With the first workweek of the New Year underway, Website Magazine enlisted the help of 'Net professionals to share what they think 2016 will bring in terms of technology advancements, executive expectations and modern operations.
From advertising and data to sales and tech performance, here are predictions to keep a digital eye on in the coming months:
Consolidation of the Web
David Cooperstein, Interim CMO of PebblePost
The challenge of 2016 is going to be rationalization of marketing tech. VentureBeat just reported that there are over 300 companies with $10B in funding just to support inside sales efforts. With all of the tools and toys that marketers have had to play with (I can count 25 or 30 I learned about this week) the desire to have the "cool tools" consolidate into a few connected offerings is going to be high on the wish list for marketers at companies both big and small. Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle will consolidate a number of the strongest enterprise platforms, and Google and others will help smaller companies make the most of software that supports all aspects of marketing and sales.
Year of Cross-Channel Data
Galia Reichenstein, COO & Head of U.S. Sales of Taptica
If 2015 was the actual “year of mobile,” then 2016 will be deemed the “year of cross channel data.” As the industry became more comfortable and innovative with big data as well as social channels such as Facebook, mobile and video matured and innovated. As a result, in-depth targeting and reporting capabilities emerged that began blurring the lines between the different marketing channels. Mix in evolving tracking solutions and we’re going to have a record breaking year in terms of spend (smart spending). Companies that have unique data are headed into 2016 much smarter and more innovative, allowing marketers to have an easier time managing this growing channel base (including social, video, display, in app and connected TV).
More Programmatic Play
Jeff Green, Founder and CEO of The Trade Desk
Programmatic TV has grown immensely in 2015, and it is dramatically changing the way advertising is bought and sold by bringing more precise targeting capabilities to buyers, and greater value to sellers. In the New Year, OTT viewing will continue to soar, and the linear end of the spectrum will continue to make significant strides, as well. 2016 will also be the year that Hulu embraces programmatic at an unprecedented rate of adoption, and it will move its ads to a more pure programmatic play than we've seen any other major player previously do. Connected TV will also continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, marketers will see more ad dollars put towards Connected TV than in all previous years combined.
100 Percent Viewability Demands
Top five Predictions for 2016: Digital agencies and clients will demand 100 percent ad viewability –requiring publishers and platforms to reconceive their ad economy. In a throwback to the 1950’s, advertisers will sponsor entire episodes and series of content, rather than just buying ad space or running product placement. Natives ads will continue to grow in relevance due to combination of performance and ad blocking. Advertising on mobile will increase but will not catch up with content consumption on mobile. Social media advertising will focus more on the audience of influencers, rather than just the influencer himself/herself.
Mobile Advertisers Expand Off-Platform
Bryan Buskas, SVP of Sales, Performance Advertising at Opera Mediaworks
This year we saw companies like SuperCell, MachineZone and Eat24 run ads in the Superbowl. These are some of the largest and most savvy mobile app developers in the world when it comes to user acquisition – and they chose to invest one of the most traditional ad platforms. It shows that mobile performance advertisers are expanding off-platform to channels like TV and OOH (out-of-home) to accelerate their success, and I expect this trend to continue and grow in 2016.
Further Data Integration
As we enter 2016, it becomes increasingly evident that the few ad tech players who have deterministic cross-device data sets (e.g. Google, Facebook) are becoming increasingly dominant as users spend more time on multiple devices. Due to the “walled gardens” predicaments that often occur when working with these dominant players, brands and agencies will increasingly seek solutions from third parties that achieve the same result on a scalable and accurate basis, without posing the limitations on their other existing and potential partners. Brands and agencies will also look to integrate their own first-party data with that of third parties and second-party data partners to reach audiences across screens.
Faster Innovation, Less Complexity
Ryan Bateman, Marketing Director, Dynatrace
In 2015, we watched development and operations groups continue their cultural transformation, adapting to the increasing customer expectations for business teams, but not yet with them. In 2016 history will repeat itself, but likely with a new audience this time around. Now that mature organizations have the tools to enable these groups to communicate and collaborate in a common language, they will begin practicing forms of digital performance management, an evolution of application performance management (APM). By working together, business, IT ops, and dev teams will innovate faster, cut down on complexity and deliver better customer experiences.
If you’re familiar with Daniel Burrus’ work on predictions, then you will understand the key distinction between hard and soft trends. When your predictions are based upon absolute certainties (or hard trends) your ability to plan is greatly enhanced. After all, these aren’t even really predictions given that they’re based upon established fact.
Measurable, tangible, predictable hard trends that we will observe in 2016, include:
1) Businesses must deliver excellent customer experiences to survive
2) Businesses need both qualitative and quantitative customer experience metrics to make accurate decisions
3) Businesses need to collaborate internally to succeed
How businesses execute on these are the soft trends that align with my earlier predictions. Digital marketing groups have seen a peak in the available functionality of customer experience and digital experience platforms, while development and operations have observed a similar saturation of the APM options. In 2016, I look forward to seeing the correlations and eventual integrations that will happen across analytics when they are shared by these two sides of the house.
Once businesses achieve the alignment of both the qualitative business analytics that come with Customer Experience solutions and the quantitative IT analytics that come with application performance management solutions, they will reach their goals more efficiently and customers will get what they want, when they want it, better than ever before.
Real Sales Opportunity Comes in January
January is how you win over customers for the rest of the year. The holiday returns season is a fantastic opportunity for retailers to personalize the consumer shopping experience. With insights gleaned from the holiday season, retailers have a deeper understanding of their consumers come Jan. 1— whether it be what they purchased, what they’re returning, or what they might be interested in shopping for next. The post-holiday sales period presents another consumer touchpoint for retailers - to offer in-store discounts, personalized promotions and the ability to target the right items at the right people. Not to mention the opportunity to win over new customers with holiday gift cards.