The world of digital marketing is changing very fast and I wonder where 2016 will bring brands and agencies. I currently am working with a medium size agency and most of our clients have been asking what to expect next year, beyond using Facebook and Twitter. We have been proposing social media executions for them but the most digital savvy ones are looking beyond social media already. Any ideas? - anonymous

I expect 2016 will be more of a “back to basics” when it comes to digital marketing. The hype of using Facebook apps, or getting things to trend on Twitter are not “novel” anymore, and brands are finding it challenging to link any digital executions back to business results. Thus, as brand managers and business owners become more mature with how digital works, the onus is on the agency to propose not only creative ideas, but digital executions that are more hardworking and more felt by consumers and by the business.
Given that the Philippines remain to be a slow maturing digital market, with internet access still hovering at the 30% levels, all eyes are on the prices of smartphones and the accessibility and speed of the internet for advertisers to tip their spending on to digital. Thus, the focus like as I have said, will not be more on what are the up and coming websites that can be considered, nor the new technologies like the Internet of Things gadgets, but more on the basics and  fundamentals of marketing.

Firstly, compelling content will continue to resonate and challenge brands into communicating better and more efficiently with their target audiences. Brands and agencies will redirect their focus from setting up just community management teams, to more of content creation. If 2012 prompted the rise of the “Community Manager” as a profession and job title, 2016 will be the year when brands and organizations will be investing in having their own editors and writers. There will be a requirement for brands to create their community through an owned platform, in order to gain more intelligence and data about the customer.

Second, the focus on social will be shifting from just executions to social intelligence. Social listening will be a core digital function, and analysis of consumer insights and behaviors towards their audiences via social listening tools will become a core competency in any marketing organization, whether they do it in-house or outsource it to social experts. At the same time, given the prevalence of social media, brands will also have to ensure that their corporate communications and crisis management are in place.
Third would be the rise and refocusing of brands creating digital videos, as more and more people are consuming more content on youtube and other video playing platforms. We will see less “Copy and pasting” of materials executed on above the line brought towards digital executions, but more of “Created for digital only” content to ensure relevance to the audience base. We are also expecting the rise of youtube creators and superstars, and brands will have a new avenue to get endorsers and help them in creating content for their target audiences.
2016 will be an exciting year for digital marketing as brands are expected to be more creative and compelling in terms of execution. The traditional way of doing digital marketing, like advertising using banner ads, or just creating a Facebook page for presence without any level of interaction, will fall by the wayside as consumers are expecting more from brands to communicate to them better, and brands have to work harder with agencies to use digital to drive business results.

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