numbered. The new sports arena isn’t in a superdome or a college stadium. Rather, it’s on games our computer screens and smartphones, and savvy marketers - and tech companies - are starting to take note and leveraging to their advantage.
The best indicator of the growth of this new space? Amazon’s acquisition of video-game streaming service, Twitch. Twitch is essentially a 21st century version of ESPN clip shows, but the clips are of other people playing games. It allows users to stream video game competitions and provides an online forum for all 1.1 million of its “athletes” to interact with many more millions of fans. What’s really impressive, however, is Twitch’s ability to force even established TV cable brands, on the edge of their seats: Twitch’s viewership at times rivals and surpasses MTV’s. In short, Twitch has quickly become one of the top generators of internet traffic, behind heavyweights like Apple, Netflix, and Google. Any video game enthusiast is likely excited about this giant endorsement from the tech world, but advertisers should be paying just as much attention. After all, there’s clearly a reason why Amazon had to fight Google to make the acquisition. Those 55 million (and growing) viewers on Twitch’s interface add up to big ad dollars, and tech companies have clearly taken notice.
As the Twitch acquisition signals that Amazon is looking to bring e-sports into the main arena, it also presents serious opportunities for marketers looking to experiment in their content and advertising offerings. With the purchase, Amazon is amassing its own ad network (link to past blog post on this instead of external link) — not unlike Google’s — and presents marketing execs across industries the opportunity to get a little more creative with their offerings.
As Twitch continues to expand beyond video game streaming, its CEO promises that Twitch won’t become a replica of the Amazon store, but rather develop into a new native advertising hub. While the forms of this content have yet to take shape, we can expect to see more branded content and even documentaries cropping up on the site, along with participation from popular content creators. The service gives marketers a new way to diversify their communications.
Another big win for marketers and advertisers in the Twitch acquisition? New troves of data. Amazon’s significant commitment to Twitch signals that more unconventional forms of data, not obtained from standard search results or purchase history, is on the rise. In taking a closer look at games played or watched, for instance, marketers are afforded a more precise and in-depth data set. Looking beyond consumers’ superficial internet actions to less obvious habits, such as social interactions, will ultimately allow advertisers a closer look at what their consumers really want and who they should be targeting to.
You are not a product.
Ello, the invite-only social network widely marketed as the anti-Facebook, punctuates its manifesto with this statement. In an interview last September, Apple’s Tim Cook echoed the sentiment, stating, “Our business is not based on having information about you. You’re not our product.” Privacy rights dominate the public discourse of the day, and Ello’s emergence follows a steady stream of voiced concerns regarding use of personal data in the age of information.
In the ad targeting world, data reigns supreme. The more data, the more powerful the technology. But there’s an end goal to this pursuit, and that’s ultimately to build a more relevant world where people connect with what they love. At 140 Proof, we’re engaged in the wider conversation around privacy in our data-infused world, and we think that leveraging the information individuals share publicly can be a good thing, as long as companies are transparent about how it’s done.
We understand that there’s a lot more out there beyond ad targeting, but we’re also excited by the fact that as technology grows more efficient, it can serve to make people’s lives more efficient as well. Like Ello, “we believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.” We also believe in the positive applications of public data and we respect the privacy of individuals who choose not to share in a public format.
As Ello’s emergence has indicated, the relationship between tech companies, brands and consumers must evolve in order to address the needs of the consumer. As long as transparency remains central to this relationship, we’ll remain committed to creating ads for humans.
Apple’s release of the iPhone 6 generated a lot of media attention this past week. Between announcing that it had received over 12 million pre-orders and addressing ‘Bendgate’ drama, the tech titan has certainly been making headlines. But beyond the dramatic entrance of the newest addition to the Apple family, it remains to be seen whether the iPhone 6 will make as big of a splash in the marketing world as it has for consumers. After all, the much lauded large screen begs the question: isn’t this just Apple’s take on Android’s increasingly popular phablet family?
Prior to Apple’s event announcing the release of the phone, marketers were already gearing up for the endless stream of advertising possibilities that the new device might unleash— they discussed everything from implications for iBeacon and NFC to anticipation around a new mobile wallet. Credit of course has to be given to Apple’s unique ability to build up an extraordinary amount of hype around the launch. The most important takeaway for marketers, though, was also the most exciting component for consumers: those big new screens. With significant increases in screen size and serious improvements in video and image quality, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are clearly primed for mobile video. That’s music to advertisers’ ears, especially since they’re already tuned into the mobile video ad revolution.
But will the iPhone 6 actually kickstart growth in the mobile video sector? Android has offered essentially the same capabilities with a larger screen for years, so why didn’t this happen earlier?
While Android has long been a more popular OS, Apple’s new devices present a new threat. Just a few weeks after the release of the new iPhone, Android trade-ins have risen as much as 200 percent. Clearly, Apple’s direct play against other handset manufacturers is working, and that’s why the iPhone 6 carries much weightier implications for the marketing world. Android may have always offered phablets primed for mobile video, but only with the sudden tidal wave of new phablet iPhone users will the medium really take off. With an even larger user base watching videos with its enhanced screens and viewing capabilities, it’s only a matter of time before marketers are fully-tuned into video ads on iPhone 6.
Our Chicago team had a great time connecting with attendees of Social Media Week. Our caricature artist, working from interest data found in attendee’s social profiles, created over 60 drawings for the #MySocialPortrait project.
Also, 140 Proof SVP Matt Rosenberg shared insights from research conducted with the IPG Media Lab earlier this year.
Watch the video: A Network for Every Interest
Based on conversations with the people we met, here’s what we took away from our time at Social Media Week:
- The most valuable thing that social media can provide marketers is the opportunity to listen.
- Despite recent complaints about Facebook suppressing organic conversation from brands, marketers understand that Facebook has a right and a responsibility to make money. Many marketers have now accepted that, and are figuring out the best strategy for using Facebook as it is now.
- Many companies in the B2B world see social as a great marketing tool, but they also recognize, for example, that no one wants to read a 35-page report on financial derivatives in their social feeds. IBM, for example, advises clients to share in social only things that they would welcome in their own feeds and share with their friends.
We’re pleased to announce that we are the first digital advertising company to inform video ad targeting by aggregating an individual’s interests across social channels. With our Blended Interest Graph technology, video content is selected for users based on who they follow, what they like, where they check in, the kinds of news they share, and other activity across a range of platforms. The autoplay-enabled ads are then displayed across an extensive app network.
Today’s launch builds on our commitment to continued innovation, like launching the first self-serve social advertising platform, the first API for social ads, and the first social ads for mobile. We had a big milestone in June, too, when we were granted a patent for our method of choosing content based on consumer’s activity in social.
"The arrival of a larger screen on the iPhone 6, coupled with recent reports that mobile video activity is up 400 percent over the past two years, signal that the industry is ripe for better ad targeting solutions," said 140 Proof CEO Jon Elvekrog. "The challenge for mobile video has been that content matching has been slow to evolve. Applying the Blended Interest Graph to video gives brand advertisers not only a powerful tool to ensure their ads are in front of the right audience, but also a powerful analytics engine to better understand the people who engaged with the ad."
With over 600 million social accounts profiled, we’re able to report detailed segmentation on the population that engaged with the ad. For example, our technology can uncover adjacent interests shared by the target group and can provide data that can be used to inform search, messaging, and targeting on other platforms.
The 140 Proof Team
Today, at Social Media Week Chicago, we presented findings from recent research on how people express their interests through not one or two but many social networks.
Matt Rosenberg, SVP of Marketing for 140 Proof, explains:
Or, if you have only 5 minutes, watch the short version on YouTube.
Want more? Even more than this? Gobble up the whitepaper.
The 140 Proof team is giving people a glimpse of their social selves at Social Media Week Chicago this week. We kicked off the week with Monday evening’s opening party, where we analyzed attendees’ public social data to create their social portraits. We’ll be custom-creating these social portraits throughout the Digital Marketing Summit and we’re excited to bring attendees’ social profiles to life.
People use their presence on social media to express their passions and interests, and while social profiles can capture a diverse range of aspirations and hobbies, usually one or two stand out. We’re using these defining interests to inspire the portraits created this week.
We discovered @nikkicatania's love for dogs through her public social data.
@patticostello13 loves boating, and she shares her passion for getting out on the water on social media.
Visit Booth #1 in the Digital Marketing expo hall to receive your social portrait today and Thursday, September 25th.
Look for 140 Proof at your next industry event for a chance to create your own social portrait.