The Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Prioritize for 2016

4 minute read

Upland Admin

Smart technology, wearable tech, Big Data and the ‘Internet of Things’ all vie for center stage when it comes to identifying the biggest influences shaping the next year and even the next decade.

However slick new products and jargon mean nothing if you’re not perfecting the essential techniques and tools that lie behind them. Here are the five digital marketing trends that will deliver genuine value if you prioritize them in 2016.


Your customers are not all the same, so why treat them that way? For 2016 consider more advanced and dynamic ways of personalizing campaigns. Future Publishing’s campaign for MyFavouriteMagazines asked customers to select their favorite movie or TV series. Future then triggered messages tailored to their choice, building familiarity and a bond with the brand based on something they were passionate about.

Dynamic customization is another ‘one to implement’ in 2016 if you haven’t already. It covers a wide area but you can use it to personalize email content according to given and observed customer data. Examples include location, weather-based content, webscrapes, personalized images, including live stock levels in your ecommerce emails and much more. Simple but effective.


According to the 2015 Email Industry Census, 54% of marketers surveyed believed they were not coordinating email automation to their satisfaction, while 29% wanted to focus on this tool this year. At its core, automation provides a narrative that takes prospects on a personalized and logical journey, from showing an interest to being a satisfied – and also a repeat – customer.

Tracking engagement within an automated campaign can also help to determine where interest appears to be significant enough to warrant a call from your sales team. It could also be a way to identify and group loyal or extremely engaged subscribers and tailor your messages with the goal of converting them. You know they already open and click in every single email, test to see what would make them purchase.

Device optimization

In 2015, Google announced that mobile traffic had overtaken desktop in ten countries including the US and Japan. Mobile is now the device of choice for both personal and business email viewing.

And according to our census, 61% of participants are already optimizing campaigns for mobile, while 27% are planning to. How can you take mobile optimization to the next level? In 2016, think about creating specific campaign versions for mobile that hide elements to automatically make them shorter and easier to navigate. Also, time your campaigns according to when your prospects are using their devices, tailoring your comms to suit different times of the day and hardware.

Another game changer is wearable tech; you’re no longer just targeting desktop and mobile. By 2019, analysts predict vendors will have shipped more than 168 million wearable devices so it make sense to get savvy now and plan the customer experience. Consider geo-specific and highly-targeted campaigns for wearable tech – i.e. send an email voucher to a customer’s wearable device as they walk past your store, or as they pass by sensors like iBeacons.

Context aware content

Context aware means going even further beyond personalized and mobile-compatible content. It means actually responding to a customer’s environment and behaviors. Knowing your prospect’s online habits and social preferences – even their location – can enable dynamic, real-time marketing activity to engage them, rather than haphazardly firing out generic content in the hope that some of it will stick.

Social media

Email marketing is delivered directly to the customer, while social media platforms provide compelling content to draw the customer in. When coordinated in synergy, the outcome can be extremely effective. Customers often have preferred channels for getting the information they want, so incentivize your email recipients to sign up to your social media channels and vice versa to strengthen their relationship with you.

Regardless of new tech, customers still want to be treated as humans, so for 2016 make sure your marketing strategy is geared to giving the personal touch.

Reliable products. Real results.

Every day, thousands of companies rely on Upland to get their jobs done simply and effectively. See how brands are putting Upland to work.

View Success Stories