Stepping forward: Digital Trends for 2016

A sum up from the #OgilvyTrends2016 webinar by James Whatley & @Marshall Manson and additional thoughts on the topic

The rise of ad blockers endangers traditional models of digital marketing.

Users are not consuming banner ads anymore and brands and publishers need to find new ways of reaching their audiences.

With ‘Instant Articles’ Facebook for instance has build its own publishing platform to minimise disruption in advertising and maximise publishers’ reach.

How can brands — not having Mark Zuckerberg behind them — prepare for this Ad Blocker end game?

This leads us to trend number 1: Micro-Targeting:

To succeed, brands have to be present in consumers feeds.
That doesn’t just mean a Facebook or Twitter feed, it means earning attention and being present where audiences prefer to consume content.
So don’t just focus on Facebook, think multi-channel.

Don’t assume your community is automatically your audience, you usually just reach 2–3% of your community, instead think in multi- and micro-audiences.

Think about what the commonalities between the audiences are. This lets you frame content, that speaks most for your audiences interests.

Micro targeting also means fewer, better.
Create content for specific audiences and bring the content to them.
Deliver this content selectively, timely and in situations that are relevant for them.
Don’t create content that YOU think is interesting, create content that your audience is interested in and looking for — create content for an urge and for interest rather than demographics.

I think this is the trend that brands most need to focus on and really can start implementing tomorrow. It is really about creating valuable content — start to think like a publisher and focus on quality instead of quantity!
Driven by the need for authentic content, brands will need to look into all corners of their businesses for content that adds value to different audiences and allows them to build brand value over time.

But there’s little point in creating great content without having a distribution strategy in place to gain the audience share needed and reaching them exactly at the right time — also considering our limited attention spans.

This further influences the channels we distribute our content on. Brands need to follow the consumer and adapt their behaviour rather than sticking to the social platforms they think are important to them.

Trend 2: VR is here!

Trends don’t come and go — the video revolution is here to stay but moves further in 2016, as will the way we consume content change a lot in 2016.

As a brand, you will need to drive innovation and be innovative:

One way of doing so is making use of technologies like 360° video experiences. As an example check out the 360° video on Facebook for the launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

What to do about it as a brand?

1. Don’t panic:
2016 will be the year of VR. But it will be the year of VR 1.0, which means brands don’t need to panic about it. If you don’t know how to make use of it yet and think its too early for you to jump on the VR train, you don’t have to yet.

Or 2. Go for it!
If you are have capacities and want to invest in some innovative ways of engaging your consumers, there are affordable and accessible options to try 360° videos and create VR experience, for instance with Google cardboards. VR content is very accessible with Google cardboards app and YouTube and Facebook also hosting it already, as an example check out the YouTube/GoPro partnership.

Trend 3: GEN Z is here.
They are more socially aware than ever, finding new causes to fight for, do not conforming to subcultures and we as marketers need to learn how to deal with them and talk to them.
They are very different from Millennials and we can’t simply adapt our way of speaking to them. We need to start understanding them.
Learn more about Gen Z here:

Trend 4: Content marketers have a lot to learn (from Buzzfeed)
Content marketers are obsessed with content but only measure effectiveness by website statistics.
But Buzzfeed for instance of the 18.5b impressions it receives every month, only 2% of those are on its website.

This means we need to measure the full impact of our content not just the clicks on our website. It’s not just about website statistics anymore, it’s about distribution and engagement across the entire social web.

Trend 5: Twitter Erosion
- and new approaches of customer service as a result of our need for privacy.

Twitter usage seems to be declining.
And Facebook is attacking its Customer Service value by pushing its Messenger as a platform for customer service interactions.
Twitter gives people the ability to speak out loud and complain, but what if Messenger undermines this by giving customers the ability to make direct complaints and gives brands the opportunity to keep conversations private?

As much as we’re social beings, respect of privacy is also something that’s becoming more and more important to us. Platforms, like WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat that promote privacy, are increasingly important, especially among Gen Z.

Last but not least, another continuing trend for 2016 is Influencer Marketing, which has become professional in 2016.

Although already a key part of social media marketing in 2015, it will become an increasingly significant way for brands to talk to specific audiences, and the popularity of influencers who have been made famous by social media and blogs will continue to grow. They are demanding bigger fees and they are represented by companies in the same way that “traditional” celebrities are.

In 2016, brands need to partner with the right influencers and consider them as an important part of their business strategy, rather than just as an add-on to a social media campaign.

Curious optimist currently designing culture and community programs + tools at Dropbox. Writing about community, future of work and out of office culture.

Curious optimist currently designing culture and community programs + tools at Dropbox. Writing about community, future of work and out of office culture.