Digital Marketing Trends For 2016



According to Carat’s Ad spend report the forecast for 2016 for Digital, states a significant increase in Mobile and online video with Programmatic being a key media technique. By the end of 2015 US market Programmatic transactions will account for 52 percent of non-search digital advertising spend, with predicted growth of 20 percent to continue for the next few years. Overall, Mobile is experiencing the greatest spend growth across all media and Carat predicts year-on-year growth in Mobile spend at +51.2 percent in 2015 and +44.5 percent in 2016.

Social Media Revenues – which encompass advertising delivered on social platforms including social networking, and social gaming websites and apps reached USD 4.4 billion in HY 2015 according to an IAB study and are likely to grow at the same rate in 2016. Mobile represents 30 percent of all revenues and is the fastest revenue growth category, followed by Online video. Retail at 22 percent, financial services at 13 percent, and automotive at 13 percent  top three advertising verticals continue to account for nearly half of advertising revenue, 48 percent. Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, reached USD 2 billion in the first half of 2015, a 35 percent year-over-year jump from USD 1.5 billion in the first half of 2014.

Retail Brands Digital Marketing Strategies targeting the Mobile Only and Omni-Channel customers can benefit from the trends that are dominating the digital buyer behavior and customer journey as well as the consumer decision making process across channels.

Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, reached USD 2 billion in the first half of 2015, a 35 percent year-over-year jump from  USD 1.5 billion in the first half of 2014.

Real-Time Programmatic For Mobile Moments

AOL and Verizon are investing in Tech Stack that lets marketers offer advertising programmatically with real-time bidding to offer Brand Marketers unified customer view cross devices.

DoubleClick Bid Manager  from Google offers Active View Bid optimization for clients globally. Active View Bid Optimization offers advertisers to bid for impressions with data available across URL, Page Views and Time of Day, giving advertisers the flexiblity to bid for viewable impressions.

Brands Personalize Content To Create New Experiences

According to L2’s Digital Index report, Ninety-three percent of brands tracked in the Index display a video on their site, and 75 percent host a blog. Brands with Video and Branded Content have doubled the Average Order Value and Conversions for their products in comparison with sites without branded content or a fewer pages with Branded Content.



For Beauty Brands, that invested in Video nearly 51 percent of all views are organic, making a comprehensive video content strategy integral to Digital Presence.

Unboxing Video trend is extremely popular with Unboxing being the key search terms on YouTube.

Sephora, a beauty brand has taken the Video engagement a notch further by making the video content available in its stores. Audience Targeting On Mobile with Mobile Video that appears in the users native feed has been seen to generate Brand Performance Lift.

Brands that are seeking to move forward will look at creating Personalized experiences to deliver better Campaign ROI.


Excess Affinity In The Age Of Promotional Loyalty 

Brands that engage audiences digitally with new offers, seasonal packs and deals or even posts on a regular basis that make audiences return to the social media profile create brand excitement and generate brand buzz.

Digital marketing for brands remains closely connected to creating offers and propositions that engage audiences in the moment and make them favor the brands for the offers. Target with 10 days of Deals ahead of Black Friday has offers for all segments with codes and coupons that apply for the required purchase. Target’s website also features a free drink offer for Thanksgiving.


Brands need to at the same time create Excess Affinity for ongoing engagement. Millward Brown recommends brands supercharge the emotional connect with their audiences by humanizing brands and strengthening the emotional bond. For Brands, to create an excess affinity bond, consumer experiences will play a strong role. “Research conducted by Millward Brown for BRANDsense confirmed that the more positive and distinctive sensory impressions come to mind the more loyal people are to a brand. People are not one-dimensional beings, and the better brands engage with all five of our senses the stronger the impression they’ll make”.

OmniChannel Capabilities



With IoT taking over, and newer digitally connected devices such as connected cars, marketers need to be ready with digital ordering services that tap into all possible options from where the audiences can connect.


Personalized Seasonal Packs

Oreo’s newest introduction allows users to create a personalized pack where users can make their own packs that are colorfilled and can be ordered online.



Seasonal Packs are the new way audiences are interacting with your brands. As Starbucks red Cup controversy created a monumental buzz digitally, Brands launching seasonal packs online are going a step further in building digital outreach where consumers can find an expression.


Location Awareness takes Center-Stage

With more referrals arising from Social Media and customers preferring campaigns that are personalized, location awareness takes center stage with audiences requiring brands to make offers taking their location into account. Some of the location aware sites customize offers for audiences in the area the customers are located in. Store locators are being increasingly used by brands personalized offers based on location. Brands also use store locations to gain insights and build offers based on what customers prefer.

Mobile Alerts For Personalization

With Millennials and Gen Zers ready to share more information about themselves marketers will be able to create real-time offers and content that is personalized for moving the customer to a more involved audience for the brand. According to Forbes,  Savvy marketers will understand this and those who will be winning in 2016, will be the ones who can provide personalized and meaningful experiences beyond just financial incentives to earn lifelong loyalty.


Compelling Campaign Ideas For Engagement

Your brand’s engagement idea can create ad recall that goes beyond the campaign reach with compelling content. Compelling content often creates a cascade where audiences are sharing what they like and the next “New” way to engage with a brand or an offer. Taco Bell’s Emoji Engine and Domino’s Pizza Tweet To Order campaign generated a majority of social actions, representing more than 50 percent of all consumer engagement.


Brands looking for Newer ways to engage digitally will require Campaign ideas that make the brand interactions distinctive and compelling.

Pricing Strategy and Bundle Pack Offers

Pricing strategy for your products will also need to address the mobile moments reality where audiences on the go can choose a pricing option that is easy to order. Wendy’s Four for Four is an example of an interesting combo where audiences can at a glance place an order for four items.


Subscription Based Content Streaming Apps 


According to comScore, millennials spend a dominant share of time on Entertainment apps making Entertainment apps an appropriate Engagement vehicle for Brands.

Music is one of the fastest growing categories by Revenue  for app categories. Big Box retailers such as Walmart in partnership with Vudu are offering streaming services for Entertainment. In 2016 it would not be surprising to see more brands offering Content Streaming for entertainment as a subscription app or a product feature in existing apps.




Facebook  and Pandora Radio are the lead apps for the share of Total Mobile App Time Spent for Millennials, for whom every single app in their Top Ten Apps is a social or an entertainment app.



Key Insights For Retargeting Campaigns


According to a research report by IAB, based on a survey of 1000 US Marketers and 11000 US Advertisers’ retargeting campaigns on AdRoll, Retargeting has emerged as the breakout marketing tactic. The single most important campaign goal for marketers using remarketing as the key tactic is Brand awareness followed by  Engagement. Mobile is the key trend after Social Media impacting the Retargeting Campaign results.

  • 92 percent of marketers report retargeting performs equal to or better than search, 91 percent equal to or better than email, and 92 percent equal to or better than other display.
  • 71 percent of marketers spend 10-50 percent of their entire online ad budget on retargeting; up from 53 percent.
  • Social media is the single hottest topic in retargeting—mobile and cross-device retargeting comes in at #2.
  • Retargeting has expanded up the funnel. 70 percent of marketers use retargeting for brand awareness, 60 percent for social engagement, and 58 percent for customer retention.

Engage with Retargeting Creative That Resonates

Define the key customer takeaway. Determine the message you would like your audiences to walk away with. For Mobile the creative needs to be unobtrusive getting the message across in the quickest way possible, with images, bold fonts and clear messaging. The creative approach that is seen to work the best for retargeting, is simple that creates instant recall or has a humorous take on a situation.

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Mobile Programmatic and Native Video Ads Improve Campaign Performance



According to IAB Mobile Programmatic Playbook, “The most popular native format for mobile, and mobile programmatic, is in-feed advertising. In-feed ads are those that appear within the user’s natural activity stream. This includes traditional ads, videos or branded/sponsored stories which appear within a publisher’s content feed”.

Mobile Programmatic buying is known to improve performance on campaigns with Fiksu data proving that programmatic averages are better for both native and other programmatic advertising.
• Interstitial ads convert at a rate 2x higher
• Interstitial ads have CTRs 1.5x higher
• Native ads convert at a rate 4x higher
• Native ads have CTRs 1.2x higher

In mobile programmatic environment native ads are available via select publishers or open exchanges that consolidate the mobile app and mobile web native inventory of many publishers. Powerlinks and Unruly are partnering to launch an industry first native advertising effort where users will see an in-content stream and in-feed native ads across all devices. According to a Press Release, ” Advertisers will be able to access every placement with one standardized set of creative assets, including a video, headline and sponsor message, which will automatically adapt Unruly’s In-Feed video ads in real-time to the design and layout of the publisher’s website through Unruly’s proprietary Liquid Layout Technology.

The real-time bidding (RTB) integration will allow advertisers to reach audiences with granular targeting using 1st and 3rd party data, keyword level context and dozens of other data points to deliver highly relevant messages and to optimize performance.

With viewability in the forefront of buyer’s minds, Unruly’s In-Feed placements only begin to play once in-view, making the inventory 100% viewable. The partnership will provide detailed reporting and will allow advertisers to make changes and optimizations in real-time, while also using PowerLinks proprietary learning and bidding technologies to achieve engagement and conversion goals”.
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Programmatic Advertising Gets A Local Boost and Key Takeaways For Advertisers


ProgrammaticAccording to eMarketer, the growth in programmatic local spend is going to increase multi-fold, with share of local digital ad spend in the US is likely to increase from 4.7 percent to 10 percent or USD 5 billion, being programmatic ad spend in 2015. By 2019, 61 percent of local digital advertisng spend, or USD 47 billion, is expected to be programmatic buy.

According to BIA Kelsey, Location targeted mobile ad spend will grow from USD 4.3 billion in 2014 to USD 18.2 billion in 2019. That equals about a third of overall mobile ad revenues, growing to 42 percent by 2019. Though the mobile revenues projected by the eMarketer research are on the higher side, the Ad Spend on mobile is going to make up for 70 percent of all US Digital advertising spend in 2018.


Retail, Financial services, Telecom and Travel are the Top Advertising Verticals making up for more than two-thirds of all mobile advertising spend. Retail accounts for 23 percent of all mobile advertising spend and 51 percent of the category ad spend is on mobile.

According to BIA Kelsey, US location-based ad targeting is likely to grow at 34 percent CAGR, with consumers seeking more location-based information and indicating a higher purchase intent for campaigns that build in location.

Key Takeaways For Publishers and Advertisers

FBMobilecostsFacebook Advertising Costs

As Programmatic and Local-intent mobile ad share grows with premium ad rates,  advertisers will seek options that  yield higher conversions for campaigns. Programmatic advertising will deliver for retargeting campaigns that have the location data built into the campaign in addition to other targeting options.

Location is the primary motivation for high purchase intent as seen from the research shared by IPG Lab, thereby making it imperative for brand advertisers to look at programmatic for media-buys with location for improved ROI on mobile campaigns.

At the same time publishers that deliver on campaign performance rates. (i.e., CTRs, phone calls, store visits) are likely to be preferred over advertising options that deliver  only on impressions, thus CTR is a more important metric to deliver for than CPM. At the same time for advertisers CPA and CPE are important metrics.

With the increased CPC for mobile performance programmatic buys for display advertising campaigns needs to build in higher relevance with context, immediacy for conversions and alignment with consumer local buying intent.

Source: BIA Kelsey, eMarketer & SalesForceSocial