Brands and Publishers have the same problem these days. They’re competing not only for eyeballs but more importantly, they’re competing for engagement. As smartphone, fablet,tablet and ubiquitous computing consumers we’re all distracted and constantly have to decide how we want to spend our engagement currency. While at your kid’s football game, you’re catching up with work email you didn’t get a chance to respond to during the week, you’re getting caught up to speed on your fragmented Facebook feed at the exact same time, you’re chatting with your friends about what to wear to the party next Weekend. Collectively, as a nation of media consumption junkies, our attention span has gone from a few seconds to a few milliseconds.
As the need to prove the efficacy of their Digital Ad spend has increased, Brands and Publishers are feeling the lack of our engagement the most. It’s affecting their bottom line and as a result they’re trying to increase engagement via exclusive offers, time sensitive content, influencer marketing and good old one to one marketing tactics. Oh, what medium presents the best vehicle for one to one marketing you may ask? Social media of course.
Mind Mapping and Cognitive Analytics to the rescue
I remember hearing renowned scientist, entrepreneur and gender transformative human Martine Rothbland speaking at South by South West on AI, Immortality and the Future of Selves and mentioning mind mapping; a technique used by social media sites to create a mental profile of their users. Creating a mind map allows brands to know you on a deeper more emotional level. This gives social media sites the ability to fine tune every interaction with you including when to serve you ads, the type of ads to show you and if done well, the most appropriate context in which to show you the ads. For example, if a social media site knows you’re a middle aged African American male who likes vinyl records and brown wingtip shoes, chances are you’re going to be served an ad featuring an African American male or female trying to sell you brown wingtip shoes or vinyl records. However, what they often get wrong are the minor details such as; I’m not really interested in buying brown wingtip shoes right now and even though I may be African American I don’t need to be bombarded with all things African American all the time.
So the question then becomes, how does a computer know not only what you like but when you’re interested in those particular things? This is by no means a trivial task and as the line blurs between hardware, software, computer and human we’ll see some innovative ways of answering this question. Take for instance IBM’s Watson and its cognitive analytics technology. IBM is using cognitive analytics in an effort to gain deeper customer insight through vending machines. Yup good old fashioned vending machines. IBM partnered with Honest Café and used cognitive analytics to explore vending machine transactions, payments and weather data, find correlations, and suggest previously unseen patterns in customer behavior. What are they going to do with all that data? They’re going to figure out how to sell you more stuff through the vending machine of course.
This all ties back to engagement because it’s only by understanding what consumers are interested in, when they want to see it and how it should be served up to them that brands are able to keep you engaged. We’re solving the engagement dilemma by creating a completely new engagement model on social media. One that’s hyper focused on the times that matter to us most; The Weekend. Think about it, people are already sharing their Weekend experiences through water cooler conversations, text messages, sporadically on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat so why not create a nice simple story out of it. One that you can share, reflect on and always have. Additionally, think about getting inspired from watching Beyonce’s Weekend experience leading up to her Super Bowl performance. Yes!