It’s a new year and a new day. Today, the media folks start trickling back into their open-plan Manhattan offices. The jet lag and mild day-drinking induced hangovers have yet to wear off, and most of us are just beginning to realize our New Year’s Resolutions might have been a bit lofty. All the right ingredients for a perfect, productive Monday. Which is why this day is largely spent reading what I call prediction-based content. It floods every Linkedin and twitter feed.
’10 Reasons Why 2016 is the Year of Advertising!’
‘The 2016 Predictions are in, and it’s not what you Expected…’
‘Jumpstart Your 2016 Digital Strategy With These Innovative Tips’
The first Monday of the New Year is always a great day for puff content. Any journalist with a small amount of Digital Marketing clout will be pumping out their top ten lists for 2016 tips and predictions. But are these lists actually important to the reality of the coming year’s landscape? I say, in a generalized setting, yes. If aggregated, their relevance becomes heightened. I’ve read countless Content-based Marketing predictions for 2016 and come to realize one overarching conclusion. 2016 is not the year of Content Marketing. It is the year we will change the way consumers receive and engage advertisements.
Advertising’s Biggest Enemy is Driving Innovation
This is the elephant in the room we love to fear and loath to discuss. Ad-Blocking saw record popularity in 2015, growing 41% and costing publishers over $22 Billion. And of course, the industry has panicked, leading some to take on radical stances towards their marketing efforts. For example, last month I received a call from a great friend and mentor of mine (who will remain unnamed). He expressed his concern over the ‘adblocking crisis’ and his intent to halt all advertising spend for the next few months. This is coming from the head of a company with 9 figure revenues! His plan is to “just quit Advertising”— whatever that means.
Graph via PageFair 2015 Ad Blocking Report
While the increased popularity in ad blocking is a problem we as an industry need to address, it’s actually driving innovation in a model that has become outdated. Said best by Sir Martin himself, to change the Advertising Industry, first, “We need to rename it.” Sorrell, in his conversation at Advertising Week 2015, stated that ad blocking has been overhyped and is no different from the DVR scare surrounding Television in the mid 2000’s. However, a d blocking is highlighting a problem with our definition of advertising. It’s no longer relevant to today’s media landscape, where Advertising is used to encompass much more than just creative. “75 percent of our revenues come from stuff that Don Draper wouldn’t recognize,” said Sorrell. We still use Advertising as a default title for what we in the majority of media companies ‘do’. When I’m in for my annual physical and the doc asks me what I do for a living, I don’t respond with, “I work in long-form content strategy, creation and implementation.” I say, “I’m in Advertising.” I’ve never worked at a big legacy agency in my life, and probably never will. So why do we ‘tech guys’ throw this term around that is not only confusing to outsiders, but even to ourselves? Simplicity. But we’ve got to change the terminology to match our behavior.
So where will we see true growth and innovation in 2016? Content. Make no mistake, the headlines hyping 2016 as the year of Content Marketing are spot on. Native machines like Buzzfeed and Mashable are skyrocketing in growth. Furthermore, over $1 Billion in fundraising was funneled into Content Marketing companies in 2015, and 2017 revenues are projected at over $5 Billion. Considering engagement is unparalleled in the content space, this can ease the burn ad blocking has generated. It’s the obvious new solution for the continual problem: finding new ways to connect brands with their consumers.
Wrapping It All Up
The point of all of this is to say welcome back. It’s a New Year, so ease in as best you can. Let’s not get wrapped up in the flood of puff pieces, radical predictions and irrelevant material. Instead, we can focus 2016 on building better channels to connect more innovative brands with more engaged consumers.
Keep the conversation going. Shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat!