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Being “Always On” Is Taking a Toll

Being “Always On” Is Taking a Toll

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

April 11, 2018

Red Agency Trends Report Finds Change Is the Only Certainty. Standing Still Is Not An Option.

"43% of millennials would rather give up sex than the internet."

FOMO has led to FOSO.

Red Agency’s recently launched 2018 Red Sky Predictions Report, a joint venture with YouGov Galaxy Artificial Intelligence, has found that our addiction to the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has led us to a Fear of Switching Off (FOSO).

According to the report, the average person touches their phone over 2,600 times a day, and 43 percent of millennials would rather give up sex than the internet.

The trends report also takes a deep dive on the current and upcoming techlash and the future of blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We chatted with Red Agency CEO and Chief Commercial Officer Havas Group Australia/New Zealand James Wright about the study’s findings, the power of the local store manager, and why you should ban phones from meetings.

Was there any particular trend in this year’s study that surprised or stood out to you?

Our Red Sky Predictions report is not a crystal ball, but is created from data-driven trends that are happening right now. And even if you know about them, 2018 is the year you should not just know about them but be doing something about them.

The report is developed from a combination of many sources, including global research from Havas Group. We have also taken input from our clients and our partners, and from local Australian research and insights that we undertake through a partnership we have with YouGov Galaxy Research.

What has been really interesting is to see how some trends have come right to the fore in recent weeks – namely techlash, the focus on Russia, and how the algorithms social media platforms use are evolving so rapidly.

As you mentioned, your report came out right before the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal, so the TechLash has very much begun. What can other tech companies learn from this?

Don’t take us (the consumer) for granted. It is not good as a major tech business to simply say “trust us,” which they did for too long, and now they have come unstuck. They have become too powerful, and they do require greater scrutiny and regulation from governments and society.  We need to get to the root of the issue—and that is that social media has grown up. However, Facebook, as the first and only social platform to reach this type of scale, is also the first one to experience these issues. It’s important to remind ourselves that just 10 years ago, Facebook was a network for university students, and that 2018 marks a paid media turning point for them.

Mainstream social channels that used to be community networks have grown up into mass media publishers. But like any major startup story, these types of audience gains don’t happen without growing pains. Over the past few years, the world’s two leading “net states” have amassed global super powers, offering unparalleled online reach, targeting, influence, and engagement. Google, reaching 3.5 billion searches daily as well as 1.5 billion active YouTube viewers, and Facebook is engaging approximately 2.5 billion monthly active users globally.

With this kind of scale comes a newfound set of responsibilities—and no one knows this better than Mark Zuckerberg, who saw his company’s market cap drop significantly earlier this year after implementing newsfeed changes. These changes reduced the amount of public and publisher stories in-feed and made multiple efforts to clean up the rules around how the company regulates news.  This made people’s feeds safer, and freed up space for friends and family while further encouraging brands to invest in reaching relevant audiences with their content (and continuing to unlock ad revenue).

Times have changed. We now live in a digital world where algorithms like Facebook’s and Google’s gather more behavioral data than any other system, in order to deliver personalized experiences that are relevant to individuals who are on the platforms and to continue to keep them coming back for more. The value exchange is mutually beneficial, but the rules around protecting these data have changed from what they were when the Cambridge Analytica data were captured and will need to continue to do so.  Truth is, people use these platforms because they add value to their lives—and they choose to frequently return to them. And it is a fact that neither Facebook nor Google benefit if their users or advertisers feel unsafe in these environments. Active usage will drop and investment will follow, which is in no way beneficial to either platform.

"We have become so accustomed to social media and “checking in” that we don’t know how to “check out.”

The study presents some harsh stats around FOSO—fear of shutting off. Is our “always on” culture sustainable?

We have become addicted to our phones and devices. We have created a “fear of switching off.” Our research revealed that 85 percent of us regularly check our work emails outside of work hours, eating into our leisure time.

More than three-quarters of us are sleeping with the enemy, with our mobile phones a staple in our bedrooms. Sixty percent of us check social media in bed most nights.  We have become so accustomed to social media and “checking in” that we don’t know how to “check out.”

We have become a “head down” generation—burying ourselves in our phones at almost every opportunity.

Take a look around. On the bus, ferry or train. In coffee shops and bars all across the country.  When you are sitting in internal meetings. It’s an addiction, and it is leading to a breakdown in personal interactions in the real world.

Our research also found that two-thirds of us are really concerned by our phone obsessions. And despite this hyperconnected society, millennials are the loneliest generation, with 16 percent saying they feel lonely every day. Forty-three percent of millennials would rather give up sex than the internet.  Can you believe it? Maybe they aren’t doing it right.

Arianna Huffington says innovative companies realize we have a “life beyond our gadgets.”  And our prediction is that brands will begin to champion a healthier relationship with technology.

“Always on” is unsustainable. We have the power to switch off occasionally and we need to do so for the benefit of our health, society, and future generations. The power, quite literally, is in our hands.

What do you do to “check out” and not become addicted to your mobile device?

A few practical tips: Don’t take your phone into your bedroom. Leave your phone in your pocket at the dinner table. Make specific times during the day that are device-free time—particularly when you are with your partner or children. At work, ban phones in meetings.

"I believe we have moved out of the 'digital age' and into the 'experience age.'”

The report says that 2018 will be the year of the “algolution.” What can you tell us about that?

We are now firmly in the era of pay to play; organic reach is practically over. This algorithm-led revolution is seeing social rulebooks being rewritten. This “algolution” will give power to those who know how to harness it—and will isolate those who don’t into their own social bubble. The new algorithms will reward relevance, prioritize personalization, encourage conversational comments, and make it harder for brands to ride on the back of partnerships they haven’t paid for.  As we say in the report, if you don’t schmooze, you lose.

What can you tell us about “the local CMO”?

2018 is seeing bricks-and-mortar stores striking back and working hard to recover after losing massive territory to online and mobile shopping. We are seeing a trend from high street retailers that empowers local store managers to provide a bespoke, local twist to their store.

It’s no secret that nowadays online shopping is one of the most popular ways to make purchases. Shopping online not only saves time but also a lot of effort. You can do your research and online shopping whenever and wherever, with the option of having products delivered to your home. Why should you go to a store, when you have the convenience of shopping online?

But retail stores hold a trump card. The insight has shown that an outstanding experience and the human touch can trump convenience. We are seeing a shift to local reinvention and experience marketing. And it is why major e-tailers like Amazon have now opened flagship stores. Think about it.  Who knows the local community the best—the head office or the local store manager? We are already seeing this, especially with fashion brands. Diesel is a good example, where every store is bespoke.

The individual value of each consumer will increase, with brand differentiation at retail driven by the customer’s experience. The local store manager becomes their own CMO.

Localization will make brick-and-mortar stores desired destinations to go to for an experience, not just places to buy from.

Which trend are you most excited to see grow/develop?

AI is incredibly exciting if we harness it correctly, particularly in health, which is what our research showed people are most excited about.  The investment in AI all around the world has been huge in recent years, and that will continue. We have seen major steps forward in speech recognition, image classification, autonomous vehicles, and machine translation.  Both China and the US have grown AI “ecosystems” to bring together groups of people that can push this technology even further.

I believe we have moved out of the “digital age” and into the “experience age.”  It’s no longer about doing digital, it is about the experience digital and technology can create for you, and AI and cognitive is right at the forefront of that.

For us, it has massive potential to create immersive and emotive experiences that will result in an even greater and more meaningful bond between our clients’ brands and their consumers.

"43% of millennials would rather give up sex than the internet."

FOMO has led to FOSO.

Red Agency’s recently launched 2018 Red Sky Predictions Report, a joint venture with YouGov Galaxy Artificial Intelligence, has found that our addiction to the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has led us to a Fear of Switching Off (FOSO).

According to the report, the average person touches their phone over 2,600 times a day, and 43 percent of millennials would rather give up sex than the internet.

The trends report also takes a deep dive on the current and upcoming techlash and the future of blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We chatted with Red Agency CEO and Chief Commercial Officer Havas Group Australia/New Zealand James Wright about the study’s findings, the power of the local store manager, and why you should ban phones from meetings.

Was there any particular trend in this year’s study that surprised or stood out to you?

Our Red Sky Predictions report is not a crystal ball, but is created from data-driven trends that are happening right now. And even if you know about them, 2018 is the year you should not just know about them but be doing something about them.

The report is developed from a combination of many sources, including global research from Havas Group. We have also taken input from our clients and our partners, and from local Australian research and insights that we undertake through a partnership we have with YouGov Galaxy Research.

What has been really interesting is to see how some trends have come right to the fore in recent weeks – namely techlash, the focus on Russia, and how the algorithms social media platforms use are evolving so rapidly.

As you mentioned, your report came out right before the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal, so the TechLash has very much begun. What can other tech companies learn from this?

Don’t take us (the consumer) for granted. It is not good as a major tech business to simply say “trust us,” which they did for too long, and now they have come unstuck. They have become too powerful, and they do require greater scrutiny and regulation from governments and society.  We need to get to the root of the issue—and that is that social media has grown up. However, Facebook, as the first and only social platform to reach this type of scale, is also the first one to experience these issues. It’s important to remind ourselves that just 10 years ago, Facebook was a network for university students, and that 2018 marks a paid media turning point for them.

Mainstream social channels that used to be community networks have grown up into mass media publishers. But like any major startup story, these types of audience gains don’t happen without growing pains. Over the past few years, the world’s two leading “net states” have amassed global super powers, offering unparalleled online reach, targeting, influence, and engagement. Google, reaching 3.5 billion searches daily as well as 1.5 billion active YouTube viewers, and Facebook is engaging approximately 2.5 billion monthly active users globally.

With this kind of scale comes a newfound set of responsibilities—and no one knows this better than Mark Zuckerberg, who saw his company’s market cap drop significantly earlier this year after implementing newsfeed changes. These changes reduced the amount of public and publisher stories in-feed and made multiple efforts to clean up the rules around how the company regulates news.  This made people’s feeds safer, and freed up space for friends and family while further encouraging brands to invest in reaching relevant audiences with their content (and continuing to unlock ad revenue).

Times have changed. We now live in a digital world where algorithms like Facebook’s and Google’s gather more behavioral data than any other system, in order to deliver personalized experiences that are relevant to individuals who are on the platforms and to continue to keep them coming back for more. The value exchange is mutually beneficial, but the rules around protecting these data have changed from what they were when the Cambridge Analytica data were captured and will need to continue to do so.  Truth is, people use these platforms because they add value to their lives—and they choose to frequently return to them. And it is a fact that neither Facebook nor Google benefit if their users or advertisers feel unsafe in these environments. Active usage will drop and investment will follow, which is in no way beneficial to either platform.

"We have become so accustomed to social media and “checking in” that we don’t know how to “check out.”

The study presents some harsh stats around FOSO—fear of shutting off. Is our “always on” culture sustainable?

We have become addicted to our phones and devices. We have created a “fear of switching off.” Our research revealed that 85 percent of us regularly check our work emails outside of work hours, eating into our leisure time.

More than three-quarters of us are sleeping with the enemy, with our mobile phones a staple in our bedrooms. Sixty percent of us check social media in bed most nights.  We have become so accustomed to social media and “checking in” that we don’t know how to “check out.”

We have become a “head down” generation—burying ourselves in our phones at almost every opportunity.

Take a look around. On the bus, ferry or train. In coffee shops and bars all across the country.  When you are sitting in internal meetings. It’s an addiction, and it is leading to a breakdown in personal interactions in the real world.

Our research also found that two-thirds of us are really concerned by our phone obsessions. And despite this hyperconnected society, millennials are the loneliest generation, with 16 percent saying they feel lonely every day. Forty-three percent of millennials would rather give up sex than the internet.  Can you believe it? Maybe they aren’t doing it right.

Arianna Huffington says innovative companies realize we have a “life beyond our gadgets.”  And our prediction is that brands will begin to champion a healthier relationship with technology.

“Always on” is unsustainable. We have the power to switch off occasionally and we need to do so for the benefit of our health, society, and future generations. The power, quite literally, is in our hands.

What do you do to “check out” and not become addicted to your mobile device?

A few practical tips: Don’t take your phone into your bedroom. Leave your phone in your pocket at the dinner table. Make specific times during the day that are device-free time—particularly when you are with your partner or children. At work, ban phones in meetings.

"I believe we have moved out of the 'digital age' and into the 'experience age.'”

The report says that 2018 will be the year of the “algolution.” What can you tell us about that?

We are now firmly in the era of pay to play; organic reach is practically over. This algorithm-led revolution is seeing social rulebooks being rewritten. This “algolution” will give power to those who know how to harness it—and will isolate those who don’t into their own social bubble. The new algorithms will reward relevance, prioritize personalization, encourage conversational comments, and make it harder for brands to ride on the back of partnerships they haven’t paid for.  As we say in the report, if you don’t schmooze, you lose.

What can you tell us about “the local CMO”?

2018 is seeing bricks-and-mortar stores striking back and working hard to recover after losing massive territory to online and mobile shopping. We are seeing a trend from high street retailers that empowers local store managers to provide a bespoke, local twist to their store.

It’s no secret that nowadays online shopping is one of the most popular ways to make purchases. Shopping online not only saves time but also a lot of effort. You can do your research and online shopping whenever and wherever, with the option of having products delivered to your home. Why should you go to a store, when you have the convenience of shopping online?

But retail stores hold a trump card. The insight has shown that an outstanding experience and the human touch can trump convenience. We are seeing a shift to local reinvention and experience marketing. And it is why major e-tailers like Amazon have now opened flagship stores. Think about it.  Who knows the local community the best—the head office or the local store manager? We are already seeing this, especially with fashion brands. Diesel is a good example, where every store is bespoke.

The individual value of each consumer will increase, with brand differentiation at retail driven by the customer’s experience. The local store manager becomes their own CMO.

Localization will make brick-and-mortar stores desired destinations to go to for an experience, not just places to buy from.

Which trend are you most excited to see grow/develop?

AI is incredibly exciting if we harness it correctly, particularly in health, which is what our research showed people are most excited about.  The investment in AI all around the world has been huge in recent years, and that will continue. We have seen major steps forward in speech recognition, image classification, autonomous vehicles, and machine translation.  Both China and the US have grown AI “ecosystems” to bring together groups of people that can push this technology even further.

I believe we have moved out of the “digital age” and into the “experience age.”  It’s no longer about doing digital, it is about the experience digital and technology can create for you, and AI and cognitive is right at the forefront of that.

For us, it has massive potential to create immersive and emotive experiences that will result in an even greater and more meaningful bond between our clients’ brands and their consumers.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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