With less than six months until cross-channel marketing predictions for 2016 start arriving, I was curious to look back at the myriad of predictions written by just about everyone at the beginning of this year to see what’s on track and what’s not. Here’s my take on six of my favorite predictions and how they’re progressing.
Programmatic Will Finally Be Understood by the Majority of Marketers. Software automation and the programmatic buying landscape have certainly evolved this year, and survey after survey shows marketers understand its importance. But it’s one thing to understand it and another to actually put it into practice. For example, one of the latest surveys by the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence shows that “76% of brand marketers consider programmatic buying an important development in the mobile ad realm.” However, “just 27% of marketers buy inventory in this manner.” So while programmatic is definitely on everyone’s radar, it remains to be seen whether programmatic mobile and TV buys will increase dramatically for marketers through the end of this year.
The Death of Flash. Despite the slow decline of Flash, it looks like 2015 will be the year HTML5 becomes a top priority for agencies and creatives alike. This is mainly due to Google Chrome’s recent move to pause extraneous Flash content. Ad servers across the board have spoken up, stressing the need for everyone to quickly become fluent in HTML5 display units, or at least to utilize tools that can take a Flash ad and translate it into HTML5. And while Flash isn’t dead yet, it’s definitely on life support.
The Year of Wearables. All the lists forecasting this as The Year of Wearables reminded me of The Year of Mobile predictions from 2009–2014. Yes, wearables have progressed with the introduction of the Apple Watch and dozens of other devices, but it doesn’t seem like this will be the year it will all come together. Like The Year(s) of Mobile, The Year of Wearables is taking a little longer than expected to fully gain traction. That said, the groundwork has been laid for bigger things to come, and folks who have developed a solid marketing strategy around it will benefit from it before too long.
Hyper-Segmentation and Micro-Targeting Will Increase. If the second half of 2015 is anything like the first, expect to see more advances in hyper-segmentation and micro-targeting, both from an accuracy standpoint as well as adoption. As accuracy in targeting increases, we must remember that leveraging data in the right way is key. Understanding where the data is coming from (especially if it isn’t your own) is even more crucial. With the proliferation of segmentation and targeting data over the first half of the year, smart marketers quickly latched on to various ways they can leverage it all. And while it is increasing, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that context still plays a strong role for various objectives.
Video Content Will Increase. This prediction for 2015 was pretty much fulfilled on January 1. Video content is growing as a core medium consumed by all audiences. This increased access to video content requires brands to focus on generating meaningful content that actually resonates with their audience. There’s more noise than ever before, so it’s important to focus on developing compelling video content that can at least stand up, and if done well, can stand out. Additionally, marketers should consider how to use video in a variety of areas including customer support, product education, social conversations and inspiration.
Marketing Analytics Will Blossom. Over the past six months, analytics have become a core component of nearly every piece of the marketing mix. New technologies and platforms grant marketers unprecedented access to data across the consumer journey. Additional insight is always beneficial, but as I mentioned in “Putting Data Into A Larger Context,” this influx of information can be distracting if not considered in context. Our access to data is guaranteed to continue blossoming, so keeping an eye on the bigger picture is more important than ever before.
We’ve come a long way in the last six months. While some predictions for 2015 may be slower to come to fruition, progress is being made on all fronts. If this rate of advancement continues, the back half of 2015 should be really interesting.