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Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2016.. err 2017..

Yes, we keep reading predictions every year in December, and how new trends are taking time to be adopted, and then comes the next December which talks about 5-6 trends carried forward from the previous year.
But then, why be so pessimist? Look at how the entire landscape of digital marketing and media has evolved over the past few years and how the important digital is in every brand’s marketing mix.

Some of the Predictions for 2016, and what really happened
  • ·         Content marketing is the future & Continues to be the KING
  • ·         Mobile will be bigger than PC. Yes Mobile grew past PCs in 2016
  • ·         Rise of Programmatic buying and signs of using it the right way
  • ·         Adapt to online by creating exclusive ads, not just using TVCs on digital
  • ·         Virtual reality & Augmented Reality – yes Pokémon Go finally made it happen!
  • ·         Ad Blockers – The Big Bad Word in Advertising
  • ·         Moment marketing – Moved to an ecosystem outside of twitter
  • ·         Live Streaming on Mobiles and Apps – still on the rise
  • ·         Wearable Devices – possibilities infinite
  • ·         Breaking the silos and integrate digital in the marketing mix – positive signs of this witnessed in 2016

While most of the trends and predictions from 2016 still continue to be trends, there are many new, interesting trends that will dominate 2017

·         Learning from Pokémon Go, Augmented Reality will finally flourish
o   Marketers have seen that the users are ready to accept AR, and hence there will be new games, apps, ads, etc in the year changing the digital thinking in the ecosystem

·         The rise of the Chief Marketing technologist
o   The control of technology will slowly shift to the marketing teams and there will be the rise of what can be termed as the Chief Marketing Technologist, who would integrate technology for better marketing initiatives and customer experience

·         Digital marketing will merge with traditional marketing
o   On an average the brands are investing about 16-18% of the marketing spends on digital. This year the barriers will finally break and digital forward thinking will be adopted across industries. E-comm and social media initiatives driving the integration, along with tech innovations and enablement for better customer experiences. Multi-channel marketing will be the norm in a lot of industries to build efficiency and relevance

·         Data Visualization tools and the need for better Business Intelligence will be on the rise
o   Move over Big Data, Data Visualization and Interpretation is witnessing a significant increase in demand. Data is the lifeblood of marketers. Everyone needs quantitative information to tell them who’s buying what, when, why, and what messaging is most effective for them. Now that, technology is finally catching up to the “interpretation” part of data analysis; there are new tools for data visualization, interpretation and analysis backed by strategic inputs. In 2017, business will have to start using them – the ones who don’t will be left at a significant disadvantage. Still in an evolutionary stage, the technology will be more sophisticated in 2017 as data analysis needs will be greater than ever.

·         Ad personalization will be sophisticated & enrich experiences  
o   Ad personalization is not new and it’s still far from 100% accurate. Next year expect to see brands experimenting more with multi creative approach, adding a layer of contextual messaging and day parting which can be specifically targeted to different audience groups.

·         Social media marketing will move to a Social CRM led marketing
o   Social media is no more an engagement only medium. It has become the platform for customer service, WoM, advocacy, search, reviews and exclusives. The coming year will see brands move to social CRM like how the telcos and e-comm players have been attempting to adopt last year. 
The audience doesn’t discuss only on the pages of brands, hence it is important for the brands to build a CRM base to be able to react and respond to the users where they are.

·         Search will no more be on Google alone
o   The rise of social media, bots and Artificial intelligence tools will enable users to search for content, answers and solutions across the Internet. Marketers will also have to pull up their socks to be omnipresent and integrate their customer support to be more responsive & in an ideal case, real-time across the web. 

·         IoT and wearables are here to stay
o   IoT is one of the most important marketing technology applications of the last 2-3 years, but it is of most relevance to devices makers and retailers, so it is relatively high-up in this ranking of priorities.
o   There are expected to be 75 billion connected devices by 2020, meaning there will be ten times as many devices able to talk to one another as there will be people on the planet! The implications are huge and far ranging. All this sharing of data will transform the way we live our lives.
o   Wearables will be gamechangers as they will drive not just sports and smartwatches, but also safety, security, healthcare (not just wellness), gaming, jewellery and innovation. There are inroads into the Invisible wearables will also be inducted in 2017. Even Pets have got their own wearables now with tracking and safety features.

·         Programmatic will evolve and rightly used
o   The programmatic ecosystem has been evolving with advertisers trusting agencies to buy more using programmatic in their media plans. Increasing transparency will be a challenge for the agencies but demanded by the advertisers. The data subscriptions will help improve the intelligence and at the same time increase the costs, compelling digital heavy advertisers to build tools in-house. Also, programmatic buying will definitely go mobile.

·         Digital transformation be the top priority for businesses
o   Digital has been instrumental for marketers in research, insights, improving efficiency, distributing content, reaching out to the targeted audience better, selling via newer mediums, distributing products and services to newer markets, etc.
o   Now with accessible technology that shows value, businesses must transform and integrate all the services internal to the organization with the external environment to build synergy.
o   The audiences have been accepting the digital transformation pretty well and with the government attempting to move the economy to be digital, the only way forward for small, medium and large businesses is to be digitally transformed.

·         Marketing tech security will be tested.
o   As global cyber security attacks continue to rise, digital marketers will struggle with keeping consumer data safe and private as e-commerce and marketing automation opens new doors for crafty cyber-thugs. Hence the marketing, IT teams, agencies and vendors must work together to be secure, get audits done regularly and stay updated of all the security related news around the globe.

Trends curated from sources like Forbes, Business2community,, smartinsights, etc

Feel free to discuss, debate, contribute…


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