Warren Dell,  Planner  I've never seen the point of the ‘predictions for this year’ pieces about the industry we work in, when ...

Things I want to see happen in 2016

Warren Dell, 

I've never seen the point of the ‘predictions for this year’ pieces about the industry we work in, when the only constant to pin your hat to is change it’s always hard to accurately pinpoint exactly what should be a concern and focus in the year ahead.

After all We weren’t thinking about whether Snapchat should be on our comms plans at the start of last year or whether Tinder is a viable platform to reach our consumer. Change is constant.

So being receptive and agile to change is certainly important but that would make for a dull piece of writing, so now the dust has settled on all the year ahead predication I thought I’d write about the things I want to see happen this year to lay down a marker to compare in a year’s time.

A Mobile first attitude is adopted
Mobile is basically now the internet. We check it via our smartphones the moment we wake up to the moment we sleep, with up to 150 times in between. We’ve already passed the point more searches are made on mobile than desktop. Mobile commerce is growing, social media usage is naturally a mobile medium and messaging apps are increasingly the main function to communicate with peers from your smartphone. The year of the mobile was years ago. But has our attitude to creating in this environment matched this? Does being at a desktop all day inhibit our creation of work to match how the consumers we aim for actually engage with it?  

Whether we’re creating video, campaign pages, or distributing and amplifying it via social and other channels we need to be thinking mobile first to inform any activity we do.

Food for thought, what does this mean for the future of desktop? Websites focused on desktop were updated to be responsive and account for mobiles increased growth, with the tides now turned mobile can no longer be seen as just a tick boxing exercise.

Prioritising quality over quantity, relevancy over volume
Content is king. Content, content and more content. Content has become a catch all term for any form of communication from brand to consumer and you can forgive yourself for drowning in the number of articles out there that stress how important content is. Just a quick glance at Google Trends will show how prominent it’s become over recent years.

We’ve now reached a saturation point where there is too much content out there, not all of it being of any real quality as more resource is spent churning it out to see what sticks. It’s time to ask hard questions about whether the volume can be justified. Fewer social media posts, fewer blogs and fewer videos will result in more time spent crafting pieces of real quality and relevance to the audience.

Live streaming becomes a more prominent channel
Bar a few examples from brands, live streaming has been better suited to news, the just plain weird and a stream of a puddle. But the signs are there that this year it will become much more prominent now Twitter have made it easier to view Periscope streams within tweets and Facebook are opening up live streaming to all users. A streaming option seems the next logical feature for Snapchat given how their Live Stories are curated.

Ad blocking forces better content
For years publishers and advertisers have tried to grab a consumer’s attention through ads of varying degrees of annoyance. Expanding, pop-ups and the like have added to this and increased the popularity of ad blocking, which poses a real threat to advertisers and publishers. Advertisers will reduce spend if their ads won’t be seen and the reduced revenue for publishers can have serious implications for their editorial output.

Native advertising is the natural happy medium to pay publishers to get your brand in front of the right people but even this format has its drawbacks if the quality isn’t right. It’s why the term ‘advertorials’ is still levied at native.

Ad blocking can be a good or bad thing depending on what side of the fence you are on, both arguments have merit. What’s clear is that it will make advertisers and publishers rethink a tired way to communicate to consumers, push forward more engaging formats and ultimately better content.

Brands focus more on original content, less on newsjacking
“What’s our Oreo moment?” Hands up, we’ve all heard it. The Superbowl tweet that spawned many a newsjack attempt continues to cause brands to jump on any trending story or event, create newsrooms and generally spend more time anticipating than creating. Some genuinely hit the mark, like the iPhone bendgate from Kit Kat but too often feeds are clogged up with attempts that are way off.  If relevant by all means add your touch to the conversation, but if it doesn’t feel quite right you’re better off leaving it. The time spent trying to get it right can be better spent concentrating on original content that will have more purpose for you and relevance to your consumer.

Brands don’t try to be something they’re not
Please no more brands saying ‘bae’, or that they are on fleek or using whatever the new slang is.

Snapchat’s ad proposition becomes more sophisticated
Snapchat has the attention of a lot of brands coveted audience, but need to offer more transparency in the effectiveness of their ads if they want brands to stump up the large costs to advertise.

Evan Spiegel and his team are right not to make the barrier to entry so easy as to dilute the platform, as ads can be seen to do on other social platforms but a happy medium will have to be reached with an IPO expected this year.

Many brands are taking a watching brief at the moment but if Snapchat can offer more targeting options and better measurement, everyone stands to win.

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