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A glimpse into the future - what the digital marketing industry might look like in 2016

A glimpse into the future - what the digital marketing industry might look like in 2016

If you’ve ever wondered what the shape of the marketing industry will look like five years from now, then a new book, released this week by global media and communications agency PHD could hold the answers.

Gazing into a crystal ball, 2016 explores the likely developments within areas such as connected TVs, markerless augmented reality, enhanced voice-recognition, Natural User Interface and Near Field communication and how, coupled with the acceleration of social media usage, they are changing the actual physics of marketing.

With one in every two people in the developed world connected to a social network, there are now 1.2 billion independent media owners all linking to each other. They are influential, given that peer recommendations are more trusted than any form of advertising, and since social networks don’t stop at their own boundaries but instead affect the entire web, they leave a print on ‘social graphs’. This is leading to a complete change in how society functions and all of this activity is increasingly mobile.

2016 looks at how technology will affect the areas of infrastructure, interface and internet as well as the implication on society in 2016. Some of its predictions include:

  • By 2016, the advertising industry will largely be considered as much a technology industry as it is considered a creative industry. The communications agency of 2016 will be increasingly considered to be a digital-based agency first and foremost and in many of the developed markets, communications agencies will also consider themselves as data agencies.
  • Agencies will take client data and combine it with their pools of existing data and social data to create high propensity segments – therefore increasing the bespoke nature of audiences and increasing the potential scale. This will present an increasing challenge for advertisers and for auditors in terms of assessment.
  • Some communications agencies may divide themselves into two halves with one side focusing on Upscale services and account management and with the Automation half being centrally ‘pooled’ within the holding companies. The Upscale half will be ultimately on a road to compete with the existing creative agencies. The Automation half will be on a road to compete with the algorithm-based software/investment houses.
  • What we will see is an increase in the value that communications agencies add. Advertisers will spend more time selecting their communications agencies than they do today and than they do with any other agency as the complexity in assessing one against the other will increase. But get the decision correct and the effect on the advertisers’ business will be as, if not more, significant than it has hitherto been with the selection of the creative agency.


Socialisation of the web

Here we publish an extract taken from the book, which gives a glimpse into how the internet is starting to change due to the socialisation of the web.

Over the next year the internet itself will start to change. Or, to put it more accurately, the way that we categorise and work with the data of the internet will change. This will start with a movement to HTML5, which will give websites the functionality of native apps. But it will go well beyond this, even within the next five years.

The first part of this is the socialisation of the internet.Facebook’s OpenGraph has already started the significant process of connecting the entire web to Facebook – and understanding users and their friends. Facebook doesn’t stop at its own borders – it is infecting the entire web. Over 2,000,000 websites have now installed ‘Like’ functionality.

As Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) explained, you can ‘Like’ a band on Pandora and that information can become part of your graph so that later if you visit a concert site, the site can tell you when the band you like is coming to your area. The power of the OpenGraph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalised web that gets better with every action taken. Zuckerberg thinks that the future of the web will be filled with personalised experiences.

For example, now if you’re logged into Facebook and go to Pandora for the first time, it can immediately start playing songs from bands you’ve ‘Liked’ across the web. And as you’re playing music, it can show you friends who also like the same songs as you, and then you can click to see other music they like.

In 2010, TripAdvisor launched the travel industry’s first major implementation of the Facebook OpenGraph. TripAdvisor’s ‘Trip Friends’ feature allows travellers to tap into their social network to find friends who can offer advice about a destination. TripAdvisor can show travellers which of their friends have reviewed, visited or lived in a destination. Someone who searches for Madrid hotel reviews will find a neighbour who lived there and can message that person for advice. When friends exchange dialogue and reviews, the travel experience becomes more relevant, trusted and targeted.

This is an early glimpse of a web that will be reframed for you – by 2016 the web-browsing experience will be a social experience for most of the developed world. And for the connected generation within the developing world, they won’t be far behind. India already has 24m connected to Facebook and over 20m connected to Orkut. And it is growing at 100% per year.

Although, arguably, Facebook has a headstart on all global social sites, Google and Twitter have similar initiatives – Google launched its ‘+1’ button and Twitter launched its ‘Follow’ button. These buttons can be uploaded by any website and enable browsers to click on them as a form of recommendation.

For Google, this results in ‘+1’ icons appearing within Google’s organic search listings, informing browsers that this is a site that comes highly recommended. Bing launched a similar system in May 2011 but decided to accept it is hard to compete with Facebook and instead has the Facebook Likes data embedded into its search results.

The book, which has been authored primarily by PHD Worldwide’s strategy and planning director Mark Holden, alongside a number of PHD executive co-authors, is available to buy on Amazon at a cost of £15.99. All proceeds go to Unicef. 


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