As enterprise digital marketers try to anticipate what changes might occur in 2016, they look to recognized thought leaders for clues of what the future will bring. One of those thought leaders is Chad Pollitt, Co-Founder and VP of Audience at Relevance, and he shared his predictions in a recent Social Business Engine podcast, in which he dug deeper into his reasoning behind a recent Huffington Post article he authored, "6 Bold Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2016".
Here's a quick look at each of those 6 predictions and how they will impact enterprise marketers.
1. Social media traffic to most websites will decline
This is a phenomenon that many enterprise websites are already seeing - Buffer recently reported that they've lost 50% of their organic social traffic. What's happened? Has social media stopped working as a driver of organic traffic? The short answer is, "No." As Chad explains, the real culprit is mobile apps - such as Facebook -- that strip out referral information, making it impossible for analytics packages to detect the source of the traffic.
How enterprises deal with the lack of data will be an interesting issue to watch in 2016.
2. Google will finally launch its native advertising network
Native advertising came into being because enterprises needed reliable ways to build audience and conversions via top of the funnel content such as blog posts. Native advertising looks like the publisher's content on a website, but it's advertising.
Essentially, native advertising is to the internet what advertorials are to newspapers. Sponsored content in your Facebook feed, such as boosted posts, is native advertising, as are the recommended links you will see at the bottom of a blog on Huffington Post.
Google has had a native advertising syndication network in beta for more than a year, and it's costing them money every day. Chad predicts 2016 to be the year it launches.
3. LinkedIn will launch its version of "Instant Articles"
In May of 2015, Facebook announced that it would start publishing "Instant Articles" from major publishers. Their goal is to keep people on Facebook longer by giving them top quality content to enjoy, which, in turn, will produce more advertising revenue. In response, Google and Twitter have teamed up to create an open source version of instant article syndication.
LinkedIn has experimented with published content for years, first with LinkedIn Today and now with LinkedIn Pulse. Adapting the Instant Articles approach to content would give LinkedIn a platform that could be monetized. Currently, Pulse is not monetized, so experimenting in the Instant Articles arena just makes good sense for LinkedIn. While it may not launch until 2017, an announcement should be forthcoming in 2016.
Depending on how it works, it could be another piece in the digital marketing puzzle for enterprises that syndicate top of the funnel content.
4. An influencer marketing platform will be acquired by one of the stacks
Enterprise digital marketers use "stacks" such as Adobe, HubSpot, Marketo, etc. to integrate numerous marketing operations in one stack. To date, the stacks have limited their content distribution services to broadcasting owned content via websites, email, and social media.
HubSpot's new ads plugin takes distribution in a new direction, one that recognizes that the "build it and they will come" mentality is waning. Enterprises need new, effective ways to distribute top of the funnel content.
Influencer marketing platforms have grown as a distribution device, but they remain untied to the stacks. The two simply don't talk to each other, which reduces the effectiveness of both the stack and the influencer platform.
Chad believes that will change in 2016, as stacks start buying influencer marketing platforms.
5. Ad blocking adoption will begin to level off
There are about 300 million users of ad blocking software worldwide. These users demand complete blocking of ads from their web experience. As ad blockers stretch to provide 100% blocking, they sometimes also block the content users want to see.
As more content is blocked, the less adoption there will be of ad blocker software, which Chad expects to level off in 2016. This will be good news for enterprise digital marketers who count on their ads being seen and clicked.
6. Content recommendation networks will get better at delivering relevant content
Content recommendation networks are supposed to provide links to related articles. Too frequently, the links served are click bait to material that has nothing to do with the content on the page. These links are popular, and since they earn clicks, they produce revenue for the recommendation network. They also make it difficult for enterprise digital marketers to hit their projected KPIs.
But there are some networks that are changing the model. Rev Content, which holds content marketers to a high standard, rejects 98% of the companies that want to distribute content on their recommendation network. Another, Inpowered, has replaced the CPC model with what they call CPE, cost per engagement.
As the trend continues in the right direction, enterprise marketers will find more reliable recommendation networks to distribute their content.
How many of these predictions will come true?
We will soon see how many of these predictions come to fruition in 2016. Listen to Chad Pollitt dig deeper into each of them on the podcast.
On This Social Business Engine Podcast Episode You'll Discover
- Why Chad says the traditional forms of digital advertising were not built for top of the funnel content.
- How the major marketing stacks like, HubSpot, Salesforce, Oracle, etc., are not addressing earned media promotion.
- What native advertising is and how it fills the gap on the paid side of digital advertising.
- Why Chad's "one thing" is that marketers should spend 40-60% of their time promoting their content, not 90% on production.
Featured On This Episode of the Social Business Engine Podcast
- Chad Pollitt on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Relevance's website
- Chad Pollitt's Huffington Post article on 6 Bold Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2016
- Download Social Business Journal, Volume 5: The Community Playbook
- Subscribe to the Social Business Engine show
- Write a review of this podcast in iTunes
- Bernie Borges on Twitter: @bernieborges
- Social Business Engine on Twitter: @sbengine