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Digital People 2010 - 5 years On

Digital People was a Q&A style series appearing on trade site - Digital Ministry - which was produced by MediaScope's founder.   From 2008 to 2013 over 100 of Australia's most senior and successful people in our digital media community shared their views and opinions in what became a well known industry resource.

Some of the questions in these Q&A profiles asked Digital People to look ahead 5 years - so 5 years later we've asked some of 2010's Digital People to reflect on their predictions and offer their 5 year forecast again.  As you'll see their views from 5 years ago were very accurate....

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Click on the names below or scroll down the page -


John Grono - Gap Research & MFA Hall of Fame MemberDigital People 2010 - 5 Years On: John Grono

Looking back, in 2010 I forecast growth in ‘hybrid’ measurement (the aggregation of various disparate measurement systems to model markets). At that stage MOVE was in development and launched in March 2010. It provided the confidence for sellers, buyers and advertisers to commit to OOH campaigns and in that time OOH advertising has gone up from $399m in 2009 to $602m in 2014.   I’d say that was $10m in development well spent.  

Since then we have seen other hybrid approaches:

  • It is fundamental to Nielsen Online’s system which uses tagged traffic data in conjunction with their meter data from their panel to produce audience data that includes those areas of industry, government and public places that panels can’t get to.
  • MCN’s very successful Multiview hybridises Return-Path-Data from 110,000 Foxtel homes to establish household tuning to all channels and programmes, and then uses panel information to provide robust audience data especially for the small niche channels which struggle with a purely panel approach.
  • EMMA has used a hybrid approach, utilising AMAA circulation data along with aggregated sample data, in order to provide readership estimates for regional, rural and community titles which have traditionally been extremely hard to measure in entirety with a traditional sample approach.
  • CineTAM also uses a hybrid approach using MPDAA box office data with audience profile data from their cinema loyalty club members.

What I missed was the (very pleasing) increased use of fusion techniques especially in EMMA and Nielsen’s CMV.   Pleasingly there is a willingness in the research industry to fuse currencies together (rather than re-sample and get different estimates), and there is also a willingness for clients to have their data input into bespoke fusion data bases.  

I also missed the increased usage of third-party consumer segmentation systems (often based on geo-targeting) within many of the research currencies.
So what will the next five years hold? (2015 - 2020)   

Increased hybrid techniques that I think will become essential.  There is a double-whammy happening.   Each medium is fragmenting into smaller and smaller parts making it difficult for traditional sampling and panel techniques to produce robust estimates of the total market let alone the smaller niche properties within them.  

But at the same time as the fragmentation – which is largely driven by the move to digital distribution platforms – there are LOTS of digital fingerprints being left when media are consumed.   The challenge is to understand those digital fingerprints (for example a video stream start does not equate to the same as a TV average minute audience rating), and then to use the people in the panel for heuristic measures to produce robust audience estimates.  

At its simplest, the digital ‘big data’ will establish the quantum of media consumption, while the panel/sample will provide audience profile information and even more importantly audience duplication.   For example focussing on video, we will need a panel of people that allow us to measure any or all of their video consumption on TVs, PVRs, computers/laptops, tablets and smartphones.   We can then establish duplication rates – both across devices and longitudinally across time -  to produce average audience data as well as reach and frequency data.   And of course when we’re building that, we’ll have to harmonise all the fusion hooks so that when data fusion is needed it will be relatively painless.

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Simon Van Wyk - Blue Road Group

See Simon's 2009 Digital People Q&A Profile - when he was with Hothouse Interactive

  • Digital People 2010 - 5 Years On: Simon Van Wyk
  • Interestingly, I was not embarrassed by any of my 2010 answers.  I think open source owns the Internet.  Maybe not in enterprise but if you look at the way people spend their time online most of it is spent with open source software.

Bob Garfield’s prediction in his Chaos Scenario did not quite come true. However things are changing quickly.   The media agency landscape seems to be in crisis as clients shift and move.   Many clients have bought their trading in-house.   I think this has a way to go yet.   The large agency groups have all grown through massive aggregations but that can’t last forever.

Mobile uptake went way quicker than I thought and the impact is being felt everywhere.

TV has changed but it shows how fast things have changed when I did not talk about Netflix.  5 years ago they were delivering DVDs in envelopes.  The change in this industry is startling.   It’s the golden age for content but certainly not the golden age for TV as 7 and 9 both wrote billions off their balance sheets and Channel 10 nearly died.

So what will the next five years hold? (2015-2020)   

 Everything will change:

The next 5 years will be seminal.   The old rules of business are going to change.   Population growth has slowed, real wages are in the decline and we all have everything we want.   So the ability for business to generate growth is going to be challenge.   What it means is yet to be resolved but what is certain is the solutions will require different thinking to what got us here in the first place.

Marketing and advertising:

The chaos scenario will play out.   Advertising will become a utility with search, retargeting delivering most of that utility.   Marketing will change because what will separate the successful from the rest will be a deep understanding of the customer.   This will not come from a focus group or market survey because for the most part we can’t articulate what we have not yet experienced.

Marketing will go lean with small and focussed incremental experiments that are aimed at delivering satisfaction to smaller groups of customers.   The entire nature of the marketing ecosystem will change.   Data will be more important, consumer insight will be more important, and most of what we now call advertising will be gone. 

The media landscape will be different.  We are still in a environment where Fairfax, News, Seven and Nine still dominate many marketers agendas.  However that’s changed in the past 5 years with the addition of Google and Facebook to that list but in 5 years it’ll be totally different as Vice, Mamamia, Junkee, Netflix, Apple News and a range of other new names find better ways to engage with audiences.   Google and YouTube, Facebook, Instragram and What’sApp, will continue to evolve to better serve their audiences.  No one delivers utility advertising better than these platforms.  Despite the resources, the audience and the money traditional media companies have dragged the chain and the next 5 years will accelerate the decline.

Internet of things:

Connected devices of one sort or another are going to change the world.   Self drive cars that were a fantasy 2 years ago seem to be a realistic scenario not that far away from reality.  Houses that turn off when no-one is in them, street lights that turn on if something is moving and off when there is nothing there, watering systems for farms that map the dryness of soil and only water when it’s needed and more.   These things save energy, reduce water and enhance our lives without any effort.   We’ll see this technology everywhere. 

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Jack Matthews - Non-executive director at APN Outdoor, Crown Fibre Holdings (NZ NBN), Network For Learning, Trilogy International & Chair of Rewardle Holdings.  

How do my predictions of 5 years ago look now? 

Not so bad in my view.  Although I guess I also have to acknowledge that I didn't go too far out on a limb...While my approach may get you caught out when the proverbial paradigm shift hits, I do believe the immediate future can best be predicted by the immediate past.

So 5 years ago I predicted:

Integration of mobility and personalisation.  Probably not quite as advanced as I expected.

Media companies focusing as much on content curation as creation.  On the way but not there.

Proliferation of video.  Yep

Highly targeted advertising driven by technology:  Probably farther along than I expected.

Continuation of the disruption of traditional media.  I would have expected that to have hit FTA harder by now

For the next 5 years (2015-2020) I'd have to say I expect more of the same...  

I certainly expect FTA and Pay TV to head down the same path as newspapers, driven to a large extent by the expansion of the NBN.  Like newspapers, FTA will have to create unique local content and that will be very expensive, particularly around sport.  Pay TV will face increasing cord cutting behaviour as viewers access content from more sources.  Both will have a big impact on their business models.

Fragmentation of audiences and advertising will accelerate causing even more disruption to existing business models.

Media agencies will face significant pressure to demonstrate value, but creative agencies will see new opportunities as creative execution becomes even more important in a fragmented advertising environment.

Big data gets bigger.

Power continues to shift rapidly from organisations to individual consumers.

And a bunch of stuff that is completely unpredictable...

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Patty Keegan - Founder of digital media & marketing training business - Digital Chameleon

From 5 years Ago...

This was like going back in a time capsule – 5 years seems so long ago! All In all, I’m pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of my predictions… Australian retailers would finally start to get their act together in terms of eCommerce;  making paywalls work would be difficult; the rise of social advertising has put some guidelines around implementing and measuring social media; ubiquitous internet portability via mobile (so true that it’s just a no-brainer today).  And anticipating the growth of programmatic in Australia, along with a blurring of the lines between media owners, ad networks (what’s an ad network?) and agencies. 

It’s safe to say I missed a fair bit – the growth of wearables; the insatiable demand for video; addressing viewability issues; and I didn’t expect to see ad blocking rear its head again, but I think that’s an issue of poor implementation, which the industry will fix because the economics will force it to.

So what will the next five years hold? (2015-2020)   

 Current “new media” brands will fade - as today’s star brands grow larger, less nimble and are run by less far-sighted management teams, they will succumb to experimentalism (think Google’s PR-hyped tinkering with driverless cars), lack of innovation (will Apple fade as it tries to re-capture Jobs-Age success) and biggism (see Facebook’s evolution from community activation to just another anonymous ad offering).  In response to market pressures, they will do what other ‘mature’ brands do—buy things (e.g. like legacy media companies).

As programmatic tech continues to commoditise the consumer advertising experience, brand association will become more important than ever.  Context will counter tech-head attempts to rationalise the consumer experience.  These media brands will range from giant to single individuals, but the sweet spot will be the evolution of personality-based media brands that assume the role of Matt Drudges in their respective marketplaces— the ones who truly understand the consumer experience.

Backlash on social media: 

Like any new frontier, the road rules in social media have emerged on the fly.  Within five years, social media will be more self-policed and a lot of the fluidity of experience will drain out of it.  Look for more locked down personal networks and a more multi-tiered approach in usage and behaviour (ie. this is my ‘cute kittens’ channel, this is my professional channel, this is my political channel).

Personal data: 

 Individuals will be empowered to unlock their own datasets with the use of analytic tools that increasingly drive decisions.  We’ll see a ramp up of data tools that help us decide what to do for a living, who to marry, where to live and more.  Then, of course, we’ll see a backlash against all this too!  But that’s not for another five years… 

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Monique Harris - Bauer Media

Wow I was really spot on back in the day! Good to see my opinions on some aspects of digital media have not changed that much in 5 years!

 Five years ago in November 2010 I said “As much as I hate predicting the future, I would have to say that I am looking forward to the evolving world of Facebook.  The marketing and online advertising opportunities it presents is something most of us online addicts have only dreamt about.  Real opportunities for consumers to connect with your brand, real two way conversations and really smart technology solutions makes for an intoxicating mix." 

I’m definitely not the next Nostrodamus with that prediction but it is interesting to see how Facebook has taken over some aspects of our lives.  Being a self confessed nosy parker and classic over-sharer I love being able to follow the lives and loves of my favourite people around the world on a daily basis on Facebook. But the thing that has surprised me is how many of us have come to use Facebook as our daily newspaper or personal “water cooler conversation” driver.  

We now actively follow brands and publishers that deliver us funny, interesting, surprising and sometimes even inspiring news in our news feed all day every day. These are brands we have invited in to our newsfeed and we share their content with our network of friends pushing their brand to our friends and families not paid to be in our newsfeed. They share the same space as our family and friends updates which I am surprised at how willingly we have all embraced that change.

From my experience consulting to Bauer Media over the past 15 months I have seen a massive shift in traffic being driven from their portal partner 9MSN to a major portion of the traffic to sites like Woman's Day, Australian Women's Weekly, Harpers Bazaar and Cosmopolitan being delivered from Facebook and much of that from Facebook traffic is from a mobile device! 

In 2010 I also stated I believe you will see less emphasis on the corporate website and more effort put into engaging on social networks, and this includes publishers as well as advertisers. I still think that valuable content is king and look forward to the evolving power of ‘fan only' content where people can only see and use certain content if they are fans of your product or brand. This may be fan only video or photos, special promotions or location based deals but fans will expect VIP treatment. 

I still believe content is king but I now know that if that is true then context is queen! 

Having seen how women consume content over the past 15 years with my Shesaid website and more recently with Bauer – women will consume good quality content from brands they trust no matter what time of day and on whatever device they have handy whether it is on her mobile in the morning getting a coffee to her desktop during the day and her tablet at night whilst she may be watching tv with the family or grabbing some me time at the end of the day on the couch. 

One aspect of the content being king discussion that has surprised me is the slowness of the adoption of advertisers to find success in partnering with brands in a commercial content offering.  The good news is that in 2015 this seems to be on top of every good marketers mind! I have seen a real explosion in commercial content opportunities first hand at Bauer as publishers and advertisers grapple with the rules of engagement and of course metrics of success of native, branded content and old school advertorials.  This for me is one of the most exciting areas of digital marketing right now and one that is causing the most sleepness nights for marketing managers, digital publishers and agencies.  Still lots of learnings for many of us on this front in the years ahead!

I also stated in 2010 that I thought “Mobile will continue to play a growing part of consuming valuable content when we're out and about.”

Another astonishingly accurate prediction (lol) 

What I did not forsee with the mobile consumption was the fact that as consumers we were going to be happy to watch TV shows on our small screen devices and even full length movies,  but you only need to look around whilst you are on a plane or a bus these days to see everyone around you glued to their small screen watching their own choice of tv shows or movies while they travel.  

Being a busy mum, media junkie, business women and social media addict has meant that like many women I am always out and about and if the only chance I get to watch House of Cards or Madam Secretary is on my phone or my ipad – I’ll tell you this for free – I’m grabbing that device and watching my favourite show wherever I am! 

So with that consumption of video/tv/movies and viewing paid content on our hand held devices where does that leave advertisers is my question.  Are we all happier to pay $3 for an episode from i-tunes with no ads or $11 a month from Netflix for no pre and post roll online TVCs? Are we willing to pay to watch what WE want to watch when WE want to watch it? 

So what will the next five years hold? (2015-2020)   

The next 5 years will be a very interesting time to observe how the commercial side changes to these discussions and where the role of marketers and agencies fit with content creators and publishers.  

As a mother and a digital marketer I am keen to see how our kids are marketed to and how will marketers really grab their attention and brand loyalty in this over stimulated digital world of endless choices.  That to me will be a very challenging space for brand marketers over the next 5 years! 

But as always the changing nature of our digital landscapes is what keeps us challenging the way we do things and keeps us on our toes!

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Sally Mills - LaVolta & AIMIA Hall of Fame Member

 From 5 years Ago...

 The advance of technology reshaping the way we do business has been huge and I think I’ve been pretty close to past predictions as from a recruitment perspective, social media and automated tools have created great advantage whilst also disrupting business models and it has definitely changed the recruitment landscape.

I mentioned about employers needing to be more flexible, move with the times, with culture being exceptionally important and that’s sort of happening.  For example companies are a little more comfortable with virtual workers or part-time people but I would love to see this increasing particularly for exceptionally skilled Mums coming back to work, which is such an area of untapped resource.

I also mentioned being connected anytime anywhere and consuming content on all types of devices.  We’ll have more friends/followers/stalkers, more choices and basically dealing with content overload.  I think this has absolutely been the case and for me, I like to switch off sometimes from all the noise – treat it as a bit of a detox!  The other area, which we’ve been a big supporter of for over the past 10 years,  is video and thought it would become mainstream, which it has.

What did the digital/interactive industry need to do better back then?  I think it’s been a time of education and many companies, perhaps the more traditional ones, are not new to digital but haven’t done it very well.   So I think there’s huge potential in bringing on more senior executives as in the likes of a Chief Digital Officer. 

So what will the next five years hold? (2015-2020)   

 With my recruitment hat on; become more cautious of the data you willingly share or perhaps don’t know you share and treat your social media profiles seriously.  

Data is obviously big and I think we’ll see serious digital profiling of candidates; checking education, past work history, memberships, communities, hobbies and interests as data gets more personal. 

Chief Digital Officers although the title may change but we’ll definitely see more of these roles that sit on the executive board with the authority to guide and influence.

More video, everything mobile first, more wearables, more IOT, more content, more privacy, more to do and less time to do it in!

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Mike Zeederberg - Zuni - A digital strategy consultancy 

My short term forecasts centered around the growth of mobile and the incorporation of social into general marketing activity, both of which have come true. 

Longer term forecasts were predicting: -

- The specialist digital agency fading away, and there being just "communications / marketing agencies” - this has largely come true in a structural sense, with the big agency groups buying up almost all of the independent digital shops, both here and around the world. However there are still strong specialist areas within agencies and the need for specialist digital knowledge is still as strong as it was before. The high pace of continuous change in the digital space means that you need people expert in those areas to stay on top of the opportunities that are created. 

- We'll develop smarter and better tools to deal with channel fragmentation and measurement - this has very much happened, with the wide variety of online tools available to marketers constantly increasing - ranging from social media management tools, content distribution platforms,, dashboard tools, email tools, tracking tools and tag managers through to back end data platforms, ecommerce systems and marketing automation platforms. These tools allow marketers to rapidly deploy campaigns and content, linking into my third prediction… 

- It'll be about smart strategy, ideas and consumer connection that dictates success, rather than channel aptitude - this one plays out in the industry news on a daily basis - it’s no longer enough to know how to use a channel (eg.Facebook) it’s about understanding your audience in the channel, your brand voice and what resonates - take a bow Woolies, for moving from "ANZAC day gate” (link to your favourite industry news article) to spaghetti rap (link to your favourite industry news article). 

So what will the next five years hold? (2015-2020)   

 Most of my “predictions” are relatively boring extensions of stuff happening today, so taking a punt, I think voice is likely to be the big change in digital interfaces – whilst we’ve got voice to text, and Siri, we have yet to see speech recognition really gain any mainstream traction, but this will change over the next 5 years – linked with wearables, and the Internet of Things, people will start talking to all sorts of different devices.

Content marketing and brands becoming publishers - Consumers will continue to hate ads but enjoy consuming free content, so brands will get better and better at creating content that’s engaging but also provides a platform for a product message. This will move from the odd blog-post to much larger content elements like movies and TV shows, and brands will become directly involved in the production of everything from news through to light entertainment.  Publishers will continue to blur the lines between editorial and advertising, and the winners will be those that are clear about their commercial motivations, but still manage to deliver highly engaging content. Some of this will be driven by business models, and some by technology (ad blockers and streaming). 

Data driven utility services - brands will continue to improve how they use data, and consumers will get more savvy about what they’re willing to give away, and what they get in return. Companies will provide consumers with highly tailored services centered around their data that make life easier and more convenient (think Google auto-ordering an Uber based on your current location and the location of the next meeting in your diary) These companies will then sell access to these segmented groups of consumers for relevant messaging.

Internet of Things - Linking to big data, more and more aspects of our lives will be internet enabled, and marketers will have the opportunity to get more and more insight into their consumers. From connected houses and smart cars, through to all aspects of healthcare and personal wellness as well as the way we interact with our environment, we will be increasing connected and trackable, and what can be tracked can be turned into a marketing insight and opportunity. 

Now, where’s my hoverboard…

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  • Digital People was a Q&A style series appearing on trade site - Digital Ministry - which was produced by MediaScope's founder.   From 2008 to 2013 over 100 of Australia's most senior and successful people in Australia's digital media community.


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