2016 Predictions. Digital Media Disruption to Spark Fresh Advertising Services, New Partnerships and a Flight to Creativity in 2016

Posted by Cameron Swan
14 12 2015

Marketplace Shifts to Improve Brand Engagement, Impact with Digitally Savvy Consumers.
Active International, the largest global independent corporate trade company, predicts that 2016 will bring significant changes as media companies and brands adjust to meet digitally savvy consumer needs. This shift will pave the way for new advertising services and partnerships, as well as foster greater creativity focused on delivering more innovative content to consumers.

"The impact of emerging digital media channels cannot be overstated," says Jim Porçarelli, Chief Strategy Officer at Active International. "While there has been plenty written in the North American and European markets about the ways that digital, mobile and social media have disrupted the traditional media landscape, the industry has trailed behind the consumer's level of digital sophistication for years. This dynamic is changing, and 2016 will be the year that the global media and advertising industry responds to new consumer behavior with new business models, improved measurement and more dynamic content partnerships."

Among the most significant changes in 2016 will be:

  1. The bundling of media buying and measurement services triggering a global wave of analytics company acquisitions
  2. "Odd couple" brand partnerships surging as the industry adjusts to new consumer behaviors 
  3. Advertising agencies shifting their focus back to creativity as programmatic technology and fee scrutiny squeeze buying margins

The bundling of media buying and measurement services will trigger a global wave of analytics company acquisitions

As digital advertising becomes a larger portion of the overall media strategy and spend for brands, we will see the emergence of bundled services that manage the full life cycle of the ad, from placement and tracking to impact measurement. Many of these new offerings will be built through acquisitions, as buyers race to implement analytics capabilities. With these capabilities providing better information about a campaigns’ impact on consumer behavior, the value of digital inventory will rise.

"Quality digital advertising measurement is the next milestone in our industry," Porçarelli said. "In 2016, there will be a race to acquire analytics and measurement companies in both the North American and European markets, as media buyers rush to develop bundled placement and measurement solutions for their clients. Marketers will increasingly change their view of how to value the media inventory available to them. They will no longer focus on spot price and programs. Instead, they will look at the value of the outcomes. The more accurate buyers can be in measuring outcomes, the more highly valued their services will be."

"Odd couple" brand partnerships will surge as the industry adjusts to new consumer behaviors 

The number of non-traditional partnerships between brands, celebrities and media companies will rapidly grow in 2016. Brands will increasingly prioritize delivering experiences over taglines as a way to capture customers and secure brand loyalty. An example of this type of partnership is outerwear company Moncler's sponsorship of Italian explorer Michele Pontrandolfo's trek to the South Pole, which is being done to promote its winter 2015/2016 collection. Another recent example is GoPro Workouts, which allows users to follow their favorite professional athlete's daily workout.

"A big part of capturing a digital audience’s attention is delivering meaningful experiences in a non-commercial sense, a story with a central narrative, dramatic structure and character arch," Porçarelli added. "This is particularly true with social media, where engaging content can go viral at any time. Digital audiences are much less likely to pardon brands for their interruption. To attract and keep audiences, brands must deliver compelling content and be comfortable with products living in the subtext. We expect to see this approach flourish in most markets during 2016."

Advertising agencies will shift their focus to creative as programmatic technology and fee scrutiny squeeze margin out of media buying 

The rise of programmatic technology and increased scrutiny over agency media buying fees will shift agency value proposition back to campaign strategy and creative ideas. While buying has become increasingly commoditized and media channels have grown exponentially, capturing an audience has never been more challenging. Agencies and marketers alike will turn to creative strategy, new partnerships and integrated cross-channel strategies in an effort to break through the clutter.  

"For the past two decades, marketers all over the world have placed a premium on their agencies' ability to buy media efficiently," Porçarelli said. "An agencies’ buying prowess often decided whether they won or lost business. With the rise of digital media, however, advertisers are fighting harder than ever before for relevance. Those efficiencies no longer ensure better visibility. The key is having a sharper strategy and more creative thinking. In 2016, we will see marketers shifting their priorities and seeking to work with the most innovative thinkers in the agency world."

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