At the start of a new year, three things are common. People like to set goals or resolutions for themselves to improve some aspect of their personal and/or professional life in the coming year. They also like to look back and reflect on what happened over the previous 12 months. And, they like to look forward, predicting what’s to come or what will be trending in the new year.
Predicting trends also can help companies plan for the year ahead, by giving them a sense of what will be worth investing in and what won’t be as popular. Several marketing trends are predicted to be a big deal in 2016.
Say Goodbye to Guessing and Hello to Data
In the past, a certain amount of guesswork was involved in marketing to potential customers. You could place an ad on television or in a newspaper and hope that the right people would see it, based on the audience for that medium.
Lately, actual data has become an increasingly useful tool for marketers, and it’s expected to become even more important in the coming year. In part, that is because there is more data than ever. According to Campaign Monitor, 90% of the data in the world was created over the past 12 months. Marketers in 2016 can expect to be able to sift through data to compare response rates when one message is used versus another or to see which call to action generates the greatest response from customers.
Think Mobile First
In 2014, the number of people using a mobile device surpassed the number of people using a desktop for the first time; and in 2015, the number of mobile-only users exceeded the number of desktop-only users for the first time, according to comScore. Instead of thinking desktop first and mobile second (or worse, ignoring mobile) marketers in 2016 should think mobile first. That means making sure everything your company puts online should be optimized for a mobile device, from your business’ website to the emails you send.
Video Will Be Big
Hubspot dubbed 2015 the “year of video marketing.” But, it’s likely that video will continue to be as big, if not bigger, in 2016. Video made up about 57% of online traffic last year and that number is expected to climb to 69% by 2017. Watching online videos made up about 50% of all mobile online traffic in 2015.
Video allows marketers to reach audiences on an emotional level, which isn’t as easily accomplished with written stories or still images. A recent spec ad created for Johnny Walker, by two graduate students in Germany, left many who watched it in tears. The video ended up getting more than 3 million views in less than two weeks, and raised the profile of the brand. It was a win for Johnny Walker, even though the company didn’t create or purchase the ad, showing the importance of emotional resonance.
In 2016, using video as a marketing tool will mean more than simply creating ads and strategically distributing them, however. It’s also expected that live streaming video platforms, from Periscope to Facebook Live, will be a big deal this year. Live streaming gives marketers a way to directly connect with an audience. For example, a representative from a company can live stream their time at a conference, giving interested parties who can’t attend in person a chance to experience what’s going on. A company can also use a live stream to host a question and answer session or events taking place at their headquarters for customers or clients who can’t be present in person.
Email is Still Important
Don’t expect email to go anywhere in 2016. Although people keep predicting its death, email continues to be a strong marketing tool. Campaign Monitor noted that it has an incredibly high return on investment, generating $38 for every $1 spent. Marketers can continue to use new outlets and methods of reaching customers, such as whatever social media network is the most popular at the moment, but email isn’t going away. In 2016, and perhaps well beyond, they will continue to depend on email to reliably reach out to and connect with current and new customers.