It seems as though it was only yesterday that we were making our media predictions for 2015. We said that social and mobile would explode, we told you Instagram would maintain high growth rate, we knew that brands would shift their marketing efforts into listening to their social communities, and envisioned that data would become a key factor for, well, just about everything. Now that 2016 is upon us, we’re anticipating big things for the coming year. Below, we provide insight into the media trends for 2016.
The New Social Media
What began as a fun way to connect with friends has morphed into a branding tool, shopping platform, communication hub, and development incubator for marketers. In 2016, we predict that we’ll see a leveling off of new social media platforms with Snapchat and Instagram innovating in content. In addition to social networking, Pinterest and Facebook will continue to enhance their search capabilities as consumers increasingly conduct “micro-moment” searches on those platforms (look out Google!). Facebook’s enhanced search will allow users to effectively search all posts for topics that interest them—including personal posts.
The messaging app market grew 148% and added 900 million users from 2013 to 2014! While the stats aren’t in for 2015, we are definitely sensing a trend. We believe messaging apps like Kik and Whisper will also continue to attract users, especially among young Millennials and GenZ, effectively becoming the new “social” media. Due to their ephemeral nature, expect to see new ad formats on messaging apps.
More Creative Mobile Video Ads
Video will continue to gain momentum. As attention spans continue to shrink (8.25 seconds!), marketers have to engage consumers immediately. And, considering that consumers are spending more and more time on mobile and engaging with content throughout their day in “micro-moments” (“I want to know,” “I want to go,” “I want to do,”), marketers have the difficult task of conveying a relevant message in less time. We can expect to see more bite-sized, timely, uplifting, and humorous video messages that are quick to consume and easy to digest and share.
The New (Virtual) Reality
This year we celebrated Back to the Future Day, but in 2016 virtual time travel may actually be possible. With the highly anticipated release of Facebook-owned Oculus Rift headsets, Google’s “Cardboard” virtual reality viewers, and YouTube’s #360 video channel, the idea of creating branded virtual reality experiences is highly intriguing to marketers. A few brands like Coca-Cola and North Face have already begun dabbling in this new and exciting technology, but have barely scratched the surface of its potential. Expect to see more brands testing the virtual waters this year and keep an eye on innovation in this space.
The Changing Face of Magazine Brands
Far from being exclusively siloed in print, magazines have been building their digital brands over the past few years. In 2016, we’ll see magazine publishers branching into ecommerce, more co-branded content, video production, experiential marketing, and continuing to gain share on social. Marketers can tap into the deep trust and long-standing relationships consumers have with these brands through activations in print, digital, social, and live events.
If 2015 was the year of the Millennial, 2016 will be all about GenerationZ. The first fully digital generation, these tweens and teens have been described as “Millennials on steroids,” by researchers at J. Walter Thompson. GenZ is mobile first— they consume content faster, are more visual, and expect more from brands (greater transparency, authenticity, and communication). Brands should begin to consider how this generation will view their products and develop strategies to attract these young consumers.
The past year has brought a lot of change. In 2016, we’re seeing that a lot of the driving forces aren’t truly “new,” they’re just becoming more sophisticated. Focusing on the consumer and delivering valuable messages at the moment of intent will continue to be solid strategies for growth in 2016 and beyond.
Does your brand need a new outlook? Contact Women’s Marketing to learn how we can help you develop an innovative media plan backed by strong data and consumer-driven insights.