Editor's Note: This column is the eighth in an 11-part series on the Top Ten 2016 Marketing Trends. Check back for the remainder of the series and a deep dive into each of these trends.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that digital media ad revenue (including social, video and search) will surpass television ad spending in 2016 -- a full year earlier than projected. Other sources cite this passing of the torch to occur in 2017. Regardless, it's coming -- and soon.
Think back to how TV ad spending dominated a decade or two ago. Who would have thought we'd be where we are today?
What's driving the growth in digital investment?
For starters, competition for organic or unpaid visibility online is increasing as digital marketing accessibility improves. In other words, as more businesses enter the digital frontier, there is more content competing for consumer attention. With more content comes greater difficulty for your content to be seen organically -- or without paying to ensure so.
To compound this challenge, social media sites are throttling organic visibility as a way to improve their own revenue models -- intentionally making it harder for your followers to see your unpaid content. It's a trend that is expected to only worsen in 2016. All of this means that marketers are spending more on digital advertising to ensure their brand content is seen. And that is one reason why digital ad spending is expected to outpace TV for the first time ever.
These digital dollars are flowing significantly into social media, video and mobile advertising in particular. In fact, Zenith Optimedia -- via the New York Times -- predicted that mobile ads will account for more than half of all Internet advertising by 2018 -- overtaking desktop ads for the first time ever.
This "new world order" isn't just a result of increased digital investment, however. Until recently, marketers often pulled digital dollars from their print media budgets, but that's no longer enough. Ad dollars are now being pulled from TV as well. Plus, television advertising is also on the decline due to DVRs and consumer commercial-skipping practices. This is history in the making, as its the first time ever that TV advertising has declined, short of a recession year.
So what are the key takeaways for your 2016 plan? (1) Test video marketing if you haven't already via channels like YouTube, Vine and Instagram. (2) Ensure that all digital content your brand produces -- whether it be delivered via email, social media or your website -- is easy to view and digest on a mobile device. (3) Dip your toe into paid social media advertising if you haven't yet, as organic content has its limitations.
Don't be afraid to try new digital strategies, but test them first. Part of what makes digital marketing so attractive is how easily measurable it is.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.