The Top 5 Digital PR Trends to Watch in 2016

By Shawn Paul Wood Comment


As the world of public relations becomes more and more integrated, it is crucial that PR practitioners understand the digital space.

By providing the ability to give clients exposure across a range of online and offline platforms, agencies are able to provide direction to a more savvy audience that consume key messaging anywhere and from anything.

In order to get in front of those cherished eyeballs you must understand the digital landscape. As our public service announcement to you, here are the top digital PR trends to watch in 2016:

1. Privacy. 

Internet PrivacyDo you have a tech client? If so, get them prepared for speaking opportunities, media interviews, and the occasional byline because they are about to become popular (providing you can get them in front of the right people).

Thanks to random hacktivism, password discussions, and the sundry leaks with Ashley MadisonBritish Airways and even the U.S. Army, high-profile security breaches have created more concerns among all audiences.

From Snapchat to Twitter, websites to SSL e-commerce, webmasters and Web owners alike are determined to keep their collected information protected, but they don’t know how. Social platforms, like Facebook, are creating more privacy tools and retailers are getting really slick with questionable online advertising but is it enough, and is it ethical? Maybe your client has the answer.

2. Real-Time.

real timeIn this world of gotta-have-it-now, the insatiable appetite for news, rumors, and information is growing at a rate most content providers continue to miss. From spoiler alerts and breaking news, to video moments on SnapChat and Periscope, there is only one way people can keep up with the voracious need for micro news tips — make more apps.

Everyone wants to be in the know, and with the advent of real-time unveiling, everyone can. The apps that do not provide that access will get left in the dust. Hollywood events are finding ways to give viewers more behind-the-scenes information. Sporting events are providing “after party” conversations across digital media so consumers will never unplug. Where do you stand? How does your client plug in?

Additionally, people want insight on that news they just consumed, which is why podcasting is so popular. If your client hasn’t jumped on the real-time and visual marketing bandwagon, they could get run over by the competition.

3. Social Search. 

social searchQuick Quiz: What is the number two search engine on the planet? That’s right… YouTube. If you thought it was Bing or Yahoo, this trend is for you.

It’s no secret that review websites help push people in the direction of certain purchases, but most people don’t think to visit Yelp, Consumer Reports, or even the BBB. So, they go to Twitter to see what influencers (and even trolls) have to say. They visit Facebook to see what their friends have to say.

This is why traditional PR people need to chum up with the digital guys and gals. Read about new search features on social platforms. Learn more about SEO. Figure out how to write for the Web. Understand the parameters placed on search to counteract black-hat tactics. Without that acumen, it’s impossible to get more clients.

4. Buy Buttons.

twitter-buy-nowYou know those annoying “buy now” and “learn more” buttons you see stalking your interests in your timeline? Yeah, they’re not going anywhere. In fact, more platforms are working on creating their own buy buttons.

Currently, if you see something appealing on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, you can get it with the power of a click. Plus, you never leave the app. Instagram is coming up with one very soon. Plan on Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn, and even Google+ (although no one will see it) to have one next year.

Buy buttons, like any link placed in a timeline, require user trust. If the Buy Buttons are forced, spammed, or intrusive to the user experience, Plan B will not be far behind. However, if brands can gain the trust of consumers and get just a few clicks on those “buy” features in timelines, this will be the wave of the very near future.

5. Ad Blocking. 

ad-blockingAccording to Pew Research, 65 percent of all adults use a form of social media. Furthermore, 75 percent of adults in the country surf the Internet daily, which means only 10 percent of U.S. adults do not use social media. Also, only five percent do not use a smartphone or tablet. Let that sink in a little.

If you are logged in, advertisers are going to find you. And that should ring true for your clients who want to be among those advertisers. However, Pew Research shared another important note: 45 million Americans use ad-blocking software. In just about every country in the world, purchase and usage of ad-blocking software has grown by double digits.

So, where is the balance? How can PR advise clients to execute a paid media campaign with the proliferation of all these ad-blockers? With the global ad-blocking user base about to surpass 230 million users (sources: PageFair, Digiday), and ad-blocking moving toward mobile, what’s a client to do? Well, that’s your strategy waiting to be created.

That’s where we stand PRNewserverse. What about you?