In its Cross-Platform report, comScore identifies the top 10 media trends for 2016.
1. 2016 will be the year of cross-platform
Over the past few years we’ve seen the convergence of desktop and mobile into a unified multi-platform digital environment. The next phase in media convergence is the collision of TV and digital as a higher percentage of viewing happens via the Internet and as consumers’ viewing patterns become more fluid across platforms. As measurement systems are developed to quantify this behavior, the media and marketing industries will be transformed by the power of cross-platform data.
2. Digital audience growth will subside, leading to a renewed focus on engagement and attention metrics
Digital audiences have undergone a sustained period of growth from the emergence of the mobile Internet, but signs that this growth trend is beginning to taper off point to a growing demand for metrics that go beyond demonstrating scale. Engagement metrics, such as time spent and meaningful visits, are likely to play an increasing role in articulating the value of a digital media property’s audience.
3. The smartphone app will account for the majority of all digital media consumption
Time spent on smartphone apps has been consistently trending upward in the past few years, ending 2015 with a 47% share of total digital media engagement. Its growth trajectory will continue in 2016 –particularly as mobile video viewing gains steam –on its way to representing the majority of all digital consumption time.
4. Mobile ad spend will get unlocked as measurement standards come into place
Mobile advertising growth has been on a tear the past two years, which is little surprise given the shift in media consumption to smartphones and tablets. At the same time, measurement standards for mobile have lagged that of desktop, which has likely inhibited further ad spending on mobile. As those standards finally come into clearer view in 2016, advertisers will benefit from more comparable metrics and more scalable means of reaching the right consumers.
5. Social media will increasingly revolve around video content
With Snapchat having now emerged as the next great social media company, there is a growing realization of the power of video-to-drive social resonance. Facebook and Instagram have already ramped up their video efforts, and more recently we’ve seen Twitter-owned Periscope capture the attention of users with its live streaming capability.
6. Platform publishing optimization will emerge as digital’s newest cottage industry
With publishers putting their content directly on 3rdparty publishing platforms such as Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover and Apple News, a host of technological, analytic and revenue optimization challenges will arise that may exceed what publishers are equipped to efficiently handle in-house. Just as search engine optimization boomed during the first half of the 2000s, and social marketing optimization exploded in the late 2000s, the next big digital cottage industry will be built around publisher platform optimization.
7. Just as small screen viewing is shifting to the tiny screen, the big screen will be increasingly fought on the small screen
TV –aka “small screen” –content viewing has increasingly shifted to even smaller screens such as smartphones and tablets in the past few years. A parallel shift we can expect to see accelerate in 2016 is from the movie theater screen to TV screen. As Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others enter bidding wars for the rights to major motion pictures that would traditionally have a theatrical release, more first-run viewing of these films is likely to happen from the comfort of streaming video subscribers’ homes.
8. Wider availability of over-the-top (OTT) content will grow the Total Video pie, not cannibalize it
The conversation around shifts toward OTT viewing on Netflix, Amazon and the like has traditionally been coupled with discussion of cord-cutting. But with more broadcast and cable networks –such as HBO, CBS, Disney and others –making their content available over-the-top via apps, there is a renewed opportunity to reach those non-Pay TV audiences who couldn’t otherwise be reached while not increasing the rate of cord-cutting.
9. Mobile commerce will surpass 20% share of total retail dollars spent on digital
While m-commerce conversion will remain a relative friction point, a confluence of factors are improving to help mobile’s share of spending continue to accelerate. Faster connections, decreasing concerns over transaction security, larger phone screen sizes, and more frictionless navigation of e-commerce mobile sites and apps will all help push m-commerce share from under 17% in 2015 to more than 20% in 2016.
10. Content curation will emerge as a key area of tech and startup innovation
The expansiveness and highly fragmented nature of media content today has created a huge problem for consumers who want to easily access and keep track of the TV shows, digital videos, podcasts, books, music, and articles they want to consume. At the same time, there remains untapped opportunity for more relevant content recommendation –leveraging social and other algorithms –that can help significantly improve the content discovery experience. That such large consumer friction points still exist suggest that the technology/media sector may be ripe for its next wave of innovation (ironically, just as talk of the tech bubble bursting reaches a fever pitch).