As we move into 2016, there are a few topics I expect to dominate the headlines as the New Year progresses.
Mobile will continue to grow:
Even though we’ve all been talking about mobile for years now, this is absolutely the year that if you don’t have a mobile strategy in place, expect to be left behind. Consumers are savvier and will no longer tolerate shopping on a site that has not be optimized for mobile. These same consumers also expect that everything will work seamlessly for brands across all platforms, devices and points of engagement. Gone are the days where consumers are forgiving and will wait until their get to a desktop to make a purchase, connect or engage with a brand. If you’re not right in their face (rather in their hands via tablet or mobile phone) an opportunity- whether that is a sale or an engagement will be lost. You loss is your competitors gain.
The data from the 2015 holiday season proves that mobile is huge. Mobile commerce in the U.S. soared 59 percent year-over-year to $12.65 billion in November and December, according to market researcher comScore.
The preliminary figures – sales from smartphones and tablets – account for 18 percent of total digital commerce compared with 13 percent last year, according to last week’s figures from comScore. Total digital spend is projected to have risen 13 percent to $69.08 billion.
The performance marketing industry used to be it’s own little space. But significant growth, proven results and success has others taking notice. The space is not only attracting more and bigger brands, but also the attention of ad technology companies, media companies, investors and venture capitalists. This means more investments coming into existing online marketing companies, funding of startups, and more interest from established tech companies looking to buy smaller performance companies to help bolster overall offerings.
We’ve already seen two acquisitions by eBay Enterprise Network in the last month. This week, Coupon affiliate Offers.com announced it was acquired for an undisclosed sum by Internet services company J2 Global, which owns eFax, FuseMail, Onebox, as well as IGN, PCMag, Ziff Davis and more.
The volume of online and mobile deals in 2015 increased 12% to 2,798 transactions from 2,493 in 2014, according to investment bank Berkery, Noyes & Co. Deal value rose 19% to $156.49 billion from $131.16 billion in 2014.
Most deals – 2,424 or 86.6% – were strategic transactions conducted by other companies, often competitors. The remaining 374 deals, or 13.4%, were financial deals, which are those financed by private equity, venture capital and other investment firms, according to the report released this week.
Last week, investment firm Petsky Prunier released its 2015 summary of merger and acquisition and investment activity, finding that investors and buyers put $32.45 billion into the industry last year, a 145% jump compared with $13.22 billion in 2014. Deal and investment activity in the sector increased to 475 deals in 2015 from 323 announced deals in 2014.
Expect even more deals this year.
Evolution of Industry Labels:
Our industry is rapidly changing and in many cases some designations are no longer appropriate. because they no longer reflect the reality and scope of the industry and the players in the space.
Even the most basic terms like affiliate seem a bit outdated. Affiliates are so diverse. There are single person affiliate sites, huge affiliates like eBates and Offers.com, affiliates that are tools providers and sub-networks like Proserpent and VigLink, bloggers who include affiliate links, search specialists that use an affiliate model, and more. Maybe we should all move to the term publishers as that is what they all do (with affiliate being one monetization model they use).
Even most of affiliate networks offer more than just affiliate services include retargeting, search, display and more. And the landscape is changing for those that manage programs. So, as eAccountable.com enters it’s 16th year of business, we say..don’t call eAccountable an OPM. It’s not that OPM is a dirty word, but as our business has evolved into an a full-service digital agency, the outsourced program manager (OPM) label is no longer appropriate. It’s outdated for the broader scope of services we are now offering.
There’s nothing wrong with OPMs. We built our business as experts in managing affiliate programs. But as the industry has changed and clients have come to demand online marketing service. A siloed model no longer works for clients looking for a more holistic approach to their online marketing efforts, which include paid search, affiliate, performance, email, social media, display, native advertising and more.
During our evolution as a business, we have realized the importance of technology and for many years we’ve been developing tools that make it easier and more effective for our clients to run successful campaigns.
What topics do you think we’ll be talking about most in 2016?