We don’t need a crystal ball to see which marketing trends are going to be big in 2016 – they’re already starting to emerge.

The customer-centric nature of digital marketing will continue to impact how marketers develop their strategies, with big data playing an important role as well. These two factors alone will drive major change across nearly all aspects of marketing, and you can expect to see their influence in the trends of the coming year.

Here are our picks for the five biggest marketing trends that will make waves in 2016:

  1. Micro-moments

The buyer’s journey has become shorter and more immediate in recent years, as consumers take to their smartphones to conduct quick searches that are directly related to their needs in the moment. Google calls these immediate searches micro-moments, and they’re happening all across digital media.

While the term itself was coined in 2015, you can expect the concept to become more fully realized in 2016. Marketers will respond to consumers’ shorter decision-making cycles and their desire for immediate solutions to their problems by providing personalized, relevant, timely content across social and digital channels.

  1. In-depth audience data

It’s no longer enough to look at your audience’s demographic data when planning content, campaigns and other strategic marketing initiatives. You’ve got to go deeper, and determine who they really are: What brands do they like? Where do they shop? What do they value? Have they expressed intent to purchase?

In-depth audience insights will become the cornerstone of the most successful marketing strategies of 2016. Because of these insights, you can expect to see top brands connecting more meaningfully with their audience.

  1. Personalized video and video advertising

Online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic, a number that will certainly increase in 2016. Because of consumer preference for video content, marketers will create more content, and more personalized content to better connect with their audience. They will also put significantly more time and resources into developing video advertising campaigns to get their message in front of a wide audience.

  1. Cross-channel engagement

Think of how many social profiles, blogs, websites, landing pages, ad programs, apps and other digital media that brands leverage. Now, increase that number by 20 percent and you’ll have some idea of how many channels brands in 2016 will have to contend with.

Cross-channel engagement will become an essential part of a marketer’s toolkit in 2016. As consumers use more channels and expect brands to be visible, available and engaged on them all, marketers will have to do their best to keep up.

  1. Comprehensive competitive benchmarking

Marketers are swamped with data. Click-through-rates, impressions, reach, audience growth, comments… whatever can be measured, is being measured. However, in 2016 you can expect to see more emphasis on comparing these measurements to the measurements of the competition.

Competitive benchmarking can be useful for understanding the composition of your competitor’s audience, what their content strategy is, how much share of voice you have within your industry and more. 2016 will see a rise in the sophistication and usefulness of benchmarking tools and strategies.

These are our predictions of the marketing trends that will shape 2016. What are yours?GetStarted-CTA