Another year coming to a close means the year-end lists are multiplying thick and fast. Buried in the onslaught of holiday-fuelled, feel-good indulgence and clickbait (Exhibit A: http://bzfd.it/1yq0D6t) are a number of compelling predictions about where the media industry, content marketing and social networks are going in 2015. We found some of those from Contently (http://bit.ly/130GLfS) and Say Daily (http://bit.ly/1ENZZCK) particularly insightful.
Definitive statements on the future are always dangerous, but the n/n team agrees some clear trends are emerging that are only likely to gain momentum in the year ahead. In no particular order:
Media/content marketing convergence: As more brands look to publish their own material rather than relying on news outlets to do it for them, more news outlets will create teams and outlets to attract, produce and distribute sponsored content. While this could raise ethical questions, the borders between advertising and news have always been more porous than they appear. Provided sponsored content is clearly differentiated from the non-sponsored variety, this will be on balance a positive development for traditional media and its audience, as it will relieve some of the industry’s financial pressures and ensure more journalists are paid something above subsistence wages.
The (continued) mobile takeover: While we’re not convinced 2015 will see wearable technology take off on a big way, more people than ever will be accessing content on mobile devices. Rather than devising a separate mobile strategy, companies will have to ensure their content is built from the ground up with mobile displays and interactivity in mind — which means a focus on accessibility, ease of use and the ruthless pruning of unnecessary clutter.
Even bigger, and better-looking, data: Analytics, and particularly social media analytics, are growing even more sophisticated, so expect more media and other companies to use data to predict what their audiences want – and produce accordingly. Rich data visualisation will also become an increasingly important way of telling a story in its own right, as seen in some of the excellent infographics produced by the likes of Quartz (http://qz.com/). Quartz recently made one of its in-house graphics tools, Chart Builder, open source, which should encourage even more to pick up the visual journalism mantle. Take a look at how it works, or try your hand at chart creation, here: http://quartz.github.io/Chartbuilder/