The trends brands should look out for in digital marketing in 2016

From original video content that does not disrupt the consumer’s experience to developing native advertising campaigns on mobile, there are new ways for brands to get their message out and engage the masses.

BuzzFeed regularly creates posts about specific groups of people

Over the past week, countless content creators, media owners and tech companies showcased their plans for 2016 during the IAB UK Digital Upfronts. From Sky’s cross-platform tool to BuzzFeed UK’s video division, find out what brands should be focusing on in the upcoming year.

1. Creating videos that don’t disrupt

AOL is set to make a bigger push for video as it plans to produce more original content on its media platforms, including The Huffington Post.

It is currently producing numerous original video series which the brand hopes will attract new brand partners.

AOL believes it differs from other media owners through its combination of “culture and code”. Speaking to Marketing Week last week, AOL’s commercial director Stuart Flint said that sponsoring original content is a useful way for brands to engage with customers.

“We can’t just keep shoehorning ads into real estate that people don’t want and make them switch off. It’s not that people don’t like advertising, they just don’t like disruption,” he said.

“It’s about marketing in a way that feels relevant to them, and with sponsored content they understand that there’s been a trade of value.”

Meanwhile, millennial media magnet BuzzFeed is opening up its branded video content division to UK advertisers. Costa is the first brand to partner up with an advert set to launch later this month.

BuzzFeed’s video division currently averages just under 2 billion views a month. Previous video partnerships with brands like Hyundai and Purina have racked up millions of YouTube views and shares. Now, the brand is entering the UK market.

In terms of platforms, the videos will primarily be hosted on BuzzFeed, but also be available to view on YouTube and Facebook.

BuzzFeed UK and Europe’s general manager Kate Burns told Marketing Week that it wants to form on-going partnerships with brands.

“We are hoping to ultimately build long-term relationships with advertisers. The most important thing that we want from brands is a willingness to work together. I tend to find that the more freedom we have, the better we do,” she said.

2. Data that goes further

Almost two years after the launch of targeted advertising service Sky Adsmart, Sky has decided to step up its data game by introducing a new service that allows advertisers to connect customer journeys across multiple devices.

Sky AdVance directly connects TV and online audiences using viewing behaviour as well as multiplatform and device data. This means advertisers can address the most relevant audiences on multiple screens, while also being able to target their campaigns to people that haven’t seen it yet.

Sky AdVance will be on the market from January 2016 and is and is currently undergoing a live test phase with up to 20 different advertisers.

Jamie West, deputy managing director of Sky Media, told Marketing Week that the product aims to solve a common digital marketing problem – tracking customers across devices.

“Having to transact these integrated plans in siloes feels counter-intuitive to most agencies and advertisers. We’re trying to build effective advertising solutions that can enhance cross-platform power and in turn enables Sky to be a partner to advertisers rather than just a supplier,” he said.

Bloomberg Media also introduced a range of ad tech tools, including B:Match, a private data and analytics tool that identifies audience segments and consumer behaviour, Social Connect 2.0, which allows advertisers to target readers referred through social media and Trendr, an algorithm-driven tool that allows advertisers to associate with the most newsworthy topics, people and companies.

Bloomberg Media’s commercial director for EMEA Matt Teeman, says: “Our ongoing investment in technology means our customers can secure even greater value, engagement and response from our multi-channel media portfolio.”

3. Native content to expand across screens

While Yahoo prides itself on its original content, the company is planning to put a bigger focus on native advertising on its mobile platforms going forward. 

When it comes to upcoming brand partnerships, Tumblr is being put front and centre as it allows advertisers to adapt their campaign content to the platform.

Dora Michail, Yahoo’s senior director audience solutions, told Marketing Week that native advertising is becoming increasingly important to the company as they seek to engage consumers.

“It’s important to think about how the user interacts with their mobile and what they want to see when they’re using it,” she said.

“We’ve created native ad opportunities that really fit with the content. It’s a very easy way of a user to engage with the content as well be served relevant ads.”

While Yahoo is going after digital advertisers, Vice is hoping to take on more traditional platforms as it plans to expand into TV across the UK and Europe with the launch of Vice TV.

The youth media brand previously entered numerous TV deals in the form of networks and shows across the US, Canada and Europe and has licensed its online content to linear media for years.

All its TV networks across Europe will be produced exclusively by Vice, utilising the youth media brand’s hosts, writers, producers, filmmakers and directors.

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