By Jim Porçarelli, Chief Strategy Officer, Active International
As media companies and brands boost their efforts to adjust to digitally savvy consumers in 2016, our industry will undergo significant transformation. As a result, new advertising services and partnerships will emerge and we will see a shift to creativity as advertisers focus on delivering more innovative content to consumers.
While it’s been well documented that the media and advertisers have for years lagged behind consumers when it comes to digital sophistication, 2016 will be the year that media companies and brands begin to close the gap. Here are three trends that will shape the new media landscape in 2016:
The bundling of media buying and measurement services will cause a wave of analytics company M&A
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. As media buyers rush to establish greater analytics capabilities, many will seek out proven solutions for acquisition rather than build the capability themselves.
Quality digital advertising measurement is the next major goal for the media industry. Essentially, the more accurate media buyers can be in measuring the outcomes of their purchases, the more highly valued their services will be. Consequently, improving analytics capabilities will be a major focus for media buyers in 2016.
“Odd couple” brand partnerships will increase as the industry adjusts to new consumer behaviors
Non-traditional partnerships between brands, celebrities and media companies will rapidly grow in 2016. Brands are beginning to understand that a big part of capturing a digital audience’s attention is delivering meaningful experiences in a non-commercial sense. Thus, brands will prioritize creating these experiences over delivering taglines to engage consumers and secure brand loyalty.
An example of this kind of partnership can be seen with outerwear company Moncler’s sponsorship of Italian explorer Michele Pontrandolfo‘s trek to the South Pole, which is being done as part of its program to promote its winter collection this year. Another good example of this type of partnership is GoPro Workouts, which allows users to follow professional athletes’ daily workout routines. In the year ahead we will see several more of these creative partnerships that will deliver something new and engaging to the market.
Ad agencies will refocus on creativity as programmatic technology and fee scrutiny squeeze buying margins
The rise of programmatic technology and scrutiny over agency media buying fees will shift agency focus back to campaign creativity and strategy. Though media buying has become more commoditized and channels have grown exponentially, the challenge of engaging and retaining audience is at an all-time high. Agencies and marketers will look to return to creative strategy, partnerships and integrated cross-channel tactics to break through the noise and impact consumers.
For a number of years marketers have based agency value by their ability to buy media efficiently. An agency’s media buying strength often determined whether or not they won client business. With the rise of digital media, however, that is changing. Marketers are now fighting harder than ever before for relevance, and consensus is emerging that agency capabilities that add most value to the brand long-term are creative thinking and sharp strategy. In the year ahead, we will see marketers shifting their priorities and seeking to work with the most innovative thinkers in the agency world.