Hacking the feed - digital trends at OMR

19 May 2022
What's in and what's out? Hack the minds and hearts of a target group. Insights from Philipp Westermeyer, founder of OMR

QR codes can be addictive similar to old music and billboards. Such were the vibes at this year's OMR festival in Hamburg where delegates also came across start-ups named Nelly, Charles or even Horst. The first OMR since 2019 was exciting and offered an abundance of knowledge, plenty of networking opportunities and all kinds of beats at the after-work parties. Philipp Westermeyer, founder of OMR, presented the latest digital trends in a keynote entitled "State of the German Internet" on Wednesday (May 18, 2022). Up to 70,000 delegates thronged through the ten exhibition halls and open-air spaces in good spirits and bright sunshine. Hamburg News reveals the digital in's and out's at the conference.

What's in?

Markets are consolidating on the internet, the deflated QR code is making a comeback and vintage music is all the rage. Around 70 per cent of the music downloaded from streaming services is "catalog" or at least one to two years old, said Westermeyer. And the era of outrageous start-up names is over. Founders now name their babes simply Nelly or Charles and even Horst is not rejected either.

Huge sums of money are going towards crypto advertising, Westermeyer noted, and pointed to increasingly bigger budgets for crypto products. Asia's, for instance, paid USD 700 million for the naming rights to the former Staples Center in Los Angeles,  which is home to the L.A. Lakers. The rival Binance paid USD 35 million to sponsor the jerseys worn by the Italian soccer club Lazio Roma. Crypto advertising is apparently becoming socially acceptable.


What's out?

Well, Hollywood is out for one thing. The entertainment industry mecca once had a virtual monopoly on content and is now having to make way for a growing number of stakeholders from France, Spain and Asia entering the fray. And they're good, according to Westermeyer. Cathie Woods, the Californian hailed as "the best investor in the world," is no longer as hip, he said. Woods is grappling with a 76 per cent drop in her ARK Innovation ETF fund.

The stock market is enduring hard times and there were 80 per cent fewer IPOs in the United States, Westermeyer pointed out. Print media are focusing more on earning money. Free content is out and the number of articles hidden behind paywalls is increasing steadily. "Performance marketing is complicated by data protection, which makes it difficult to get a clear view of target groups."


Possible solutions

"Hack the feed," Westermeyer advises, "or basically take Instagramming a step farther. It's about motivating users to post and achieving the greatest possible reach. Jersey sponsorship on match days is just one goal, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Putting a logo on a training jersey is much cheaper and can have an amazing reach, he said. "Popular players have millions of followers who watch training sessions enthusiastically and post constantly. Brash billboard advertising is also popular, and many make a point of advertising high in the sky. "During the run-up to OMR, we had planes flying up and lettering painted in the sky," he added.

Seize the opportunities offered by hugely popular docutainment as it has a great future, said Westermeyer. Thanks to "House Of Gucci", search queries for the brand have gone through the roof. And it doesn't even have to be a big name. Stefan Hansen, a farmer from Husum in northern Germany, films his everyday life and posts the videos on YouTube with great success. His "Sibbershusum" clips have more than 91,000 subscribers. "That's docutainment for everyone!"


Four quick marketing wins 

1) Rely on micro-influencers. "Advertising comes across authentically precisely because of the small reach," said Westermeyer.

2) Humorous memes still go down well and funny impressions can still prove popular, if they emphasise local themes.

3) Muster up more courage and creativity in corporate communication. Informing employees about Tayler Swift's latest album, for instance, makes for a good mood and encourages people to post and comment.

4) Use transactional emails. Messages containing information about delivery status, for instance, are nearly always opened. Why not combine them with advertising along the lines of "customers who buy this product are also interested in."

While the above trends do not always meet with Westermeyer's approval nor does he celebrate them, it is important to point out "what's going on in the digital world at the moment," he added.


Sources and further information

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