I'm attending the CIM Digital Summit today for the first time. Daniel Rowles, who opened the event keeps referring to the changes in the audience polls he's led. Last year's attendees, for instance, neglected channels such as Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest. At least 50% of today's audience of marketers on the other hand were found to use these channels personally.

While 80% of attendees have responsive websites, that still means that 20% are neglecting segments of their audience. There is clearly still a way to go!

Rowles identified 5 key trends for 2016, which I'll summarize below:

  • Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence. All the major social media platforms (except for Twitter) are forcing algorithms on you. The average organic reach for brands on Facebook is incredibly low as a result - 3-4%.
  • Social commerce. As Rowle says: ‘We’ve been preaching that social media is not about selling. But now we say it isn’t except when it is’. One striking example was Pinterest's buyable pins.
  • Growth in ad-blockers. 11-12% of us use adblockers. He says this number is much higher in younger audience (70% of his students have them). ‘Stop creating ads that irritate people’, Rowles says, particularly with retargeting. 
  • Content quality focus. Rowles thinks the amount of content out there is terrifying and that we need to bridge the gap between what the brand wants to tell people and what customers want.
  • Focus on transformation across the business, particularly in leadership roles.

The takeaway of his talk is that digital culture is key. Businesses need to nurture a test and learn culture in which it's ok to try and fail. This is the hardest thing to implement.