At the rate that digital marketing is evolving, it can be hard to keep up. To stay ahead of the curve, we’re bringing you our predictions for 2016—what’s going to thrive, what’s going bust, and what to look out for on the horizons.
We’re not clairvoyant, but on the chance we get it right, we’d like to reserve the right to say “we told you so.” Remember, you heard it here first.
Brooke Johnston, Senior Digital Copywriter
Podcasts are going to get even bigger. A lot of us have been listening to them for ages, but since Serial hit the scene, people have started to take notice. Brands and companies will start putting resources toward producing their own podcasts, and even more will start sponsoring and advertising within them.
Dan Salganik, Digital Project Manager
As more and more companies continue to build their digital strategies, the realm of digital marketing will become overly saturated with blogs, social media posts, content marketing, etc. This shift may pose a challenge with some small businesses that are not able to compete with a creative, unique, or innovative strategy. I believe that 2016 will mark the year of a shifting digital marketing mind-set toward a more experientially-driven form of marketing. In order to stay competitive, companies have to be faster, more flexible, and more driven to succeed.
Sarah Rucinski, Senior Executive Assistant
Everything is getting smarter, even Kim K. Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji app costs $1.99 to download. Kim has 55 million followers on Instagram. If only 1 million of her followers download the app (which they probably have), she’ll have made $2 million. It’s genius and I love it. It’s smart, it’s easy, it’s quick, it’s cheap, it’s simple. No, I don’t watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Experience will be emphasized over design. Content will be minimized, because no one has an attention span for multi channel promotion or clicking and clicking and clicking. And no one cares about customer profiles anymore, only behaviors.
Saffa Khan, Copywriting Intern
Companies will emphasize corporate social responsibility in their marketing, especially with projects that touch on popular election issues like the environment and job creation. Instagram will become a prime space for advertising new movies, leading to shorter movie trailers in general. Periscope and other live video apps will garner huge audiences, and live video coordinators will be in high demand, as will Snapchat experts. Display ads will become more interactive and less blatant, leading to more conversions, but adblock installations will continue to rise.
Brian Ryback, Manager of Digital Solutions
I think beacons and near field communication technology will finally make a splash in 2016. I recently read a report saying that an extremely high number of retailers will adopt the technology and use it in their brick and mortar stores. With the cost of the beacons pretty low, I’m looking forward to see how these retailers will embrace a customer’s precise location or purchase history to target them.
Randy Guy, Copywriter
Social media continues to increase in popularity and impact. Politics—especially politics as entertainment—is particularly well suited for it. Sound bites, gaffes, debates, rallies are all fodder for going viral today, fading (or not) tomorrow. And with more millennials than ever likely to vote, no presidential candidate can afford not to pay attention to his or her social media presence.
Brittany Hince, Senior Designer
Visually, I think we will be seeing some of the throwback style of the 80s popping up. This means bold colors and offbeat patterns, as well as a move away from the strict adherence to the grid that has been so popular in design over the past five years or so.
Caryn Jendro, Senior Social Creative Strategist
Storytelling is going to be the format which truly makes an impact with followers. Brands need to do more than just distribute information on their social platforms. While helpful, anyone can find information, articles, etc for free on the internet. To make a deeper connection to their followers they’ll need to create a narrative. The power and the proof of this continued narrative can already be seen in content like Serial and Making a Murderer. While not brand driven, the engagement behind the content is noteworthy.
Nicole Brown, Senior Account Manager
My prediction for 2016 is that video will become ever more crucial and critical for advertisers. This means that companies will need to add this into their marketing budget as a line item.
Harrison Jones, Analytics and Testing Agency Lead
I think there will be a major push towards marketing automation and content personalization. Although neither are new concepts, popularity with these technologies has exploded over the last two years with many new software vendors popping up to reach businesses of all sizes and budgets. Businesses have finally started to realize the importance of lead nurturing, and personalizing content at an individual user level to empower their conversion funnel.
Courtney Read, Engagement Manager
More and more these days, social media “stars” are becoming actual celebrities. I believe that companies will start chasing after these influencers even more. Recent studies show that celebrity mentions and product promotions can raise awareness about a product even faster than SEO, PPC ads, and content marketing. So, in 2016 it will probably be very profitable to become a social media star.
Jane Mayer, Project Manager
In terms of project management, I think that 2016 will by the year of the “virtual team”—think consultants working remotely and moving away from the structure of the traditional 9-to-5 company. Just as with the rise of the collaborative economy, millennials continuing to influence the workforce, and companies themselves expanding their global reach, so too will project solutions become more flexible. This will also allow companies to target specific talent needs, best targeted to the task at hand—all on a contractual basis. Get ready for more Skype calls!
Mike Kennedy, Senior Copywriter
2016 is an election year, and consumers will be looking for a candidate who best represents their values. With this mindset, consumers may find themselves drawn more to brands that take a stand for the issues and causes they believe.
Amber Davis, Associate Creative Director
People’s lives are getting busier and busier. Gen Z is growing up as a completely wired generation, used to communicating in short form via text, Snapchat and short video. As a result, the collective attention span of our society is getting shorter and shorter, leaving marketers to look for new, compelling ways to tell a brand’s story quickly—and within the first few seconds of an ad.
Laura Grace, Agency SEO Lead
2016 will be the tipping point for structured data, where those not pursuing it are finally left in the dust. Structured data is especially useful for expanding your brand footprint and for customer loyalty. Businesses can now customize their logo, contact and location info, and social profiles in the Knowledge Graph by adding structured data markup to their official website:
If you’ve already implemented these basic forms of structured data across your site but need to find a way to edge out the competition, it is time to get creative and incorporate structured data to show reviews, events, media, internal search, and more. Learn more about all the different
Steve Ziemba, Social Media Agency Lead
Facebook: With a constant eye on innovation and revenue, paid search ads will come to Facebook. As users become accustomed to using Facebook as a search engine via desktop and mobile, keyword ad targeting will make its debut in 2016.
Twitter: With Twitter stock price hovering at $22 a share, Twitter is ripe for a buyout, perhaps by Google.
Baseball: The Cubs will break the Internet by winning the 2016 World Series, and the hashtag #CubsWin will be the most and socially shared tag across all social media channels.
Vine: While brands are focusing their attention on other video platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram, Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat, Vine will simply become an influencer-driven marketing channel.
What do you predict will happen in 2016? Leave us a comment and let us know!