Marketers’ biggest trends and anxieties for 2016: Social commerce; predictive tech and location marketing


The vast majority of marketers (86%) count Google as their number one partner in their online retail strategy, flowed by Facebook and Twitter, according to new research looking into 2016 trends.


As technology companies like Amazon, Oracle, Salesforce and Apple become more dominant, digital marketing agency Greenlight surveyed 100 UK marketers to discover their major anxieties and their eye for opportunity in 2016. This coincides with the launch of Greenlight’s 2016 Predictions Report.

Key findings:

· 86% of marketers feel that Google will be their most important partner in their online retail strategy followed by Facebook and Twitter

· The rule of tech titans such as Yahoo! And Apple has 57% of marketers worried, due to the fears around their use of data

· 52% of marketers feel that social commerce will be the top trend for 2016, followed by predictive technology and location based marketing technology.

· Marketers feel that the new year will bring new skills, with 59% of marketers saying data analysis, and 52% valuing better content optimisation skills.

Search and social media are the marketer’s “friend”

Google wins the title as “marketer’s best friend” with 86% believing the company supports their online retail strategy. It’s easy to see how Google can be a friend if retailers optimise in line with the search engine’s rankings but over two-thirds of marketers have concerns over the power it wields.

Facebook and Twitter are the next most supportive tech companies with 71% considering Facebook a “friend” to online retail and 69% viewing Twitter in the same light. This is unsurprising when the social media sites have made their intentions to dominate social shopping clear in the past few months; both tech companies have introduced “buy buttons,” while Facebook has also implemented immersive ‘Canvas’ product adverts and a Shopping feed, as well as establishing a partnership with e-commerce start-up Shopify.

Marketer concerns about the rise of tech titans

Asked why they are anxious about the rise of these tech titans, the number one reason that marketers have concerns about the dominance of technology companies like Yahoo! and Apple is because of anxiety about their use of data, with 57% of marketers stating this reason. 32% have concerns about overreliance on their services, while 25% have concerns over the cost of their services and 21% view them as a direct competitor.

Tech trends marketers will jump on in 2016

Propelled by the growing dominance of tech firms like Facebook and Twitter, more than half of marketers (52%) believe social commerce will be the most rapidly growing tech trend in 2016. 49% envisage the growth in location-based marketing technology, with 43% anticipating an increase in predictive targeting and 39% backing the growth of wearable technology, indicating a greater focus on innovative personalisation tactics in the New Year.

Currently, the most popular personalisation tactic being deployed by marketers is location-targeting, with 42% acting upon this. 33% of marketers are targeting by age group, with 33% targeting by intent (e.g. browsing to buy, purchase history). However, with 27% of marketers not targeting by location, age group, intent, socio-economic group, religion or sexual orientation, marketers have many opportunities to personalise their campaigns to greater effect.

What digital skills will marketers need in 2016?

As technology companies become more dominant, the likes of Google, Apple, Twitter and Facebook will wield even greater power over retailers and the consumers that use their services. Asking marketers what skills they would most like to learn to navigate this new world, 59% said data analysis, 52% would value better content optimisation skills, 45% want to align better with the sales team, 42% are seeking greater financial modelling and budgeting capabilities, while 40% want improved SEM and SEO competence and 23% want the ability to code.

Andreas Pouros, COO and co-founder at Greenlight, commented: “As the fight for online dominance gathers pace, marketers are right to be concerned about the power of tech companies, their use of data and the cost of their services. To come out on top in this fast-changing environment, retailers must take advantage of new innovations. However, it’s important not to rush into anything blindly.

Before investing, consider your next move carefully. Question whether new tools and services will really impact your business and how much value investment in these areas will deliver. Marketers also need to make sure they have the skills to handle new technologies and, if they don’t, they need to look for a partner with the right expertise. The responsibility is on each marketer to realise what they need to shift the need; invest, upskill or partner depending on the needs of your business.”

Read more about the Greenlight predictions here

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