By Communicate Staff

For the first time, UM MENA has launched its annual trends for 2016 in a report titled “Next Thing Now”. The report features the insight of media specialists at the agency as well as professionals from Coca- Cola, Google, DMS and Yahoo!

Highlights from the report include:

Technology & innovation

For 2016, brands must approach their inevitable ‘what to do with wearables’ discussion around how the wearables ecosystems can improve consumers’ lives. While some brands might not be quite ready to fully embrace this new age, we’re undoubtedly not as far off as we may think. Internet of Things (IoT) enabled brands are poised to jump on the bandwagon and reap the benefits of wearable technology.

Big data

The Oreo moment is so 2013. This year, we need to be anticipating and predicting trends. This is where big data can come in. The real power of big data is the extent to which it can enable brands to create experiences and deliver communications which add genuine value to consumers’ lives.

Branded content

Narrative brands are the way forward. They have the credibility and knowledge to create stories that work. Brands need to reinvent themselves as storytellers, although crafting good stories is not easy. But in the evolutionary cycle of adapt or die, we are now at an inflection point. Content is the only marketing left.

Mainstream media

This year, we need to put our money where our mouth is. So how do we integrate mainstream advertising seamlessly on multiple screens? By providing an experience as compelling and immersive as the one on TV. When multi-screen becomes the new mainstream, brands are able to increase their reach and create more meaningful engagement.


In the connected era, technology has altered the consumer journey. The neat funnel from awareness to loyalty has evolved into a sort of flight plan as shoppers dart back and forth between stores, online review sites, word of mouth and traditional ads. In MENA, as internet and mobile penetration reach record highs, it’s now a matter of e-tailers catching up, especially on the user experience front.

Media economy

Should the Iranian media market open up, it will have a sizeable impact on MENA media inflation. Like peanut butter and jelly, or hummus and –well, everything – MENA’s media spends go hand in hand with the region’s GDP. With positive provisions for economic improvement in Iran, despite lower oil prices, the marketing and media activity in the country could grow by 80 to 100 percent from the previous year.

“The report echoes the views of not just our media experts at UM but as well the direction in which our company is heading in the coming years when it comes to media planning and marketing solutions for our clients. There is a definite shift in the industry but by thinking forward and adapting our approach to the future trends we can achieve maximum impact and ROI. Next Thing Now will provide you with necessary insights and the way forward for you as a marketer and a media professional,” says Chris Skinner, CEO, UM MENA.

The trend report will be distributed to UM MENA clients and publishing partners around the region and by Q2 of this year will also be available online through the website for all to read. A 2017 edition will be out later in the year.