Digital Trends: 04.01.22

Lots going on in the world these days – I hope you are well. Thanks to everyone who shared the news of the Kickframe Toolbox launch last week. I received lots of great feedback and encouragement, which I’m grateful for. Wishing you a great start to Spring (if it ever arrives in Toronto!)


I’m going to avoid using the term metaverse anymore. It seems like such lazy short-hand that serves as an umbrella for more interesting ideas and tangible component parts. CNET makes the case that the metaverse is a metaphor that represents the culmination of technologies like VR, AR, blockchain, 5G, and wearables. I think it’s far more worthwhile to focus on each of these individual topics.Plus, this will hopefully free me from feeling the need to pay attention to marketing / agency teams dusting off old Second Life pitch decks to host fashion shows, sell virtual real estate, and host virtual beer tastings - “it wasn’t so much the non-existent beer but the emotionless avatars of everyone in attendance that sucked the life out of the party”.


I’m conscious of not writing (or thinking) like an old crank. I’m still as curious about the possibilities of the Internet as I was when I first logged onto the Online Guitar Archive over dial-up in 1992. I love the intersection of creativity, technology, and weirdness that comes together online. A few examples:

  • The Pudding: This ‘longform data journalism’ goes deep on deconstructing Ali Wong Comedy Specials and, most recently, NBA drafts. The best.
  • The Flemish Scrollers: A service that uses AI to automatically tag distracted Belgian politicians when they use their phones during live meetings, and posts images to Twitter.
  • Data Models: A deep-dive into how the Best Picture Oscar can be predicted based on the number of coughs in the movie (it incorrectly predicted Dune to win, but somehow projects that Viggo Mortensen will be cast as Batman in the future…nothing about Will Smith).

Would love to see brands that are interested in content marketing produce or sponsor these types of novel web-native concepts.


Snapchat is opening up its platform to lens creators to build more AR experiences tied to specific public locations. People will be connected via a QR code, making the physical world a digital canvas. Facebook continues to move into the AR space with its Ray Ban partnership, which is now expanding into new countries. Nike brought immersion to Japan for Air Max Day with an amazing 3D billboard. And if that's not immersive enough, there is work being done to bring the sense of touch to VR environments – including a Japanese start-up that aims to bring the sense of pain to the (gulp) metaverse; “Feeling pain enables us to turn the metaverse world into a real [world]…” Sign me up!


Netflix has been “working on ways to enable members who share outside their household to do so easily and securely, while also paying a bit more.” AKA stop sharing or we’ll charge you. 23% of Netflix users share an account, and approximately 50% say they will cancel if charged. If they do, they will miss the Skip Intro feature which was launched 5 years ago this week, and has apparently saved members 195 years in cumulative time.Apple is reportedly working on a new subscription service for hardware, allowing customers to pay a monthly fee for iPhone upgrades and presumably other devices and accessories. The company also just purchased a fintech start up that focuses on credit checks. Don’t they have enough of my money?


  • 2022 CMO Survey: Highlights trends over the last 14 years. Within the area of digital marketing, it shows a huge jump in investment in data analytics over the past year (+37%), along with a focus on testing & iteration.
  • The Infinite Dial 2022: This is the best annual survey on audio. It shows continued growth in podcast listening, flattening of smart speaker purchasing, and minimal use of audio-based social media services.
  • Email Benchmarks 2022: A new report from Campaign Monitor benchmarks results across several verticals. It has some interesting insight into the impact of Mail Privacy Protection (boosting open rates by +3.5%).


  • What Your Clients Wish You Knew: Funny, smart, inside-baseball perspective from a Strategy Director returning to an agency after a stint of client-side experience.
  • Martech Talent vs. Technology: Excellent post from Scott Brinker on the importance of training teams on martech in order to realize the benefit from the investment. This is backed by the State of B2B Marketing Training study that showed that only 1 in 5 (!!) marketers feel very prepared for their future in marketing.
  • Education in 2032: Smart deck from Zoe Scaman on shifts in how we learn. Some interesting connections (with examples) made between education and gaming, social media, and Web3 concepts.

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