The biggest advertising trends of 2015 and what 2016 has in store

MediaCom Beyond Advertising have been reflecting on the past year and speculating what is to come in 2016.

With 2015 still fresh in the memory and 2016’s new year’s resolutions yet to be broken, we felt it was the right time to ask the oracles of MBA to jog their memories about past year and polish their crystal balls for a look into what the future may have in store…

Palle Diederichsen, Head of EMEA MediaCom Beyond Advertising

What do you think has been the biggest development in 2015? From the point of view of MBA, the fact that content marketing seems to have made it onto the standard brief from clients has been hugely encouraging and something we feel is vital for all brands to do.

What has surprised you in 2015? A pleasant surprise has been how dominant MediaCom has been across new business and awards in 2015, with some great MBA campaigns leading the award success. It’s a big testament to our approach and positioning of the business as Content + Connections agency.

What most excites you about 2016? To see a further development of of our capabilities across the EMEA network. Our European operation is looking in great shape to make the most of the opportunities 2016 present – the latest proof being our Polish team’s Grand Prix win for  Sprite – The Truth is That  at the largest Polish advertising awards, Kreatura.

Tom Curtis, Head of MediaCom Beyond Advertising UK

What do you think has been the biggest development in 2015? Wasn’t 2015 officially the year of mobile? Or was that 5 years ago? Maybe 7? Whatever the case, in 2015, it was widely reported that mobile overtook desktop in a number of ways, from the number of mobile-only internet users to mobile versus desktop search.

And so, although an evolution, I see this as a bit of a tipping point in terms of what is to come. More vertical video? Perhaps. A greater focus on responsive design? Maybe. The recognition that things are going to rapidly change? Almost certainly. While much of the ad and marketing industries play catch up we mustn’t let mobile take our eye off the ball of future tech such as how we make properly immersive and effective content marketing for the next big game changers, AR and VR.

What has surprised you in 2015? That the debate about what the hell content is has refused to go away. Every time someone definitively announces ‘Right, let’s stop this now – it’s this’, it just stirs up the ‘Yeah, except that it’s actually that’ argument. Which is sometimes followed by ‘Isn’t content a rubbish word anyway?’.

For many different agencies and publishers the ‘what-the-hell-is-content’ debate has provided a legitimate reason to adapt what they were already doing and use it to encroach (some might say) on other territory. Personally I think a bit of healthy competition is good for clients and good for the industry. The idea and the execution is the most important thing – not what we call them.

So let’s stop the debate now. As far as MediaCom is concerned content is basically anything – including standard advertising. Oh, but ‘anything’ is a bit too loose right? In fact, isn’t content a rubbish word? Err…

What most excites you about 2016? In 2016 we’re going to develop and launch our most exciting project yet. It’s going to be huge, ambitious, all-encompassing and send waves across the industry. And it won’t just be a one-off stunt that sounds great in an award entry, but a long-term commitment between agency, brand and audience. What is it? Well, when it’s done you’ll be sure to hear about it.

Edward Cowell, SEO Director UK and International

What do you think has been the biggest development in 2015? Personalisation. Whilst the trend in personalisation in organic search has been going on for many years, in 2015 it became much more noticeable than before. Contextual and location based search is making the search experience better and more relevant for searchers everywhere.

What has surprised you in 2015? The search teams at MediaCom have grown hugely, and it was an honour and surprise to win ‘Best Large Integrated Search Agency’ at the UK Search Awards this year and in doing so beating a number of well recognised search agencies.

What most excites you about 2016? I’ve been in organic search for sixteen years, so what excites me is doing and discovering new things. There will be a great deal of technical change in organic search in 2016, which will raise entirely new challenges and fun problems for us to solve as a team.

Karen Hodkinson, Content Lead, Associate Director

What do you think has been the biggest development in 2015? There were two for me. One, the subject of ad blocking getting picked up by mainstream media such as Sunday Times and South Park. Consumers today are au-fait with advertising techniques and brands need to work harder at earning the consumers’ trust. Two, influencer marketing being built into marketing plans.

What has surprised you in 2015? I’m surprised that so few companies are learning how to communicate with the millennials. In five years’ time, 50% of the workforce will be made up of millennials. So why aren’t more companies working at understanding this segment today? It covers a wide age group 18-34 and there are sub-sections within the millennial demographic displaying different behaviours. This group of consumers is the most banner-blind and immune to advertising. The earlier brands start understanding how to communicate with the millennials, the better. It’s much better to be an early adopter rather than a laggard.

What most excites you about 2016? We will see more visual content being created and, hopefully, more interactive content. Influencer marketing will continue to grow. Brands will start focusing on quality over quantity. Audience-centricity will increase and brands will produce better content to engage and win over an audience. Lastly, I’m expecting to see more brands, like Marriott, successfully integrating editorial publishing into their brand to create much more interesting brand storytelling.

First published on CMA

The best companies channel their inner David Bowie
If digital is interactive, why aren’t we interacting?