The marketing world is in the midst of a major transition. Mobile dominates every aspect of our lives, creating new forms of expression, creativity, communication, and opportunities; providing brands an unprecedented opportunity to put content directly into their users' hands.
2016 will see a renaissance of content marketing for brands. In this mature mobile environment, marketers can develop creative content to communicate directly with their customers, and utilize new mobile tools and technologies to build authentic and engaging relationships with fans.
From television ads to mobile, from passive to active consumption, and from traditional to native advertising -- effective marketing campaigns are not what they were just five years ago. The way in which consumers engage with brands has changed, and the platforms in which they are reached are constantly evolving. As the rules continue to be rewritten, these transitions are only expected to accelerate in the new year.
Marketers who will be successful in this new landscape will need to rethink their approach. These are five key transitions that will change marketing in the next 12 months:
More native, less traditional
Though ad placements are more prominent today they ever before, they have never been less effective. Consumers, enabled by technology, have developed strategies to tune them out, rebelling against traditional advertising through ad blockers, pre-recorded television shows, and subscription-based services that do away with traditional advertising.
In this environment, effective engagement requires a creative approach, one that embeds the product within the content. While traditional advertising will continue its decline, 2016 is the year we will see the growth of brands that are part of the content, not simply positioned near it.
A new generation of spokespeople
Traditional celebrity endorsements hold less weight, especially when marketing to younger demographics. For Generations Y and Z, social media influencers, such as YouTube, Vine, and Instagram celebrities, have a greater impact than traditional brand ambassadors like actors, professional athletes, and musicians. Social media, by its very nature, is an environment that breeds engagement, celebrates influence, and defines trends. As such those more relatable, everyday people who have the social media reach of the more traditional celebrities will get a brighter spotlight from marketers in the coming year, including Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla of Smosh, and Benny and Rafi Fine of Fine Brothers Entertainment.
The traditional model has measured success in eyeballs, but the success of a marketing campaign is now measured in tweets, follows, "likes," retweets, shares, subscribers, and other social media interactions.
Content that does not provide an opportunity for immediate engagement is proving less effective, while campaigns that encourage interactions have a more viral reach. In the coming year marketers and digital agencies will have to lean on more mobile savvy start-ups and technology solutions to leverage tools that enable this greater level of engagement. Doing so will allow for more impulse shares across platforms, leading to more potential purchases.
From minutes to seconds
Content is getting shorter each year, and that trend will continue into 2016 as attention spans continue to decline.
Creative marketers are already taking advantage of GIFs, Vines, and Instagram videos to create short, punchy, engaging mini pieces of content, such as the short bursts of content that circulated before the release of the Minions movie. As this trend picks up steam in the coming year, marketers will find savvy ways to create short bursts of content that not only shock-and-awe, but encourage users to share with others.
More personalized marketing
Though consumers are getting better at tuning out, blocking, and skipping advertisements, many will go out of their way to browse advertisements that are specific to their interests. For example, while those who don't own a pet are likely to skip a dog food commercial, dog owners like myself may actually begin to enjoy such advertisements that are directly related to their lives.
Amazon already does a great job of providing relevant suggestions and recommendations to its shoppers during online shopping. These kinds of personalized advertisements and recommendations will become increasingly valuable in the next 12 months, as technology enables the marketing industry to provide more targeted content relevant to consumers.