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5 digital trends that are set to turn 2016 upside down

So here it is: 2016 has arrived. And that means a look ahead to the coming year. Asking around the Tammos and Expanders produced a nice mixture of quotes. One thing’s for sure: we’re in for an awesome 2016!


1. Content & Social – from Ad-blockers to the Matrix

The digital giants are managing to worm their way further and further into our lives. And as long as they make our life a bit better, more fun or smarter, this doesn’t seem to bother us. Speed and relevance remain key in order to be able to stand out in 2016.

Ivo Kleppe, Lead Content at TamTam: “2016 will hopefully be the year of relevant advertising rather than a legal battle about ad-blockers. Advertisements that match our search query and are displayed at the right time are no problem for the vast majority of people. Brands are often still completely missing the mark in this regard. As long as a 7-year-old boy is confronted with an advertisement about shaving when he opens a YouTube clip, there’s still plenty of work to be done.”

Ivo Kleppe, Lead Content at TamTam: “Whilst in recent years we’ve particularly communicated with our friends using text, we are seeing that face-to-face messaging is becoming increasingly important. We are using audio and video messages to talk to one another more often. And we’re not as camera-shy as we used to be. That’s not surprising, since we’re also seeing images being used prominently when it comes to content creation and web design.”

Thom Kloet, Senior SEA/RTB Consultant at Expand Online: “Why would anyone still use banners for branding if they could show VPAID videos instead? Attractive visual material combined with specific targeting is the winning combination for 2016! With interactive video you as a brand have the opportunity to interest, engage and commit potential customers in a single advertising spot.”

Fieke Ripping, Online Marketing Consultant at Expand Online: “‘Rubbish advertising! Get out of my feed you losers!’ Although the average Instagram user still needs to get used to sponsored posts in their timeline, the figures for the first campaigns show that it’s a successful advertising tool. Unprecedentedly high CTRs, low CPCs and high quality traffic to the website. You know you want it.”

Ivo Kleppe, Lead Content at TamTam: “There is a countermovement happening with regard to personal display on social media. On the up and coming platforms like Snapchat it’s no longer about the pixel-perfect shot, but about being real and fun. The result is a split around posting the best images using Instagram versus an app like Beme – an app that uses real images from the real world that you can’t ‘tweak’ or manipulate because you post the video immediately, unseen. Epic and honest.”

Max Pinas, Online Strategist at TamTam: “The digital giants are building a Matrix (yes, like Neo’s). The possibilities offered by VR and Artificial Intelligence far exceed what we can imagine. Facebook and Google are buying one start-up after another are going into battle. Soon we’ll be able to step into The Matrix from our living room.”

2. Data – from Marketing Automation to Self Driving Cars

Data is everywhere, and we are seeing that companies will be increasingly improving their control of this data in 2016. The companies that really dare to use customer data to improve users’ lives will become the gamechangers in their industry even more than in 2015. And that’s without even mentioning the possibilities offered by self-learning algorithms.

Max Pinas, Online Strategist at TamTam: “I keep seeing more smart apps and solutions in the field of eHealth, whereby healthcare is viewed from a different and ‘disruptive’ perspective. From technology that makes it possible to diagnose cancer from a single drop of blood to an ambulance drone. These are remarkable first steps, and I can only see eHealth making even more of a difference in 2016.”

Barry Borsboom, Lead UX Designer at TamTam: “Big data is the 21st century’s oil. But oil is simply thick gloop until it’s refined into petrol. The same applies to big data – it needs to be refined first in a ‘self-learning’ algorithm. Algorithms are all around us now. For example, Tesla’s ‘self-driving’ car is already driving around on algorithms that manage to interpret all the data around them smartly. This means that the Tesla brand is constantly gaining in value. It’s not about the data, but about the self-learning algorithm. Algorithms are the secret ingredient for successful organisations in 2016.”

Ralf van Veen, Online Consultant at Expand Online: “It remains a challenge to generate leads. TGWHMA, Thank God We Have Marketing Automation. A growing number of companies are recognising that ‘warming up’ leads in stages by automatically sending relevant content is the best way of winning leads. Your sales team are happy with better leads, and your marketing team are pleased to be relieved of the burden.”

Dimi Albers, Managing Director of TamTam: “With the big data hype behind us, marketeers and agencies are finally coming to realise in 2016 that size doesn’t matter – ordinary data is what it’s all about. Data and creativity are finally being properly combined. This means that brands are increasingly able to develop platforms and campaigns that consumer will actually find and use. And we can finally also have a sensible discussion about ROI.”

3. Digital Design – about User Testing and Hellofresh

The next step in User Experience, whereby the focus is on the customer and user testing is essential. User Experience no longer stops at your screen, but is also linked to the offline world – something from which both established businesses and the major online retailers could learn something.

Laura Legue, Interaction Designer at TamTam: “Design Thinking is being adopted by more and more organisations. Companies are gaining a better understanding of the value of design for their business. User Experience is therefore being developed more rapidly. We are starting to really listen to our users. We thereby also have an increasing need for smarter systems, since the complexity of data is growing. The predictive behaviour of systems like Google Now and Nest are developing because they are actually taking over the user’s cognitive load.”

Max Pinas, Online Strategist at TamTam: “Rabobank is going back to the old app. Do I need to say any more about the need for user testing?”

Laura Legue, Interaction Designer at TamTam: “2015 was all about user experience & service design. Research-based design, testing and user-friendliness are all part of what clients are asking for more than ever. Optimising and digitising processes in order to create a seamless service provision is becoming increasingly important. In 2016 we’re going to make a big step towards closing the gap between online and offline service provision.”

Max Pinas, Online Strategist at TamTam: “With regards to eCommerce I hope that 2016 will be about proactive concepts that genuinely do think along with us, like Hellofresh. Online shopping at the Coolblues and Zalandos of this world is still primarily functional, like walking through Makro: you don’t feel anything. The experience that gets a lot of attention offline is often still very much absent with online shopping.”

4. Service – from Ground Drones to Smart Messaging

In 2016 we will be aiming for next level service. The technical means are available – now it’s up to the companies to really make our lives a bit better. Companies which base everything around customer service and so make us smile.

Max Pinas, Creative Director at TamTam: “Ground drones – how cool is that as an idea? Aerial drones lead to complex discussions about privacy and safety. But covering the last mile using ground drones only costs around 10% of the current cost of delivery. I can see a good future for this form of unmanned transport.”

Bart Manuel, partner at TamTam: “From Self-service to Service. Too many apps enable me to do everything myself. Now I’m really not interested in entering meter readings, transferring spare cash to my savings account, or checking in and downloading a boarding pass. Couldn’t Google or someone please do that for me without bothering me about it?”

Danijel Bonacic, Online Strategist at TamTam: “In 2016 we will be seeing more Artificial Intelligence – in apps, on our smartphones, in service contact with service providers. It’s all aimed at reducing the chaos of notifications, emails and chats. All the big tech players are making advances in this area; hence Google has recently made its API open, and the Inbox app reads my mail and drafts possible answers automatically. Language is therefore the area where Artificial Intelligence will be most visible in 2016: chatting with customer service without involving a member of staff – the AI understands my question and provides the answers. Exciting times!”

5. Business – Digital Transformation and B2B

Digital is moving further towards the boardroom, and requires online agencies that can participate in the conversation, who understand that digital transformation also involves strategy and organisational structures. And not just for B2C any more – B2B is also managing to exploit the possibilities offered by online with growing success.

Paul Manuel, Partner at TamTam: “On 10 November there was the first report in the Financieel Dagblad newspaper: ‘Overheated acquisition market for online marketing companies.’ I don’t think that the market really is overheated, but I do believe that a substantial shift is going to take place in the agency landscape. The market is healthy, and is still fragmented. The large networks need to move online more, and private equity has discovered the online agency market. Companies are being merged, networks of digital-native companies are developing, and a few are managing to become genuinely international. In other words, it’s an exciting time for entrepreneurs and – more importantly – a new offering for clients: online agencies that really do support the entire online channel for larger organisations.”

Frank Schmid, Managing Director of TamTam: “Digital transformation and the associated way of thinking is spreading ever further through organisations. It’s unavoidable, but at the same time often involves a bitter confrontation between lean & mean and traditional organisational structures. Only companies which are prepared to engage in this confrontation over the coming years and actually managed to translate this digital transformation to the organisational structure will have the chance of achieving a dominant position.”

Dimi Albers, Managing Director of TamTam: “Marketeers and agencies often don’t find it sexy enough, but B2B will become a serious thing in 2016 (insofar as it wasn’t already). This group is often still lagging behind in terms of digital. By applying the lessons learnt in B2C with regard to search, social, service design and marketing automation, smart players will be able to become winners in their market within a year.”