We’ve already looked at our takeaways for 2015, and the trends that dominated the digital marketing space over the last 12 months. Now, it’s time to look ahead at what 2016 will bring for us all.
If you want to stay ahead, you’ll need to adapt your strategy. There’s more focus on video than ever, and the Internet of Things is going to present some vital new opportunities.
6 Trends For 2016
Digital marketing is changing, and the coming year will shake up your plan. Here are our six key predictions for digital marketing in the coming year.
1. Video, Video and More Video
If you aren’t already using video to boost your online marketing, 2016 is the year that you’ll simply have to embrace it. According to Cisco, online video users are expected to double in 2016, providing an audience of 1.5 billion people. Video is particularly critical to capture the youth market, with a huge number of young consumers now favouring video over all other content.
Social media sites are already tapping into this trend: Vine, Periscope, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram are all key platforms for video. As with written content, the key here is quality content that can stand up against slick competition. To compete, you’ll need a top-notch production team that can deliver accurate, branded messaging, while building a fully-engaged following across all the platforms you use.
Online video now accounts for 50 per cent of all mobile traffic, according to Bytemobile, and that will increase to 74 per cent by 2017. This increasing focus on mobile plays out in two more of our key predictions, and we’ll look at these next.
2. Desktop is Dying
Video isn’t the only way that mobile is taking over, and marketers can’t afford to ignore the march towards mobile usage.
In 2016, we’re going to see this trend continue, to the point where the desktop is going to be pretty much dominated by mobile. E-commerce on mobile devices is going to account for more than 24 per cent of total ecommerce revenue, and mobile ad spend will top $100 billion globally.
Our collective use of social media backs up this trend. For every marketer that scales down its Facebook spend, there’s another pumping more money into Instagram. It’s this shift towards hand-held, pocketable content that will leave desktop firmly in second place.
3. Digital Ad Spend is Exploding
Online video advertising revenue is set to reach almost $5 billion in 2016, a huge increase from our 2013 spend of $2.8 billion. TV advertising revenue is set to decline.
The visibility of video is increasing, and that’s leading to a massive increase in video advertising views. In December 2013, ad views on video platform topped 35 billion, which is a 100 per cent increase, year on year.
As digital ad spend increases, we’ll see digital marketers looking at new ways to eliminate fraud and ad blocking. As we become more sophisticated at using native ads, we’ll see an uplift in efficiency. As a result, ROI will naturally increase – although there’s work to be done to improve users’ trust before that can happen.
4. Consumers Will Expect Hyper-Personalization
In 2016, consumers are going to expect a personal connection. Digital marketers need to embrace this thirst for one to one contact, and develop personal campaigns with joined-up, personalized campaigns.
Personalization extends to every corner of your marketing spreadsheet, from PPC ads through to social messaging. Customer Match will be key for AdWords campaigns, while apps mobile will be instrumental in driving loyalty programs. For the best results, channels need to be joined to create a single customer view.
Treating people like individuals marks a sea change for digital marketers, and will require analytics in a depth we’ve never seen before. Hyper-personalization is a perfect blend of big data and extreme refinement: if you can carve accurate customer profiles from your data silos, you’ll improve your chances of speaking directly to the people who will spend.
5. Wearable Tech Has Come of Age
Wearable technology has gone from being a niche interest to a mainstream consumer product, with smart watches and fitness bands leading the market. In 2014, wearable device shipments are set to reach 19 million units, with worldwide spending on wearables hitting $1.4 billion in 2016.
The increase through 2016 will be even more marked, with wearable shipments hitting 111.9 million by 2018. That means we’re going to have more and more data about what people do, what they buy, and where those transactions take place.
We’ll also see increased investment in the Internet of Things, both in the home and in the workplace, and that’s going to take marketers on an exciting new journey. While wearables tell us about people, the IoT will tell us about their homes, health and habits, giving us opportunities to optimize every step of their journey.
6. Marketing Automation
As our access to data is expanded, and our focus on data quality improves, marketers are going to be increasingly reliant on marketing automation. This technology allows us to tap into consumer habits, react quickly to trends and make contact with our audience more efficiently.
Marketing automation is a key cost saving measure, and two of the world’s biggest think tanks back this up; Gartner estimates 15 per cent savings on creative production, and Forrester research suggests that automation yields 50 per cent more sales-ready leads, at 33 per cent lower cost.
2016: Time to Expand Your Horizons
Content may still be king, but you’ll need to transform your campaigns to stay relevant. That means expanding the scope of content you offer, broadening your reach, and looking for opportunities in new and interactive technologies. Video and the Internet of Things will be key drivers of change, and the insight we have into audiences will multiply. In 2016, marketers are going to need to equip themselves accordingly, embracing and analyzing huge amounts of data to improve the way they connect with individuals.