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IAB UK Talks - What does 2016 have in-store for Digital Marketing?

So, the question on everyone’s lips, minds and Twitter feeds – what does 2016 have in-store for Digital Marketing? The IAB brought together a stellar line-up of speakers from around the industry to enlighten us on this very subject.

The answer? Well, erm, it’s pretty much the same sort of stuff from 2015, and generally over the past few years. It’s still about data, it’s still about content and it’s still about multi-platform. In fact, only one of the speakers gave us a genuine thought-starter as to why this year might be different (hat-tip Dan Calladine from Carat). But even then, his predictions were rooted in evolutions of technologies we already know and love. All in all, a disappointing absence of new buzzwords for us all to latch onto and overuse in meetings.

But maybe that’s the point? Us media folk (and especially us Digital Media folk) are ever guilty of focusing on the new en vogue that we’re in constant danger of missing the now. We’re the people who spent so long trying to predict when exactly the Year of Mobile would be that it ended up just sort of happening around us. Over the course of several years….

We laugh about it now, but we still do it all the time. Content marketing and ad-blocking are just a couple of examples of “trends” which the industry has pounced on over the past year or two. A lot of folks in the industry are still mulling over the rise of ad-blockers signalling the death of Display. But our cousins over at UM know that’s not the case – their work on the Economist was among the best Digital work in the world last year, and Display was the hero. They proved that it’s not how you say it; it’s what you say, when and to whom.

Moral of the story: Consumer behaviour isn’t trend-based – it’s evolutionary. So our media thinking should follow suit.