Digital Trends for 2016

Every year I’m asked to identify what the next trends or movements would be in the digital space for the coming year. I like to refer to a lot of other expert opinions – Mary Meeker being a key influencer in the industry. In saying that I believe 2016 will continue to be another break through year in digital marketing for Vietnam, and I’ve outlined below some key movements that I believe will propel this breakthrough.



Not only will video become more popular as a means for traditional TV advertisers to dip their toes into online, the demand for video content will also rise. In 2016 it is predicted that video views on Facebook will become 20% more expensive. It’s also reported that Facebook will go head to head with YouTube in terms of how users search for video content on the platform, and that they will present video content based on paid and organic, creating a new metric based on affinity (not just views). Meanwhile, YouTube will continue to push their video ad offerings and those brands that can deliver a more sophisticated approach to online video communications will reap the benefits of a growing, engaged audience.


Native Ads

Advertorials and paid PR are not a new format but we’ll start to see more native formats grow in popularity as display advertising becomes less and less effective. Native ads is a type of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. For example, an article written by an advertiser to promote their product, but using the same form as an article written by the editorial staff. Platforms like Outbrain and Gravity allow brands to place native ads on site like Forbes and Huffington post to drive traffic, leads and engagement. Whilst not yet popular, or even heard of in Vietnam, the traditional online PR and forum approach will reach it used-by date very quickly and Native ads platforms will be needed to refresh content marketing tactics. An infographic from Magnet Media shows already that native ads are outstripping performance of banners ads.


Brands as publishers

In line with the content marketing and native ads trend, brands will have to start ramping up their content creation efforts in order to keep up with the consumer thirst for information. Rather than producing ‘ads’ to push communication, brands will be looking towards storytelling methods in their efforts to display true authenticity of their customer value proposition. Brand can be publishers in three ways – branded content, curated content or crowd-sourced content.In mature markets we see brands like Dove, Red Bull, Coca Cola have been creating content for years and we’ll see this trend start to happen in Vietnam as well as competition increases.


Offline-Online-Offline accountability

We’ve seen brands move offline to online – but in 2016 the focus will be how digital marketing can be accountable for actual, real offline sales. Many marketers and agencies tend to get focus on delivering on digital metrics but how much of that translate to real sales, especially in a retail/FMCG world?  Next year we’d like to see brands get sophisticated in their accountability for offline-online-offline sales. From simple tactics like online to offline coupons to more smarter (and alas, more expensive) methods using iBeacons and mobile platforms; the maturity of the digital industry in 2016 will need more accountability, transparency and real return on investment from all digital channels.