2016 will see the paid advertising market continue to grow at an impressive pace.

The momentum that has been built over recent years shows no signs of slowing, while new innovations and evolving user behaviours are causing marketers to rethink their approach to devising effective campaigns.

In this piece, we’ve taken a look at the opportunities that the upcoming year may present.


In 2014, the time spent mobile browsing exceeded desktop use for the first time ever. The trend continued in 2015, with no signs of slowing down into 2016.

While this medium is now the preferred choice for millions of users across the world, mobile ad spend is just catching up. It’s anticipated that mobile spend will surpass desktop in 2018, so we’re on the cusp of a complete rethink as to how marketers will need to dedicate budget.

What’s next?

There’s a huge opportunity for advertisers to really begin investing in mobile in 2016; lower rates of cost-per-click will generally result in higher return on investment and, ultimately, wider success.

As user behaviours continue to evolve, it’s a great time to exploit the mobile advertising market, test different strategies and determine how this audience can be most effectively targeted.

Content marketing

With the rise of mobile in mind, marketers need to ensure that the way in which content is consumed by individuals is effective. There’s no point having a great mobile advertising campaign in place if the content that individuals are directed to fails to deliver against their initial expectations.

The real challenge is ensuring that the right type and quality of content is produced for mobile users, something which many brands are still trying to successfully get to grips with.

What’s next?

With browsing behaviours in mind, mobile content needs to be succinct and easy to read. The ‘storytelling’ culture which has evolved over recent years risks overwhelming users; marketers may need to return to basics in order to ensure that key messages are successfully communicated.

Still, there’s plenty of storytelling opportunities presented by mobile - it doesn’t have to be limited to just written content. The use of rich media (such as video, for example), combined with high quality text, will be key to providing users with an engaging mobile experience.

Native Advertising

The rise of ad-blocking software is estimated to have cost publishers nearly $22 billion in 2015. This is driving the growth of native advertising, where paid ads are created to match the visual design of the pages they’re presented as part and to sit inline with the overall user experience.

Subtly presenting ads in this manner helps ensure that they’re overlooked by ad-blocking software, therefore meaning that no wasted spend is incurred.

What’s next?

Native advertising space can now be purchased programmatically and can include all forms of media, including articles, video, social media, etc.

As the native advertising market evolves, advertisers are going to have to produce higher quality content in order to both better target users and compete against industry rivals.

Programmatic ad buying

Programmatic ad spending increased by 66.2% in 2015 with expectations that it will continue to grow massively in 2016. It’s essentially the automated process of buying ad space on websites, run through dedicated advertising solutions, which reports suggest actually increase the likelihood of user engagement and overall ROI.

What’s next?

Being able to use automated solutions that purchase ad space and run campaigns without the need of human intervention is a highly appealing proposition for agencies and advertisers alike. Expect to see a rise in the number of campaigns being underpinned by programmatic ad solutions, although ‘the future of ad buying’ still requires plenty of evolution before it’s able to run without assistance from real marketers.

Ad Fraud

With billions being spent on paid media each year, there’s always going to be opportunities for fraudsters to capitalise - it’s suggested that they’ve cost the industry over $7.5 billion in recent years.

The most common fraudulent tactics include selling ads and space that never actually appear in front of real users, as well as encouraging bots (non-human traffic) to unethically increase impressions and click-through rates.

What’s next?

Marketers will need to ensure that all their campaigns are run on a cost per click basis, so that fraudulent impressions aren’t paid for (as with CPM campaigns). An increase in the use of anti-fraud software will also ensure that all ads clicks are monitored, therefore identifying, minimising and reporting fraudulent activity.