Tyler Suiters                      

Hey, everybody. I'm Tyler Suiters with the Consumer Technology Association. We are the owners and the producers of CES, the largest, the most influential tech event in the world. We are here to help you get CES Ready. The show is January 7th through the 10th, 2020, in Las Vegas as always. And today we're taking a deep dive into C Space at CES. This is where the world's innovators, creatives, marketers, all come together in one place. At C Space you'll find disruptive trends, how the future of brand marketing is changing and entertainment is evolving through technology. 87% of the Fortune 100 will be at C Space.

Tyler Suiters                      

You can experience new technologies that are changing how consumers behave, learn from leaders in content creation. The major studios will be there as well. And, of course, top advertising firms at keynotes, at panels, maybe even conversations that you get to start in a hallway.

Tyler Suiters                      

So today, along those lines, two guests, we're going to dive in. Both of these brands you will know well. First of all, WPP, a world leader in communications, commerce, technology. This is a global entity that is modernizing the industry in its own words. And it's helped pioneer data application to communications, but also, the consolidation of media buys and strategies. So a wide ranging conversation with WPP. Also, maybe I should just say the brand, Facebook. Ty Ahmad-Taylor from Facebook is joining us to talk about the intersection of content, advertising, marketing, creation, entertainment, all of that is coming up on this edition of CES Tech Talk.

Tyler Suiters                      

Joining us now from Facebook is Ty Ahmad-Taylor. He is vice president of product marketing there. And Ty, it's great to have you with us today. Thank you.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

Thanks so much for having me.

Tyler Suiters                      

What a terrific vantage point you have at Facebook to identify the trends in the advertising industry today. Can you give us an overview of what you're seeing? And especially Facebook's leadership, really, in that position?

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

Sure. I think many other opponents have stated, the trends that we're seeing in industry today are that we're operating in an attention economy. And in an attention economy, businesses want to meet people where they're spending their time or where they're spending attention. And so from our perspective, we're interested not just in the connection between people and businesses, but the meaningful connection between people and businesses. And we'll continue to create sort of new, delightful, easy ways for businesses and people to connect where they're spending their time.

Tyler Suiters                      

So looking ahead to the, I guess, you'd say medium future, Ty, what are you seeing in the next five years, let's say, in the advertising sector? This is rapidly evolving, maybe as quickly as any other aspect of the innovation and technology economy right now.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

Sure. I think, historically, advertising has been about either television or print spot. In the next five years, I think, it will evolve towards the stories, which is a nine by 16 video format. Video in general, but on mobile and hand held devices. And then new emerging platforms like augmented reality and messaging. And we're going to keep investing in those experiences so that brands can tell their stories, but more importantly, build communities around the things that they deemed to be important.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

And the way that we're going to do that specifically is by taking the format and adding incremental or even greater interactivity. So things like polling, augmented reality ads, where you can place a piece of furniture in your home before you buy it, or where you can try on makeup before you buy the makeup. And then things like playable ads, where you can actually play a video game directly within the mobile interface of the app that you're using without having to go out to understand what the experience feels like. And so these are big ideas that are happening not just within marketing, but the broader canvas of brands and marketers want to be involved in culture and not app culture, but they really want to map to people's interests. And so we're looking to create these tighter connections between interest in culture and in brands that want to touch upon them.

Tyler Suiters                      

So when you talk about an innovative element of technology, and augmented reality is one that you just touched on, Ty, to what extent is consumer behavior driving your direction? And the other side of that equation is, to what extent is Facebook leading and pulling consumers along with you as the technological evolution continues and we all become better suited, more adapted, more familiar with emerging technologies in our everyday lives?

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

Sure. What's interesting is the trend where people are spending more time in on their individual phones, but what we're seeing in terms of trends is that people also want to connect with the people around them and people around the world more directly. And so one of the things that we're taking advantage of with regards to that trend is what we call social watching, which is actually watching video at the same time. And we're enabling that feature on Facebook Watch. And to do that, advertisers are able to read sort of harder to find audiences as well.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

And so today, we actually have found that we have over 720 million people around the world watching Watch every single month. And we know that people are expecting to connect directly within their experiences even though they might be on a mobile phone more. And so, our goal is to be the top source of growth for marketers and partners every step of the way, so that they can remain connected, as I mentioned earlier, to culture.

Tyler Suiters                      

That number you mentioned in terms of the millions, Ty, is hard to get your mind around if you're not dealing with it every day. Maybe more so if you are dealing with it every day. But what does that speak to the premium that Facebook places on consumer experience? That has to be a priority. If you have numbers that large and you're driving growth year over year. And then ancillary to that, what's advertising's place in that consumer experience?

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

Sure. Well, one of the trends that we've seen when we think about the consumer experience is a shift from the historical mood of it, being a town hall. What people are looking for now is for it to be a little more tightly connected and much more private. So we've seen a shift in consumer behavior from a town hall to more of a living room experience. And you know who's in your living room, you're unclear about who's in the town hall. We don't suggest that it's a binary change. People are going always be interested in public social networks and our feed as an example of that. But we're seeing the future of communications is really shifting towards private encrypted services because the people are interested in sort of those private aspects. And so one of the ways that, that's being captured for both businesses and for people on the platform is in the format that I mentioned earlier, which is stories.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

So stories is a 9x16 vertical video format with an interactive layer on top of it. And we've seen massive adoption of that effort across our family. So if you include Facebook and Messenger as a unit, What's App as a unit, and Instagram as a unit. Each one of those units has over half a billion people every single day interacting with their stories platform, on the three separate services. And over 3 million businesses today are using that platform to then connect with people on the platform directly in a format where they're spending immense amounts of time.

Tyler Suiters                      

Yeah, and I'm sitting here till I once again just shaking my head when you, when you share numbers of that size in terms of engagement and influence. You refer to the Facebook and I'm now quoting family portfolio would be another word that describes it, but Facebook, your Messenger application, Instagram as well. Is this all one advertising ecosystem or do you treat each of these individually as separate entities that, that come together at times and there's some crossover?

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

So when we think about our portfolio of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger and how they work together as a single ecosystem, we want to make it easier for advertisers to, talk to the combined community in a way that makes sense. Again, we're interested in meaningful connections at the right time, in the right place, in the right region, directly between businesses and people on the platform. And so for advertisers, we have a single product which is called Ad Manager and businesses large and small can go into Ad Manager, construct a campaign and then have that campaign delivered across Facebook and Instagram and Messenger. You don't have ads in WhatsApp today. And in so doing it touches upon my earlier notion of reaching the right people at the right time in the right place. And so we've made that easier and we'll continue to make improvements on making that easier for businesses large and small to create these meaningful connections.

Tyler Suiters                      

In terms of ease of use, Ty⁠—one-stop-shop⁠—is that fair to describe Facebook's role within the advertising and media space?

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

Well, with regards to our property, yes. And we also allow for advertising off of Facebook, do you think something called Audience Network, which allows people to tap into properties that are not Facebook owned but they're Facebook vetted and they provide additional liquidity to use a term of industry that allows people to reach audiences even off of Facebook if they wish.

Tyler Suiters                      

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Turning ahead to what lies ahead in CES 2020, Ty you've been to a number of shows for a number of companies. You always have an interesting take on the show and what you see emerging and what you pull out of it, your takeaway each year. What do you thinking about for CES 2020 what has you most excited about what you're expecting there?

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

So one of the things that I'm most excited about in terms of CES in 2020 is I would say commerce in a connected world, which is essentially the, need to create experiences that are both relevant, personal and seamless. So we all see ads, but all ads are a front door to a commerce experience or to a buying experience. We're deeply dedicated to making sure that you see the most relevant ads that are important to your experience. I, for example, should never see ads for something that's not a sedan because I'm not going to buy anything but a sedan, but other people are going to buy trucks and some other people might buy SUVs. We're, deeply invested in that sort of personalization. But the next step is the actual ability to get the good or the service that the marketers putting forth directly within the ad unit.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

And that lowers the steps for conversion for the consumer thereby getting them closer to the cultural or experiential things that they desire. And it's better for the marketer because it reduces the number of steps that consumers have to go through to get the product that, the people around the world that seem to be important to them. Closing that gap is something that I'm really excited about it and witnessing it at CES in 2020 as people offer products and services and try and you know, reduce the number of steps that people have to consuming them. And so as a former entrepreneur, the thought of empowering all businesses of all sizes to better understand and transact with their customers at scale. That's, really exciting.

Tyler Suiters                      

A time for a pro tip or several. Ty has someone who's experienced so many, so many versions CES. You've got a few hours free at C Space, no agenda, no schedule. What do you do? Where do you go? What do you seeking there?

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

So I, really am interested in sort of the next way. You know I participated in startups and I purchased, they didn't really large companies and you know, the opportunities for both are vast. I'm having nothing to do with Facebook. It's just a matter of falling, consumer problems is sort of my view. So from the Facebook perspective, the consumer problem in my view that we solve is connecting people and strengthening communities. But I'm always interested in other people's ideas about what they deem to be important to the consumers around the world in terms of making their lives better. And so I always like to use sort of the smallest companies and understand the problems that they're trying to solve and their view of the market. So that's what I'm really excited about.

Tyler Suiters                      

Yeah. Here we are talking about C Space, but you're pointing to Eureka Park in some senses, right? Where the hub of the entrepreneurs startups from around the world.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

That's right. I didn't want to undermine your question but yes.

Tyler Suiters                      

Ty, my questions get undermined all the time on this podcast. There's no concern there. Ty Ahmad Taylor is not only an expert at this point on C Space at CES. He is vice president of product marketing at Facebook. Ty, always a fascinating conversation. We will see you soon in Las Vegas.

Ty Ahmad-Taylor             

Thank you so much. I'm looking forward to it.

Tyler Suiters                      

Joining a staff from WPP is Stefan Pretorius. He is CTO there and Stefan, I know you may be a bit jet lagged with all your global travels, but thanks for taking time with us today.

Stephan Pretorius           

Good morning, Tyler. Very nice to be here.

Tyler Suiters                      

Let's start first of all with your position at WPP. CTO, this is a relatively new position there. Why did WPP go in that direction and what is it that you, that is your real missive there as CTO?

Stephan Pretorius           

Well, Ty I think the way to understand the reason why we, told him he needed a chief technology office in WPP is, is really not because technology isn't even marketing. You know, we've been using technology and software and marketing for many, many years probably since the late 80s, early 90s but you know, as we were looking to transform my business when our new CEO Mark Reed took over the last year, we realized that we really wanted to bring creativity and technology to the heart of what WPP does. And so, we thought it would be important to, to have someone who looks after the overall technology strategy, who looks after how we partner with large companies like Google and Facebook and Amazon and also helps to build the capability of how our people in our agencies use technology in their everyday work.

Tyler Suiters                      

So you just dropped three global giant names in terms of, some of the major technology companies you work with. Let's talk about that and, and how technology is aiding them and how this partnership looks for WPP and the companies you named Google, Facebook, Amazon.

Stephan Pretorius           

Well, I think the... If we read the analyst press about the advertising industry, there's this kind of very lazy myth that people like, Facebook and Google are disintermediating agencies and are making a role in the ecosystem less relevant. And I think it's a very, it's a very incorrect analysis and it's frankly not affected in gravity. So you know, today virtually all the large technology companies in the world, are large clients at WPP. Google specifically is WPP's, second largest client by revenue. And we work with many other companies in the space in order to provide them with ideas, with consumer insights, with creative campaigns and even marketing operations. But the other way to think about it is that all those companies are also in their own regards media platforms.

Stephan Pretorius           

And so we spend an enormous amount of money of our clients, our other clients money, on platforms like Google and Facebook and Amazon, et cetera, and so we are very large clients of theirs in terms of spending media money with their platforms. And then a third dimension of our relationship is that all those companies are also platform companies, software companies, cloud computing companies. And we use their software and their cloud infrastructure to deliver technology solutions for our clients. And also to build differentiated marketing technology products that make the work that we do for our clients more differentiated.

Tyler Suiters                      

So let's go down that road a little bit Stephan and what you're seeing trend wise in the industry right now within advertising. And I'd imagine working with clients like those you just named who are at really the bleeding edge of the technology that's available, there's an onus on you at WPP to really come up with sharp enough ideas and guidance to match your level of understanding and [inaudible 00:17:26].

Stephan Pretorius           

That's correct. And I think, the thing that we really focus on is the intersection between creativity and technology. We don't believe that we can do our jobs well if we only rely on technology, but we do know that we can do our jobs much better if we augment our people's creative capabilities with technology. And so, one of the big themes that we have is really this kind of idea that AI is everywhere in marketing today. And you know, I mean AI is a massive buzz word in many companies that sort of, position their entire valuation on the fact that they've got AI in their products. But in reality it's a bit like the mobile revolution. You know, it didn't happen for many years and then suddenly everything was mobile. You know, it's a bit like that with AI.

Stephan Pretorius           

People were buzzing and hyping in for many years and you know, today if you look at the tools that we used to do enterprise marketing, it's got AI everywhere. You know? So some examples of that. If you look at Adobe's credit card, for instance, virtually every new breakthrough feature that's coming out in Creative Cloud is AI driven. If you went to Adobe max last week for instance, you would have seen that, virtually the entire platform is being re-imagined that innovated through AI.

Stephan Pretorius           

And similarly, we used AI in our own products to optimize media campaigns and advertising campaigns. So you use machine learning in order to optimize the, placement of media at the timing of it, the creative that's being used, and even the office within that, within that advertising. And then we use AI, particularly neural networks to do predictive analytics to do things like for instance, predict flu outbreaks much faster than you know, companies could do so in the past in order to time their shopper marketing much more effectively. So I think that's sort of the first theme for me is that, AI is everywhere in marketing today and it's real and it's making a real difference in terms of how we are delivering for clients.

Tyler Suiters                      

Well that sounds a little bit like [crosstalk 00:19:28]… That sounds a little bit like what we see on the show floor at CES, Stephan in that AI appears everywhere. But you know, when you get down into the, what that means, there are manifestations of AI at, an enormous spectrum of realities. If that's a fair way to put it. That is that some are marked ready and, doing excellent work already. Other applications need a great deal of development and are brilliant ideas, but it's going to take time for them to come to the marketplace or really make a distinct difference is after you've gone through the predictive analytics aspect of AI, which is in play very much right now in your field, what is something that is maybe not yet ready for prime time, that is AI driven, that really has you excited?

Stephan Pretorius           

So I think that the… by far the most interesting kind of emerging area, which I think will be a revolutionary in creative industries in the future that's not quite there yet, is in the generative AI area. So effectively using AI to create new content and, there were a couple of examples of that which are emerging and really interesting. So there's this entire area of generative adversarial networks and using style transfer or style guns. So where you're effectively, using the style of an existing image to create new images in the same style. So you could paint like a Renoir, you could, take for instance in the original Worrell and create a new one based on a style transfer AI. So that, is interesting because that's sort of available today.

Stephan Pretorius           

But I think this idea that AI can actually generate net new creative output is particularly interesting. I mean you're seeing it in synthetic models or you know more pejoratively, D-tags, effectively give the ability to effectively create... the ability to create artificial people and out of a composite of existing people, the ability to very subtly change the way that models look in, creative executions to be more personalized to the viewer. So there's some, very interesting kind of experimental areas of, of generative content, which, I don't think the results are quite consistent or stable enough for people to use it commercially. But it's definitely coming.

Tyler Suiters                      

You were starting to dive in on a second trend that, you're seeing in the marketplace right now Stephan, I don't want to lose that thread because we could spend half an hour just on AI. So, so take the other direction if you would please with, how else technology is shaping your sector right now?

Stephan Pretorius           

Yeah, I mean, and I think this is a partly a, the business model, train them and possibly a technology trend, but I think the, you know, if you think back a couple of years and you know, when digital advertising started there was this sort of notion that, the way that you advertise across multiple websites would become more standardized. And you know, you'd have this, this enormous ecosystem of, websites that you could publish advertising to. But the, reality of where its all played out is that the big platforms have become, increasingly what they call walled gardens. So they've become more shut off from each other. Your arability as, advertisers and brands to, target our consumers across those platforms is becoming increasingly limited. And our ability to track the impact of the advertising we do on those platforms in a completely, sort of an accurate way is also becoming limited.

Stephan Pretorius           

And you know, the reason for that is numerous, I guess the one is that there's increasing regulation and pressure on those companies to be privacy safe and to have security around their customer data. But the other part of it is just that frankly, they're sort of disincentivized from opening up to each other because it creates artificial barriers to entry. And so I think the world that we live in today is, is a very complex one for a brand that wants to, reach scaled audiences across the world. You know, you effectively have to work separately with a number of large partners in China. It's Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. In other parts of the world its [inaudible 00:23:37]. But you, we were in a, situation where we need to use technology in order to try, and address audiences consistently across these multiple walled gardens in a way that we didn't have to do, five or 10 years ago.

Stephan Pretorius           

And so I think this is sort of a, an interesting, interesting kind of trend because where advertising and media companies, were really pushing very hard on, one-to-one targeting and being able to create a single view of the customer and to be able to identify consumers across platforms, that is increasingly not possible. And I think we a little bit going back to two more kind of, scaled models of, planning and attribution that really look at things at a far more macro level as opposed to the individual one on one level.

Tyler Suiters                      

Mm-hmm (affirmative), so this is an industry that right now with its tech enabled success is changing at a lightning rate of speed. Right? I'd imagine CES is a key element for you to, talk to these companies, these innovators, these market leaders in a single space C Space, is the proper name for it. What exactly do you and WPP have planned for CES 2020 Stephan, in terms of the engagement, the presence, the takeaway you're looking for?

Stephan Pretorius           

Yeah, and CES is one of our key annual events. You know, we, sort of have a couple of landmark or kind of milestone events throughout the year. You know, on the one hand in the summer we do a big event in Cannes, South of France, the weather's slightly better and the, you know, the, the beach is slightly nicer than Las Vegas, but the other one is CES in January, and then I'd say those are kind of the two largest events that we commit to every year in terms of, participation and also, client contacts and, but we also use CES really as a way to connect with our partners. And so we do an enormous number of business meetings with our key technology partners. I'd also say that CES for us is a really important place to, understand the ecosystem and to understand trends in technology.

Stephan Pretorius           

So, increasingly we have, we do an enormous amount of work in what we call connected ecosystems. So really product and service design that look at, electronic products that, that can kind of connect and bridge the digital and physical worlds. And you know, personally I always find CES enormously rich in terms of, spotting things that people are coming up with, new innovations that can help us to accelerate that work for our clients. So it's a, congregation of talent and you know, frankly a place to meet or you know, all your colleagues and partners and clients. But it's also very much a kind of a learning environment and a rich exchange of ideas of innovation.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right, well, Stephan, I apologize for ending on a hypothetical, but 97% of your time at CES, 2020 is there at C Space talking to the advertisers, the media companies, the entertainment sector, the marketing, CMOs who are involved there. You have 3% of your time you spend at one other section at CES in terms of a technology vertical. Where are you going and what are you most looking forward to seeing?

Stephan Pretorius           

I think it would probably have to be the, healthcare exhibits. I'm personally very passionate about, digital health or you know, digitally enabled health outcomes. We have a number of clients in the space. So you know, there's clearly kind of a commercial lead, but it's also a big passion of mine personally and I always find the, amount of net new innovation in this space to be, off the chart. So you know, of course there's 5G, of course their screens, of course there're self-driving cars and everything else. But I think the connected health area for me is super exciting and, particularly how we, starting to embed intelligence into, end-user products, to improve people's lives. That would be my, that would be the one thing I focus on.

Tyler Suiters                      

Yeah. Digital health is a great place to be. That is purely hypothetical because I'm quite sure 100% of your time will be spent in C Space talking ad tech and, and everything we touched on in the last 15 minutes.

Stephan Pretorius           

That's actually not, that is actually not true. I make a point every year, once all my meetings are done and everyone else has gone home, to spend, you know, at least a day going through all the exhibition stalls myself on my own time. I find it a massively useful, way to spend a day. So I'll make, I'll make a point of doing that again this year.

Tyler Suiters                      

A flattering endorsement, Stephan, I appreciate it. Stephan Pretorius is the chief technology officer at globally known WPP. Stephan, looking forward to seeing you in just a few months at CES 2020.

Stephan Pretorius           

Well thank you Tyler, have a good day.

Tyler Suiters                      

Okay. Coming up next time on CES Tech Talk, one of our favorite topics it is Eureka Park at CES. The home for startups more than 1200 startups for CES 2020.

Unknown Speaker                           

There weren't many vending machines that were targeting consumer retail products like they do in like say Japan or China, where you can buy almost anything from the vending machine.

Tyler Suiters                      

That is next time on CES Tech Talk. We are here to help you get CES Ready. So do yourself a favor. Subscribe to this Tech Talk podcast. That way you won't miss any episodes and hey, download the CES App. This is important information you need to build your own agenda. Find your favorite exhibitors, even seek out the speakers and the panel sessions. You want to make sure you see while you're at CES 2020. Again, that is the CES app. Now the show is CES 2020 January 7th through the 10th in Los Vegas. More information is it's C-E-S dot tech, and none of this podcast is even remotely possible without the true stars here. Our executive producer, Tina Anthony, and our senior studio engineer, John Lindsey, you all are the best in the business. I'm Tyler Suiters. Let's talk tech again soon.

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