Our Take: 2016 Digital Predictions

2016. Wow. 2016. I started working with websites in 1996, marking 20 years of my life spent immersing myself in the ins and out of the wonders of the world wide web (I love tongue twisters). This is the time of year where I sit, review what happened, and try to predict what’s next for the following year.  

This is never an easy task. Digital is a constant moving target — and that’s what makes it exciting. Based on what my peers have shared and what consumers are looking for, here are my top five Nostradamus insights for 2016:

1.     Programmatic ads aren’t delivering the promises everyone hoped for.

If you don’t know what programmatic means, in a nutshell: Machines are able to load online ads at specific intervals and times based on pre-determined targets and scopes. This idea would seem to make sense, except for the fact that 60% of clicks on such ads are fake and created by bots. In many cases, only 20% of the ads were actually seen by real people. You read that right. 20%.

2.     There’s a real hesitation to share personal information online.

The digital public is getting savvier about how any and all information that is shared online could be used for good — and bad. Personally, I’m hearing of more instances of online trolling and doxing — and I don’t see it stopping any time soon. I love the fact that many online citizens are thinking twice before posting a picture or an idea, but at the same time, having to think so much about communicating one’s thoughts and ideas is challenging.

3.     Customer support and social media teams will merge.

Brands and agencies alike understand that, to consumers, a company is a company. Meaning, someone with a customer service question doesn’t think about the actual brand division that their inquiry goes to. The consumer just cares about someone answering their question. Period. A community manager with the knowledge of third-party tools that enable questions to get filtered to the right divisions is a bonus in the world of digital skill-sets.

4.     Digital media agencies and PR agencies continue to be Jacks of all trades.

When it comes to digital and social media, the people in control of the budgets determine investment in programs and people.

Digital media agencies, known for buying online ads and helping to increase the online message for brands, are getting into the social media space by hiring teams of community managers.

Conversely, PR agencies, known for being the communication arms for brands, are adding on digital media practitioners. These practitioners are buying ads on social sties, along with negotiating paid influencer spots on blog sites.

To be a digital person today is a tall order. In 2016, look for more agencies to build teams of varying skill sets, attempting to level set what it means to have a fully stacked digital team for their clients.

5.     Community and online moderation will grow.

I couldn’t put my 2016 Digital Predictions list together without highlighting something I notice within our own ModSquad world. One of the pillars we take on in the world of digital engagement is online moderation. To me, online moderation is something that any and every organization needs. Online moderation isn’t just about whether or not a user base enjoys the new corporate logo you announced, but it’s also to scan for conversations, good and bad, amongst your consumer base. I am seeing more agency and brand teams increase their moderation activities.

Do any of these resonate with you more than others? Let’s chat! Let me know in the comments below.

Blagica Bottigliero
VP of Digital Media

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