In the previous years, fintech, VR, AI and many more themes have been addressed at the Mobile World Congress. So most participants are aware of the advances that technology is making. However, as Shane Smith, the co-founder and CEO of international media company, Vice, pointed out, “If you embrace new technologies you are going to need to have great premium content. Everyone’s investing into platform, platform and platform. But what are you going to fill the pipe with?” Algorithms don’t write content, people have to make content, was his take on the situation.
At the Mobile World Congress 2017, this agenda was writ large and bold. The various names on the keynote speaker list hammered this point home. We had everyone from Reed Hastings – CEO Netflix, John Stankey – CEO AT & T Entrainment, Travis Johnson – global CEO, Ansible (IPG Group), Arnaud de Puyfontaine – CEO Vivendi (integrated media and content group) to John Martin – CEO Turner highlighting the content strategy that could be trending in the next few months.
The point of content was made again when Google pointed out that at the end of the year, they will phase out the 30-second non-skippable ad format from YouTube. Marketers and advertisement creators will have just 5 seconds to engage the audience and ascertain that they watch the complete advertisement. Creating content will have a lot of challenges that we will have to adapt and embed in our overall marketing agenda.
As Mobile has become the first screen, creating mobile content and analysing the reach for a marketer from a hand held device is the need of the hour. Service providers such as Adforce also reinforced the idea that operators and publishers can work together and create a highly valuable offering for advertisers seeking to reach smartphone users. At the MWC, it was very interesting to see the number of companies working with mobile operators to help translate anonymous data into dynamic groups for advertising campaigns. While the ad may run on a news site, the targeting may be powered by the mobile operator. Thus, in-app engagement, data capturing and measuring was being addressed widely. Other service providers like Swrve and Insert, whose clients among others include The Federal Bank from India, specialise in in-app engagement and had some wonderful case studies to showcase.
At the MWC 2017, hall 8.1 was where all the new advertsing technological action was in full display. At the NEXTech exhibition, a range of forward-thinking companies and disruptive technologies, from virtual reality and augmented reality and robotics, to cognitive computing and artificial intelligence among others were vying for attention.
For those who missed this edition, one can look forward to the WMC that is going to be held in India later this year.
(Janak Sarda is the director of Deshdoot, a Maharashtra-based media house)