Weekly Roundup: July 20th

Observations July 21, 2014 3:16 pm

weekly_7.20.14 World Cup Aftermath

  • The 2014 World Cup might have broken TV viewing ratings records, but it was digital streaming news that stole the spotlight. In the US, both Univision and ESPN broke streaming records, with Univision reporting that 87% of digital viewers streamed games via mobile devices. In comparison, only 37% of digital viewers came from mobile devices during the 2010 World Cup. This data point highlights how quickly consumer habits have shifted towards digital options, and how pivotal mobile devices have become to sports viewers.
  • The battle between Google, Facebook, and Twitter to provide online audiences with real-time updates is also indicative of this shift in consumer behavior. Whether it was dynamic advertising, social media hubs, or in-search game highlights, it was hard to miss the battle to reach the always-on, connected consumer.
  • Social media also exploded during the World Cup. The final match saw, at its peak, 618,725 tweets per minute– this visualization of Twitter activity around the world shows just how insane that number is (see the world catch on fire at the 18:25 mark). R/GA São Paulo’s Beto Bina, Associate Director, Social Media, Carla Said, Community Manager, and Thiago Kazu, Community Manager, analyzed the social media behavior of top Brazilian brands and compiled this list of learnings and best practices.
  • It’s been almost a week since Germany beat Argentina to win the 2014 World Cup, which begs the perpetual question in the USA, will soccer “stick” this time? It’s got a shot thanks to the country’s changing demographics. The growing influence of the millennial and hispanic demographic in the US bodes well for the sport, as these two groups are also more likely to be ardent soccer fans.
  • The MLS is also growing, and teams like the Sporting KC are seeing attendance boom at the same time college football teams like the Florida Gators are seeing declines. Why? Read how MLS teams are incorporating technology into stadiums and using data to provide better experiences for fans.

Wearable Tech: Fat and Fashionable?

  • Early contenders in the wearable tech space have predominately focused on quantifying fitness efforts; steps taken, calories burned. Whether used for weight loss or athletic training, wearable fitness bands simplified tracking activity, but largely ignored a crucial component to overall wellness: nutrition. They have largely failed at personalization and understanding a consumer beyond their fitness activity, which was highlighted in an article this week, My Fitness Band is Making Me Fat. In the article, users complain of gaining weight with fitness trackers, even though they were more active. What was happening? It’s a story of simply tracking calories in vs. calories out, rather than accounting for things like body type, metabolism, and hormones. It’s also a story in common user-error when tracking nutrition, which isn’t as black and white as fitness activity.
  • Jawbone announced an update to try to mitigate human error with a partnership with food delivery services PlateJoy, HealthyOut, and Munchery. Rather than users guesstimating the nutritional content of delivered meals, calories are automatically synced to Jawbone based on the order. The takeaway here? Fitness is more than just tracking activity, and wearable devices will need to track more data points about a user to more accurately quantify their health.
  • There has also been much discussion about the fashion industry’s influence and the importance of style to increase adoption of wearable fitness devices. To that end, Tory Burch launched a line of fashionable accessories for the Fitbit this week. First announced at CES in January, the accessories include a brass pendant and necklace as well as two silicone bracelets. The accessories have the same look (and price!) of standard Tory Burch merchandise, but beg the question: if you’re targeting fashionistas, are these pieces they’d really wear everyday? Probably not. The accessories may fall flat in increasing “stickiness” with a more stylish audience who tend to change their jewelry on a daily basis. But the partnership, similar to the recent DVF/Google Glass partnership, does broaden the appeal of wearable devices.

Social Commerce, Is That Really You?

  • Social commerce has had more stops than starts over the past few years, but has recently started to build momentum. Starbucks found success with the “Tweet-A-Coffee” campaign, Amazon introduced #AmazonCart, and Vogue and bloggers have found a way to shop on Instagram with RewardStyle.
  • But July has been the most promising month yet for social commerce, with both Twitter and Facebook announcing “buy” buttons. Twitter also announced the acquisition of CardSpring, which will allow users to put deals on saved credit cards.

The Netflix Of….

  • Old Netflix DVD Model: Rent the Runway introduces Unlimited, a subscription service that will let members rent three accessories per month for $75. Rent the Runway lets consumers rent dresses for occasions, and this new subscription option is a strategic move to rent more inventory in a month. Because while loyalty to the service may be high, it’s doubtful that many users rent more than 1-2 dresses a month. By focusing on jewelry and handbags, Rent the Runway can reach consumers beyond events.
  • Netflix Streaming Model: Amazon unveiled Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service that makes 600,000 books and 2,000 audiobooks available to Kindle owners for just $9.99/month. For heavy readers, this option is a cost-effective, and follows Amazon’s model of selling hardware at price and making money from services. Readers simply looking for a best seller should stick to the a-la-carte pricing, as many books are not yet available on Kindle Unlimited.

Closing The Distance

  • Chances are, you haven’t cheered on cyclists at the World Cup, been to thirty concerts in a month, or bid on a painting at Sotheby’s auction house. But thanks to new live-streaming options, at-home viewers can feel closer to live events. The Tour de France is allowing riders to attach cameras to their bikes to give at-home viewers a first-person perspective, Yahoo announced plans to live-stream a concert everyday for a year, and Sotheby’s will start hosting auctions with eBay for virtual auctions. While the Tour de France and Yahoo live-streams are one-way interactions, the Sotheby’s/eBay partnership is interactive, allowing a two-way dialogue between in-person and at-home, digitally based attendees. Watch this space for the future of live events.

Mapping NYC

  • Two visualizations this week show there’s an endless way to map the activity in NYC:
    • Visualizing the average day of a NYC taxi driver. (It would be really interesting to compare this data with Uber map data)
    • Mapping NYC by the songs that reference it. (This rap quotes project also attempts to do the same thing)

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