If the internet was an amazing evolution of how people would communicate and exchange information, Digital media strategies are the cherish on top of the cake. Digital brought stupendous opportunities to reach people all over the world with your brand message. Not all companies are doing it right though. It is a matter of skills, courage to adapt and more than others, to have an innovative vision of what is coming ahead. So to open a window on what 2016 is going to be made of, here are a few hints that you should already be taking care of.
Ad-Blockers, not a dream anymore. It is already a strong reality.
It’s been already 2 years that everybody is talking about ad-blockers. These small yet efficient pieces of technology allow you to control if you want, or not, to display ad banners while you are browsing the web. So far it was a pretty technical topic, discussed by some IT companies. But this year, when Apple and Mozilla announced they would integrate the ad-blocking technology into their web browsers…. Well, this was a game changer. It became so easy to install an ad-blocker that a lot of people is already using it. According to a study ran by Starcom Media Vest group, 54% of the 18-29 years old and 41% of Millennials are already using an ad-blocker software in their regular activities.
At the same time other studies show that 61% of consumers would be happy to interact with an Ad if this Ad would tell a story that fit their own interest. What does it means? Simply that the “quick-and-dirty” Ad banner is over. Brands need to engage in a more deep and thoughtful way in order to raise the interest of potential and current customers. Media owners have also an important responsability. Some very well known Media can host up to 6 to 10 Ads in one single page of content. Is it an intelligent thing to do? No. Does this annoys the reader? Yes.
What happens if Media owners start having problems with Ad blockers? This means less advertising which means less money to support the editorial and content creation. Some Media like the Washington Post, will not give you access to their website content if you are using Ad-blockers. They think Ads are useful and that you should accept them if you appreciate the editorial line of the newspaper. Definitely a hard position to maintain in a world where the access to the news get easier and easier, cheaper and cheaper. The solution? Brands should pay more attention to the kind of messages they display and publishers should think about their user experience. By the way, some websites look much better with an Ad-blocker and no banners visible.
Virtual reality, not that virtual anymore
2015 saw an amazing breakthrough in terms of Virtual reality (VR) democratization. From the video game industry to Brands and inclusively the Media owners, everybody tried and used virtual reality. The days of the red and blue 3D paper glasses are over and forgotten. Now it is the era of Oculus Rift and other Google glasses. The New York times developed an interesting experience with their subscribers. By sending to them a Google cardboard to be used with your phone on it, this would allow the users to have a true virtual reality experience.
Companies like Sony, HTC, Disney, Time-Warner or Facebook are already investing millions of dollars into VR companies and technologies. According to certain experts, the content market for VR in 2025 will represent a toral business of $ 5.4 billion. It is probably the biggest evolution in the digital world since the arrival of Social Media. Luxury companies are also testing VR a lot. Jaegger-Lecoultre, the Swiss luxury watchmaker, il already introducing VR into their point of sales. From the Automobile industry to luxury and high-tech, 2016 will definitely represent a shift in the use of VR.
Social Media is overtaking Search, the power of mobile.
2015 was a shifting year. Two main evolutions that are definitely reshaping the way people interact with brands. The first shift is about Mobile and the second is Social media. The world went from mobility (physically) to mobile (the device). Today there are more internet connnected activity via mobile devices than desktops/laptops. This means that the user experience is pretty different from what they have been used to. And probably some people will know your brand only via mobile. So when it comes to web developing, we do not say anymore “mobile friendly” or “mobile first”. We just develop now a mobile website that can potentially be browsed from a computer. Most of companies now have between 54 to 75% of mobile traffic and this represents a true challenge. Touch screens and smaller screens represent a complete different experience than our larges desktop screens and mouses. Because mobile became crucial in how people interact with content, the rise of Social media was innavoidable.
Social Media became a true revolution in the online landscape. Today there are 2 billion people connected to the internet around the world. 1.5 billion of these people have (at least) a social media profile. When we know that the next billion will connect within the next 5 years, we know that Social media will take over the rest. Social media will be the main source of content and probably the way people will engage in the online world. It is already a reality. There are more people using social networks to discover content than people using a search engine. Social media overtook Search. Naturally, several social networks developed their platforms on mobile, and even on mobile only. This was the case of Instagram or snapchat. Using the exponential increase of mobile, these social networks became part of people’s daily reference in terms of content discovery and consumption. Now that Facebook started their Instant Articles program, publishers will directly publish their content in the platform, so no need to maintain a website anymore. Just publish it where the people are. In this case you just provide content, not your brand experience. Social media is today the battlefield of user engagement, especially among younger generations. The luxury industry embraced social media quite soon, as they immediately understood that it would be a channel for potential luxury news.
We could also add other interesting trends such as digital payment at point of sales, the death of Flash and even the overtaking of tablets over computers. The digital universe is changing, evolving and things that were theories are now reality. Sometimes you wonder how could you survive half-day without your mobile phone. This is because you can manage your entire life from the palm of your hand.