Influencer Marketing, Virtual Reality, Snapchat, Digital Transformation etc. – re:publica 2016 Trends

Veröffentlicht am 17 May 2016 | von Sebastian Pieper


In May 2016, the digital conference re:publica celebrated its tenth anniversary with over 8000 visitors and 770 speakers. Whether influencer marketing, messaging apps, virtual reality or the much invoked digital transformation: the re:publica has developed into an essential indicator of digital trends. We were there and would like to present you with some of those trends.

re:publica 2016

re:publica 2016, image source:

Influencer Marketing – Bringing Together Companies and Influencers

Are users today more influenced by the opinions of an influencer than by traditional advertising? Paulus von den Hoff, CEO of the influencer marketing platform Exomatch and Julian Heister from Microsoft could not give a concluding answer to this question in their panel on Influencer Marketing. Current studies, however, point to the effectiveness of influencer marketing. 92% of users trust recommendations of other users more than brand content. For 72% of users, online ratings are the second most important source for their purchase decision (source: The Shelf). In a study by Augure, 81% of questioned marketing professionals see the involvement of influencers in the marketing communication as effective or very effective. In influencer marketing, users who have a large coverage of the target group e.g., as bloggers, in social media or on Youtube, and/or are renowned as an expert, are motivated to recommend products or share company messages. Usually, those influencers are directly approached by companies, supplied with the promoted products and often remunerated for their coverage.

The disadvantage: Well known influencers can be rather expensive. Furthermore, there is the risk that users perceive this type of influencer marketing as a non-authentic, camouflaged promotion. Especially, since in Germany, influencers need to identify paid promotion as advertising. Not all influencers need to be “paid net celebrities”. Every satisfied user qualifies as an influencer within his network. With marketing automation, social media recommendations can be systematically promoted. For this purpose, articles such as e.g., newsletter content or purchased products in order confirmations should include a SWYN button (share with your network). SWYN buttons allow a user to share an article in social networks with only one click. Each respective message should contain a prompt for recommendation and a reward should be given for each share e.g., a thank-you email containing a coupon. Loyal users can also be motivated to give feedback on the company’s website or in the online shop. In this way, you might not gain any successful Youtubers or wide-reaching bloggers as influencers, but authentic users and this almost for free!

Digital Transformation – Focus on the Customer

The digital transformation is THE topic in the digital economy and it is hardly surprising that it was a hot subject at the re:publica. Agnieszka Walorska, CEO of Creative Construction Heroes GmbH opened her lecture “Digital Transformation or Digital Destruction” with some numbers showing the impact of the digital transformation on companies. According to a study by the John M. Olin School of Business of Washington University, 40% of Fortune 500 companies will not exist any more in 10 years’ time because they have not completed the digital transformation or were pushed out of the market by a disruptive competitor. The success of WhatsApp has created sales losses of 20 billion dollars in the telecommunication sector as it replaced SMS. Uber is turning the taxi market upside down and AirBnB the hotel industry. Large companies such as Google and Facebook, as well as a number of start-ups are entering the market with insurances and financial services. The list of examples could go on.

What prevents companies from proceeding with the digital transformation? According to Forrester Research 74% of companies have a digital strategy but only 15% have sufficient resources to actually implement this strategy. Only 16% have a Chief Digital Officer (Creative Construction Heroes). According to Agnieszka Walorska, the problem is that many companies reduce their digital transformation to the use of a few software solutions and hope that the rest will work out by itself. This is not about having a separate digital strategy but about aiming the whole company strategy at the digital age as particularly customers are now digital. Customers should always be the focus. Using technology is not an end in itself but it should always serve the optimisation of the customer experience. In the best case, technology responds not only to customers but also adapts itself proactively e.g., by dynamically including the context of use in the customer experience. In marketing, this would mean: Adapting messages not only to customer data, such as purchased products, but to factors such as location, weather, time of day or terminal device in order to inspire customers at the right time with the right communication. Based on this principle, it is important to select the most suitable technology and implement it. Not vice versa.

Virtual Reality – Making Products Digitally Perceptible

One of the biggest topics at the year’s re:publica which was covered by many different speakers and companies from retail start-ups to German TV broadcaster ZDF, was virtual reality. Visitors could, for example, design virtual apartments with products from the catalogue of a furniture retailer, view film trailers from  inside or attend a live event via virtual reality glasses. Five deployment possibilities for virtual reality in marketing are described here:

Snapchat – the Messenger Hype of the Younger Generation

Snapchat was everywhere at the re:publica. In talks, in networking meetings and at the exhibition stands. Numerous jokes were made about the omnipresence of this trending messaging app. According to statistica, the app has globally approximately 200 million users, 3 millions of these in Germany. 71% of users are under the age of 25. Snapchat therefore presents an important channel for marketers to reach this younger target group. It is hardly surprising that the Snapchat talks at the re:publica were among the most popular with visitors. When asked how companies should reach their target group via Snapchat, one young Snapchat user in the talk “Snapchat for Grown-ups” suggested to use Snapchat celebrities as influencers. We compiled further ideas for the use of Snapchat in marketing two years ago in the following blog post:

Videos on the re:publica trends 2016

Here you can find video clips of the re:publica 2016:

More trends in a free e-book download

On more than 15 pages, artegic presents five digital marketing trends until 2018 in a free e-book. Download the e-book:

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