Social Pulse, Week of 4-1

Amy Webb’s emerging tech trends report keynote from SXSW is now posted live for streaming. It’s worth spending an hour this weekend or on your commute to watch.

Webb is a quantitative futurist whose team at NYU uses data-driven analysis to track tech trends year over year.

You can download the full report here. And here’s my full SXSW recap!

WhatsApp Business, which has 5 million customers so far, has launched an iPhone app.

Per Techcrunch, the “WhatsApp Business platform is key to WhatsApp’s growth in emerging markets where first-time internet users have skipped over using computers to reach the web, and instead mainly get online through their mobile devices.”

This week Snap introduced Audience Network, which will allow developers to run vertical video ads from Snapchat within their app. This comes as Snapchat’s user growth has slowed (down a million users year over year).

They also launched a number of Mario Party-style mobile games, including Snake Squad, Alphabear Hustle and Zombie Rescue Squad. Users will be able to watch 6-second, nonskippable ads in exchange for in-game credits.

Would you watch an in-game advertisement to beat your friend in a game?

Hearables (aka smart headphones) are becoming mainstream. Apple’s Airpods have Siri integration. Google’s Pixel Buds have Google Assistant. And now reporting shows Amazon is readying earbuds with built-in Alexa access for launch as early as the second half of this year. My prediction is this is the last generation of smart headphones before “always on listening” starts being enabled – challenging privacy norms and opening up even more opportunities for our IRL + A.I. lifestyle.

Gartner L2 has a smart piece on China’s emerging cancel culture, similar to U.S. trends where celebrities and brands get called out on social media and boycotted for a wide range of issues (sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.) The phenomenon is growing in China, where there are some specific nuances and complications, including that China’s web users don’t always agree on what’s controversial. Fascinating.

Oracle has a new distracted consumer infographic (PDF) demonstrating the challenge marketers have in capturing and holding a customer’s attention, including a 1 minute breakdown of the # of emails and texts sent, social media updates posted – partnered with our changing media habits. Could be good fodder for you to use in a future presentation.

Also this week…. Goth Crocs are apparently a thing, celebrity pastors are getting called out for their expensive sneakers, business leaders are saying they are using AI in their business but may simply be boasting because the technology is fashionable, even though data that proves having a digital savvy board will increase revenue.

And Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a new 3-day old Instagram account that’s already at nearly 4 million followers.