Maybe we’re unusual, but here at Social Annex we love how at the end of every year, tons of articles appear about the next big ecommerce and digital marketing trends. Rather than focusing on what’s already happened this year, marketers look ahead, brainstorm, and hypothesize about what we might see soon. In short, it’s all about possibility, and with that comes excitement.
Without any further ado, here are our seven predictions for what digital marketers will be seeing, using, and tackling.
1. Ecommerce, and social commerce along with it, will become more seamless. Whether consumers are shopping across different devices or are using their phones to research prices in stores, we’re going to see an even bigger uptick in connectivity across all platforms. As a VP at PayPal puts it, “The commerce part of ecommerce will become more invisible.”
Google has a hand in this push for omnichannel: since its search engine is indexing more and more apps, shoppers will be prompted to use them more instead of mobile sites.
2. We’ll see visual content become more personalized. Today, many marketers post the same content across all their social channels, on their website, and in their emails. One forthcoming consequence of this is that marketers will better understand which images work on Twitter and which work in emails. More importantly, though, we will see more and better algorithms like our SIRA, which determines which photos drive social engagement and ROI. We will soon even get to a point where visual content will become highly personalized in both emails and online.
3. Similarly, video content will move towards personalization, or at least towards contextualization. In one case, just mentioning a personalized video in an email subject line increased open rates by 272%. iMedia Connection predicts that personalized video will more specifically be paired with mobile, which is not an outlandish claim.
4. User generated content (UGC) will become even more valuable. As Jeff Bullas notes, fan-created videos, reviews, pictures, and so on are vital forms of content for brands looking to quickly scale their marketing efforts. UGC can be repackaged in a multitude of ways, too. It can live in reviews, be used to explain products, or even be used for commercials digitally and on TV.
5. Influencer marketing will peak. Sort of. Social media users will soon get burnt out on bloggers, Vine stars, and Instagram celebrities pushing brands on them. Marketers will have to take a step back, evaluate their efforts, and figure out who’s actually giving them a good ROI. Hint: it’s going to be people with a light touch.
6. Employee advocacy will become more and more popular for both B2B and B2C companies. Technically speaking, like influencers, employee advocates are paid promoters. However, employees will almost always have a more profound and truthful connection with your brand. Smart companies will feature their employees more in their content marketing, as a way of both thanking them and highlighting their authenticity.
7. The concept of brand advocacy will become more central to marketers. Hubspot knows that in order to distinguish themselves in 2016, brands’ relationships with shoppers will have to evolve beyond transactions. Companies will put a larger emphasis on consistent and frequent communication with their customers, some of whom in turn will become advocates who endorse, review, and engage with the brand on a regular basis.