Digital Trends: 03.01.22

TECH, DESIGN & NOSTALGIA

What separates Apple from other tech companies is design, and the seamless integration between their hardware and software. Which makes them the company that I'd bet on for AR. They've reportedly tested their new AR hardware. Even if other companies are releasing impressive new headsets, I heard them referred to as ‘nerd helmets’ and I can’t shake that. How can new tech be perceived as cool? Taur is a company trying to solve the problem that Segway never could – how to you make e-scooter ownership cool. I’m scoot-curious tbh.

Maybe nostalgia is the answer, particularly for Gen X-ers. Here’s a cool reinterpretation of the original Macintosh. If you want to join me down a Nirvana-fuelled 90’s cultural rabbit hole, check out this essay by Douglas Copeland on why the 90s 'rocked' or pick-up Chuck Klosterman’s new book on the 90s(it’s excellent).

DATA TRANSPARENCY & TARGETING

Big Data feels theoretical, until it gets personal. The Guardian has a good write-upon how much Amazon knows about its customers beyond shopping (e.g., your reading speed and interests on Kindle). Tech companies are responding to privacy concerns by sharing more about what they know about us – as an example, Uber now shares how you have been rated as a passenger. (Full disclosure: 243 5-star ratings vs. 3 1-star ratings…I know exactly what happened on those 3 rides btw). Snapchat is also using location data (like Apple’s Find My) to try to help users set-up buddy systems for when users are en route. Finally, if you’re interested in knowing what Google knows (or algorithmically infers) about you –check it out here.

SOCIAL & ADVERTISING TRENDS

At a time when all social platforms are moving towards short video content, TikTok is actually moving the other way.This article explains their conundrum, including how TikTok recently tested 10-minute videos to try and capture some of the YouTube market. Meanwhile, Facebook is pushing its TikTok copycat Reels into every part of its app. If you’re interested in seeing how brands are using this newish format, check out the Good TikTok Creative Substack from Simon Andrews – 75+ mini-case studies.
And speaking of advertising trends, this is my new favourite - brands can now incorporate product placements backwards into classic old films. Retro-retro!

RESEARCH REPORTS & TRENDS

  • 2022 Commerce Trends: Excellent deck from 2PM on 8 commerce trends (usually reserved for subscribers). Interesting points around digital native brands moving offline, and ‘traditional’ brands moving online for D2C – Nike will be 70% direct by 2027.
  • What Digital Advertising Gets Wrong: A smart piece on how marketers must avoid confusing correlation with causation, and stop spending on advertising that focuses on people who are likely going to buy anyway.
  • Framing the Future of Web 3.0: Surprisingly readable report from Goldman Sachs. A refreshing framing of Web 3.0 from a financial perspective - not coming from tech-bros with buzzword-speak.


UKRAINE & TECH RESPONSE

Pivot had an excellent episode on how the tech industry is responding to the horrific events in Ukraine. There’s a lot of pressure on social media platforms to, well, de-platform Russian state media. Lots of misinformation happening to no one’s surprise on Facebook. Google is disabling certain live traffic Map features for fears that they can be used to track troop movement. Despite these crackdowns, people always find a way – Ukrainians are using Google restaurant reviews to communicate directly with Russians.

LONG, SMART READS

  • Shopify’s Evolution:  Another fantastic piece by Ben Thompson that explores how integration with the modern value chain is where Shopify is going (and needs to get to quickly).
  • 50 Things: Fantastic list put together by BBH CSO Tom Callard on things he has learned over his agency career. Follows a similar list that Chaz Wigley put together that includes 100 lessons he has learned over his career as a planner. Makes me miss agency life.
  • Execution > Strategy: Love this visual and this post by Noah Brier. It illustrates the differences and relationships between tactics and strategy, and why strategy is only as good as its execution.


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