NFTs, Hybrid Commerce, and More for Advertising in an Unpredictable and Complicated Reality

From Jason Alan Snyder, Global Chief Technology Officer, Momentum Worldwide

Last year, we saw clever ways brands like Taco Bell, Campbells, NFL, and Twitter experimented with NFTs; what are some ways NFTs may change how marketers advertise moving forward? 

NFTs are new tools in the marketing technology stack for brands to use to reaffirm loyalty and amplify cultural impact. Brands ceding control to consumers has been one of the fundamental tenets of digital marketing. NFTs promise to accelerate and amplify consumer control with the ability for consumers to take authentic and documented ownership of the brands they love.

Consumers are happy to pay for virtual goods. Gamers have demonstrated how willing they are to invest in digital items as a form of self-expression to enhance their identity. In the metaverse, identity is everything, and virtual goods will be critical to establishing an identity. Analysts at Morgan Stanley predict that the market for virtual luxury goods alone will be $50 billion by 2030 (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/metaverse-50-billion-revenue-opportunity-114704286.html).

For advertisers, NFTs fall under the category of utility marketing. They act as certificates of authenticity for digital artifacts. Once they are created or “minted,” brands can sell them to customers digitally. Customers will store them in a secure wallet that consumers can access on any device. With contracts on the blockchain, ownership can also equate to physical or virtual experiences.

NFT technology allows marketers to consolidate artwork, music, access to experiences (ticketing), coupons, offers and other opportunities for brand engagement. NFTs provide a new vector of sentimentality, loyalty, engagement, connection and ownership for consumers. This is a profoundly powerful new dynamic, and, at Momentum, we are very excited to help steward brands as they engage with NFT technologies.

 

What role do you believe e-commerce will take this year as we continue to navigate changing behaviour? 

Hybrid shopping will be critical. Having online purchases shipped through a carrier, delivered locally, made available for curbside, in-store pick-up and appointment-based shopping for prearranged, one-on-one, in-person service will continue to permeate consumer behavior. Online learning will remain key to purchasing, so brands need shopper-based design principles that connect and extend physical and virtual experiences to enable success in meaningful ways.

Still, traditional in-store experiences will stay the preferred shopping method. People will always want the experience of touching, smelling and feeling products, so it’s safe to say the physical store will remain primary. Haptic and olfactory technologies may sufficiently advance and supplant the in-store experience someday, but that’s a long way off. For now, the best-case scenario is for brands to have a hybrid capability—a digital and physical representation, as consumer expectation now demands it. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be huge factors in determining the success of hybrid shopping. AI can enhance hybrid shopper-based design to ensure products are portrayed correctly, carts are not abandoned, and relationships are tracked and built on preference and behavior. AI also extends to customer service, logistics, pickup and status notifications. AI and ML will continue to play a huge role in the evolution of e-commerce, from insights and delivery to navigating the customer relationship.

 

Do you believe CTV Ad Spend will continue to accelerate as the US endures Covid-19? 

In the same way our shopping behaviors have changed, so has the way we advertise.

There is little question that CTV ad spend will continue to grow as the adoption of streaming services increases. This is great for brands and marketers, as performance measurement and precision targeting capabilities grow. Hybrid commerce contributes to this value equation since streaming services facilitate and connect second-screen engagements, and some platforms are introducing shoppable CTV. We are seeing brands adopt these tools for commerce connections, from the time-worn QR codes introduced 30 years ago to YouTube’s shoppable CTV ads rolled out last year.

The pandemic also forced brands to reevaluate what success means in their ads. The value of awareness has diminished, and impact is being measured more by consideration and performance as the measures for success. CTV still has some standardization challenges, for example, in measuring duplication, unique reach and real-time reporting. But many innovations are coming to market, and those gaps are closing quickly.

In what used to be the exclusive domain of social marketing, brands can now format CTV spots to attach personalization to generic creative. Creatively, the storytelling can be real-time, and recency has always been a key driver for engagement. The flexibility and capabilities are what makes CTV powerful, and CTV’s ability to adapt to new consumer behaviors will help it remain vital to brand marketers.

 

What major themes came out of CES 2022?  

CES always provides a view into our near-term technology opportunities. This year, it wasn’t the same, but it was an accurate reflection of the unpredictable and complicated reality we are all navigating. Most of the coverage this year happened virtually and some keynotes pulled out entirely. However, some brands stayed the course with their exhibits, so our fearless team at Momentum braved it out to help our clients activate at the event.

Health and Safety   

  • Color-coded stickers were made available at the entrance to every exhibition hall. A green dot meant “shake hands,” a yellow dot for “fist bump” and a red dot for “wave hello.” Masks were also available—small reminders of how the pandemic put context around everything inside the exhibits.

Emptiness and Virtual Experience  

  • It was no secret that big companies didn’t make a showing, but there were also a lot of small companies that didn’t show up this year. Booth spaces were left empty, or the venue placed furniture for lounge and seating areas. Some booths were not set up when the show opened, reflecting the times.
  • For those in attendance, the lines were long to try VR headsets. There were several activations, and people wanted the experience. The trend this year was to have staff devoted to each station to explain the experience and clean the headsets between use.
  • Augmented reality (AR) glasses also had a presence. Some of these, when worn, gives the sensation of watching a 140-inch TV—think of them as a wearable display. Many of these devices still look and feel clunky, but it’s clear we are on the cusp of an AR-glasses era.

Sustainability and Autonomy   

  • This year, sustainability is a big theme, as evidenced by the number of electric vehicles on display. The team at Momentum helped GM launch the Chevy Silverado EV, slated for release in 2024. In addition to electric trucks, there were various transportation formats from cars to scooters, motorcycles and bicycles.
  • There wasn’t much dialogue about autonomous vehicles; rather, the focus was on electric power, with GM being the notable exception. GM made the announcement of integrations for the Cruise into a ride-hailing service. And the Ultra Cruise will offer true hands-off driving on local roads. The first GM vehicle to offer the new tech will be the Cadillac Celestiq in 2023.

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Jason Alan Snyder is an inventor, technologist, and futurist. As Global Chief Technology Officer of Momentum Worldwide, he brings over 25 years of experience leading technology, innovation, and transformation in advertising and marketing. In his role, he oversees enterprise, development, and client service technologies. Through collaboration with creative, strategy, business leadership, and production talents, he offers insights into emerging technologies that amplify experience and engagement. Snyder’s pioneering work with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the marketing technology stack is recognized broadly within the industry. He developed a large intellectual property portfolio, including foundation patents for geolocation and computer vision products for mobile services. Jason also invented Luci, the award-winning solar lantern, to fight energy poverty globally.

 

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