Digital Marketing Trends for 2016


This year has shown us that any doubts we may have had regarding the dominance of mobile is over. Mobile is clearly where it’s at. That said, as I have often advised, behind every digital campaign is real people who are seeking information, education and entertainment. Responding to real people requires that your brand be authentic to who you are. Data analytics may be cool but it represents the behaviors of actual people so if we remember to speak to those people with our content in a way that responds to their needs, then we are more likely to make a connection.

With that in mind, according to ZenChange and other industry experts we connected with at Facebook, Amadeus, Mastercard and IMS, here are the trends we expect for 2016:

  • A return to authenticity – be consistent in your message within and across channels, and true to your brand and what your target consumer really wants. Millennials in particular have a very low tolerance for “spin”.
  • Better use of data – tools to get our arms around the implications of social media activity for our campaigns. For example, half of the people on Linked In change their title before they change jobs. If job change is a trigger for your business then knowing this in advance can be very helpful.
  • A return to (some) simplicity – consumers will reject complex websites, poor navigation, cramped pages, and slow loading pages.
  • Better understanding of the customer – platform specific, and time specific messages. Understand what really matters to them and add value.
  • Increase in visual media – more shared images and especially videos. Sharing of messages using Augmented Reality (overlaying 3D images on real world) and Virtual Reality (360 degree immersion in a manufactured reality).
  • Greater use by business of image/video based social media channels such as Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Periscope.
  • Continued dominance of the major social media channels (Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube), at least for now.
  • Greater use of Facebook advertising focused on target personality profile preference-based clusters.
  • Greater use of Foursquare marketing to overlay preferences with location. This allows for moment-based branding which is greater targeting of messages to times when the customer wants to hear them. For example, targeting a message to a customer when he checks into a location in a shopping mall.
  • More companies move billboards digital to Waze.
  • Continued strength in email marketing to opt-in lists.
  • More campaign personalized to a segment of 1 with the customer at the center, able to interest and create “my online experience”.

Regardless of the channel strategy or message, overall the trend is toward channel integration, which includes both customizing the message depending on how the customer uses the channels, as well as recognizing the mindset of the consumer according to when and were they are at the time.