Coming to the end of the year, we’re on hand with the obligatory marketing predictions for 2016.

It’s in our nature to want to keep up to date with the latest trends and gain an advantage over our competitors however it’s easier said than done. With technology changing rapidly and consumer habits shifting, it’s crazy to think just this time last year we were predicting an uptake in personalisation, wearable tech and partnerships with influential content creators (it seems so commonplace nowadays).

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So, here are our top 5 marketing predictions for 2016:

I want it now culture

Back in October we were chatting about micro-moments a term coined by Google in line with shifting consumer trends. It’s estimated we check our mobiles up to 150 times per day and paired with the fact we expect answers to everything to be no more than a click away, it’s down to marketers to effectively reach their audience in the moments that matter most. To take advantage of the four most important micro-moments (I want to know, I want to go, I want to buy and I want to do), brands must be there, be useful and be quick.

As consumers we are looking for our needs to be met in real-time therefore providing exactly what we’re looking for at the right moment is imperative for success. Just recently, 51% of mobile users said they would purchase from any company if the information they provided was useful and with developments in the industry, consumers have been accustomed to getting what they want, and fast. By being there, being useful and quick throughout the customer journey, brands can gain competitive advantage.

Nowadays, consumers are interacting with brands for shorter periods of time and across multiple platforms to get the response they need therefore understanding the customer journey and their typical behaviour you can adapt your strategy to be more reactive and deliver the right message in time-sensitive situations. With more and more brands recognising the shifting consumer behaviour, you will have to up your game in 2016.

Ad blockers

If you haven’t heard about ad blockers you must have been living in a cave for the last 3-6 months. Yes they have been around for a number of years, however with a 15% rise in usage in just the last three months and with over 198 million people running ad blockers each month, it comes as a clear message from users to cool down on the ads. Whether it’s because the ads are intrusive or simply causing an annoyance whilst browsing, ad blocking software is only set to increase in the first quarter of 2016. Ad blockers are most popular on laptops and desktop PCs however with Apple’s introduction of ad blocking on iOS back in September and EE considering introducing new technology for blocking, ad blockers are only set to rise on mobiles and tablet too.

It is thought the introduction of ad blocking on mobile devices is to persuade advertisers to take a step back, think about the user experience and develop better quality ads which are non-intrusive and more tailored to the audience.

Digital Transformation

With an ever-changing marketplace, shifting consumer behaviour and needs and advances in technology, this can often result in ineffective business models or your business not being as successful as you would have hoped. If you are unfamiliar with the term, digital transformation, it seeks to look at how your business incorporates digital into its strategy, identifies any gaps and provides recommendations for moving forward successfully. This can include everything from internal processes, the tools you use, how your business communicates both online and offline, your staff and even how you showcase your offering. Essentially, digital transformation involves analysis, planning and delivery.

At the moment, only 27% of today’s businesses have a digital strategy in place however with a continual increase in digitally savvy consumers, it will become even more important moving into 2016. It is expected that by 2018, 35% of IT resources will be spent on supporting the creation of new digital revenue streams and by 2020, almost 50% of IT budgets will be linked to digital transformation.

It’s not only private companies embracing digital transformation, the government has recently created a new group focusing on reforming the UK’s digital public services following their ‘digital by default service standard’ - you can find out more about this in our blog here.

Location Based Marketing / Proximity 2.0

Near field communication and iBeacons are nothing new however with the advances in technology we expect this to become more popular in 2016 allowing brands to reach their audience in exciting ways. Thanks to wearable technology, this can help brands deliver a more tailored experience for each user. You might be thinking this is great, I can reach my users when they’re nearby and provide them with everything they’re looking for. Yes you can, but you have to treat location data with respect - you don’t want to seem stalker-ish right!?

Marketers, Mobiles & Messaging Apps

In 2015, we have witnessed more brands getting involved in Snapchat to reach a younger demographic and we expect this to increase. We’re not saying 2016 will be the year of mobile messaging however with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger both on the way to 1 billion monthly active users, there is certainly more and more incentive for brands to get involved.

As well as the main predictions above, we expect mobile payments to become more popular with consumers. Despite the introduction in proximity payments using systems such as Apple and Android Pay as well as contactless payment made more readily available, we understand the reluctance of some consumers when it comes to this however by connecting mobile payments to rewards and loyalty, it is expected more consumers will get involved. Additionally, at the moment, mobile transactions only make up a small proportion of overall sales however if the gap between mobile shopping and mobile buying is bridged closer, we expect sales from mobile devices to increase.

New technology is continually changing and with the increase in data management tools, brands can become closer to their audience with the aim of providing added value. It is so important for brands to understand their audience and keep up to date with the latest trends in order to stay ahead.

Next week we'll be sharing our 2016 design predictions so keep your eyes peeled.