3 MadTech Trends for 2016


** This article originally appeared in The Drum**

We're in the midst of a MadTech surplus. As applications for the next cohort come to a close, with over 250 applications from over 37 countries, we're sitting on a hot-bed of information relating to the future of the marketing and advertising industry.

This is the technology brands & agencies could be using today, so it doesn't take their business away tomorrow. They need to understand it, become comfortable using it, and see how working with it will increase revenues.Here are 3 MadTech trends and a few business models we think will be making it big in 2016.

Social marketplaces and curated content

We’ve seen a rise in the number of social marketplaces in this year’s applications. These startups are focusing on fashion and home goods, bringing together content from a number of existing websites and platforms (where eBay and Amazon began, startups have shaped this model). Here, the consumer has a more personalised shopping experience, as the platforms provide targeted recommendations based on their preferences. One of the most interesting factors though is that the consumer is redirected to the original retailer’s site to make the payments. On mobile, this can be as seamless as staying inside the original marketplace for the consumer, but means the startups don’t have to allocate extra resources to managing an e-commerce site.

OOH advertising meets online buying

Next gen retail tech can mean a whole host of things. One area we’re seeing a lot of activity in is optimising old tech with new features. And that means making billboards and display advertising ‘smart’ – optimising the media buying experience and providing more targeted advertising to consumers. Startups are adding software features onto old communications forms to target the content as consumers pass by, creating online bidding platforms mimicking that of Google and Facebook Ads, and much more. Real Life Analytics does just this. This takes hardware out of the equation, making the products pliable and easy to add and take features away from on an ad-hoc basis.

AI as a service

Artificial Intelligence reminds us of robots. Cultural references, TV shows such as Humans, show us house helpers and driverless cars, taking the work out of everyday activities we do. But it’s so much more than just that. Everything from the recommendation engines on our websites, to programmatic advertising (AppNexus is a big player here) which helps us buy better space for our content, to tracking the multi-channel consumer journey (taking it one step further from optimising content for mobile devices). Subscription models for AI are becoming commonplace in MadTech. It’s all about keeping the attention of the consumer from the beginning of their journey to the end.