Seven marketing tech predictions for 2016

Solving viewability and ad-blocking and embracing 'dark social' are among the big issues for Radium One's Rupert Staines.

Here are his seven predictions for the coming year in tech:

1. O+E+P=ROI+

Brands in 2015 rightly invested heavily into owned (O) and earned (E) channels; websites, apps, social, branded content, eDMs…but to date I haven’t observed this investment being linked directly to paid (P) media effectiveness. This is partly due to a lack of clarity around where the responsibility sits within a brand and across its various suppliers.

But whichever way you look at it, marketers are not yet fully utilising the data gathering and activation technology available to connect the dots.

In 2016, this tide will turn and we’ll see brands truly connecting their O + E investment with P for improved business outcomes.

2. Social data flips the creative process

For too long our industry has had an over-reliance on great creative as the means to tap into consumer emotion. In 2016, brands will tackle this challenge from the opposite direction – by tapping into the emotional state of consumers as the catalyst for marketing activity, rather than seeing it as the goal.

Exceptional and relevant creative will always be important for brands, but the roles of social data and technology are now placing consumer behaviour at the forefront of marketing strategy.

3. "Dark social" wins in Rio

Currently, 75 per cent of all sporting content shared online is via dark social channels (email or instant messenger) compared to the 25 per cent of sport-related content that’s shared on public social networks.

In this Olympic year, we’ll see this dark social figure increase further. The brands that successfully capitalise on the social buzz around Rio will do so by shifting their social investment towards the more intimate and valuable world of "dark social".

4. Seeing the bright side of ad blocking

A recent Millward Brown study revealed consumers were more negative to video ads on their smartphone than on tablets, computers, on-demand or live TV.

Before the creative is even served up, it's perceived negatively. This and other consumer behaviour and attitude insights will make us wiser in 2016.

We’ll start to see ad blocking as a positive challenge as it will force brands, publishers and tech companies to develop the sort of content and delivery methods that users don’t want to block. They’ll also reduce their reliance on unsophisticated and brand-damaging retargeting practices, which is a good thing for all.

5. Viewability views evolve

As the term ‘viewability’ becomes better understood in 2016, what will emerge is the view that it’s not an end in itself. It is simply another measure to balance in the effort to drive results for brands.

If a placement has 50 per cent viewability, it can still outperform an 80 per cent viewable placement if it has 2 times the performance or 40 per cent the cost. These types of results are common so we’ll see more sophisticated modelling incorporated into the planning process.

Measuring viewability will be very important, but acting on it smartly will become conditional.

6. Cross-device attribution really matures

Eighty per cent of consumer time is spent in-app versus 20 per cent in a mobile browser. Seventy per cent of mobile digital ad spend is invested in-app versus 30 per cent in mobile browser advertisements.

Yet, when it comes to tracking conversions, the landscape of cookies offers advantages over device IDs. There are many reasons for it, but this weakness is what keeps in-app ad spending suppressed.

2016 will see the maturation of attribution technologies designed to account for real world conversions by channel.

7. Casualties in competitive adtech markets

As adtech becomes more developed and buyers get more comfortable with it, vendors will have to be very good even to survive and great if they’re to thrive. 2016 will see some casualties as the weaker players are forced out and there’s the inevitability of consolidation looming on the horizon.

Rupert Staines is European managing director of RadiumOne.

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