By: Sophie Klimkiewicz Out with the old and in with the new, because it’s 2016! There are so many great things to look forward to in the upcoming year, the presidential election being the most notable. It’s hard to know what to expect when a new year approaches, so the best thing a PR pro can do is buckle up and prepare for a year of ups and downs.

Here are a few things (besides politics) to keep an eye out for in 2016:

Ad Blocking

Information is now more accessible than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of Americans currently own a smartphone. Because of this advertisers have a more accurate and targeted way to reach their target audiences (TAs) – or so they thought. The more educated advertisers become on targeting their publics, the more educated consumers become on blocking ads. When it comes to ad blocking, PR professionals are working to find new methods and more effective ways to grab their public’s attention.

Social Listening for Research

“Social listening” is otherwise known as the process of monitoring digital media channels in order to devise a strategy that will better influence an organization’s TAs. Collecting data from places that consumers participate in online have proven to be invaluable. As social media continues to increase in popularity, being able to use such sites effectively have helped many organizations craft messages that better resonate with their TA’s.

New Platforms

While many companies have already launched social media campaigns on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, new social media platforms are rising in popularity, especially among young audiences. Snapchat and Yik Yak are the frontrunners in this new social media landscape for 2016. According to Nikki Sunstrum, Director of Social Media at the University of Michigan, U of M was one of the first universities to create their very own snapchat account. During the past football season, her social media team produced PSAs on topics such as underage drinking and campus safety along with ads promoting different academic departments and university-sponsored events. Yik Yak is also another social media app going viral on college campuses, in which college officials should consider using to reach the student body.

With new trends comes new challenges, and it is up to PR professionals to adapt, create, and research these new trends to become successful in the industry. The best way a PR pro can prepare himself or herself for the 365 days ahead is to be aware of current trends, keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the news and to expect the unexpected.

Sophie Klimkiewicz is currently a senior at Grand Valley majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and emphasizing in Advertising. Though, Sophie still enjoys working in the realm of Public Relations. She has worked at GVSU’s Career Center, Sports Marketing Department and GrandPR. Sophie enjoys seeking opportunities within her major and conquers the challenges that life throws at her. She truly values learning and challenging herself to be successful.