South by Southwest 2017 has come to an end, and we just got back from Austin, Texas. Of course it’s sad that the conference is over, but we did ...

5 takeaways from SXSW

South by Southwest 2017 has come to an end, and we just got back from Austin, Texas. Of course it’s sad that the conference is over, but we did not come home empty-handed! In this week’s article, you get a sample of key takeaways that we picked up from this year’s SXSW.

1. From product to context

Efrain Ayala from Reckitt Benckiser talked about his experiences with video. Reckitt Benckiser sells products in what Efrain Ayala himself describes as a low interest category, nobody craves wool detergent or standing in line for an air fresh spray.

He believes that the traditional approach to marketing these products is to highlight good features and USP. Efrain Ayala’s experience, however, tells a different story. By taking a socially engaged perspective, Reckitt Benckiser manages to position their products in a completely different way, which also leads to more sales. Watch the video for Woolite here.

2. What do women want?

David Grant from Popsugar.com shared his tips on what kind of content worked best for a young, female audience. With an audience of over 100 million international readers and 2.5 billion page views per month, Popsugar has a gigantic data base to support their findings.

Three tips from Popsugar:

  1. Young women crave useful information about older women: Dancing grandmothers and sprightly pensioners! David Grant thinks it’s about the desire to believe in the future, that we seek evidence that life is still fun even as we grow older.
  2. Health and a healthy lifestyle is no longer a single content category in Popsugar, it permeates all content categories. And remember, people love to read things about avocado!
  3. Create your own crazy trends. Popsugar used their influencer Brandi Milloy to make a tutorial on how to build shot glasses made of cheese. The idea was to pour wine in the cheese. Sounds strange? Maybe, but the video got the attention of both BuzzFeed and Food & Wine, while people both loved and hated it in the comments. Engagement, check. Watch the video here.

3. Viral success

Graham Lee from T1 Motion discussed the strangest things on the web. Have you seen the chick sticking her face in different types of bread? She has 168,000 Instagram followers. Or how about the Facebook page “Things full of beans that should not be full of beans” in which everyday objects like wallets or slippers are filled with beans? The page has 127,000 followers.

Or maybe you’ve heard of “Miniature Space” – a food channel on YouTube that makes tiny food? Tiny burgers, microscopic pancakes and donuts at 14 grams. The channel has over 1.2 million subscribers.

Your video is like a grain of sand. 

Graham Lee argued that brands must have the courage to bet on originality. Uniqueness is important online. The amount of uploaded videos on the Internet is enormous and Graham Lee explains that your video is like a single grain of sand. Moral of the story: The video needs to be darn good to be seen!

4. Instagram and Facebook

“Remember that Facebook and Instagram are more alike than they are different”, Facebook analysts Vicky Molina-Estolano and Jaideep Mukerjis told us. Based on user insight and ad effect, this means that for most advertisers, it works to have the same content strategy on both platforms.

Although the user patterns on Facebook and Instagram are somewhat similar, audiences have quite different expectations on the content. People often associate Facebook with general updates whereas Instagram is associated with adventure and daydreaming. Not surprisingly, people seek to Facebook for opinions, while Instagram is the platform that covers the need for inspiration and exploration. Instagram therefore performs the best at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, especially during the attention and brand recognition phases, while Facebook is more effective closer to the end.

5. Live Video

Video was a hot topic at SXSW, and many speeches kept video in focus. Everything from VR and 360, to video advertising and live video.

New York Times, Vox, and VICE shared their views about the live functionality on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Joe Posner from Vox compared a brand’s desire for publicity on Facebook with being an artist – you will do anything to play on the biggest arena.

New York Times has had success with its Facebook live broadcasts, highlighting how important it is to interact with users during the show. After the address, Deborah Acosta brings out the equipment they use for live broadcasts and nerds gather around, myself included. New York Times uses one smartphone to film, and a second phone to read comments while filming. That way, the interaction goes both ways.