Digital Marketing Trends for 2016

Usually when agencies think of digital trends for 2016, they try to think of one or two products that either just came out, or will soon come out, and based on that try predicting marketing strategies. Thus, more or less, all trends spin around those products.

So what are the trends and predictions for 2016?

The one, currently most talked about, is content marketing. Does it mean that content is the new king? Just like it was in 2012? Not really. Approach today is different – latest iPhone/iOS with enabled Adblock functionality poses some threat to advertisers, so they try to figure out a work-around. And the work-around is something that anyone who has ever written a good paper would give you – do not “copy/paste”, bring your own ideas, provide your own insights. And of course you can spend 10-20 k Euros and ask a portal to write a series of articles about your market niche with rare mentions of your brand. This is how content marketing will roll for 2016. Case closed.

Second trend is marketing automation and simplification. Do you remember days when you had to use tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to manage your multiple social media accounts because this was the only proper way to set the time when you wanted your posts to appear? Well those days are gone. Every single sales channel is implementing advanced automation. Examples follow:

E-mail: with GetResponse or Aweber you can get yourself a beautiful and simple landing page which will collect you leads and start your automated marketing campaign – sometimes successful, sometimes not that much.

On top of that you can also try converting your users via retargeting, or remarketing (Google created term) or remessaging (Microsoft created term) automation.

All you need is simple scripts added to your site and logic for setting the automation rules such as show ads supper frequently first day, less frequently on day 2 and stop showing ads on day 5 if the user doesn’t come to site anymore – ofc. this is a super basic example. Key takeaway is that retargeting today is so easy and useful that if you don’t do it, you are living in 2005.

Slightly more advanced automation is brought by Google – AdWords automation scripts.

If you have at least minimal understanding of Javascript, you can set a sales countdown and show your text ads with a countdown to increase the feeling of urgency. Or if you want, you can set your ads appear only when certain weather conditions happen. Or if you are a local restaurant, you can promote only the lunch menu during the certain hours of the day. Once again, these scripts vary from super simple to quite advanced, but all require only one thing – understanding the logic of your own marketing campaign.

Why did I also highlight simplification? Because the key role of Google and Facebook advertising tools is to make Digital Advertising stupid simple so that even your grandfather could use it.

Advanced Facebook users will use Power Editor, but in most of cases simple corner business will just “boost posts” and still will have some results. Same is with AdWords – if you are completely clueless in Digital, but still want to try it out because everyone is doing it, you can try AdWords Express – a solution ignored by anyone, who has more than average understanding in AdWords. Do you want to make yourself some banners but don’t want to pay designers? Go for AdWords inside tool which will scan your site and will auto-generate banners.


You cannot make advertising more simple, unless… you get to be asked by Google if you wanted that sale to happen while lying on the beach at the same time. But let’s leave this level of laziness to the year 2021 🙂

Third trend is user buying. We don’t want to buy “hypothetical” website visitors. We still care about the affinity audiences, but not that that much anymore. What we really want is that 27 year old 4 month pregnant woman who just went to Star Wars and found out that she will have a boy.

I call it buying real users, not audiences. As Digital Marketing grows easier every day and more local businesses start trying it, they for sure have no 10.000 € month to spend on great YouTube/ GDN/ Search/ Facebook mix because simply this is all their monthly income. But no worries. The beauty of buying users is that you can have results even with lower budgets. Just know your user. If you are a corner-store, talk to your customers: find out what they like, what music they listen, where do they go for holiday, how old their kids are and where does their husband/wife work. All this will help you map the connections between your current and future customers. Get yourself a website and add Google Analytics/Google AdWords remarketing, Facebook pixel and start building your user lists.

Ask your actual customers for their emails and add them to Google/Facebook audiences. Use Google Analytics custom metrics and assign values that Analytics misses – e.g. user gender. How can you do it? Use URL builders and tag your Facebook/email campaigns properly and import the properties via Google Analytics.

Fourth trend is Virtual Reality. This one is the most beautiful and most promising of them all. I have been craving for it and talking about the potential that VR brings since middle 2014 and now I feel even stronger about it.

In next few months Oculus (owned by Facebook) will release its Oculus Rift. Previously released Galaxy Gear VR (also a product of Oculus) has already topped the Christmas wish-lists for kids, sharing the spot with BB8 Droid from Star Wars.

Key takeaway for anyone reading this post is that VR is going to be as popular topic in major Digital conferences as Big Data used to be two years ago.

For advertisers this brings new level of creativity, placements and new ad formats. For users this brings new and different level of engagement with the ads and content. You will hear about new and great experiences created by automotive industry or travel agencies to test-drive the products. Real estate companies will be one of the first ones trying to virtualize the user experience and create virtual tours in soon-to-be your homes.

And you will try it yourself, and You will enjoy it. And then You will think of how to reach the users in Virtual Reality, because this is where they will be spending their time and money 2-3 years from now.

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