13 Digital Marketing Experts Make Bold Predictions for 2016

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Are you wondering where you should be spending your time and efforts when it comes to marketing your business in 2016?

Whether it’s online marketing or social media marketing, things change…sometimes too often.

With social media platforms constantly evolving and new ones being created, it can be hard to know where you should spend your time. While this ultimately depends on your market and business goals, it can helpful to see what the experts are predicting. This is why I asked 13 top digital marketing experts what digital trends they see in the New Year as well as what they are planning to focus their energies on.

I wasn’t shocked to hear a lot of similar predictions come up. One thing is certain…there is a dramatic shift towards video and live streaming in 2016 as it allows more personal access to experts and topics that are of interest.

Here’s what the experts had to say when I asked them what digital marketing trends they see for 2016 and where they personally plan to spend more or less time this coming year.

Digital Marketing Trends for 2016

1. 360 Degree Live Video Experiences

Question: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

MichaelStelznerThe year 2015 started an era of live casting with the introduction of new technology such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab. 2016 will take some of these live broadcasts to an entirely new level with the introduction of live 360 degree broadcasts that will allow people to move their mobile phones and experience the action as if they were actually present.

In addition, we’ll see the wide scale adoption of cost effective virtual reality devices that will enable fully immersive live 3D experiences. Much of this will be enabled by low cost 360 cameras like the Ricoh Theta combined with economical devices like Google Paper that transform the smart phones everyone already owns into a virtual reality device.  This represents an entirely new opportunity for marketers to give factory tours and any other form in-person experience the mind can imagine.

Michael Stelzner
Founder Social Media Examiner 

2. Email Service Providers Will Look a Lot Like Marketing Automation Companies

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

AndyCSo many! I expect a new Twitter algorithm, further reduced organic reach in Facebook and a spike in social ad spending. But here’s my prediction about ESPs and automation attrition…

Many companies that have signed up for marketing automation in the last two years are really just using it for email delivery. Directors of marketing everywhere will ask themselves, why am I spending $1000 per month (or more) for something a monkey can do?

…and they’ll cancel Marketo and sign up for Mail Chimp. And Mail Chimp will start to do many of the things that Marketo was doing.

A year from now, email service providers will look a lot more like marketing automation companies.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

I’m focusing on larger content projects in the new year:

  • Original Research. Next year we’ll do the third annual Survey of 1000 Bloggers
  • Larger Events. We may grow the size of Content Jam, our annual conference.
  • Video and Audio: I’m setting a goal of producing more how-to videos. I’m also creating a podcast called Content Matters with Barry Feldman!

It seems to be more difficult to get results with medium quality projects. I’ll always blog, but I expect I’ll have to go bigger if I expect to grow. Demand is high for live events and high-end content. Hopefully, I can up my game without decreasing my publishing frequency.

Andy Crestodina
Co-Founder of Orbit Media

3. Video Becomes a Primary Content & Social Marketing Consideration for All Brands

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

JayBAll signs point to video. Whether it’s Facebook Live, video on Twitter, Periscope, Blab, Instagram, Vine or the old standby YouTube, 2016 will be the year when video becomes a primary content and social marketing consideration for all brands – even B2B. Partially because customer appetite for video (even low-res, real-time video) is insatiable. And partially because video is the most efficient way to atomize your message. If you have video, you have audio. If you have video, you have text (via transcription). If you have video, you have photos. But it doesn’t work the other way around. In 2016, video will take its rightful place as the petri dish of great social media marketing.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

Next year my firm and I are going to emphasize the intersection of customer experience, customer service, content marketing, and social media marketing. It’s all merging together…FAST!

Jay Baer
President of Convince & Convert
& Author of Hug Your Haters

4. Newsjacking

David Meerman Scott 2Question: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

After growing interest for five years, 2016 is the year Newsjacking goes mainstream. For those who don’t yet use the strategy, Newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow your business. 

David Meerman Scott
Marketing and Sales Strategist
& Author of Newsjacking


5. Everyone Needs a Live Streaming Strategy

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

IanCleary2016 is the year when social media marketers realize they need to build their sales funnel skills and use social media as a traffic source to feed their funnel.

There are many other great benefits to social media but driving sales is a key requirement.

You can generate sales from social media but typically not on social media channels.

As I build out these funnels we will invest a lot in Facebook advertising and we’ll be using a lot of video.  We’re currently building up our presence on Instagram and investing in live streaming.  Everyone needs to have a strategy for live streaming.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

My big focus is building out our own sales funnels and helping our customers also. Our framework for training companies is PRISM. I will be focused on helping companies build their PRISM.

Basic RGB

P for people – build your audience

R for relationships

I for inbound traffic

S for subscribers and social retargeting

M for monetization

Ian Cleary
Founder of RazorSocial

6. Live Video Streaming Apps Allow Everyone to Become Instant Content Creators

Question: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

joel-squareLive video streaming apps such as Periscope and Blab allow everyone to become instant content creators in a powerful new way. I think we’re going to see more on-the-scene journalism and original content flowing from creative individuals who embrace this technology.

Joel Comm
Futurist, Influencer
& New York Times Bestselling Author



7. The Live Streaming Trend Will Grow as Customers Begin to Appreciate the Personal Connection from Live Conversations

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

Ravi Shukle Customer Service SpecialistWorking in the field of online customer service I have noticed a huge increase in live video over the past 12 months for customer support and content creation. I feel in 2016 this live stream trend is set to grow even further as customers begin to appreciate the personal connection a live conversation can bring.

With the barrier to entry often being a simple mobile app more and more customers will be accessing their information on the go and interacting in real time. The best part about this trend is that it doesn’t have to be time consuming content can be created on the go and can range form 3 minutes to 35 depending on how much time you want to invest.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

We’ve all heard people do business with those they know like and trust and in 2016 I feel this trust will come from building an online community. This helps other like-minded individuals connect with their passion and support each other. That is why in 2016 I will be focusing on growing my membership site, helping to build an online community who can help each other grow through their shared experiences and knowledge to deliver great online customer service.

Ravi Shukle
Social Media Influencer
& Customer Service Specialist


8. Become More Human, Authentic & Transparent

NealSQuestion 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

The biggest digital trend that I see for 2016 is that companies will become more dependent on seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum. I see marketers becoming more dependent on social media automation tools. I also see them looking at ways to become more human, authentic and transparent with their engagement within their social media communities.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

I am going to be investing more in technology to help me expand relationships that I have created online.  I want to have the right conversations with my digital community about the right content at the right time – and offer them help, whether through my own product or someone else’s.

Neal Schaffer
Founder of Maximize Social Business
& Author of Maximize Your Social


9. Live Streaming Has Moved to The Forefront for Marketers & Business Owners

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

kimgarstWithout a doubt, the advent of live streaming is definitely an upcoming digital trend for 2016. While live-streaming isn’t new, apps like Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab have brought live-streaming to the forefront for business owners. Mobile has been a growing trend for a number of years and live-streaming apps are definitely contributing to the growing dependence on our mobile devices.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

In 2016, I plan to spend more time connecting and serving my community using live-streaming as a medium to deliver content. Additionally, I plan to focus on marketing automation in a way that builds a unique customer experience for every one of our customers.

Kim Garst
Co-Founder and CEO of Boom! Social
& Author of Will the Real You Please Stand Up


10. A Greater Focus On ‘Owned’ Content

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

StephanieSammons2In 2016 I believe we will see marketers continuing to narrow their social media platform focus. As the major social networks mature, it has become more difficult to gain traction just skimming the surface of all of them. Marketers who go deeper with one or two primary social networks will experience much greater success. Another trend that will likely continue is a greater focus on ‘owned’ content. As social and content platforms continue to change their rules and make it increasingly difficult to get visibility, marketers will place more emphasis on the web properties that they own and control.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

As always, I will continue to invest in building digital influence. Building your digital influence is a critical driver of reputable and sustainable success. One of the best ways to build digital influence is to consistently create and publish outstanding, valuable content. To that end, I’ll be spending more time on content creation to provide as much value as possible to my network in 2016!

Stephanie Sammons
Digital Entrepreneur & Author of Linked to Influence

11. Visual Content Will Drive More Traffic & Sales

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

DonnaMoritzVisual content will continue to drive more traffic and sales, especially short video and live streaming. Video is no longer just about YouTube anymore. Businesses that previously would have been intimidated by the production time to make a “great” YouTube video are discovering that they can create short videos and get great results – even if they are a little creatively challenged.

Why? Firstly, video is showcased everywhere now, not just on YouTube. Facebook is providing awesome reach to natively uploaded videos. Videos are showcased on every platform from Pinterest to LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Even SlideShare shows videos now. But the key is in creating videos that are engaging, snackable and suited for the platform you are on.

Secondly, the tools we have available for creating video get better every year, especially on our mobile phones. Of course there are tools like iMovie, but now we have apps like Videolicious (allowing you to create a short video with B-roll footage, intros and outros like a professional would), Videohance (adding cool light effects and editing functions) and fun tools like Reverse-Vid, Hyperlapse and Stop Motion Studio (to reverse, speed up or slow down your video capture). Live streaming tools also provide instant video content from replay recordings.  Anyone can create video, even the people who don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

We have been experimenting a lot this year with the idea of using core pieces of visual content (i.e. video, SlideShare, infographics and images) that lead into key blog posts as the entry point into our content marketing funnel. It’s been one of the biggest drivers of traffic, shares and sales for us. Live streaming has been part of this via Periscope and Blab but we will be stepping that up into 2016 as I think it’s a great way to connect with your target market and introduce them to your content in an engaging and personalized way.

Donna Moritz
Founder Socially Sorted

12. Social Media ROI Will Become Increasingly Important

lilachBullockQuestion 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

Social media ROI will become increasingly important. Since many companies have been “doing” social media for a fairly long time, 2016 will be the year they start to pay more attention to the effect it is having.

Vanity will be replaced with a financial focus. Though it always feels good to get thousands of likes and shares, companies will start to realize that it’s not the amount of likes but the people doing the liking that is important.

Mobile will continue to be a priority, with companies spending more time looking at how mobile users interact with their social presence before optimizing their digital offering in response.

Lilach Bullock
Co-Founder of CommsAxis

13. Live Streaming Apps

Question 1: What digital marketing trends do you see in 2016? 

SueZWith all of the options available to business owners there is one platform that I see quickly dominating the market – live streaming apps.

Using videos on platforms like Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope, and Blab pushes you to the forefront of your audience’s attention. A video is a great way to step up and stand out from your competition. When your audience is able to see you, hear you, and connect with your message they form a sense of trust with your brand at a faster rate.

Question 2: When it comes to marketing where will you be spending your time in 2016?

Less time on Google Plus and Hangouts and more time on

Susan B. Zimmerman
Instagram Expert
& Author of Instagram Basics for your Business


Digital Marketing Trends for 2016: Key Takeaways

  • The public has a much higher expectation about the kinds of content they are consuming (quality & size).
  • Businesses are reevaluating & simplifying the tools they are using. Why pay for the Cadillac when the Sedan will provide you with everything need and will actually use, but at a more affordable price.
  • The barrier for entry for things like live streaming, video, 360-degree video & 3D experiences is quite low for both those creating the content as well as those consuming it.
  • Live streaming and video are becoming mainstream and gaining in popularity. Businesses need to take a hard look at finding ways they can incorporate it to meet their business goals.
  • If you are using live streaming or video in your business, you MUST have a strategy.
  • Video provides you with the ability to break that content down into other forms (like audio, text for a blog & images), which can be repurposed and shared.
  • When creating video, businesses need to make sure they are creating videos that are engaging, snackable and suited for the platform they are on.
  • Social media is a great way to fill your sales funnel, not necessarily the best place for you to try to directly sell your products and services.
  • Business are beginning to understanding that social media isn’t just a numbers game. More fans, followers and likes does not necessarily equal more sales. It is the relationships that are created with those fans and followers which will produce an ROI.

My personal takeaway from all the advice given here is that your customers and your market want YOUR perspective (whatever kind of content you are creating & sharing). This is a huge piece of the “Know, Like & Trust” puzzle. Video & live streaming provides a very unique and personal way for them to consume your message and interact with you on a much more personal level – a very different experience than just reading your article or social media posts.

It will be interesting to see how this trend continues to evolve with 360-degree live video & 3D experiences, which will allow your viewers to feel like they are actually there experiencing it with you.

What will you be focusing on in your business in 2016? Will video and live streaming become a mainstream staple as everyone is predicting? Let us know in the comments below.


This article is originally published here.





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