Digital Media Buying Trends For 2016 As Predicted By Media Planners

Will digital media buying carry forward its positive trend? Digital media buying experts have a mix bag of predictions for 2016


For Akhilesh Sabharwal, Senior Director, Digital Marketing, ibs, the biggest change in 2016 is going to be the growth in the use of content and ad blockers, and this is going to effect the ad business as a whole. “Ad blockers have been one of the most popular downloads on Chrome on Desktop, and with the release of iOS 9 we will see that ad blockers also become popular on the mobile platform. As a result, I think media planners will need to understand that their ads may no longer be visible to their target audiences.”

We are aware how publishers have already been victims of ad blocking in 2015; going by the trends, 2016 isn’t looking good for them. Not just for publishers but also for the advertisers.

But this is a good sign also, as this big concern would lead to innovations in online advertising finally. This will lead in a greater shift to native content advertising and using advertising means in channels - e.g.: Facebook Articles and Snapchat Discover. “I think 2016 will have more innovations in advertising come, especially with new ways to reach the consumer beyond the media plan.”

In 2015, we observed brands willing to contribute almost 20-30% of the budget on digital advertising/media in order to ensure that the campaign is holistic. But the numbers are nowhere close to the spends compared to TV and other dominant mediums.

“As a digital marketing industry, we (India) are 4-5 years behind the global market in terms of digital marketing practices. Clients are spending around 25-30% extra money on digital marketing than they should be due to a lack of efficiency. Digital Media Planning is far behind traditional media planning in terms of scientific approach based on market research, consumer behavior analysis and understanding of the brand,” informed Shweta Ayare, Head Media Spends at Gozoop.

Read: Media Planners Talk About How Digital Media Buying Has Played Out In 2015.

To find out what could be the possible trends catching up in the digital media buying space, Lighthouse Insights spoke to experts in the industry. Listed below are the edited responses:

Nishith Srivastava, Director Strategy and Planning, J Walter Thomson India

Digital media planning will now be driven with objectives around creating awareness and engagement using content marketing effectively. Performance led planning will always be there, but using paid and organic mediums to create and co-create engaging content will start gaining prominence. Reach medium based platforms will be strategically selected to take this content and ensure it reaches to the right audience at the right time in the most contextual scenario.

Priyanka Vasant, Digital Media Planner, The Glitch

Blogging has been there for a while and social media influencers have become an important medium of communication for the brands today. 2016 will be taking this a step ahead. A lot more influencers will engage into vlogging. Video blogs exist even now, but it is still in the niche category. Vlogging is definitely the next big thing.

Also, platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter, I’m sure will spend much more time on making changes on their platform for advertisers to reach their target audience in much more detailed and innovative ways. Improving targeting, analytics and making the platforms user friendly is the key.

With the growing popularity of messaging apps, there seems to be a huge scope for digital spends there as well.

With growth in the number of platforms and what they have to offer to the consumers and with all the space available on them, content marketing has become more important than ever. There is a major scope for growth in content marketing in the coming year.

Amyn Ghadiali, Head of Strategy & Social Media, Trivone Digital

Paid social networks will place heavier emphasis on B2B marketing, evolving their platforms (targeting, analytics & reporting) to better enable B2B advertisers to reach and connect with their audiences. I see this space to catch up well in the coming year.

Mobile video advertisement: 60% of Internet users in India access it via their mobile phones now (IAMAI study). The number is expected to reach 315 million by 2017. This will surely affect the way mobile video ads are promoted.

Native advertisement: Data finds that spending on native ads will reach $7.9 billion this year and grow to $21 billion in 2018, rising from just $4.7 billion in 2013. Native ads are gaining popularity because of its non-intrusive nature and its immunity to ads. Social native advertising is growing at a fast pace as well. Content marketing and native ads will go hand in hand. Companies like Taboola and Outbrain will be able to harness this growth in 2016.

As wearable devices are entering our lives, coupled with IoT, it is bound to make room for itself, as it will help researchers understand user behavior and buying pattern better. This will surely make way for a lot of experiments in the space and it would be interesting to see how people react.

Vishal Agrahari, Search & Media Group Head, BC Web Wise

The digital media spends will grow much faster in 2016 according to some industry predictions. Indeed there will be no space for wastage for inventories. The experimentation phase of programmatic buying is over. Programmatic buying and Trading desks will be more evolved as planners will be equipped with the right tools to control costs and inventories.

Social media giants Facebook, Twitter & Google and ad networks are also innovating continuously to help advertisers reach their core audiences and maximize ROI for the brand. Location based targeting will boom because it delivers great in terms of driving awareness and conversions. We will also see a seamless cross-device ad experience with the adoption of HTML5 that will encourage marketers to explore richer, high quality ads. Spends on native advertising and sponsored content will also increase significantly. But the future of digital advertising would continue to depend largely on a fast pace of mobile and internet penetration in India.

Vineet Kanabar, Group Head, Digital Strategy, PHD Media

I expect measurement, digital and otherwise, to be a major conversation in 2016 – with new standards replacing old ones (BARC vs TAM). Unified digital and traditional measurement is now possible across screens, there will be a more integrated, and informed approach to planning media next year. As the systems mature, a new way of working should emerge that will rightfully enable digital to drive ROI at par with TV, print and outdoor.

Another big trend will be the emergence of non-YouTube video platforms in India – HotStar has led the charge in 2015. The rise of web-first content will ride this sentiment, helping marketers develop a new wave of brand engagement possibilities.