Distilling All Those 2016 Digital Marketing Predictions

We’re a few weeks into 2016. Congrats! If you’re struggling (like me) to maintain those resolutions, don’t worry, there’s still a little more than 11 months left until 2017. You got this!

But what will the rest of 2016 bring? In what has become a sort of yearly tradition for many publishers and content generators, a plethora of lists making some big predictions for the year emerged in the days before and after those calendars flipped over…especially in the marketing industry.

With headlines like The Next Big Thing in Digital Marketing, 10 Things to Watch for in Digital Marketing in 2016, or 2016 Digital Marketing Trends, there are so many lists swarming around out there it’s easy to get a little lost and confused. No worries, I’m here to distill a few of those lists for you and take a look at some trending trends (and yes, the irony of creating a list based on a bunch of lists is not lost on me).

So here they are, the top trending trends for digital marketing in 2016:

1. More spending on digital marketing and ads

As more and more companies begin to realize the benefit of content in building their brand, growing their audience and turning conversions, they will increasingly put more of their budget toward digital and content marketing. Digital marketing teams will grow and be given more to spend on creating and promoting content in an area where competition is only increasing. At the same time, as competition for the audience attention multiplies, businesses will find that paying to advertise on social networks or news, magazine and content sites is increasingly important to get their message out.

2. Businesses will begin merging departments and consolidating efforts

Numbered are the days when businesses have separate departments for social media, content, creative, SEO, SEM and any number of others. As the marketing industry focuses more and more on content and content promotion, the lines between these departments begins to blur and having separate departments becomes inefficient and ineffective. To keep up with the competition, businesses with tear down walls (literally and figuratively) to combine departments and efforts.

3. Buying and building content studios and generators

As creating quality content, everything from blog articles to videos, becomes more important, it’ll be increasingly difficult for businesses to produce that content in a timely manner. To help, many will either buy up smaller content creation studios or build their own. These hubs of content generation will involve everyone from copywriters to designers, developers, videographers, editors and audio technicians and include equipment ranging from top-of-the-line digital still and video cameras to recording booths, green screens and editing bays.

4. Video everywhere

No use in having all that fun equipment mentioned above without being able to create something cool with it! Get ready to the rise of video. Up until now, many social media networks and websites have focused on images. But as technology, storage and internet speeds get better, we’ll be presented with more video. Many brands have known for a while how good video is at relaying their message and sparking an emotion (there’s a reason they spend millions on Super Bowl ads), and now technology has made the use of video more feasible. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter are focused on beefing up their video integration which includes hosting, autoplay and purchasing options. As businesses catch on, we’ll only see more use of video from here on out.

5. Interactive content is important too

Video content isn’t the only thing you’ll start to see more of. As businesses find it harder and harder to stand out in a world where just about anybody can post a blog or article (case in point, you’re reading one right now), they will look for ways to make their content stand out. Expect to see companies, especially the big players, turn to other forms of content and media like podcasts, infographics, quizzes and slideshows to engage users.

6. Finding and creating the most effective content

While businesses begin to generate more and increasingly varied forms of content, they’ll also turn to data and analytics to figure out what’s working and what’s not. They’ll use that data to trim down and distill content and marketing strategies so they are only producing the most engaging and effective content with the highest conversion rates.

7. Automation will help everything run smoothly

There’s clearly a lot going on in the industry right now and keeping track of all of this can be difficult. Marketing automation tools will help. The best tools will help digital marketers gather and create content, schedule social media posts and emails, segment distribution lists and track data and performance. Marketers not using these tools will find it difficult to manage all of these aspects while businesses will realize investing in the right tools will help them stay on budget, trim teams and create efficiencies.

8. It’ll be all about you as personalization increases

Your information is everywhere. Between your Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, Internet companies know more about you than you probably know about yourself. Businesses and the marketing industry will begin tapping into that wealth of data to provide an increasingly personalized experience. Whether that’s retargeting ads, recommended content or websites that look different depending on who you are, businesses will try to increase conversions by cutting the clutter and creating an experience tailored specifically to you.

9. Targeting new technology

Dozens of new gadgets emerged in the last year and 2016 promises even more. More specifically, virtual reality, wearables and the so-called Internet of Things (a fridge with an Internet connection, anyone?) are set to or are already making their mark. As these technologies continue to expand and develop, businesses will find new ways to incorporate them into their marketing and advertising strategies. Imagine touring Italy on your virtual reality headset and being served an ad for that pasta recipe or your fridge telling you you’re out of your favorite brand of eggs (or maybe hinting that there’s a special on that competitor brand). These things might sound a little far-fetched, but don’t be surprised when that new smart watch you buy this year starts buzzing to tell you the store you’re walking by in the mall has a great sale happening for your favorite pair of pants.

So there you have it! Some of the most common trends predicted for 2016 based on the multitude articles around the web. Granted there are plenty more predictions floating around and who knows what, if any, of this will come to fruition. I guess we’ll see as 11 months from now we begin to crack our collective knuckles and prepare to write our 2017 digital marketing predictions.

If you’re interested to see where all these distilled predictions came from (and because I find it important to source my materials), enjoy the articles below!