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mLab Sydney 2016 Event Wrap

The fourth annual mLab event took place in September 2016 at the University of Technology Sydney with the aim of exposing GroupM clients to the latest technology, cutting edge thinking and the future of media.

The snack-sized experiences take place in an intimate environment, enabling groups of attendees to move through a 'circuit' and interact with various technologies of the future.

Among the curated range of presenting partners in 2016 is Newscorp’s Storyful and Unruly who demystify the science of storytelling in a maker-style lab that delves into the latest research on stories and emotions, while Celtra will demonstrate that mobile advertising is 10 years behind and show marketers how they can catch up.

Here we offer a comprehensive overview of mLab 2016 with a summary of the presenting media as well as media coverage, event photos, and daily AdNewsTV Videos.  

mLab Event 2015 Wrap

GroupM - mLab 2016 - SnapchatSnapchat: 'It starts with the camera'

Snapchat is undeniably the social media success story of 2016. The darling of Millennials, who share a constant stream of photos and videos lasting only seconds before they disappear, invited mLab attendees into the world of its Gen Z and Millennial audience, its products and its growth in Australia. With more than 150 million daily active Snapchatters delivering over 10 billion video views every day, the Snapchat experience at mLab was a compelling story for brands. Attendees received a hands-on educational session on how brands can best use the app, beginning with Snap Ads, which, in addition to Snapchat’s conspicuous 10-second videos, give users the option to swipe and see more information from brands. Marketers also got the chance to play with Filters, which allow users to enhance their images with artwork related to their geographical location, and with Snapchat’s popular Lenses feature, designed to add quirky touches to selfies – from flower crowns to puppy dog ears and tongues, and other shareable enhancements. Both Filters and Lenses can be customised and branded by advertisers for added engagement with their audiences.


GroupM - mLab 2016 - TwitterTwitter: #GoLIVE

In the 10 years since its launch, Twitter has morphed into the space where people gather to share the experience of live events, whether breaking news, entertainment or sports. At mLab 2016, Twitter revealed the next step in its strategy to provide the next generation of real-time content – Twitter LIVE. Launching today (16 September), Twitter LIVE brings live broadcasts on Twitter of global entertainment and sports events such as the NFL, with the real-time Twitter conversation further enhancing the viewing experience, all on a single screen. Viewers will be able to watch Twitter LIVE even if they don’t have a Twitter account. For marketers, this represents an opportunity to better align their brands with those moments of global attention and to extend their existing sponsorships.


GroupM - mLab 2016 - TumblrTumblr: A World of Creatrs

About 3.2 million Australians flock to Tumblr each month, with popular topics ranging from travel to fashion to food and everything in between. In its mLab 2016 session, the microblogging site revealed how Tumblr communities come to life through the content they create and curate, demonstrating the high levels of engagement of the predominantly youthful audience. The lesson for marketers was how they can work with the Tumblr Creatrs Network to create engaging branded content that lives on their own branded content sites and social media channels.


GroupM - mLab 2016 - InMobiInMobi: Data Science - the sexiest job of the 21st century

Back in 2012, Harvard Business Review declared data scientist the “sexiest job of the 21st century”, and recruitment website Glassdoor named it the “best job of the year” for 2016. The message from InMobi’s data scientists at mLab was clear: data and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing our world in all industries. As an example, IMB Watson – a super-computer that combines AI and sophisticated analytical software – created the world’s first-ever AI-made movie trailer for sci-fi thriller Morgan. The takeout for marketers was to think more deliberately about the projects they work on in a day-to-day manner and consider how they can be disrupted by data science and AI.


GroupM - mLab 2016 - StoryfulStoryful & Unruly: The Science of Storytelling

The theme of storytelling was strong at this year’s mLab and News Corp’s Storyful and Unruly led the charge with an insightful exploration of the science of storytelling and emotions. As mLab attendees donned lab coats for the session, Storyful and Unruly revealed how different audiences around the world have different emotional palettes – for example, Australians are twice as likely as other nations to feel sadness, which makes us more empathetic. The takeout for marketers was that brands should shape their content accordingly and if they can elicit a strong emotional reaction in their audience, the reward is a strong uplift in all brand metrics. Other tips shared included making content personal and relatable, using the visual language of your audience and being consistent.

GroupM - mLab 2016 - Unruly 




mLab - CeltraCeltra

While we’ve all become inseparable from our mobile phones, advertisers are failing to reach consumers in a relevant and context-appropriate way on their phones. In its eye-opening session, mobile technology company Celtra demonstrated just how woeful most advertising on the platform is. The message was, you wouldn’t run a radio ad on TV so why run a TV ad on mobile?

Instead, Celtra showed the marketers attending mLab that when mobile video is delivered correctly – less than 10 seconds, vertical and with story cards – they can engage effectively with consumers. Yet more interesting, however, was the demonstration of shoppable ads, as used by Target in the US, where users can click through to a mobile shopping page, as well as 360-degree and VR ads on mobile, allowing consumers to explore the interior of a car as one example.


GroupM - mLab 2016 - GroupM DataGroupM: Under the hood of the new GroupM Viewability standard

Viewability is one of the most pressing issues facing marketers right now. The accepted standard of ad viewability as definied by the IAB and MRC is for digital ads to be just 50% visible for one second for display ads and two seconds for video ads, but GroupM believes the industry can do better.

Its own GroupM viewability standards mean its clients only pay if their ads are 100% in view on key placements. Using the impressive 3D stereo environment of the UTS Data Arena, GroupM immersed mLab attendees in massive charts of 1.1 billion rows of viewability data to present a cohesive story of what viewability means to marketers and their online campaigns.


Trade Media Coverage

AdNewsTV:  Each day throughout the week of mLab AdNews editor Rosie Baker spoke to brand marketers about their mLab highlights

Day 1 

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

mLab Wrap


mLab Event Photos

mLab 2016 Event Photos
mLab 2016 Event Photos

mLab is organised by GroupM’s experiential marketing agency, PLAY Communications.


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