PR Predictions for 2016: The Farce Awakens?

PR Predictions for 2016: The Farce Awakens?

Christian Sharp

Christian Sharp

farceIt’s that time again when every man and his dog make predictions about what will happen next year [I’d like to hear the dog’s predictions. – Ed]. Most of these will be either too dry, dusty or saccharine to stomach, with others jumping the shark and swinging their lightsabers purely for column inches. At Firefly we’ve got a bird’s eye view from our fifth floor office, so we’ve been wracking our brains for predictions that aren’t too outrageous, but stand a good chance of making an impact on the communications landscape next year. So bear with us with one final animal metaphor as we present our ‘not too hot and not too cold’ 2016 predictions:

  1. Will monetisation creep into the journalist’s role?

    In 2016, traditional media publications will come to terms with new ways to monetise content. While PR experts have been dipping their toes into paid media – largely through social channels in my experience – journalists have been slower to deal with advertorial, native advertising and sponsored content as a core part of what they do. In 2016, it will be part and parcel of their role.

  1. Continued vlogger growth, yet no consistency in fees

    Other media channels will slowly continue to formalise their monetisation. PR predictions that don’t mention Zoella are like tech predictions without Uber, and with the news last February that the lifestyle vlogger bought a £6m house in Brighton, you can’t deny her importance. Zoella’s spot product placement fee is now around £4,000, meaning that there’s little doubt paid ‘Tubing can work. However, the vlogosphere is still a confusing arena to work in, with little fee consistency  or ROI. That’s largely because it’s risen up from the grass roots, rather than with defined advertising teams. This will not become any clearer in 2016, making it vital that PR consultants do their homework.

  1. PR and SEO will continue to converge

    As Google (and others) get smarter and move towards natural language rather than just keywords, off-site SEO practitioners may find themselves getting squeezed out. A lot of PRs aren’t dabbling in large scale pay-per-click campaigns, but as Google ascribes more kudos to brand mentions occurring within a curated source, i.e. with an editorial team, public relations practitioners may find themselves with an unexpected opportunity.

  1. More apps = more emphasis on downloads

    Driving app downloads will continue to require sophisticated programmes. Google’s (and Microsoft’s) app indexing proposition – driving app use from mobile search – will help a great deal with what has been a tricky challenge for a lot of brands. Getting users to download an app – rather than simply signing up for a newsletter – without a clear understanding of benefits, user re-assurance (i.e. reviews), and brand ‘buzz’ via earned and shared channels is tough, making a combination of PR, social and paid activity necessary to drive success.

  1. Wearables hysteria will stop and practicality will set in

    In 2016, we’ll get over the wearable hype and get into more useful wearable applications. To some extent, this has been going on for a while with Fitbits and FuelBands etc. but the iWatch has really tipped this over the edge. It’ll be an interesting challenge for PR and marketing folk to work out how they optimise content for an ever more fragmented tech landscape – many haven’t even got to grips with mobile yet, let alone wearable or virtual reality (VR).

Regardless of whether you spend your holiday break calibrating your Fitbit, messing around with Google cardboard, or simply stuffing your face with turkey and … uh … stuffing, we hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and look forward to bringing you more insights and success in 2016.

Share this story:

Read more from the blog

plant growing from pennies
Blog

Creating a recession proof reputation

Tips from Claire Walker on how to build and maintain a recession proof reputation in a time of economic downturn. ...Read more

Claire Walker
Claire Walker
beach ball in pool
Blog

How can travel tech make summer holidays more sustainable?

Travel tech is providing all sorts of ways to lessen our carbon footprints when travelling this summer. Read more to find out how! ...Read more

Megan Hogg
Megan Hogg
speech bubble with dots
Blog

Knowing your team: the bedrock of internal communications

The shift to homeworking has seriously affected internal communications. Here are some ideas on how to bounce back. ...Read more

Ben Brigham
Ben Brigham

Add a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information