Welcome to the first of our two-part series counting down 21 trends likely to rock the world of social media, content and digital marketing in 2016.

We’ll take a look at how technology will change user behaviour and how audiences will influence technology. In a fragmented world of media, digital marketing is becoming a crowded space, and vast change is expected to challenge the foundations of many business segments. But it can be tamed. Here’s how?

21. What if TV Really was Ad-Free?

Smart TVs are learning from other screens and 2016 is expected to be the year of app-driven TV. We’re hungry for valuable content and integrated viewing experiences could see a rerun in the new year. Apple (among others) is pushing to eliminate ads on TV, strengthening the relationship between content creators and the lounge room (smart move). According to TechCrunch, the New Year will redefine how we enjoy our tele.

20. To Automate or Not to Automate?

If you own a lot of data (banks, telcos or retailers), or if you’re a publisher with heaps of online ad inventory; you should be investing in your trading desk as we type. Programmatic ad-buying is made to sound like a silver bullet, but we’d recommend doing your own research as it’s value truly varies case by case. Start small and build up with strategy to minimise money burnt and precious time wasted whilst the programmatic beast runs wild over the next 12 months.

Here are ten things you need to know about programmatic – good and bad.

19. Super Speed Broadband

Yup. We think this year’s when speed hits the next lever and buffering will be gone. The rate at which we connect, share, see and do will become faster and faster. It also means that what we share, see or do can be more than 35kb GIFs. Here are some Cinemagraphs to keep you entertained.

18. Sliding the Corporate Ladder

LinkedIn’s acquisition of SlideShare is catapulting thought leadership in B2B. Give your tired old PowerPoints a new lease on life and join the many other experts from all industries spreading their knowledge, know-how and tips. Publishers can take advantage of rich social features as SlideShare also functions as the distribution hub for B2B video content, Users can also save or comment on individual slides within the presentation, promoting deep engagement with a bucketload of data to boot.

Still got questions? Follow Gary Vaynerchuk on SlideShare for your daily dose of inspiration. He’s a keynote author, marketing guru and social media specialist.

17. Short & Sweet, Small & Neat

Content creators and publishers have a new user experience challenge to consider; really small screens. Your window to connect (in physical size and time) is small. The opportunity here is massive and comes down to two words: utility and relevance.

UsabilityGeek says it’s all in the wrist.


If you’re looking for new ways to earn clicks and shares, it might not be safe for work. Regardless of the (NSFW) warning, you’re likely to read it anyway. Brands are embracing human psychology and will use these insights to push content to new levels, all in the name of views and engagement. In summary: tricky, misleading headlines are out, but provocative content is in. How will you up the ante?

You won’t believe what happened next, NSFW. (Join the debate)

15. Searching for Customer Intelligence?

We’re running multiple streams of work across multiple channels, and we’re outsourcing effort to multiple agencies. If you want to stay ahead of the curve you’ll need to start consolidating your efforts. Social CRM is all about social listening. Courting your customers is going to be harder – embrace what marketing cloud could do for your business. Your relationship with your audience holds the smarts you need to engage and disrupt with measurable outcome. Or sales.

14. Consolidate? Yes Please

The marketing world is growing dramatically and the best practice will focus on consolidating, applying, failing, iterating and evolving. The marketing cloud is leading the consolidation race but it can trip you up for one of two main reasons – you didn’t have a plan or you didn’t see it through. There are quick wins and there are long tails: marketing cloud and social CRMs can facilitate both.

Most importantly, 2016 will see marketing and IT consolidate. Digital isn’t a department anymore and business success sits in customer intelligence (see point 15)

13. Accountable Media

Invest in your return. We’ve said it like this intentionally. Return on investment is past tense and so is the marketing behaviour. Marketing across social and the web will be heavily reassessed as reporting dashboards get deeper, smarter and more meaningful.

Marketers can no longer live on the periphery of their campaigns glancing at reports once a fortnight; in order to achieve results they need to set out with clear goals and be on the pulse of the media performance and campaign results daily. No longer is ?I can’t measure the value of a sale from Facebook? a valid statement.

Because yes you can.

12. [This Ad has Been Blocked]

Move over advertising. You’re no longer welcome here.

Getting your advertising seen is becoming exponentially trickier as the industry shifts towards programmatic trading (data-centred, insight-led and dynamic, optimised creative advertising blah blah blah) – so the conundrum of more, smarter ads meets the reality of no one wants to see them. The adblocking space will evolve in 2016, but your opportunity is to evolve your user experience and storytelling planning faster.

11. More Ad-Free TV?

The art of the moving image is like a new language, and we are hooked. YouTube’s move into broadcast territory with YouTube Red (adfree subscriber model) will hit our shores hot off the heels of Netflix and Stan. Broadcasters are proving that there is real value in creating bespoke content. And reading our tea-leaves, we reckon brands might define content though tribes (following Nikes lead) and start investing in stories that are valuable to the audience but also relevant to the brand.

Just do it!

That’s a crazy amount of stuff waiting for us in 2016, but the best is yet to come. For part two of our series and to explore our Top Ten Trends likely to rock social in 2016, stay tuned.