The office Christmas tree is up, the Christmas party is booked and we are all looking forward to the festivities. But as 2015 draws to a close, 2016 is just around the corner and we must be ready!
This year we saw mobile, visual advertising, big data and an Omni channel user centric focus dominate the digital ballgame with social commerce and digital transformation coming up through the ranks.
For 2016, digital marketing will build on and develop much of the trends from 2015 as well as look towards new, innovative ways to reach out to the customer and enable digital engagement.
As 2015 was the year Big Data became big, 2016 will see the emergence of actionable insights and personalisation as the result of predictive analytics. Business Analysts will be crucial in the Digital Team to dissect mass volumes of data and produce valuable information that will drive effective marketing campaigns.
We all know “Big Brother” is watching us and our online behaviour and 2016 will see this customer purchasing funnel at the fore front of digital campaigns, nurturing the customer along the path to purchase and ensuring that their cart is not abandoned but converted. Making use of historical data and remarketing to customers will mean that brands can target based on real data; previous online behaviour and personalise marketing campaigns simultaneously.
Visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest breathed a breath of fresh air into brand advertising in 2015. Capitalising on the mobile revolution and reaching out to the social savy consumer that we have all come to recognise, visual advertising and the power behind images and emojis has enabled brands to advertise in a whole new and innovative way.
Branching off from Instagram and Pinterest is what may redefine 2016 for digital; YouTube. Not only does branded video content shift the way in which consumers consume data in terms of how brands advertise to them, but YouTube has transformed the way the consumer searches – less Google and more Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest.
Jumping on the mobile bandwagon, brands in 2016 will treat mobile as the consumers first touch point, because it is. The consumer today will lift their smart phone to search and brands in 2016 will think in such fashion too. The larger screens that we are now seeing in mobile design such as the Apple 6s are being driven by consumer demand; a need to consume greater volumes of data at once. This continual diminishing of desktop, due to the shift from desktop to mobile, used to be about where the consumer is. Now and in 2016 it will be about what they are doing on mobile; video and we need to be there too.
Similar to video advertising, as the mobile revolution has become so normal now, so too has the fact that consumers scroll through their twitter and Facebook newsfeeds up to 150 times a day. Knowing the consumer is there so many times during the day, 2016 will see brands selecting “micro moments”, specific times the consumer is searching, at which to target them with their advertisement. This proves that in 2016, being there (online) will not be enough for brands but being there in the right moment and reaching out with relevant content that the consumer needs will make or break effective digital campaigns.
In such a fast paced digital arena, we can be sure of one thing; competition. Let’s face it, with the swipe of a screen or the click of a button a consumer can bounce off a page and buy elsewhere. Simple things like the loading time of a page, mobile responsive design and a relevant landing page can be the difference of an abandoned cart and a conversion (I have done it too!). We are extremely impatient creatures and human evolution has led us to want everything now; brands need to come up with the goods in 2016.
With mobile payments and contactless payments, it was only a matter of time before a hybrid of Facebook and Amazon hit our screens (whatever size.) With branded video advertising on YouTube and the launch of advertising platforms for brands on Instagram and Pinterest, the option to buy now on social is sure to rock the digital world in 2016.
The explosion of WhatsApp and Snapchat in 2015 has placed the power of the App in the marketing melting pot for 2016 in terms of offering the consumer everything a website does in a more streamlined, convenient and on the go fashion. Particularly, in real time, honing in on the point about consumers wanting everything now, social commerce combined with the App revolution will shake up retail and digital commerce in 2016, forcing brands to think outside the box and not to rule out the power of an App in both social strategy and marketing campaigns.
Gone are the days of “The Marketing Department” and “The Digital Marketing Department”. In such a complex and diversified environment, internal teams must sing from the same hymn sheet, concerned with the same goal of delivering a unified, relevant experience to the consumer. The consumer, the end user being the common point of interest.
Establishing this common goal and ensuring an integrated and holistic approach to marketing in 2016 will be crucial for brands. Let’s face it, marketing hasn’t changed that much – it is still concerned fundamentally with targeting the right consumer at the right time and in the right place. That right place just isn’t in a bricks and mortar store anymore but in an online extension of that store which requires marketers to exploit alternative methods of advertising.
Therefore marketing within that bricks and mortar store is just as important and just as relevant to the customer experience as it must run parallel with the online experience and be consistent in its offerings.
So enjoy the last few weeks of 2015, indulge in the well deserved party season and get ready for all this Digital good stuff that awaits us in 2016!