Enter the New Year With Convergence Analytics


by Marshall Sponder

There will be lots of changes coming to the convergence space in the next year. Here’s a look at what’s in store and what this may mean for marketers.

Change is the one constant we absolutely know will be present next year, and the increasing velocity of technical innovation promises to make 2015 an exciting year for convergence, but the changes may not happen in the areas we expect. Let’s take a look into the crystal ball and see what next year may have in store for us, particularly in the marketing technologies space.

First prediction for next year: Technology innovations are going to force many organizations to rebuild their marketing analytics implementations from the ground up to take fuller advantage of what newer technologies have to offer.

Many of the events leading up to this have already been happening, but are markedly speeding up leading into 2015, including:

  • The “death” of SEO, PageRank, keyword targeting, link-building and Matt Cutts – search optimization previously done on a website(s) will almost certainly need to be redone due to massive changes in Google’s search algorithms and data intelligence capabilities, generating increased online media effectiveness.
  • The development of smart clothing, together with the Internet of Things (IoT) generates geo-social data that previous analytics implementations were not equipped to handle or meaningfully process; often enough, these new data streams can be extremely profitable to data-mine when they are processed for insights, resulting in an urgent need to have restructured analytics capabilities.
  • A number of new employment opportunities will open up for the right people in content marketing, marketing automation, and digital marketing analytics; technology has changed so quickly, that existing organizational personnel may not be able to leverage these new opportunities in their own behalf.

Second prediction: Media creatives will be positively impacted by the next round of technology changes, as “meta-data” will be accurately and routinely generated by artificial intelligence by the end of 2015. Up until now, “rich media” content often did not appear prominently in search engine results – but in late 2014 technologies to accomplish auto-metadata tagging reached a turning point.

  • Google recently made an image recognition leap in capabilities by combining two neural networks that had been created independently and for different purposes, one that handles image recognition and the other that performs natural language processing.
  • In my own opinion, as our data becomes better categorized (because of the increased ability to auto-apply meta-data to all types of digital media) the intelligence extracted from that data will be multiplied in its effectiveness several times over, and we will begin to see fruits by the end of 2015, picking up speed drastically in 2016 and 2017. As much of creativity today revolves around intelligent curation, the additional meta-data will also support education, the arts, and sciences. I think that 2015 will be the year where the economy and creativity grow in lock step.
  • In fact, the next round of “meta” technology will benefit arts and entertainment in other ways, like increased customization (with the capability to customize consumable and addressable content), thereby benefitting ad tracking technologies such as programmatic, which will jump over from digital media to linear media in 2015. Up until 2015, programmatic had issues with linear TV media, but soon, no longer will that be the case.

Third prediction: Technology is going to get quite visibly “under our skin” and into our bloodstream in 2015, but it is too early to say whether such convergences are a good thing or not. However, it is clear that debates around augmenting human capabilities with “robots” become more frequent and markedly heated in coming years, beginning with 2015 as capabilities build upon each other.

  • Google recently developed nano-particles placed within the bloodstream that monitor a person’s healt. This technology will be augmented by developments in smart clothing that will pick up the nano-particle messaging and interact with it.
  • Last year, before Google sold Motorola, formally its subsidiary, it developed a pill that interacts with stomach acid to create a unique 18-bit signal in the body of anyone who ingested such a pill — the person becomes an “authentication token” that can be tracked anytime and anyplace. For those of us who want to remain “off the grid,” such a mechanism that converges the physical and virtual worlds into one world may be not be welcome, but it may also be inevitable, at some point, but probably not yet in 2015.
  • For that matter, in 2015 we will see “electronic tattoos” on the market, which will be another way to converge the digital and real world we live in, physically. It’s already been shown that these “e-tattoos,” as I dubbed them, add capabilities such as temperature detection to the wearer, when they interface with something like Apple’s Health Kit.

Yes, convergence is a moving target in 2015 – convergence will bring different worlds together, and the result will be pleasant or not, depending on what your viewpoint of these changes happens to be.