Digital trends 2015 and predictions 2016

2015 trends A more complex customer journey A customer’s journey is multi-channel and multi-device spanning well designed websites, well thought …

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Alexis Pratsides


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2015 trends

A more complex customer journey

A customer’s journey is multi-channel and multi-device spanning well designed websites, well thought out mobile apps to name but a few. This makes attribution extremely challenging. GfK’s research into how car insurance is bought demonstrates the complexity for an average journey:

  • 35-day period of researching and consideration
  • 5 websites visited and 34 minutes spent on them
  • Only 4% used offline to purchase

GfK decision making infographic.

Infographic by GfK

Marketing teams are changing

As digital has become a basic skill for marketers, the need for siloed digital teams has gone. HSBC’s global head of marketing for commercial banking and global banking and markets, Amanda Rendle, has banned the word “digital” from her team to stop them from sinking into an organisational silo. She says:

Digital has shifted the skill base and demands understanding for areas where marketing has traditionally not gone or has been left to other teams, e.g. coding, data analysis. There is also more crossover of disciplines. For example, content marketing knowledge will span SEO, conversion tactics, PR and social. We explored this recently in The New Marketer’s DNA.

Marketing automation is growing

Adoption is led by big companies (at least 25% of the Fortune 500) but harder for smaller companies due to cost and time. New entrants into the market are making it easier with lower cost alternatives but as SmartInsight’s research shows, there are still major barriers to adoption:

SmartInsights Marketing Automation chart.

Adtech increasing but for the good?

Digital ad spend hit £7.2bn in the UK this year and is projected to keep growing. However, there are issues with adtech for users, particularly on mobile, e.g. being bombarded with the same advert constantly, clicking on ads accidently.

The launch of adblocking apps was one way for end users to fight back, but its impact on advertising activities and spend is yet to be seen. WPP’s Martin Sorrel recently commented: “Estimates that have been made so far about the impact of ad blocking have been on the smaller side…That doesn’t mean, by the way, that we can be complacent about it and it doesn’t mean it won’t become important.”

UK mobile growth

There is still a huge appetite for smartphones in the UK. Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer survey showed that:

  • 76% of adults own a smartphone
  • 53% of smartphone users check their phones within 5 minutes of waking
  • Over 32 million phones are purchased yearly in the UK, and 6 million are handed down
  • The proportion of 4G users jumped from 8% to 25% in the last year
  • 25% of smartphone users make no traditional voice calls in a given week
  • 13% of UK adults have now made a mobile payment in-store, up from 3% last year

Global mobile growth

By the end of 2014 there were 3.6 billion unique mobile subscribers with another billion predicted by 2020.

Cheaper handsets are making the internet more accessible to countries and regions where broadband infrastructure is poor.

Some countries also have huge potential to grow. India has 167 million smartphones but this only accounts for 13% of the population.

SMS global mobile infographic

Predictions for 2016

#1 Native advertising will increase

Traditional online advertising is frustrating users and not giving them a good enough experience. There are better ways to present content and products/services, and one way is for it to appear “natively” within sites. News sites, e.g. Buzzfeed, are already doing this so expect to see more of it.

What can I do?

  • Social media advertising on most networks appears within feeds and is a cost-effective way of distributing content and messages.
  • Make sure that what you are advertising is good-quality content and genuinely useful to the audience.

#2 Data analysis will be a critical skill for marketers

As marketing technology consolidates, it increases the pressure for ROI on digital. The requirement to pull data from multiple sources, crunch and deliver insight will be high.

What can I do?

Brush up on Excel and Analytics, especially:

  • Analytics – custom reporting, attribution, audience segments
  • Excel – VLOOKUP, macros

#3 Marketers will also need to know their technology

Marketing automation is not going away. If you aren’t already looking at it or using it, then 2016 will the year to seriously consider it.

Tag management will also become an important tool. It is not an easy task but the benefits are significant:

  • Centralises tracking management and reduces the administrative data burden
  • Autonomy from developers/IT

What can I do?

#4 Data protection and security will be bigger issues

The EU General Data Protection Regulations are being updated and due for imminent release. Key features of the regulations include:

  • Individuals having more information on how their personal data is processed and needs to be communicated to them in a clear and understandable way.
  • The “Right to be forgotten” – if you do not want data retained, it must be deleted. Problems for ad networks?
  • The right to know data protection breaches

The last point is especially pertinent given the Ashley Madison and TalkTalk hacks last year. People may start thinking twice before handing over sensitive information such as dates of birth and bank account details if they cannot be reassured that it is secure.

What can I do?

  • Keep an eye out for the updated regulations and check that data protection policies are up to date. Communicate to your clients if there are any changes.
  • Consider moving site to https:// for additional protection- this can disrupt your SEO so always enlist SEO experts if you want to do this.

What do you think 2016 will bring in digital? Share your thoughts with us @minttwist or drop us a line via

Created by

Alexis Pratsides

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