2016 Marketing Trends: What Was and What Will Be

Luke Adkins, Programmatic Media AssociateMonique Taylor, Assistant Media Planner

It’s that time of year again. Time for marketers to learn from the good, bad and ugly of the past year and prepare to get on top of the newest trends of the upcoming year. Surely by now you’ve seen several articles either breaking down the best of 2015 or predicting what’s to come for 2016. We’re bringing you our mix of both lists, complete with a summary of what went down in 2015 and what to look out for in the New Year.


Big Trends from 2015 That Will Definitely Continue:


  1. Content Collaboration


2015 proved that content is key. But instead of pushing content out a one way door, major brands have started to give their core audiences the opportunity to help co-create their image through content collaboration. Starbucks’ White Cup Campaign serves as a great example, allowing artsy customers to submit cup designs to be used across stores nationwide. In three weeks Starbucks obtained 4,000 cup designs and significant social buzz. Doritos is another large brand to jump on the collaboration wagon, letting the public create their TV commercials which now air every year during the Super Bowl.


  1. Mobile Marketing


In 2014, total mobile users passed total desktop users. In 2015, advertisers caught up and now mobile ad buys make up over 50% of all digital ad spending. By the end of next year, mobile ad spending is predicted to reach $40 billion and is by far the fastest growing digital channel. Needless to say, people like their phones and regardless of who you are trying to reach, mobile ads will become part of your strategy.


  1. Emojis


Emojis went mainstream this year with big brands investing big money in the little smiley faces, in order to connect with younger consumers and convey deeper emotions. Emojis are eye-catching, fun and have dramatically shifted the way we communicate online. Their success is no surprise when you learn that our brains are able to process visual imagery 60,000 times faster than text, which is why companies from Facebook to Slack have seen extremely high emoji use and consumption this year.


  1. Video


With faster internet speeds and HTML5 officially taking over, websites can now incorporate video without harming load times. Time and time again, video has proven to be more engaging and increase CTRs. YouTube continues to see massive growth, Facebook has invested a lot into their in-feed video capabilities, and advertisers across brands are looking to create video content. As the medium becomes less expensive, expect to see video really take over.


#DWAwesome Predictions for 2016:


  1. Virtual Reality (VR)


With the release of highly anticipated headsets Oculus Rift and Sony’s Playstation VR coming in 2016, marketers are revving up to take advantage of this new way to engage audiences. While VR is currently a hotspot for gaming and entertainment, expect to see marketers begin looking for ways to integrate it into a wider range of content.


  1. Real-Time Marketing


As data on people’s online behavior continues to become more granular, marketers are able to better optimize towards the perfect time to reach someone. If the popularity of Twitter Moments and Snapchat Stories are any indication, time-based content presents a great opportunity for marketers. Programmatic buying will also continue to increase rapidly so be ready to see more marketers setting aside the editorial calendars and making room for real-time marketing.


  1. Optimizing for Digital Assistants


Consumers are increasingly using digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana to get information. As these systems get smarter their use will continue to rise. The smart marketer in 2016 will optimize to make their content easily accessible to digital assistants in 2016.


  1. Anti-Adblocking Tactics


One of the biggest challenges for marketers in 2016 will be combatting the rise in adblocker use. That means the use of more tactics like native advertising, sponsored podcasts, influencer partnerships, and any other option to get around the blockers will be vital in the New Year.

Cheers to the exciting year ahead!