LISBON, PORTUGAL. In 2017, our team has traveled to the US, Holland, and the UK to attend events. Most recently, we flew to sunny Portugal to join Web Summit, one of the most impressive tech conferences not only in Europe, but in the world. It’s a top-notch event with industry-leading speakers and attendees. Star studded names like Elon Musk, Al Gore, and Stephen Hawking have spoken there, just to name a few. But this event isn’t just for the techies! It’s made for investors, start-ups, and all people and industries affected by tech.
Why did we attend Web Summit?
1. To gain inspiration: What better place than Web Summit to learn the latest knowledge in the tech world? We wanted to look to the future, to walk away with a fresh view on video + tech. You have to learn from diverse experts to better inform your own business strategy right? That’s exactly what we did.
2. To absorb information: With all the experts speaking at the event, we arrived as sponges, ready to soak up all the latest trends and learn from leaders in tech/media industry to anticipate our next move.
3. To connect. Network, network, and more networking...Going to an event like Web Summit is gold-mine for mingling. We went with a plan and reached out to interesting companies like Mercedes, Siemens, and more.
Cool Aspects of the Summit
Web Summit had a huge start-up focus. It was great to see motivated and passionate start-ups taking a chance while adapting to a changing market. 1,200 motivated startups exhibited their company and could pitch their ideas to investors. These lean, mean, agile machines showed off their ideas and their great solutions to real-world problems.
Debates for Broader Tech Perspectives
A really informative part of Web Summit involved the debates. The debates highlighted conflicting theories and ideas about how, when, why to use tech. We heard from different experts in different industries as they challenged traditional ways of thinking.
Key Strategy Insights
2018: The Year Of User Generated Content!
We learned at Web Summit that UGC will only get bigger in 2018. UGC is users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself. Maybe the user does it to build a connection, win something, or share their experience, but either way it works for several reasons.
- *It’s more transparent and builds trust
- *It’s a genuine face of a brand
- *UGC puts customers front and center
- *It’s more cost efficient since marketers don’t have to empty their pockets on campaigns
- *It can work better than paid advertisements. For instance, for every video Lego makes, their audience makes 20.
It’s important to say that your UGC should be in line with your brand values. If you’re a young, hip, fresh brand, your UGC should be, too.
Randy Fischer from MOZ talked about the idea of creating more pull and less push with SEO. That could mean optimizing SEO in your script, visuals, etc. It means creating smart videos with the right length & formats. He also said ads that are short (6 seconds) will prevail and organic search and reach (‘the pull’) shouldn’t be underestimated.
‘Don’t study Marketing, study human behavior’. -Brian Halligan
The CEO of Hubspot thinks marketers should change the way they approach marketing. By studying human behavior, he says you’ll predict trends before they’re common practice.
Why should you invest in BOTS / AI? 🤖
---> Why bots?
Chat is more effective than looking for your answer on a big messy website.
---> Why AI?
Make the bot smart, and learn from questions and content you have on the web.
- Machine learning = reads and applies results faster
- Leaves people more creative room for other activities
‘Mobile First’ Way of Thinking - Platform Optimization Is Key
Ron Amram from Heineken had a super interesting talk. “Did you know people thumb through 100 meters of content on their mobile every day? That’s the height of the Empire State building.” He discussed how everything needs to be mobile proof, meaning:
- *There’s no more time for elaborate storytelling (definitely in ads)
- *Pack a punch right from the get go and get your message out there from the start
- *Optimize with text on screen
- *Smart creation / collaboration → think in terms of strategy to production
- *Create video content around the platform. Stop thinking one size fits all!
What content should you produce?
Disovery Communications, International CCO Susanna DInnage
Win the Hearth and/or Win the Head with 'FUBI' Content:
• Is it funny?
• Is it useful?
• Is it beautiful?
• Is it inspirational?
CEO of OUTBRAIN, Yaron Galai
‘Stop interrupting users and start serving them with info they can use and will appreciate."
- *Start looking at watch time for video and not at clicks.
- *Track engagement (deeper into the website funnel?)
- *Respect the user and their opinions or at least acknowledge them
General Manager of Great Big Stories, Uyen Tieu
- "Don’t look at the data if you’re not interested in pushing. Be spontaneous and stand out. At some point all videos start looking the same because everyone tracks the data.”
- Uyen Tieu had a different perspective from the rest. What to do with your videos instead? Bring meaningful content to your audience, surprise them, drive a mission and not data, be helpful, be human.
And we can't forget: Al Gore closed out the event with a moving session. He called for entrepreneurs to continue to persist in our will to innovate and change, that that is our best renewable resource.
Web Summit Main Takeaways:
• Tech needs to support the message
• Strategy & production need to collaborate
• Be authentic, surprise your viewers
• Less push, more pull ---> Offer viewers a service
•Be platform specific
All in all, it was a kickass event. We learned tons and met other passionate media and tech professionals along the way. The biggest takeaway for our team? The best way to approach tech is to see it as a support to our work methods and not as a means to an end.
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