Event Recap: Highlights From The First-Ever TwitchCon

Twitch’s first ever conference dedicated to its community was far from ordinary. From September 25th to 26th, the heart of San Francisco was home to over 20,000 fans, gamers, and broadcasters. Throughout the event, the IPG Media Lab team interacted with partners, attended sessions, and even had sit-downs with Twitch influencers Itmejp and DansGaming. Here are some of the highlights of TwitchCon 2015.

During the keynote, Twitch unveiled that they will be finishing their roll out of their HTML5 video player in early 2016, and that there will finally be a Twitch app available across the Playstation Network. The apps will feature full chat integration, complete emoticon support, and will highlight broadcasts across PS4, PS3, PS Vita, and PS TV.


Aside from the staggering $173,320 prize pool, the H1Z1 Invitational was a showdown amongst some of the most popular broadcasters on Twitch such as Lirik, Summit1g, Itmejp, and Sodapoppin. H1Z1 is a combat-oriented game forcing players to fight to the death on a shrinking map until there is one player left standing. At one point there were over 130,000 concurrent viewers watching the live stream on Twitch.

Later, SF-based Twitch and LA-based Red Bull faced-off on the main stage in a Super Smash Bros. exhibition match where the winning office got to choose the location of a $10,000 prize-pool Super Smash Bros. event. Twitch beat Red Bull 3-0, unsurprisingly.


Even though TwitchCon primarily focused on offering its community workshops and classes to help improve their Twitch channel, brands should take notice. The event offered great insights on how Twitch built such a tight-knit community of influencers and fans and how they propelled the service into what it is today. It showcased Twitch’s wide variety of influencers, their tastes, and how they represent themselves to the community, and the ways influencers promote brands on their channel without offending or losing their followers.

Overall, TwitchCon was a huge success especially among millennials. Not only did the event attract a mass audience but also topped 1.9 million unique online viewers across the event’s various streams.



Header image courtesy of www.twitchcon.com


Event Recap: IAB MIXX Conference 2015, Day One

To kick off this year’s Advertising Week, the Lab attended the IAB MIXX conference held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York City. Here are some highlights from the first day of the event, which was focused on the importance of consumer experiences in digital advertising.

Context And Relevancy Influence Consumer Experience
Across panels and keynotes, speakers agreed that digital ads deliver the best consumer experience when they are served at the right moment. “People don’t hate advertising. They hate advertising that isn’t relevant to them in that moment,” Chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group Michael Roth remarked in the keynote. Spotify, a major sponsor of today’s event, also took the stage to demonstrate their capability in ad targeting based on listening behaviors, usually clued in by the name of the playlist. For example, users listening to a “Workout” playlist would be more susceptible to an ad for sports equipment. Touting over 2.5 hours of active engagement every day per user, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also said that audio ads are vastly underutilized in the industry.

Unifying Ad Experience Across Screens And Platforms
As today’s audience becomes increasingly fragmented, It seems evident that the best way to capture consumer’s attention and leave a lasting impression is to deliver a unified ad experience across multiple devices and platforms. Clear Channel Outdoor also presented results of their #CokeMyName digital outdoor campaign from July in Times Square, which married traditional out-of-home ads with smartphones via Twitter as the mechanic for social lift. An identical experience was replicated on a corresponding mobile site for further interactions and social sharing. Combining OOH display and mobile engagement, the campaign proved to be a hit, logging over 350 million social impressions over 3 weeks. Similarly, Andy Markowitz, General Manager of the GE Performance Marketing Lab, also showcased how they are leveraging digital tools across touchpoints to create a holistic consumer experience, including mapped ROIs using Marketo‘s data inside LinkedIn’s lead generator.

Fighting Adblockers With Better Ad Experience
Now with 62% of digital time spent on mobile devices, user experience on mobile is paramount to the success of digital ads. With mainstream consumers quickly adopting ad blockers, it is important to develop high-quality, content-rich ads that consumers are willing to engage with. As Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer put it, ”if we want to combat ad blockers, we need to offer people transparency, choice, and control.” In a workshop session, digital ad firm Undertone presented results from joint research it conducted with Ipsos Connect on the effectiveness of high impact formats, i.e. full screen interactive ads such as interstitials. Monitoring results from 3,600 participants, their study found high impact ad formats outperform standard digital ad formats, doubling brand recall rates across desktop, tablets, and mobile devices. Native ads and in-app ads were also recommended by multiple speakers as ad formats that delivers superior consumer experience, something that we also suggested all brands look into in a recent Fast Forward analysis.  


Event Recap: VR Short “Henry” Demo

Live from Oculus Connect in Hollywood – it’s IPG Media Lab. We’re on the ground trying the latest demos and covering the latest news from the conference.

Today the IPG Media Lab had the pleasure to watch a new short VR film from Oculus Story Studio about a lonely little hedgehog who just wants a hug. As we sat on a red rug that matched the one in the film, we were transported to hedgehog Henry’s home hovering over a table during his birthday. The beauty of the experience was that, even though we weren’t part of the film, it felt as though we were physically there with Henry. At times during the emotional ups and downs of the film, Henry would look directly at us – at this point we were at eye level – and express his feelings.

Ultimately, VR filmmaking is still in its infancy. However, Henry may be the beginning of VR storytelling, some thing that will potentially change the way everyone experiences stories 5 or 10 years down the road. Furthermore, as more sensors become part the experience, it will be interesting to see how filmmakers will allow audiences to control character interactions and dictate outcomes of the VR films. ​



Header image courtesy of Oculus Story Studio’s website 

NY Quantifiable Self Show and Tell

Event Recap: NY Quantifiable Self Show and Tell

On August 6th, the IPG Media Lab attended a NY Quantified Self Show & Tell event where some entrepreneurs showcased their creations. Many of the products on display were still in early stages of development and few had direct marketing implications, they nevertheless presented a great deal of creativity and ingenuity. Among the items featured, the three standouts were:

  • A heart rate monitor on a steering wheel that flashed LED lights on the exterior of the vehicle so other drivers can get a sense of a fellow driver’s attentiveness.
  • A location-tracking app that aims to empower users by collecting and potentially monetizing the hyperlocal consumer data they generate.
  • A SMS-based platform that uses a conversational UI to enable users to conveniently track their diet and measure calorie intake.

The quantifiable self movement has been a dream come true for marketers. Now more than ever, users are incentivized to share data and information that brands can leverage to understand their consumer base on a much more personal level. This wealth of data allows brands to extend highly relevant and customized messaging in specific environments at the most effective moments.

Twitter Debuts Live Event-Based Targeting

What Happened
Earlier this week, Twitter unveiled event targeting, a new ad tool that aims to help brands and marketers reach users tweeting about major live events like the Super Bowl, Grammys, or the FIFA World Cup in real time. Previously, brands interested in targeting those audiences would have to manually set up the targeting metrics with specific hashtags, keywords and accounts that vary from event to event, a tedious process that this new tool promises to simplify and automate.

What Brands Should Do
Twitter has long dominated the social chatter on live events, and this new tool just made it a lot easier for brands to capitalize on the intense buzz around major events to reach the most engaged audience. Different events also reflect various user interests in sports and entertainment, which brands can also leverage into their targeting efforts.

Source: Marketing Land

Event Recap: WeWork Labs Med-Tech Demo Day

The past month has been a busy one for the IPG Media Lab. Despite the behind-the-scene activities, the Lab managed to attend Tuesday’s WeWork Labs Med-Tech Demo Day. The demo day was a Shark Tank-style event led by Merck’s own Jaime Melendez along with leaders from Sharecare, Sherpaa, and Milestone Venture Partners. The event also featured six of New York’s most exciting medical-tech startups:

  • Develop Link: is a data-driven platform providing healthcare infrastructure to developing worlds.
  • Healogram: is simplifying healthcare monitoring through more efficient recovery tracking and analytics.  
  • Motesque: is tracking daily movement to better prevent and diagnose injuries. 
  • DICOM Grid: is a diagnostic imaging management and exchange.
  • Healthify: is building healthcare infrastructure for vulnerable populations.
  • Voyager Med: is connecting patients to medical providers around the US.

Each presenter only had three minutes to pitch their business, followed by a four-minute Q&A. In classic fashion the judges were relentless, firing questions to learn more about their growth strategy, business model, defensibility, current challenges, etc. When the dust settled, both Develop Link and Healogram emerged as winners by the judges’ votes.

At the end of the day, The WeWork Labs Med-Tech Demo Day was an extremely successful event. The presenters had opportunity to pitch to thought leaders within the Med-Tech community, and the audience learned about exciting advancements in the medical industry and how it’s reshaping the paradigm of traditional medical care.

Event Recap: NPR’s First-Ever Podcast Upfront

Thanks largely to the Serial craze, podcast have enjoyed a meteoric rise in both reputation and audience size over the last year. Consequently, podcast sponsorship has become an uncharted platform for brands to reach the desirable Millennial audience. On Wednesday, NPR, WBEZ, and WNYC jointly hosted the first-ever podcast upfront in New York City to demonstrate the reach and influence of podcasting media.

Serial Represents The Tipping Point
In the normally low-profile world of podcasting, Serial, a WBEZ spinoff of This American Life, was a certified global sensation. Since its debut last October, it quickly became the most popular podcast in the world, and has achieved an impressive 82 million in total downloads for its season one episodes. The attention its breakout success brought to podcasting is undeniable, as by now one-third of Americans have listened to a podcast.

Standalone Podcast App Drew In New Attention
In June 2005, Apple released iTunes 4.9 with native support for podcasts, bringing them into public awareness. With the update of iOS 7, Apple extrapolated the podcast features from its music app and created a free-to-download, standalone app for easier podcast listening and discovery. And most recently with iOS 8, Apple has made the podcast app a mandatory app, which is pre-installed on every phone and cannot be deleted. Undoubtedly, this should intrigue and encourage legions of new users to discover podcasts.

Podcast Sponsorships Work Well As Native Ads
Tom Webster from Edison Research also attended the event to share some highlights from their new research on the preferences and behaviors of the podcast audience. “Public radio is in a unique position to deliver podcast audiences to sponsors,” he remarked, “Our new research shows that amongst all 25-44 year-old listeners, 46% consider public radio podcasts to be essential listening.” More importantly, the research also revealed that the majority of the listeners felt better about the sponsoring brands, such as Serial sponsor Mailchimp (or rather, Mailkimp), and are more likely to make a purchase after hearing the brand messages indigenously presented in podcasts.



Event Recap: MobileWeek 2015 Conference

Yesterday, the Lab trekked into the west end of Hell’s Kitchen to attend the first day of MobileWeek 2015. Great talks were given on new developments in the rapidly growing mobile world, and enthusiastic discussion on the future of mobile ensued. Here are the four key takeaways for brands seeking to conquer mobile.

Connectivity is Growing
The evolution of the connected car has long been on our radar and mobile is the current medium fueling it all. Vijay Doradla of Verizon predicted that “by 2025 every car shipped in the world will have some sort of connectivity”. He also believes that the underlying fabric of this revolution is due to low latency and the ability of the network to scale to consumers.

Make Data More Ubiquitous
“There’s too much data out there and too many secrets”. Kurt Collins of built.io explained that if we create a back-end that holds the data of all our mobile devices, we can have a more seamless experience; currently, bowered, data is stuck in silos. In order to have a fully unified experience, Collins believes that the implementation of “personal API’s” that can access all data on all devices will enable personal preferences to continue across all interfaces.

Mobile Security Matters
Gary Davis of Intel put the importance of mobile security in perspective: “the value of the data that sits on your phone is worth 10x that of a stolen or breached credit card”. With the progressive growth of IoT, our connected devices are producing prolific data and the weakest link in this ecosystem of connectivity is the smartphone. Davis states that “30% of people don’t have a pin or password on their smartphone”, which is alarming considering the hypergrowth of malware in mobile apps. Davis also predicts that the “adoption of NFC for digital payments from mobile devices will attract cyber thieves”. Similarly, Andrew Sugaya of APX Labs expressed his concern towards the security concerns of connected devices when discussing the future of wearables.

New Tech To Blend Into The Background
During his presentation on the endless potential of beacons, Kevin Hunter of Gimbal made it clear that the beacon is not only great at sending contextual value offers in retail environment, but can also power new discoveries and experiences at events or venues, seamlessly bridging reality with the digital world. Wearables could be a particularly effective medium for this, but for wearables to go mainstream, they have to seamlessly blend into the background with a natural, intuitive user experience.


Event Recap: Ad Age Digital Conference 2015, Day Two

In case you missed it, check out our recap for day one here.

On Day 2 of the Ad Age Digital Conference, the panel discussions continued to dissect the impact of post-digital innovations on the advertising and media industry:

Mobile Leads Media Consumption Growth
Ezra Palmer, chief content officer for eMarketer, shared the newest research results on the future of media consumption and ad spending. As TV and desktop hit plateau in terms of media time, mobile has emerged as the only growing platform, whose average daily time spent skyrocketed from 48 minutes in 2011 to nearly 3 hours this year for U.S. users. As a result, ad spending in mobile media categories has been steadily catching up with the media consumption pattern, though major discrepancy in mobile video ads still exists.

Diversification Is The New Digital
Digital has evolved from “good enough” to being expected, and should be at the core of executions, aided by diversification to ramp up meaningful results. In a cross-platform era, its important to understand the power of multi-screen usage as we increasingly move towards one-to-one targeting. As Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg media put it, “niche is your friend,” and publishers should be fragmenting themselves to mesh with moments that matter in everyday lives.

Attention Metrics Emerge In Post-digital Transformation
As AT&T’s CMO David Christopher pointed out, “by definition, the social sphere is fractured and disjointed, so measurement is always challenging.” Therefore, the ideal common currency for digital ads should be attention-based metrics powered by unique IDs and unified views.

Technology Drives Co-Creation
Now more than ever, individuals have the opportunity to be a co-creator for every brand and product that they interact with, representing an important asset to digital agencies. As Tom Adamski, CEO of Razorfish Global, stated, “The advent of technology and its influence…is driving deeper levels of creativity”. More customer engagement encourages digital agencies to be more integrated, interactive, nimble, and innovation-oriented.

 Lead image taken from AdAge.com


Event Recap: Top Themes From IAB Mobile Marketplace 2015

On Monday, the Lab attended the Mobile Marketplace 2015 event organized by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to hear what industry leaders have to say about some of the biggest challenges in mobile marketing, including measurement, programmatic, and personalization:

Break Down Data Silos To Solve Cross-device Measurement
Cross-device measurement has been problematic, saddled with a reported 30% overstated reach and only 59% accuracy in demographic targeting, according to Mark Trefgarne from Facebook. As George Ivie pointed out during his session on common issues in mobile measurement, “There’s nobody accredited for mobile viewability”. As audience fragmentation will continue with increasing multi-device usage, cookie-based tracking is no longer reliable.

Instead, “mobile is the key to mapping devices back to a single user”, declared Gabriel Chen from M&C Saatchi Mobile, before recommending marketers and brands “break down the data silos” to better understand consumer behavior. Similarly, Trefgarne emphasized the importance of people-based marketing in his presentation: Facebook’s social login equips brands with targeting tools to measure user activities across multiple devices.

Bridge The Gap Between Online And Offline With Actionable Data
Besides difficulties in cross-device measurements, another key point of discussion at the event was how to use mobile-generated data to gain actionable insights into real-world user behaviors. It is estimated that, by 2020, consumers will own an average of 10 connected devices, whose omnipresent network of connectivity could essentially eliminate the concept of “being offline”, according to Mark Trefgarne from Facebook.

But we don’t have to wait for the future: Jeff Malmad from Mindshare pointed out that in our mobile-first age, location, sensors, and context are already providing brands with opportunities to connect with consumers. Similarly, Ravi Pahilajani from MEC also recommended marketers use a wide range of mobile-generated data—location, behavioral, or even devices’ meta data—to paint a holistic digital footprint that bridges the gap between online and offline behaviors.

Engage Mobile Users With New Media Tools
Mobile is driving growth in real-time bidding ad spending, noted Ravi Pahilajani, and as a result, brands can deliver targeted messages at the right moments and places, which has led to alternative forms of mobile engagement. Video ads, for example, can create rich consumer experience with interactive ad units.

Similarly, audio serves as a seamless way of engaging with audience. Karina Montgomery from Pandora encouraged brands think about their sonic brand images—a distinguishable aural identity that can help brands stand out to consumers suffering peak distraction.

Balance Digital and Humanity With A People-First Approach
The Lab’s Josh Shabtai explained how “we’re approaching a new era of intimate commuting” during his presentation of The Lab’s 2015 Outlook. People use their devices in such intimate ways that it has begun to have an actual emotional impact in the brain. Brands must find ways to be empathetic and truly understand the emotional context behind ad messaging.

Similarly, Y&R’s David Sable stressed that it is important to “build experiences for life, not experiences for machines”. There is such a reliance on algorithms to form bonds with consumers that story telling gets lost or forgotten. It’s not a question of digital vs. not digital, but rather, a question of what people genuinely want.