The Observation Deck

5 Emerging Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016

So far in 2015 we’ve seen a lot of changes in the digital marketing landscape. From the widespread integration of social buy buttons to rapidly-changing consumer behaviors and shorter attention spans, these trends are evolving and having a major impact on digital marketers. As we move into 2016, what trends will we see next? Here are five emerging digital marketing trends that will be sure to provide your brand with a fresh approach moving in the new year.

1. Snapchat Will Emerge as a Key Social Tool


Snapchat has moved beyond just a fun tool for marketing gimmicks to a legitimate way for brands to reach their target audience, especially teens and young adults, in real-time. With a highly engaged audience that spends hours on the platform, Snapchat will become a key social tool for marketers to provide exclusive content in real-time and help consumers feel even more connected to a brand.

Check out these ideas and get started with Snapchat:

Jeff Bullas: 5 Ways to Integrate Snapchat Into Your Marketing Strategy

Social Media Examiner: Snapchat Marketing: What Businesses Need to Know  

ReelSEO: 5 Ways Brands are Using Snapchat for Marketing and Promotion

  1. Time to Get Up, Close and Personal

In 2016, there are no more excuses not to provide your audience a personalized experience. With all the data that is available on your website visitors’ location, device, etc. your brand can find creative ways to tailor content and personalize your marketing efforts to appeal to your target customers’ interests. Marketers who used personalized web experiences saw an average increase of 20% in sales.

To get an idea of how big this opportunity is check out the following:

Hubspot: 8 Personalization Trends That Are Reinventing the Buyer’s Journey

Marketo: It’s All About Personalization: Why Consumer Marketers Must Tailor Content to Individuals

Entrepreneur: Personalizing Ads Can Boost Marketing for Small Businesses

  1. Storytelling Will Bring Brands to Life

Storytelling is a powerful communication tool popularized by crowdfunding platforms such as KickStarter, and more and more marketers realize they can also use it to raise awareness for their established brands. The challenge these brands will increasingly face is figuring how to share their stories in a way that aligns with the short attention spans and ever-changing wants and needs of their audiences. Marketers will need for focus on compelling stories that create a perception of value and urgency to match consumers rapid lifestyles.

Read how you can use storytelling to boost your brand’s marketing efforts:

Fast Company: Why Our Brains Crave Storytelling in Marketing

Salesforce Blog: The Power of Storytelling

Entrepreneur: Storytelling Could Bring Your Brand to Life and Strengthen Your Marketing Impact

  1. New Forms of Search

We’re now seeing improved search and shop (buy button) capabilities worked into nearly every social network, and this will soon radically change where consumers go to get their information and search for products or services. Consumers will move beyond searching only Google or Bing, and social networks will become a one-stop shop for both purchasing products and creating a social experience afterwards – consumers will be able purchase, then share their feedback, photos and reviews of the things they buy all in one place.

See what moves the major social networks are already making towards this trend:

Digital Trends: Shop Til’ You Drop: Facebook Shows Off Shopping Feed and New Ads for Brands

Adweek – Twitter Expands Its ‘Buy’ Button Just in Time to Grab Holiday Ad Dollars

Fortune – Pinterest expands “buy button” program to boost shopping on platform

  1. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the capability of everyday devices to automatically exchange information over a network. A few products that we’re all familiar with are Google Glass, Fitbit, iWatch, and the Nike Fuelband. What many don’t realize yet is the great marketing opportunity IoT provides for marketers to create better, more engaging experiences. As the importance of social marketing and IoT innovations rapidly increase, 2016 is a great time for marketers to start examining these platforms, APIs, and social data and consider how they can create new, exciting brand experiences.

Read more about how marketing and IoT will merge:

Tech Cocktail – The Marriage of IoT and Marketing – Where the True Value Lies

Memeburn – The Internet of customers is just getting started

Mashable – With the Internet of Things, brands can take marketing to the next level  

Which digital marketing trends do you think will have a major impact in 2016? Share with us in the comments.

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