Predictions for 2016 from Centerliners
Jan 18, 2016
Last week we shared thoughts from Centerline strategists, creatives and accounts on trends in 2015. Next up, what they predict will have an impact in 2016.
What events or trends are you foreseeing having a big impact in 2016?
“Twitter is toying with the idea of an algorithm-driven timeline rather than ‘the firehose.’ Like Facebook, they are considering and testing the idea of not showing everyone everything. This is going to loom large over how Twitter is used, by whom and why. And it’s going to have huge effect on marketers who work very hard to create organic reach through influencers and social listening. I, for one, really hope this doesn’t go into effect, although it probably will. It will give Twitter the opportunity to make even more money by having even more power to control whose promoted posts are seen by whom and when. I think this could also draw a great backlash from Twitter users, who now have other places to go. Like Instagram, Snapchat and that next social network that hasn’t yet been created or taken off. Blab.im? Periscope? Ello (which amazingly isn’t dead yet)?” – John Lane, Chief Strategy Officer
Content Strategy & Distribution
“I think we’ll see a lot of brands reverting back to a much older technique of ‘sponsoring’ content for positive association. For instance, GE recently released ‘The Message’ – a sci-fi War of the Worlds type fictional podcast. The content is purely helpful, non-salesy and really just focused on the audience. In this case, GE simply gets the positive association from the messages, hosts and awareness that comes with a popular podcast. It’s a riff off of the old television play of ‘this show is brought to you by XYZ company’. I think the companies who correctly tie themselves to and help develop solid, valuable, customer-centric content in 2016, will be some of the shining examples we point to in 2017.” – JT Moore, Senior Digital Strategist
“Omni-channel content strategy, including standardizing platforms/technologies, that delivers quality and value while also maximizing for efficiency and cadence, will be huge in 2016. Enterprise-level companies especially are reaching a turning point in their digital strategies where they must learn to advance their digital touch points while continuing to manage their existing channels. The expectations of the B2C experience are bleeding into, and disrupting, the B2B buying journey. Excellent customer engagement requires a deeper strategy in relation to omni-channel distribution and management, digital ecosystems and technology infrastructure to meet buyer demands.” – Lenae Boykin, Account Engagement Manager
“I think content distribution services and tools will have a huge year. In part due to things like the aforementioned Twitter adjustment, paid media (in the form of curated content and native advertising) is going to become more important in order to get the value you provide through content in front of the right audience. Yes, the wild west of open-social networks are continually getting more sheriffs and so paid media will become resurgent.” – John Lane (aka Sheriff around these parts)
…Still a Little Creepy
“Retargeting will become a given. I think we’re close to tilting over the creepy-versus-cool precipice. More digitally savvy people are liking that algorithms are making for better buying experiences. Even the staunchest skeptics are starting to like it.” – John Lane, Chief Strategy Officer
AI: The End of Mobile Browser Searches?
“In 2016, Limited Artificial Intelligence (e.g. Siri, Cortana, Google Now on Tap, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, etc.) will gradually eat away at traditional search traffic, completely doing away with mobile browser searches. It will be interesting to see how these voice searches—which produce one result, not a list of results like browser searches would—can be monetized and manipulated. For example, would Wendy’s pay Google to have its own burger restaurants mentioned above its competitors when someone directs a mapping application to take them to the nearest burger joint, even if a competitor is technically closer? I think so.” – Rob Gurley, Marketing Technologist
“The continued rise of messaging apps and marketing opportunities within them. Add that to the rise of open app economies for major app players like Slack, and in the coming years you will see the emergence of ‘brand bots’ that communicate organically with audiences to inform, aid and delight.” – Adam Good, Associate Creative Director
Screen Experiences, Multitouch, VR…Oh My!
“Touch screens are ubiquitous and a swipe across the screen is no longer a novelty. A trend that I anticipate growing in 2016 (and continuing after), will be a move away from screens to communicate with users. We are already seeing the this in a range of applications from lane departure warning systems – alerting drivers when their vehicle begins to move out of its lane through simple seat vibrations – to interactive wands in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, allowing guests to ‘perform magic’ at the flick of a wrist. Connecting physical activity with messaging content activates multiple sensory inputs which enables us to have meaningful perceptual experiences. A major mechanism for this advancement will be the continued proliferation of wearables, the Internet of Things and Hybrid Cloud (coincidentally three things that peaked on the 2015 Gartner Hype Cycle) and low-cost computer boards. The trick will be to develop concepts with purposeful design that connect with audiences not just as gimmicks, but provide meaningful value to the user and businesses.” – John Kaplan, Creative Director
“Designing outside the limitations of a screen. We’ve already kind of seen the shift in how we obtain our information and use the web. From desktop, where we were seemingly strapped to one spot to work and use our dial-up connections, to being able work remotely from our laptops that are connected to wifi. Then, of course, came our smart phones. With more users accessing the Internet from their phones than ever before, the push to think outside of the screen is finally here.” – Brenna Mickey, Interactive Designer
“VR will continue to be huge this year. We are at the dawn of a totally new interaction paradigm as ‘the interface’ as we know it starts to morph radically and, in some cases, to fade away entirely. Interacting with VR will continue to be defined in 2016 with the integration of gestures and voice assistance. From more affordable (Cardboard) to higher cost (Oculus Rift) options, it will be really exciting to see how we get closer and closer to truly immersive (read: embodied) experiences.” – Adam Good, Associate Creative Director
“Virtual reality has become a hot topic for big names in tech, focusing on what’s to come outside of our screens. This year Facebook acquired the company Oculus, and spent over $2 billion in development. Zuckerberg made a statement that he ‘believed VR would become a dominant communications and entertainment technology,’ pushing out VR devices this year for the holiday season. As an interactive designer, currently my focus is in mobile first design. With the movement shifting outside of the screen this will absolutely change my industry. Just as the Internet forced print designers to learn how to design websites and mobile made designers learn how to design for mobile, I think this movement will absolutely open up another opportunity to expand as a designer into VR.” – Brenna Mickey, Interactive Designer
“Oculus Rift finally releases this year, and along with it, the creation and consumption of virtual reality is now reaching the point in which quality and affordability place it firmly in the hands of the masses; and it’s set to explode as a new ‘standard’ form of media in 2016.” – Jesse Stormer, Motion Graphics Designer
All UX Everything
“The ubiquity of UX means that UX specialists may go away in the future as UX becomes baked into different roles – developers and designers in particular. This article hints to a similar future for UI designers, especially as interfaces evolve beyond screens. It’s already had a huge impact this year, but we’ll see even more focus on animation in interactions with apps and sites. It’s also the way a screen loads on an app when you refresh, the way content loads as you scroll down a page, etc. In 2016, I see a real shift to increased collaboration between animators and interactive designers, pushing animation past just video.” – Jen Hubbard, Interactive Designer
And that’s it. Stay tuned for more Centerline Insights during the year to come. What other burning questions do you have? Tweet us @Centerline.
A lifelong northerner, I began my career in agency public relations in Rochester, New York, later moving to New York City, working with a variety of technology and consumer brands from Xerox and IBM to Blackberry and KAYAK. I loved the fast-paced and entrepreneurial environment and learned so much about myself, client and people management, media relations and how to properly mail merge. Now a relocated northerner and wannabe southerner, I still love the pace, people and spirit of agency life in Raleigh. As Centerline’s Communications Manager, I get to help amplify the amazing content that we produce as an agency and thought leaders through events, media placement, relationships with influencers and social media.