BitDepth#881 - April 16

At the second Caribbean Digital Expo, the discussions were about content and hard metrics.
A smaller, more focused CDX
Kathryn Friedrich, Head of Video Strategy for YouTube offers advice to CDX2 attendees. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

It’s been 18 months since Chike Farrell and Brevard Nelson convened the first Caribbean Digital Expo (CDX) at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain.
The two digital entrepreneurs, business leads at Caribbean Ideas, then presented MobiWorld, a smaller, developer-focused conference in October 2012.

CDX2 was a smaller event than its predecessor, but a more ambitious one with several sessions presented on parallel tracks over two days. It was also a conference that was much less confused about its audience and message.
This was an event for people in the private and public sector tasked with making sense of fast moving changes in the digital realm.
CDX2 offered less technology handholding and more focus on specific topics and issues relevant to both sectors.

If there was anything to be frustrated about, it was the decision to multitrack so many discussions with clever but fuzzy descriptions of the content. The first day was set aside for workshops, but those proved to be misnamed presentations and panel discussions followed by Q&A sessions.

The key issues for entrepreneurs were the words that have risen to the fore in today’s discussions about corporate use of online media; analytics, return on investment and engagement.
Early on day two of CDX2, the digital conference’s big day, Caribbean Ideas parted the curtains on a research project the company has commissioned from Sacoda Services that will tabulate some hard numbers on Internet use in Trinidad and Tobago.

Sacoda’s Wendy Rocke described a poll that’s focused on the digital habits and practices of young people between the ages of 16 and 45, with a special emphasis on responders in the 16-24 and 25-34 age groups.
Some of the early results aren’t surprising. Rocke revealed that 94 per cent of users in the 16-45 age group were on Facebook, with Twitter and YouTube coming in a distant second with 32 per cent and 30 per cent of users signing up for those services. Instagram at 9 percent and Pinterest at 1.7 percent trailed the social media hit parade.

More surprising was the finding that among 16-24 year-old respondents, 21 percent spent 11-20 hours online per week, 16 percent reported online activity clocking between 21-30 hours and 28 per cent were online for 31 hours or more.
Even such startling numbers paled next to those offered by YouTube’s Kathryn Friedrich who reported that the video aggregation website was clocking four billion views per day.

Friedrich offered very specific advice to advertisers in the audience looking to improve the performance of their online videos.
“Orchestrate,” urged YouTube’s Head of Video Strategy.
“Make sure that all your advertising is going to the same place and orchestrate participation.”
Friedrich urged advertisers hoping to leverage the popular platform to “link videos to the real world” demonstrating videos that sparked discussion, sharing and planned participation in events and games, and to tap into the zeitgeist, aligning such video releases with what’s currently interesting and popular.

At a break out session, The Fast & The Furious, Miles Abraham of Simply Intense Media a well-known local developer of software for social media platforms, described the current challenge facing local developers as the “now what factor.”
“You have a website, you have a Facebook page,” said Abraham, “what’s next?”
“The big thing now is getting company ready to act on these platforms.”

“GPS is also becoming big. Location based marketing, being able to push a message that’s relevant to a space is increasingly important.”
For its intended audience, CDX2 offered a revelation of riches, assessments of current digital strategy and tips aplenty for companies keen to make an impact online.
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