Folks, it’s that time of the year when every agency and blogger is busy publishing a roundup of 2016’s highs and lows. While the endless flow of listicles will nevertheless flood your news feed, we can assure you that not much is going to change. In fact, here’s our take on the strange, new world that we’ve found ourselves in. We are making ten predictions for the upcoming year. These aren’t wild predictions but based on what we’ve witnessed thus far.
There have been too many news articles talking about the scandals that have marred the already tarnished reputation of the digital advertising industry. Remember when eBay published their report on search advertising? The report raised an important question: “why do well-known branded companies spend such large amounts of money on what seems to be a rather ineffective marketing channel?”
It’s been three years since the report came out but we still haven’t answered the question, because there are other reports and case studies. Ad networks continue to flourish. Ad publishers continue to flourish. The same cannot be said about those paying for the ads – the clients.
It is our prediction that despite the scandals, digital advertising will continue to exist, given the fact that two internet giants are now dependent on them: Google and Facebook.
You remember bots, right? Those nice little things that helped you order a pizza without having to call Domino’s, register complaints without having to listen to another IVRS system, and find relevant information on movies without having to search for it. That was a nice time for bots. Now that the honeymoon is over, these little bits of code are rearing its dark and murky side. Bots are now the bad guys. They spam, they peep into your browser history, and they also killed Kenny!
In 2017, bots will become creepier and invisible, i.e. blend in with the crowd. Coders have found a way to humanise bots through engaging conversations, friendlier avatars, and names. I recently chatted with a customer support executive named Todd, who helped me register a complaint and made references to the Presidential Election. Guess what, he was a bot!
How many apps do you use on a daily basis? If it’s anywhere from 10-20, you’re a normal app user. If it’s higher than that, you are an app addict. If it’s lower, you are a basic user (like the most of us). Despite that, we still install a lot of apps, most of which we never use. It’s no secret that everyone wants to get in on the app boom. Whenever a client asked us to build them an app, our first question would be “why?” It’s not that we hate apps; we feel that having an app will not always solve your customer’s problem.
In 2017, we’ll see many more games like Pokémon Go while social media and eCommerce will cross that imaginary line and integrate with each other.
I can’t remember the number of times Coca Cola has redone their branding campaigns. I’m sure that every time a new campaign is launched, BuzzFeed and Ad Age publish listicles featuring the previous campaigns. But, that constant fear of losing out on the young millennial crowd is something everyone’s afraid of. While many bloggers and key agency officials have dispelled the notion that “millennial” is not a thing, and that they are your Average Joes, brands continue to turn a deaf ear to these claims allowing agencies to seize the opportunity and present a mildly nauseous marketing campaign about the values of life. It’s a non-existent problem that has become the prime concern for every brand in the world.
Our prediction is that Coke is going to take to hot and happening social media channels like Snapchat and attempt to get down with the young crowd. Coke will also look to find an agency whose communication is more in tune with the young bunch. So, with that in mind, here’s our early bird submission for Coke’s 2017 campaign:
While Pokémon Go has largely helped commercialise Augmented Reality, there still is concern about the extent of experiential marketing’s reach. Pioneers brought us these groundbreaking technologies. It takes another pioneer to ensure that these evolve into something that’s much bigger than a smartphone game. When Facebook bought Oculus Rift, every blogger in the tech world spoke of a Virtual Reality boom. We’re still waiting for one.
Our prediction is that 2017 will be a sleepy year for both AR and VR.
Simply put, influencer marketing is a type of social affiliate marketing. At one point of time, influencers were mainly a bunch of singers, supermodels and Kim Kardashian. Now, influencer marketing has gone local. Anyone with a social media account and over 10,000 followers is labelled an “influencer”. We’ve been asked many times about the need for influencer marketing in today’s wired world. We agree that if done right, influencer marketing can help brands find their footing and generate better sales. But, there are some troubling issues. There is a difference between clicks and conversions. Most influencer marketing platforms promise clicks but not conversions.
Our prediction is that the number of influencers and influencer marketing portals will continue to grow. But, it won’t be nearly as effective as traditional marketing.
You have tools to think of Facebook post ideas, create posts and publish them. Yet, digital agencies are still stacked with so-called social media experts, who are often busy photographing and hashtagging everything that moves. I remember back in 2008 when I first held the iPhone in my palm. Remember that glorious time? We were chanting “Yes, we can” and “Jai Ho!” and all of our televisions were tuned to this new show about life in the advertising agencies in the ‘60s. Those were better times.
Debaters have often called technology, a double-edged sword. It has made life easier and us, lazier. We delegate tools to take care of our daily tasks so that we can spend more time thinking of a perfect name for a brand new line of flavoured cat food or meeting more clients at industry conferences. These are harsher times.
Our prediction is that much like apps, there will be a boom in internet tools, not that we’re using all of them.
No, we’re not referring to the President of the United States and his detractors. We’re talking about the platforms themselves.
In the beginning, it was Orkut vs. Facebook. Then, it was Facebook vs. Twitter. Then, smaller players like Instagram and Pinterest came into the fore and were either bought or relegated to second-tier channels. Today, Snapchat is taking the war to our fingertips. But, can it truly take on Facebook?
2017 will be the year where social media platforms will battle each other for first place.
Ad blocking was perhaps the best invention since the internet. And now, publishers have decided to fight back. Many news sites have been demanding ad block users to whitelist their domains. This brings up the question: are ads the only way to generate revenue online? The internet became commercialised in the mid-1990s. Ads went online in the late 1990s and they continue to be the main source of online revenue. Somewhere along the line, we have stopped inventing.
As more and more publishers continue to hold content hostage in exchange for a spot in the whitelist, consumers have a rather tough choice to make in 2017.
The fun fact behind most year-end articles is that many contemplate on the impending death of digital marketing. It gives us great joy in reading those articles because we know that digital marketing is not going to die, it simply evolves. So, if you are writing about the end of digital marketing and using done-to-death headlines, you might as well add “stop writing about the end of digital marketing” to your New Year Resolutions.
Happy Holidays from all of us at A Slice of Digital!