Laura Vukelic

Search Account Manager

Top Trends Impacting Digital Marketing in FY16

As we are fast approaching the 2016 fiscal year, many of our customers are currently involved in planning their digital marketing activity. This article will cover a few of the emerging trends that will have short and longer term impacts on digital marketing & more specifically search marketing initiatives.

The year ahead will see:

  • Significant growth in digital advertising spend; ‘In 2016, digital will account for more than one quarter (26%) of all advertising spend with 2105 spend already exceeding last year’s forecast.’ (Carat, March 2015)
  • One of the large contributions to digital advertising spend will come from the SMB segment: “2016 will see a larger investment from small to medium sized business owners in developing more of a 'self-service' style online presence.”(Phillip Wendell, Managing Director at Click Click Media)

In addition to growth in spend, other key trends to consider when planning for FY16 include:

  • Emergence of interactive technologies & how this is changing the digital landscape.
  • Increasing cross channel engagement from consumers will mean that brands will need to make this a focus of their planning.
  • Now more than ever, there is a greater importance on the customer experience & how this will differentiate a business & its offerings.


Voice Enabled Search & Digital Interaction

The year ahead will see many interesting trends brought on by smart technologies with human interaction at the core. Products & software that utilise voice enablement (such as Cortana), sensory & visual technology (see Hololens), will have a major impact on the digital world and more specifically on search marketing.

Picture 1 – Hololens (Image source:

Sensory & visual technology (see Hololens), will have a major impact on the digital world

The interaction with devices is becoming more and more physical, making these experiences more realistic.

These technologies will bridge the gap between the real and virtual, and give brands powerful new ways to create experiences that engage customers.’

(Rob Salkowitz, Dollars, Bits and Atoms: A Roadmap to the Future of Marketing, August, 2013- Page 9)

Brands planning for FY16 should consider:

  • Voice enabled search will influence the user experience, particularly how the search is performed as well as the intentions of the user.
  • Brands will need to understand how technology will impact their own digital marketing initiatives and consider this when developing their cross channel strategy.
  • For search marketing campaigns, ensure location targeting is in place for relevant offers and ads, whilst building out keywords that perform well on mobile devices.


Cross Channel Engagement

Customer engagement is rapidly evolving, mostly from interactive digital media as well as increasing transparency. As a result, engagement is largely cross channel and can also occur at any point of the path to purchase.  

‘86% of global consumers use more than two channels to complete a purchase.’

(U.S. Digital: Future in Focus, Comscore, May 2015)

Advertisers must therefore strive to understand what their consumer cross channel engagement looks like and how this influences their consumer’s purchasing decisions. Brands need to ‘integrate campaigns across and between media, with messages becoming more implicit, context aware & connected,’ (Salkowitz-Page 8).

Brands planning for FY16 should consider:

  • Closely aligning paid & organic channels, making them work better together to facilitate the consumer’s journey to purchase.
  • There is a real opportunity for brands to identify the relationship between channels and drive this creatively, to achieve a unified message and effectively, online success.
  • A cross channel strategy that focuses on improving customer engagement is very likely to simultaneously deliver a great customer experience.


Customer Experience as Differentiation

Amongst the endless competition & noise in the digital space, there is a great importance of making the customer experience a core focus for FY16 planning as well as a means to differentiate. The experience needs to be one that not only converts the user but excites them!

“Potential customers are going to be won or lost based on how easy you are to deal with online. If 2015 is anything to go on the key phrase for 2016 is going to be user experience.” (Phillip Wendell)

The great thing about digital technology is that it is track-able & measurable, allowing a business to gather consumer engagement insights and develop learnings around consumer preferences. With the ability to continuously refine the consumer profile, this will lead to highly targeted content & offers.

Location data together with customer data, drive ‘greater possibilities for personalised offers, content and competitive product or pricing information at the precise moment of truth for the customer when they are capable of taking advantage of the offer’ (Salkowitz- Page 16).

Brands planning for FY16 should consider:

    • Utilise report data, past purchase data, newsletter signups & all other track-able information to continuously build your customer profile.
    • Create and regularly refresh your ad copy & other content so that it speaks to the persona of your customer profile, making use of location, device & demographic settings to deliver highly targeted messaging.
    • Mobile search ads should not just be viewed as an extension of your desktop strategy; mobile advertising strategy should be a highlight of your FY16 planning.
    • Make mobile ads engaging, sensitive to the customer profile and centred around the customer experience;  ‘Mobile dominates the way consumers access information, view content, browse products, and purchase goods, and this is reflected in the innovative services and approach we are discussing with our clients.’

    (J. Buhlmann, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network)

    To summarise, when planning your digital marketing for FY16, it is important to consider:

      • Emerging technologies: how do these impact not only the digital landscape but how your consumers interact with your ads?
      • Consumer engagement across channels: what does this look like for your business and how can you approach this in a new and creative way for the coming year?
      • Differentiate through the customer experience: how innovative can your brand be when it comes to delivering a great customer experience?

          Being on the front foot of one or all of these emerging trends can be the difference between a good year ahead and a great year ahead for your brand!





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