Auto Racing, Internet from the Sky, and Slime on YouTube

There were several small stories over the weekend which I think shed light on what the current frontiers are in terms of web marketing.

Auto Racing

First, this past weekend there was a Formula E race in Argentina. It featured two self-driving/autonomous vehicles, which performed well for most of the race, but one ended up crashing.

 

Many auto blogs bemoaned this outcome, saying that it showed that this technology was not ready for “prime-time”. I think just the opposite. While crashes are the riskiest part of the job for human auto racers, crashes are exactly what makes the sport so exciting. Aside from the sheer speed of the sport, the suspense around whether or not a car/driver will make it around any given turn is what keeps people entertained. If autonomous driving eradicates crashes, it will be difficult for the sport to continue as it would be difficult for any viewer, expert or novice, to tell from the externals of a vehicle what gives it an advantage over the other cars in the field.

In terms of internet advertising, the car is going to be one of the major spaces that sees expansion in the next few years. It is already happening in apps like Waze when stopped in traffic. But, as drivers have to spend less time focusing on the road, it is going to be media and advertising which start to vie for our attention during our commuting time. Auto racing is where many automotive technologies get perfected, so look for what is learned from the track to make its way into your vehicles in the near future.

Internet in the Sky

Loon, Google’s project to provide internet to remote areas using weather balloons announced that they will need to use fewer balloons than expected to provide internet. This means that it will be easier to deploy internet in remote areas than originally assumed. While more internet in a shorter amount if time is great, what is most lucrative to the internet giants working to provide internet to remote areas are the advertising opportunities billions of more internet users will bring to their sites.

With more eyes on advertising, that means that it will be easier for companies, especially ones that perform most of their business online, to expand into new markets. Optimizing advertising to these new users will be a unique challenge. It will be necessary to factor in language barriers, site loading (these connections may be much slower than broadband to start), and the psychological hurdles to convince people they need items that were previously not within reach.

Slime

The schoolyard is no longer a place where tweens trade in stickers and headbands. In a Wall Street Journal article  (subscription required) today, the paper describes how girls in this age range are experimenting with business models for selling a stress-reducing product they call “slime”. Some of the teens are becoming quite successful, and are even starting to expand their markets into targeting boys in the same age range. Slime’s popularity has even caused sales of Elmer’s glue, a key ingredient in slime, to double in the past few months.

The article spends some time describing the ascent of such an obscure product. It attributes its newfound popularity to the spread of recipes posted online on sites like YouTube and Instagram. These social media outlets are not to be overlooked as part of an online marketing plan. Engaging video and image content means that customers will remember your product when it comes time to purchase. Video content also ranks highly in how search engines categorize and display your content, so be sure to take advantage of these channels whenever possible.