The rise of dark social & reaching 'peak millennial': takeaways from The Drum’s Predictions Breakfast

What mobile advertising will look like in 2016 and the rise of marketing to Gen Z were just some of the main themes discussed earlier today (26 January) at The Drum’s 2016 Predictions Breakfast. Ogilvy digital director James Whatley and Mr President’s Laura Jordan-Bambach gave their take on the key trends that will impact marketers this year. Here’s a roundup of the top takeaways.

You need to know about ‘dark social’

If you’re unfamiliar with the term dark social, it’s time to get acquainted, as growing numbers of consumers continue to conduct conversations in private and share links away from major social platforms. Instead they are taking to the likes of WhatsApp, which Jordan-Bambach believes could be a place for brands to start engaging in conversations that aren’t interruptive.

“One of the things that I see and I think we will continue to see is the growth of marketing through dark social,” she said. “Not necessarily Snapchat but any of these peer-to-peer social places. If you look at the engagement they have and the longevity of those platforms compared to others, which tend to drop off… it’s also the most sensitive place to start to have a conversation as a brand.”

Although brands can’t deliver large-scale conversations on dark social, smaller campaigns can actually benefit brands because they can deliver an “incredible experience” that consumers can’t get elsewhere, added Jordan-Bambach.

Mobile apps will deliver relevant ads

Imagine a world where Uber pops up to remind you to call a cab for your restaurant reservation or it knows it’s raining outside and you hate to get your hair wet. This is the future of mobile advertising for apps according to Tom Farrell, digital marketing manager at SWRVE, an integrated marketing platform for mobile apps. The coming year will see brands move away from “marketing in a broadcast strategy” to using data points and consumer behaviour from a variety of channels to deliver relevant, helpful advertising.

“The successful brands will move away from interruption and to help and its marketing or advertising its experience of the brand which is completely different,” he said.

“The biggest move in mobile is almost certainly the idea of moving away from marketing as a broadcast strategy into something that interjects at the right time in somebody’s life, or the right time during the day when you can guess that they need a service and pop up at the right time of the day like a helpful friend.”

We’ve hit 'peak millennial'

Move aside millennials, it’s all about Generation Z in 2016. Those born after 1996 fit in to this group but for marketers and advertisers to be able to reach this hyper-socially aware cohort of people, they need to stop homogenising and find a real truth or insight and blow that out into audience research and consumer marketing, according to Whatley.

“Millennial is not only a cheap, lazy and boring way to describe a homogenous group of around 80 million people globally, seriously they can’t be in to the same things, but it’s also often predicated by a vast misunderstanding of exactly how old that group actually is,” he said.

2016 is the year of VR 1.0

Sony’s PlaystationVR, HTC’s Valve, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Microsoft’s Hololens, Samsung’s Gear VR, and Google Cardboard… all of these virtual reality devices are set to be released this year leaving no doubt that 2016 is the year of VR 1.0. But how do you get involved? And do you even want to?

There are two things that you can choose to do in the year of VR 1.0, said Whatley. Number one, don’t panic or number two, “go for the early PR Value” and explore what type of 360-degree video options are available to you.

Whatley suggested buying the cameras separately and purchasing a 3D printer to print out the kit and software that you need, or looking at the GoPro/YouTube partnership Jump - a VR platform that has been designed to take the nascent technology mainstream.

Natalie Mortimer

I look after all things creative.

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