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2015: New year, new trends

2014 has seen significant progress in the digital sphere, with programmatic and content marketing taking off and mobile optimisation at an all-time high. 2015 is set to drive further change (for the better) in the industry.

Getting creative:

With automation playing a bigger role than ever before in advertising, it has been debated that this might stifle innovation in the industry. However, this isn’t the case – instead automation will free-up more time for creativity.

In the modern world, the focus is on real-time. With the wealth of data and technology available today we can continually analyse customer data, providing brands with heaps of knowledge around their audiences constantly. Algorithms may have the power to understand and deliver a brand’s message to its target audience but an automated system can’t supply the creativity behind the ad. For real-time advertising to be a true success, it needs creative minds to produce content that connects with the consumer. Bringing together data and innovation can create well-targeted, original and engaging campaigns.

Automation doesn’t have to take away from the big idea, creativity is still integral to campaigns, for instance the takeover of the OXO Tower for PlayStation to represent the PlayStation symbols for the PS4 launch. This was a very creative campaign that didn’t focus its efforts on data and impact. Understanding the importance of both data and creativity is key. Brands need to adapt their approaches to prosper in the digital era, if done correctly they will flourish in the industry. 

Content, everywhere:

With widespread Wi-Fi and the fact we’re glued to multiple devices, we have a constant feed of new information at the tip of our fingers. We expect content around the clock and, as a result, consumers are increasingly creating reams of their own content and sharing via social media.

The average consumer views 25 videos per week. Following Facebook’s launch for video in news feeds, brands are taking full advantage of the opportunity to use video to connect with their audience.  The online video market is now an on-demand environment where ‘prime time’ is at the discretion of the consumer and premium video ads are a great way to connect with and entertain the ‘always on’ consumer. What’s key for 2015 is that brands amplify the tone of the publication they’re advertising on to replicate the style the title’s readership is familiar with and responds to.

Pushing forward with programmatic:

2014 has been a revolutionary year for programmatic, with over two-thirds of marketers now using it in one form or another. With some of the world’s biggest companies, most recently eBay, progressing with programmatic, creating a single, centralised platform for advertisers is the next step. By doing this, brands can efficiently manage their campaigns and leverage their data to target consumers.

2015 is the year to get all the components of your programmatic strategy in place. Ensuring that you’re working with trusted partners that deliver transparency, value and media quality is important. Central to programmatic buying is viewability, advertisers want proof that their ads are being seen by the right target demographic in a brand-safe environment. While serving ads to the right person is important, they must be seen by real people and this will continue to be a challenge in the New Year. Ensuring the scale of a campaign is key but the quality of the audience is integral.

With recent figures highlighting that three quarters of media owners still need help with understanding new technologies such as programmatic, 2015 will be the year that the industry gets under the skin of it. When knowledge is conquered, programmatic will drive forward the evolution of the industry moving to an automated system of buying and selling advertising space.

Going native:

Native advertising has garnered a great deal of attention this year. It is a powerful and effective tool for advertising and when it's done well it enhances the experience for consumers, advertisers and publishers alike. Ensuring that adverts seamlessly slip into the style and tone of sites is really key for brands to engage with their target audience.

With 60 per cent of consumers more open to online advertising that tells a story opposed to those that just sell a product, native advertising is the kind of format that people are responding to in the digital age – the success of Buzzfeed highlights this with the idea that content should be seen as a gift to consumers.

2015 will see the industry evolve and expand into new areas of digital. Brands will really start to focus their efforts on emerging technologies and we will see hot trends from this year, such as programmatic and native advertising, really start to take off. Knowledge and understanding around these new initiatives will increase and drive widespread growth across the industry.