5 Marketing Trends for 2016
What you need to know
2016 is well underway and for us here at FUSE, we're always on the lookout for the latest trends to help our clients get more from our industry. I sat down with FUSE experts to find out what marketers should expect. Here's what they had to say.
1. Agency Life in 2016 – It’s all about Creativity, Agility and Technology.
We’re gluttons for punishment… which is why we seem to love the unpredictable, frantic and emotional win-loss realities of working agency side. And if you’re hoping 2016 is the year for your life to get a bit more structured, give up this pipedream. Agencies of today need to accept that no two projects are the same; no two clients want the same processes; and no two departments can be staffed the same way. And then there are the contracts and the budgets – get comfortable with project work versus the mega retainer. While retainers and big budgets still exist, they aren’t in high supply. You have to retool your shop to be able to manage a myriad of complex marketing asks at all levels of spend to remain competitive across numerous marketing channels. In January alone, our teams at FUSE are building a vending machine, a robot and a travelling bar - not to mention all the standard emails, websites, sales tools, etc. And get comfortable with the different titles that come along with this world – an account + creative + media mix doesn’t cut it; welcome UXDs, CreativeTechs, Community Managers and all their quirky friends. Some will find this all confusing and bizarre, I think it’s awesome and breathing huge amounts of new passion into the agency dream.
2. The Reality is, it's Virtual
Even with the release of the Oculus Rift 2.0 and the HTC Vive, we are still in the early clunky years of VR. 2016 is the year where people experiment to the tune of over $5 billion dollars statistics predict. It’s the year where people dip their toes in it, not adopt. We can already start to see the potential and scale of VR content with channels like YouTube’s #360 Video channel; which is just a starting point for this medium.
This type of movement has also helped push down the entry costs of shooting a VR video. New channels for advertising - a new medium of advertising e.g. see a bill board walking down the street inside a virtual world or an expanded experiential play. The depth in the category is evolving the user experience with installations like The Void which is working on building global theme parks. Product enhancements like the Oculus Touch shows that VR is not only for advertising, they are taking it to new levels in physical new experiences.
3. Finding your voice in a storytelling digital world
Experiential marketing continues to be a true and tested medium with live engagement between consumers and brands providing a much needed authentic touch to brand messaging. It has proven the test of time, and has adjusted to this ever changing digital world. Experiential and digital walk hand in hand with the rising popularity of branded content creation through experiences. This will continue to evolve as brands try to find their voice with digital story telling, the most authentic and relevant voices are around consumer feedback, experiences and “shock and awe”. We call these connected experiences at FUSE and the amplification of this experiential to digital and social content provides reach that is borderless for brands. We also see increased incorporation of highly innovative digital experiences within the live event environment. This includes experiences such as virtual reality which are becoming a more affordable and approachable way for brands to literally "transport" consumers in a live event format. This impacts the ability to create a multi sensorial engagement where through technology brands can transport users to another world/location/dimension or visualize your product in a very different way.
4. The force that awakens may just be the algorithm
Facebook’s algorithm will continue to change in 2016. These newsfeed algorithm tweaks will impact how brands allocate and spend their media dollars to gain audience reach. Already we see reduced efficacy for image based posts versus video posts – and yet, we also need to balance how post success is counted so as to not over estimate video based engagement success.
The bar for content that gains organic reach or ‘free reach’ is continually being set much higher, requiring most brands to compensate with greater levels of media spend to maintain current results. And yet, at a root of both organic and paid engagement success, is how a brand that knows how to tell its story. A brand that can leverage both data, creative as well as an advanced understanding of the platform will help gain ground in this shifting newsfeed.
Slate magazine published a very good historical look at Facebook’s algorithm; an article which hints at the much anticipated new Facebook features such as topic based newsfeeds and new buttons (beyond the like button) to convey reactions other than like.
If you want to explore further – we also really enjoyed Forbes’ latest article on the growth of algorithms which threaten to control our content overly. A worthy read and discussion!
5. Hyper-targeting + hyper-optimization = the new ways to ensure campaign success
Despite the opportunity to treat Facebook's platform as a mass media channel, we expect more brands to push to continually find media spend efficiencies - bringing more hyper–targeting to 2016. Brand will refocus ongoing digital content media spends to reach only those consumers for whom the message is intended. Hyper–targeting will require inputs from many stakeholders representing media, creative, analytics and brand. Although this sounds like a daunting task, it is a necessity in the new world of ‘pay to play’ social media.
If hyper-targeting reduces inefficiency pre-campaign, then hyper-optimization reduces inefficiency once in-market. No longer will brands be satisfied to wait for actionable insights days, weeks or months into a campaign being in-market. Emerging hyper optimization practices will ensure insights are identified quickly, actioned appropriately and continually monitored for success.
In our own work, we expect to rely more heavily on ad tech in 2016 to help automate some of the hyper-targeting or hyper-optimization processes. Regardless of ad tech - the keen eye of the analytics team will still be responsible to ensure the data is actioned in alignment with the business objectives of the brand.