10 marketing predictions for 2016

Equator's digital marketing gurus sat down and discussed their top 10 digital predictions for 2016 – find out which trends to keep an eye out for this year!

From the evolution of social media to digital outdoor advertising, and wearable tech to voice recognition, Equator’s digital marketing whizzes sit down together every month to discuss what’ll be hot in the months to come. Here they share their top 10 digital predictions for 2016.

1. Personalisation gets even more personal

From tailored paid search ads to user-specific organic search results, personalisation will be even more important in strategies throughout 2016. Mobile will also have to be at the heart of all digital planning. Find out what Fiona Robertson, our Marketing Director, had to say on the subject.

2. The year of live streaming

Platforms such as Periscope and Facebook Live are rapidly promoting their own unique live content, allowing brands to become more reactive in real-time. As a result, live streaming will be an integral function of more and more marketing strategies over the next 12 months.

3. Twitter loses its brevity

Twitter is rumoured to be substantially increasing its character limit from 140 to 10,000 as early as March, but increased character limits pose a number of implications for digital marketers. Will social media platforms reduce the need for websites? Will SEO have to start optimising tweets to rank for keywords? We could go on…but the rumoured changes to Twitter could certainly have an impact on digital marketing.

4. Instagram and Snapchat expand their ad space

Instagram has already opened up its ad space to more brands and Snapchat is following suit in 2016, developing its own API for advertising allowing the platform to grow in the same way. Exciting and innovative ad formats mean marketers can get closer to their audiences and within a unique 24 hour window, reacting to live events and ‘in-the-moment’ trends.

5. Outdoor digital advertising gets big

Digital outdoor advertising enjoyed huge growth in 2015 and will continue to evolve in 2016, taking inspiration from many of the digital display practices such as automated trading and interactive ad technologies. Further tie-ins with beacons and external data will empower reactive ads delivered in real time to allow brands to respond to events, trends and even weather. That static 48-sheet just got a lot more interesting.

6. Wearable tech and user experience

Wearable tech will only continue to get smarter this year with more and more brands utilising one of its most powerful features – data and lots of it. In particular the relationship between healthy living and wearables e.g. ‘Healthkit’ by Apple creates a perfect way to gain valuable and detailed insights to improve user experience.

7. Voice recognition technology in search

Consumer voice search queries via functions like Siri will continue to be a big trend this year. The increase in voice searches will be a major consideration for SEO marketers who need to consider the impact of spoken question phrases and changes to keyword research.

8. Facebook gets emotional

We’ve already heard talk of the ‘dislike’ button and seen no action but Facebook will be introducing an array of emoji-inspired functions for users to express themselves. But will this make online communication more confusing and what will be the impact on brands in 2016?

9. The app vs browser war continues…

Users are becoming more reliant on apps and potentially turning away from browsers – 42% of mobile sales from the leading 500 merchants came through mobile apps. This trend is set to continue into this year and brands must ensure their app is user-focused and that app optimisation is top of the list for SEO checklists.

10. Walled gardens impact on search

Walled garden content through the likes of Facebook is keeping users locked into certain platforms, limiting the process of natural linking and in turn, impacting the ability of search engines to use links as a primary metric in determining rankings. We’ve already seen search engines moving away from this and focusing on user experience metrics and this is likely to increase over the course of 2016.

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