2017 Foretold: Outstreams, Alexa, Vertical Video

Every year, Pantone picks a “color of the year” that somehow fits the times. So it says.  

In 2016, it was actually a soft color combo--rose quartz and serenity.  Pantone predicted that in the year we're about to shoot to death, consumers would  “seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security.”

Well, you can see exactly how well that fit into the very, very mellow 2016. Oh well.

The ad tech company, Unruly has come up with its own ideas for what trends will overwhelm us in social video in 2017. It’s a pretty good list of predictions and only a few items seems predictable. So let’s get down to it:

--Outstream ad spend will exceed forced pre-roll. Unruly notes pre-roll market share dropped 15 percentage points between March 2015 and April of this year, hanging on to 60% of the market. Outstream has gone from nowhere--11% in 2015--to 40% now. If Malcolm Gladwell were here, he’d predict a tipping point in 2017. Instead, Unruly does.

--Augmented reality has the scale but virtual reality will have a deeper impact. Pokemon Go combined with mobile phones showed the impact of AR, but virtual reality’s immersive quality is what “brands are craving in an era of media saturation and consumer cognitive overload.” It’s where the money will be going in 2017.

--Publishers and marketers will figure out live-casting. (And, if you ask me, they’ll discover if there’s not a ball involved, forget about it.) Unruly says, not being me, “we predict that ad formats which allow brands to reach consumers within live video environments will start appearing in 2017; the more contested question is what form they will take, with some reports suggesting we may see a return of the ad break, in the form of mid-roll ad slots.”

--There will be a flight to quality for programmatic. Unruly says standards will get real sexy--jncluding IAB’s “polite” LEAN checklist, Moat’s new video score metric, or Unruly’s own EQ content testing.

--Vertical will change the landscape. Get the joke? Unruly says vertical video “originally dismissed by content makers as an amateurish mistake, has become a key format for advertisers and publishers alike. In 2017, vertical video assets will no longer be an afterthought or optional add-on.” Okay, who wants to tell the smartphone experts at Go90?

--5G will come storming on stream in the USA. “We are on the precipice of an incredible bandwidth leap, which carries significant implications for digital video advertising,” Unruly says excitedly. “In fact every major shift in media consumption since the digital era began in the late ’90s has been predicated upon a shift in bandwidth. At 4G speeds, a 4K movie would take an hour to download; 5G data would take less than 10 minutes.”

--Audio will be reborn as the Alexa effect takes hold. “For marketers, audio assistants will change the way they connect with consumers. In the future, shoppers will rely on Alexa to whisper into their ears to help make buying decisions instead of relying on traditional brand cues,” predicts Unruly. (Alexa kills with puns, by the way.)

--Escapist sci-fi and superhero fantasies will predominate at the box office and in ad-land. And while, we’re at it, snow will blanket Buffalo in January. I think escapist sci-fi/superhero stuff has been done to death the last few years, but Unruly says after a lousy 2016 around the world, movie studios will help us escape.  Advertising “is sure to follow, with campaigns designed to inspire and warm the hearts of even the most cynical, and distract viewers from the uncertain realities of the real world.”  Exactly what we don’t need.

--People will demand their brands find their purpose.  “We all now have the resources at our fingertips to dig into what a brand really stands for, beyond the image they’d like to portray of themselves. If a company lies to us we find out immediately, in blogs, reviews or comments. Information is everywhere.” Unruly says, “And as we all spend ever more time on social media - living our lives online for all to see, the brands we interact with online are telling our friends something about us.” (My takeaway: Maybe you don’t want to use PayPal.)

--Video in the round booms. Not quite VR, but 360 videos are immediately hotter and a clever way to lead consumers to more immersive virtual reality fare.  Unruly quotes a stat in which 43% of media buyers predicted that 360 will be their highest area of video growth in 2017.

--Publishers will LEAN on new standards for advertising. I have a bad memory, but wasn’t this already covered above? Whatev. Unruly elaborates on how applying the IAB’s LEAN standards will clean up the user experience and make consumers  stop blocking those damn ads. “Widespread dislike of non-LEAN ads will turbo-charge outstream formats and make them an irresistible option for advertisers and brands in 2017,” this prediction list concludes.  

...And so do I. Have great holidays. See you Tuesday. Should i bring something?

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