Below, Ed Horne, executive vice president of WME/IMG Global Partnerships, discusses eight activation trends to watch in the New Year.

Live video. “Based on the continued trend and penetration of live streams via Facebook Live, Snapchat Live, Instagram Live Stories, etc., we will see better coordination and connection bridging live events with additional ways of allowing people remotely to engage with a particular event. We’ll also see new ways in which the quality of live social broadcasts will be improved for the viewer, including more interactivity and participation.”

Product as marketing. “As it becomes more difficult for brands to cut through and stay relevant with consumers, there will be a consistent appetite for marketers to collaborate with other companies, creatives, artists and others to develop “moment marketing” through the co-development of usable products and services that enable a brand to build narrative threads and content.”

Influencers as co-creators and advisors for brands. “With the magnitude of influence that these individuals have, along with core passions that many of them exude, we’ll see more “digital celebrities” begin working closer with brands to co-develop products and services that they’ll in turn help promote. This “product as marketing” will take shape even further with the participation of influencers shaping culture.”

More influencers. “Marketers still are only scratching the surface of what can be achieved through smart influencer activations. Investments in influencer marketing will increase as there are very few other mechanisms through which brands can reach a target audience in an authentic way. However, the influencers with the biggest followings are being bombarded with opportunity. There are only so many promotional posts a given influencer will want to publish. That opens the door for less desirable talent clients but talent who will deliver an outsized impact with their direct accounts.”

Virtual reality in sports. “In Q4 2016 we saw the biggest push to-date around legitimate VR experiences in the gaming category. From elite VR systems like PlayStationVR and Oculus Rift to improved content experiences delivered on low-fi headsets like Google Cardboard. Consumers will see higher adoption of these systems that will start paving the way for content producers around sports and live programming. The experience is only as good as the system it runs on and with gaming acting as the Trojan Horse in VR we will undoubtedly begin seeing more VR programming from sports and entertainment.”

Pushing the 1st party data agenda. “More marketers will try and negotiate data into their sponsorship rights as a way to marry first party data from rightsholders with their own data. Machine learning, predictive analytics and precision targeting will be how they leverage this infusion of data in order to tailor experiences and target further.”

The connected experience. “Emerging technology understanding and use are becoming much more prevalent with how people want to engage during on-site activations (e.g., VR, NFC, RFID, mobile). Given this adoption, brands will look to integrate ways to tailor the on-site experience even further in real-time (i.e., beacon triggered kiosks that can react and change, knowing your pre-set preferences).”

Increasing decline of the website. “Millennials and Gen Z are about as interested in websites as they are linear television. Marketers are going to have to work even harder and potentially spend more money to generate traffic to digital destinations. Increasing levels of content consumption are going to happen within “the Feed”.