Key Digital Marketing Trends For 2016

by Jake Dubbins Media Bounty

Sarah McManus, Head of Strategy at brand entertainment agency Media Bounty, highlights some of the factors likely to shape digital marketing in 2016

Conscious consumerism
Traceability, sustainability, diversity and honesty. Consumers are willing to pay extra for brands that stand for something and are responsible – especially millennials. Brands that are not conscious of their impact and don’t behave like role models will be found out.

Still fundamental for all brands. But beyond just ‘hero’ content this communication approach will extend to hub and hygiene content.


Brands need to entertain more in 2016 than ever before. Gone are the days of brands shouting out their message. If they don’t entertain, we won’t engage. Ad blockers will see to that. We need to ask ourselves: is this entertaining? Will people be engaged? Will people care?

No longer just important, this generation is fundamental. Millennials are set to become the biggest generation for spending power, so brands have to engage them. Not just the ‘cool lifestyle youth brands.’ Every brand.

It’s no longer an option to include mobile as an afterthought or a ‘mobile optimised’ tick-box. Content needs to be created for mobile as the lead platform in 2016.

Embracing technology
As technology develops, marketers need to find ways of integrating it into campaigns. Not just because ‘tech is cool’ but because consumers demand it. They want simple, clever experiences that add value to their lives. VR, iBeacons, interactive video, wearables – how can we use these to communicate with consumers more effectively? How can we use tech to enrich our consumers’ lives? Tech needs to be simple to understand, easy to use and add actual, real value on a personal level.

Extending social media platforms
Snapchat is predicted to be big for brands in 2016. Millennials are looking for more places to engage away from their parents (who as a generation love Facebook). However, the older social media platforms will continue to evolve to keep consumers engaged. (Facebook is trailing search to rival Google. Twitter is investing in neuro-research). Brands will need a clear, simple and intelligent platform strategy to ensure all platforms are utilised effectively.

Buying from social media
The new e-com. Buy buttons are coming.

With the freedom of tech comes the desire for instant information. Brands that capitalise on micro-moments and give consumers what they want with the flexibility of deciding when they want it will be the brands that win in 2016. Brands need to identify what Google has called the “want-to-know moments; want-to-go moments; want-to-do moments; want-to-buy moments” and offer content, information and solutions. The key is that this is ever-changing as consumers’ micro-moments change and evolve. Brands can’t just do this in January and be done for the year. To be there when consumers want us, we need to have an always-on approach to content.

The next year will see a switch to brands that are more authentic in their values and communications. Bloggers will continue to have great influence because of their perceived authenticity, but this will extend to all ads and communications. Consumers want to understand the brand and have shared values with them. And they want this at every touch-point. Not just when the brand wants to be authentic.