In 1964, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov looked ahead 50 years and accurately predicted videoconferencing, ubiquitous connectivity and limited-function robots. Yet many forecasters in late 2015 failed to foresee the relentlessly series of stunning events of 2016.
We can’t all be Asimovs, but it’s generally easier to anticipate changes in technology than global politics. Looking ahead to 2017, we can be certain some trends that gathered force in 2016 will continue to do so next year. Overall, I don’t believe this will be a transitional year. It will be more of a hunkering-down year in which experimentation will happen on the edges, but marketers will primarily be honing their abilities to store and analyze data and maximizing the investments they’ve already made in technology.
In particular, there are five industry trends that are more or less a sure thing for 2017. Take it with a helping of salt though. After all, Asimov also predicted underwater housing and levitating cars, too.
- Marketers shift from media to insights ROI. Programmatic advertising was developed as a way to streamline buying, not as a new form of research. However, it has happily emerged as just that. For marketers, this has flipped the script and many are still absorbing the impact of this cultural change. Programmatic is a subset within digital, digital is a subset of advertising, and advertising is a category within general business. And yet the insights you glean from programmatic can change your overall business strategy. For instance, by having all of its data centralized and searchable, a global automaker discovered that its most promising customers for hybrids were relocating executives. That led the company to explore adding luxury features to new models. These types of insights will persuade more marketers to look at programmatic differently in 2017.
- Brands will take control of their data. A survey of CMOs in late 2015 revealed that only 24% of brands at the time managed their own data management platform, but 60% planned to move data management in-house within the next two years. That may even be under-selling the movement. What we saw in 2016 was that many brands were waking up to the fact that they needed to control their data. However, just getting the data isn’t enough; they need to make it actionable and useful. Most marketers have invested in a DMP; relied on marketing automation to a certain extent; are either pooling their CRM data or considering it. Combining all of these elements is an onerous task and will consume much of marketers’ bandwidth this year.
- The customer journey will supplant mass-market campaigns. Fully understanding the customer journey reveals opportunities for marketers to intervene with relevant messages. This is a more effective approach than blasting a large swath of consumers with the same ad message. The customer journey is nothing new. What is new is that we now have visibility into every stage of that journey and new touch points via mobile media and emerging IoT devices. Marketing is more of a conversation now: Consumers express their interest in products via search. Marketers can stoke that interest with reminder ads and then, if there’s interaction, change up the messaging to prompt a sale via a call-to-action. That’s a better use of marketing spending than an ad aimed at a general audience that most will ignore.
- VR will get bigger, but still won’t be a mass medium. With the weight of Facebook behind Oculus, 2016 looked to be a breakthrough year for virtual reality. Distribution snags and a lack of a must-experience media property however ensured that VR would remain a niche product. Looking to 2017, it’s hard to see how that will change. Prices for the headsets are too high for the masses and it’s still primarily a device for gaming (and adult content.) Marketers realize this isn’t a mass market product yet so will set their sights elsewhere.
- AI will continue its steady evolution. Like VR, AI got a lot of hype in 2016. But products like Amazon’s Echo aren’t really new; Siri was offering a version of the same thing in 2011. The real utility of AI is that it has the potential to make marketers’ lives easier by making some of the more quotidian decisions on their behalf and finding previously unexploited connections in the data, letting marketers focus more on creative decisions. For better or worse, we’re still a long way off from full automation.
Founded in 2005, Amobee is an advertising platform that understands how people consume content. Our goal is to optimize outcomes for advertisers and media companies, while providing a better consumer experience. Through our platform, we help customers further their audience development, optimize their cross channel performance across all TV, connected TV, and digital media, and drive new customer growth through detailed analytics and reporting. Amobee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tremor International, a collection of brands built to unite creativity, data and technology across the open internet.
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