What are some of the strongest trends in digital advertising for the second half of 2017? According to industry thought leader Lori Senecal, the focus this year will be on creating images and videos that stand out from the crowded advertising landscape. Consumers will ignore unremarkable ads, but innovation will be rewarded. Without a fresh, bold and personalized approach, ads have little chance of being seen, much less of going viral. Digital marketers should pay attention to these trends:
Aiming for the Heart
Ads that provoke an emotional response will break through consumer apathy and prompt viewers to share. Successful ads use emotion to touch viewers, providing an authentic and inspiring experience.
Using Real People
Using real people in ads is a trend that helps ads increase their emotional impact. Viewers who feel a connection with the people in the ads are more likely to watch and to share.
Being Surprising and Delightful
The most on-trend ads will focus on creating a pleasant viewer experience. Surprising and delighting consumers makes ads feel fresh and exciting, traits consumers will also associate with the brand itself.
Using Strong Colors
Ads that stand out visually using strong eye-catching colors compel viewers to look. Bold colors and unexpected color combinations are popular trends this year.
Viewers who are annoyed by intrusive and irrelevant ads develop the habit of ignoring or blocking them. In response, advertisers are making ads more interesting and less annoying. Ads that start playing sound automatically draw frequent complaints from viewers. This dissatisfaction prompted this year’s trend to turn the sound off of videos as the default setting. Advertisers are also using captions or other devices to make it possible for viewers to watch videos with the sound off without missing any of the meaning.
Ads that merely urge viewers to buy a product are a turn-off for digital viewers, who scroll past anything that does not catch their attention. Advertisers who make their ads about their viewers and not about themselves will have a distinct advantage.
Optimizing Primarily for Mobile
The trend towards increased mobile usage is stronger than ever. Mobile usage continues to outpace desktop usage. Optimizing for mobile can no longer be an afterthought. Instead, the trend is to optimize for mobile first and desktop second.
Ads should work seamlessly on different devices. Messaging should be consistent everywhere an ad campaign is viewed, whether that is on phones, tablets, laptops or offline.
Showing Powerful Women
The popularity of powerful women on screens continues to soar in both the entertainment and advertising realms. The movie “Wonder Woman” started a trend that will be with us through at least the end of the year. Ads featuring strong women feel fresh and modern and appeal to both women and men. These powerful women can be superheroes or simply everyday heroes in their own lives.
Making Viewers Laugh
Humor is always popular, but it becomes especially important as a release during stressful times. Humor that works well has the potential to go viral. It creates positive associations for the brand being advertised.
Humor in this year’s ads ranges from whimsical to sarcastic, depending on the brand’s desired image and its target market.
Being Trendy by Being Evergreen
One current trend is, paradoxically, to avoid trends. Ads that will work just as well in the future as they do right now project an image of stability and reliability for the brand.
Brands that have a diverse or worldwide target demographic can enhance their image by featuring people from a variety of cultures in their ads.
A campaign using the most creative and on-trend video and images will fail if consumers are turned off by the way the company treats them. Companies need to ensure that an appealing customer service plan is in place to interact with consumers when they respond to the ads.
Innovation is critical, but it’s just as important to analyze results to find out which campaigns and individual ads are the most effective and which need to be scrapped.
About Lori Senecal
Lori Senecal is the Global CEO of Crispin Porter & Bogusky (CP&B), a leading advertising agency that specializes in making brands famous. Under Lori’s strong leadership, revenues at CP&B grew more than 21 percent over the last two years. Lori’s reputation as a management genius has spread throughout the industry. She received a Quantum Leap award for innovative leadership, and Advertising Age put her on its “Women to Watch” list.
Before joining CP&B, Lori was the global chief innovation officer for McCann Worldgroup, president of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, chief information officer of McCann Worldgroup and president of the McCann Erickson New York office. She then became global chairman and CEO of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal Partners (kbs+) and president and CEO of the MDC Partner Network. She grew up in Canada and graduated from McGill University. When she is not working her management magic, she enjoys photography and technology.