As 2015 gradually draws to a close, I can sit back and safely say that it was an incredibly important year for the marketing industry.
We saw the rise of data-led content, a shift in social attitudes and plenty of bold marketing moves (Protein World, we’re looking at you!). Increasingly marketers are being driven to create eye-catching and more ‘risky’ content, as filters get squeezed tighter and tighter.
2016 is still somewhat of an enigma, and, as always, only time will truly tell what the year holds in store for us marketers. However, based on patterns within the industry, and my own personal experiences, here’s what I think are key to keep in mind for the upcoming year.
Social continued its trailblazing path in 2015 and it’s only set to become more and more important through 2016 and beyond. It is estimated that over 35% of the world’s population uses some form of social media, with many regularly spending over an hour across various platforms a day, which is why getting it right on the social front is so important.
Although Facebook continues to be the most widely used platform, the first three months of 2016 see further restrictions on brand promotion, which means marketers could struggle to reach communities organically as before. Budgets may need to be put towards amplifying posts, or turning to other platforms. This may be to the sacrifice of the more traditional marketing methods.
Instagram has continued its rise up the social media ranks and now challenges Twitter for that second place spot. Learning to adapt your content and key messages to Instagram is becoming increasingly important and can result in access to markets you previously had struggled to relate to – particularly those in the 16-30 bracket. 2016 will no doubt see more and more companies turn to Instagram, make sure you don’t get left behind.
While live streaming platforms like Periscope and Meerkat have made their impact in 2015, they haven’t reached their full potential yet. In 2016 they will grow, and are worth exploring, if you haven’t already.
There are a number of up-and-coming platforms that I believe are set to be key in 2016. Of them, Medium is the one to explore. Created by Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, and already boasting in excess of 13 million unique users a month, 2016 is set to be a big year for the San Francisco based company. As marketers, an instrumental part of our role is to keep up with trends. The phrase ‘innovate or die’ has never been more true - the brands that fail to adapt, fall behind.
Adblockers are a constant thorn in the side of marketers. Since last year, it is estimated that the number of people using adblock software has risen to almost 20% of those who regularly use the internet. This number is only expected to grow, as Ad Block Pro continues to be rolled out on platforms large and small alike. So what’s the best way to deal with adblock software?
In my eyes, it’s not about, ‘getting around adblockers’ and rather, working to create content that people actually want to see. Adblockers are here to stay and marketers have to get used to it. If you are investing in online advertising, you need to convert views to clicks. Take Honda’s Endless Road campaign, for example, 10% of the people who saw the advert online went directly to view the Youtube video, an indication that the content was popular and engaging.
This is the biggest, and in my eyes the most important, challenge facing marketers in the year to come. I believe 2016 will see a shift from ‘mass online content’ to more traditional marketing forms. Localised and personalised campaigns, which have been pushed to the background as of late, will rule again and marketers need to prepare for this eventuality.
Offering consumers a more personalised journey will become a vital in converting advertising to sales – the end goal for any marketer. This, of course, is tied heavily into the data that you receive, which is why companies are increasingly on the look out for competent data analysts.
(The author is lead marketer for Europe at Honda. This article first appeared on MarketingMagazine.co.uk)