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Anastasia Sidko

Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016: Video, CRO, Personalization and More

Anastasia Sidko
Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016: Video, CRO, Personalization and More

This year has undoubtedly brought new trends and tendencies to the digital world; marketing has reached a whole new level and is continuing to grow and change. And on the threshold of the new year, people are not only looking back and analyzing what has happened, but also trying to predict what is going to happen in the future.

David Bain did an amazing job by calling together 54 experts from different areas for a Blab chat to share their digital marketing predictions for 2016 and creating this insightful video.

And now let's take a closer look at some of the predictions that the chat participants have mentioned the most:

Data-Driven Marketing

One of the most mentioned predictions for 2016 affirms that a data-driven approach will play an even more significant role in marketing than it does now. More and more brands are craving in-depth analytics and investing in data-driven marketing strategies.

Olga Andrienko: People are focusing on buyer personas more; they are setting KPIs, and even social media marketers that are not so tech-savvy are trying to get the most out of social media tools.

So 2016 will definitely be a year of data-driven marketing!

Video

One doesn’t need to be clairvoyant to see that video content is going to become a major player for digital marketing in 2016. Companies tend to incorporate videos into their digital marketing strategies; and with tools like Blab, Meerkat and Periscope, live streaming has already become incredibly popular. In 2016, “live streaming will increase even more,” according to Kamilla Gornia.

Amy Schmittauer: I actually think that accessibility of mobile video is what’s going to drive more brands to become more interested in creating archives on YouTube. That’s the best place to invest in video, because archives can work for you for a long time. Live streaming is incredible and crushing the sales funnel to be a lot smaller than we usually see, but YouTube archives can work for you for many years.

Podcasting

As Mike Russell points out, in 2016 “advertising agencies will be much more interested in podcasting.” This is a great way to engage even the busiest audience that doesn’t have time to read articles or watch webinars – one can listen to a podcast while driving a car, jogging or cooking. According to Edison Research, 46 million Americans listen to podcasts each month.

Dave Jackson: In 2016, podcasting will continue its growth. Companies are finally starting to understand the true connection podcasters have with their audience.

Interactive content

Experts predict that, next year, we’ll see a rise in interactive content marketing. People still crave for useful, quality content, but they’re getting bored with the traditional ways that marketers present information. So in order to engage our audience, we need to introduce new types of content. Applications, calculators, quizzes and other types of interactive content will become very popular in 2016.

Jeff White: 2016 is going to be the year of interactive content. If you can build tools that actually help your customers that are really useful – like payment calculators and ROI calculators – they tend to convert significantly better than with typical whitepapers.

Conversion rate optimization

This year companies were focused on content marketing, trying to get as much traffic to their websites as possible; but now the time has come to make this traffic actually work. As Calin Yablonski explains, “in 2015 people really started to adopt content marketing and use it as a tool to drive traffic to their website. But what we're really going to see in 2016 is people trying to take control of that content and convert it into sales leads or sales of their products or subscriptions.”

Alex Harris: I think there's going to be a step up in the systems and tools that people use for conversion rate optimization. People will be looking for alternatives to Google Analytics, other tools that they can use aside from GA to get qualitative and quantitative data and mix it together to track and segment, to get behavioral targeting, and to understand users on a more granular level.

Personalization

Personalization is going to play a bigger role in 2016: companies will focus on getting closer to their customers, and trying to deliver the most relevant and specifically tailored content and ads.

According to Kevin Krason, they will “use all the behavior data they’ve been collecting and really fine tune their communication. Because that's what it takes today to get people's attention: it's got to be personalized; it's got to be in alignment with expectations, desires and needs. It has to be timely.”

All-in-one marketing

Many marketing experts are claiming that, in 2016, we will see a silo approach replaced by all-in-one marketing. As Lukasz Zelezny asserts, “social media will be much closer to SEO; there’ll be no more silos. There will be nothing like that. You’re working in SEO; I’m working in social media; sometimes we’re dancing together – we’re dancing together all the time!”

Olga Andrienko: For the last couple of years, marketers have really had to be super experts in one specific niche, and now we're going back to being all-in-one marketers. We have to integrate all our processes and work together.  I now have to understand more about every other channel, not just social media.

Mobile

2015 was a significant year for mobile, especially after the Google mobile-friendly update on April 21 that pushed marketers all over the world to optimize their websites for mobile devices. As smartphones and tablets are showing no signs of losing popularity, it is rightfully expected that mobile marketing will become one of the dominating trends of the next year.

Martin Waxman: In 2016 I'm going to pay attention to what Google calls ‘micro-moments.’ These are really mobile moments; it's really about figuring out how we – as marketers and communicators – can get untethered from desktops. How do we create stories that can help and engage and are ultimately shareable?

On-site SEO

Whatever new trends appear and gain popularity in digital marketing, one still cannot deny the power of good old on-site SEO. Using structured data, microdata and rich snippets isn’t a new thing, but it can make a big difference for a brand that uses it right.

Jonny Ross: On-site SEO is still really important! A lot of big websites are still not marking content correctly.

Ad blocking

The coming year will definitely bring a tangible increase in ad blocking. As Mickey Lonchar says, “we always had systems around like pop-up blockers and so on, but the ad blocker from Apple, for the first time, made ad-blocking native to the online experience, especially for the digital experience.”

That’s why marketers will have to look for alternative ways to push forward – one of which is to give their attention to native ads. This type of advertising doesn’t look like promotional content; that’s why it can combat blocking technologies. Native advertising is nothing new, but in 2016 it will most likely be prominently featured in the strategies of most digital marketers.

Whatever predictions we make for 2016, there’s at least one thing we can be sure about. Digital marketing will continue to develop and grow, getting more diverse, taking the new forms and bringing more and more challenges to the marketers. So stay tuned and let’s see which wonders, twists and surprises we’ll be in for the coming year!

What are your top predictions for 2016? Let us know in the comments!

Anastasia Sidko, Content Manager at SEMrush. I have four years of experience in content creation and public relations. My areas of interest include SEO, digital marketing and content marketing.

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