Four Trends Predicted to Go Mainstream in the Media Industry in 2016

When you are in the middle of a revolution, the dominant angle is to play big. Media and content creation is more in flux than it has been since the advent of the internet as companies realize that little tweaks or mini innovation labs will not fix deeply flawed financial models. There is also an incredible amount of opportunity on the table for those who can lean into trends and define the new standard. Here at Odyssey, we are analyzing the data and engaging with our audience every day. We’re placing bets on four trends in the media industry that will impact the way we create content.

1. Content becomes personalized to users

Imagine coming to a site that knows the articles you have previously read, your favorite authors, articles you dislike, and articles that are resonating with people similar to you, and uses that information to cut through the clutter and put the most relevant content in front of you. That is personalized content… Facebook does this for social media. Content will have to become even more personalized for users.

A user is somebody who is logged in across their devices and has provided relevant information about themselves. When a site has users, it can use data science to optimize putting the most relevant content in front of the right user, and this will lead towards optimizing content creation. Facebook’s Instant Articles is an incredibly strategic play that leans directly into this trend for discovery.

2. Contextual content expands in programmatic

Programmatic advertising will use new levels of data to truly connect ads to contextually relevant content. We’ll start to see larger amounts of context and keyword tagging, and even begin to see sites offer sentiment and quality targeting. This will overlap with user targeting (see above) allow nearly 100 percent accuracy in targeting relevant demographics.

3. Viral will die

Content producers will stop chasing large viral reach and start to chase more relevant, deeper reach into more interested communities. We are quickly moving to a world where organic social (content shared by humans) will have more value than paid social. We are already starting to see this trend manifesting in the freefall of referral traffic from Facebook to traditional digital publishers like Huffington Post that relied heavily on boosting and branded pages.

For native content, measurement will shift from viral reach to engagement. Companies like Simplereach and Chartbeat have already done a great job changing the conversation in this way. We’ll also start to measure feedback on what the audience actually thought about the content, like what Knotch is doing by getting feedback on sentiment from readers.

4. The millennial whisperer has no clothes

Ninety million people are not the same, and companies will have to move away from generalization in content and targeting to keep up with where trends are going. People have stood in front of crowds with beyond generic presentation slides saying generalizations about Millennials for far too long now. Although those ideas may be easy to understand, it doesn’t mean they’re right. The narrative will try to be shifted to Gen Z to offer fresh insights on the next ‘uncapturable’ generation, but the true winners are the ones who will be able to target users against contextually relevant content of interest.

Do you agree with these predictions? What other trends are you seeing? Tweet me at @evanburns

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