ThinkOTB Agency

The OTB round up of what mattered in marketing and advertising in 2016

December 21, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close and the industry turns its head to the new year on the horizon, commentators are reflecting on the highs and lows of the past twelve months.

With so many marketing events to choose from, and so many places to read about them, you could easily be forgiven for not knowing where to turn. But never fear, for this week we’ve got the ultimate OTB round up of what mattered in 2016, and the lessons marketers can learn from them going forwards.

The Digital Duopoly

Mark Ritson, outspoken Marketing Week contributor and Associate Professor of Marketing at Melbourne Business School, recently wrote an interesting article exploring his top ten things that mattered in 2016. Among them was the Coca-Cola move towards a one-brand strategy and why marketers failed to predict Brexit, but crowned as the most important was what Ritson called ‘the emergence of the digital duopoly.’

Ritson argues the fact that digital advertising is now consuming the vast majority of marketing budgets shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet what should come as a surprise is that recent research by Morgan Stanley shows 85% of that digital spending is going to just two companies; Facebook and Google.

For marketers, it is suggested that ‘the implications of the digital duopoly and their walled gardens are as ominous as they are enormous.’ According to Ritson, this problem has the potential to manifest itself throughout 2017, as marketers grapple with how to move beyond a Facebook and Google-dominated strategy that may not be working as well for them as it could.

P&G provides a unique example to follow in how it is possible to break the mould and pull away from the social media site. Back in August the FMCG giant announced it was moving away from hyper-targeted branding towards a more traditional, demographic approach, in a move that shocked industry commentators accustomed to ever-more specific and personalised methods.

The app was, and is, here to stay

Love them or loathe them, the age of the app is far from over. For Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers, 2016 has seen a number of breakthroughs in app technology that have put them even closer to fully replacing traditional websites. For those still reluctant to embrace Apple’s by now almost eight-year-old slogan “there’s an app for that”, this prediction may be dismaying.

While it may be a little premature to hail the end of the website, that marketers need to focus ever more on mobile as a platform is a sound insight to takeaway. Econsultancy argued exactly this in their recent article on the biggest mobile marketing trends of 2016, pointing to chatbots, augmented reality (AR) and location based marketing as evidence that more and more consumers are interacting with brands first and foremost through their mobile. With the Pokémon Go fever that swept the connected world this summer, and with Forbes estimating that AR technology will be worth $5.7 billion by 2021, it is a trend that savvy marketers cannot ignore as the new year approaches.

Dark Social

First coined by Alexis C. Madrigal,  former senior editor at The Atlantic, dark social is generally understood as social content sharing ‘that occurs outside of what can be measured by web analytics programs’ (definition from Technopedia). Mainly the term encompasses content shared via emails, chat apps, and online messengers that don’t allow marketers to monitor and measure their reach or frequency.

That this presents a challenge for marketers is obvious, especially given that according to The Huffington Post, ‘around 84% of sharing now happens on dark social.’ How to tap into this environment has kept marketing’s brightest brains occupied throughout 2016, and looks set to be a key arena to be explored in 2017.

If dark social can be utilised by marketers, its potential value could be huge. Econsultancy argues just this, suggesting ‘it is effectively word-of-mouth between people who are likely to know each other well’, and that marketers are only just beginning to explore the possibilities it could bring for strategy.

It has certainly been a busy year for marketing, and we’re sure that the lessons from the year will be as important as ever in 2017.


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