The rise of programmatic and intelligent use of big data will extend far into 2016 as marketers have to focus on creating quality advertising campaigns.

When customer acquisition strategies are underpinned by CRM data, big data insights and attribution analysis, brands gain a much better understanding of their customers, their behaviours and likes and dislikes.

Crucially, these methods will brands to engage with customers on an individual level in a creative way, in the right environment through the right device.

Such a personalised approach will empower marketers to drive advertising quality up – the success of multi-channel campaigns will depend on it. The following five trends will feel the impact of the opportunity the most:

1. Quality advertising
The rise of ad blocking and concerns over viewability is a very real challenge facing the industry as a whole. In 2016, publishers, advertisers and end-users should re-evaluate their relationship and take action to focus on the value exchange that takes place between the three different parties. Dutch footballing magazine, Voetbal International, cut its available inventory by one third in 2015 and is now seeing revenue growth from media buys.

We expect UK media to follow suit. Prioritising the quality of the inventory, rather than just the impressions on a plan, will lead to better-targeted and more impactful ads for a more valuable online experience for all parties involved.

2. Programmatic TV
With programmatic now accounting for more than half of the UK display advertising market, the next phase will be TV synchronisation. Programmatic TV offers advertisers the ability to monitor TV ads airing in real-time, which can subsequently be tied in with paid search and Twitter activity delivering tailored ads to mobile devices that echo the broadcast messages.
Advertisers are much better equipped to interrogate and use data to identify smart ways to target customers with the right message while giving creative treatment for the right product at the right time on the right device. No longer the domain of big brands, programmatic TV offers great display advertising opportunities for brands of all sizes.

3. Cross-device tracking
Mobile is the main driver behind cross-device marketing across all sectors. According to Google, 90% of consumers start an activity on one device but finish on another. Cross-device tracking proves that media budgets are actually working harder than previously thought, which lowers the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

We expect advertisers to capitalise on 'micro moments' this year – those short moments when users watch an ad or browse a website on their mobile while travelling to work, for example, prior to completing an action on a different device.

The next step will be making the most of new technology allowing payments or donations within social media environments, but advertisers need to take a soft approach that places the customer first or they risk alienating consumers altogether. The key is to use creative that fits the message, the customer and the environment (or device).

4. Big screens, little screens
Size matters in 2016! Audience screens will get both bigger and smaller simultaneously – think 24" HD monitors for office use vs. the Apple Watch on a user's wrist. This trend has the potential to cause brands a huge headache when it comes to web development strategies and contextual advertising.

The mobile-first approach sounds great on paper, but brands mustn't forget about all the other devices in the ecosystem. This could mean a move away from responsive websites to dynamic content serving.

The Apple Watch makes it easy for advertisers to quite literally get in the user’s face, but there are drawbacks. This year, brands need to learn how to strike the right balance between invasive vs. contextual advertising. No one likes to be bombarded with irrelevant messages, so advertising in the right context is the next logical step, but with care.

5. Voice Search
This is not directly linked to CRM data, but Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Now have changed the way people search. We see more instances of users starting their desktop query with "OK Google..." With people increasingly using the voice command functions of phones and smartwatches, voice-led results and ads are around the corner.

Brands will expand their search activity to capture this voice search traffic by adding conversation type searches. Examples include: 'Where can I...?'; "What is the best...?'; 'How to...?'. Optimising Search – especially mobile – with these voice questions is an excellent way to get clicks at a lower cost and drive even more conversions with leftover budgets.

New platforms and initiatives are launched every day, so digital marketers need to capitalise on everything big data has to offer and drive high quality digital marketing campaigns in 2016.


By Andrew Burgess, founder and CEO of the equimedia Group


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