22 Expert Predictions About Digital Marketing Trends in 2016


2015 was a great year for the most important social media networks like: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat etc. More and more businesses around the world are interested in different social media service packages because they want to have a solid presence on the most important social media networks with their brand, to have exposure and leads.

Because 2016 will be a great year for digital marketing, I asked some of the most well known digital marketing experts to tell our Hot in Social Media audience their predictions about the most important digital marketing trends in 2016. You can read their answers and predictions below.

I want to thank once again all of the digital marketing experts who were so kind to send me their predictions!

In the next 2 weeks I’ll publish 2 more articles with answers from these experts about 2 other important things for social media in 2016:

24 Expert Opinions About The Top 3 Most Useful Social Media Networks in 2016

26 Social Media Experts Tell You Two of Their Most Useful Social Media Marketing Tips for 2016

What digital marketing trends do you predict for 2016?


Ted Rubin

Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO Brand Innovators


Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to SocialMedia Marketing Magazine; one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to SayMedia, #13 on Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, and number #2 on the Leadtail list of Top 25 People Most Mentioned by digital marketers. ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR, is the basis of his philosophy. His book, Return on Relationship was released January 2013. His latest book, How To Look People in the Eye Digitally was released January 2015. Connect with Ted… TedRubin.com or @TedRubin
Answer: For marketers thinking about approaching content marketing from a networking and community building aspect rather than a marketing and sales aspect can be very difficult. Brands need to attract customers, but breaking through the clutter is challenging. Every day brands and marketers are spending millions trying to get you to use, keep using, and share that you love their brands. But why aren’t they doing everything they can, and using some of those millions to do it (probably way less that they are spending on those marketing campaigns), making experiences with their brand remarkable. Opportunities to do this are given to brands each and every day and they simply, turn their heads, rave about their latest and great “campaign’ as if it were a military conquest, and pass up ways to really create customers for life. 2016 needs to be the year of doing what I call… Looking People in the Eye Digitally. The last few decades of marketing tactics have made us lazy communicators and I’ve had just about enough. Most often we don’t even pay attention to who we are talking to other than via the data we collect (and even that’s a maybe). In order to fix this and really start to benefit from the content we produce (both as individuals and as companies), we need to start to get to know who our customers really, are, engaging with them, and building community. A Network gives you Reach… A Community gives you Power.
Brands, in 2016, and going forward… Standout by “LIKING” them BEFORE they “LIKE” you. #RonR… #NoLetUp!

Tim Hughes


Social Selling Lounge – www.Socialsellinglounge.com

Tim has been in sales for 27 years and recently worked on the roll-out of Social Selling at Oracle, across Western Europe and 2000 people. Tim has created a methodology for companies to implement Social Selling which is expected to give companies a 20% uplift in revenue as well as providing a competitive advantage.
Answer: The trends for content marketing and on-line streaming will continue from 2015. My hope is that people move away from doing these things as a “Social Media expert” told them to do it and start to make the connection between using these tactics to find leads and generate revenue. Writing content and attending blabs (alone) don’t pay the rent.

Sue B. Zimmerman

Entrepreneur, Social Media Expert, Branding and Business Coach


Sue B. is the founder of the online Instagram course Insta-Results™, the author of Instagram Basics for your Business, a CreativeLive instructor, a speaker and business coach. She teaches entrepreneurs, business execs, and marketing professionals how to leverage the power of Instagram for real business results. As a serial entrepreneur, Sue B. has started over eighteen businesses, including SueB Do, Boxer Rebellion and Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise.
Answer:  In 2016 I really see Live Streaming apps coming to the forefront of the digital marketing trends. Not only do they allow you to connect with your customer in a more authentic way, but they also help to humanize your brand. I’ve already seen how Live Streaming apps are enriching video and digital storytelling, and I expect that trend to continue to grow.


Mike Allton

Author, Content Marketing Practitioner and SiteSell CMO

The Social Media Hat – www.thesocialmediahat.com

Mike is a Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early ’90’s and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media, and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Answer: While ever-increasing video usage and integration is a popular prediction for the coming year, the one area where I see real change is in social platform growth and adoption, as I see 2016 as being a year for real attrition. Networks like Meerkat, Periscope, Vine, Hangouts and Blab will all struggle to co-exist, so I believe that we’ll see several major networks merge, be purchased, or simply shuttered.

StephanieFrascoStephanie Frasco Clegg

VP Social Media

Convert With Content – www.convertwithcontent.com

Stephanie Frasco Clegg, VP Social Media Marketing, started helping businesses get results with social networks before Twitter even existed! Stephanie has worked directly with high profile clients like Oprah, Atlantic Records, Dashlane, The International Culinary Center, & many more. She specializes in helping business owners and marketers find massive ROI by developing targeted social campaigns focused on *engagement strategies* that work!
Answer: Location Based Marketing Will Be Huge! With more and more apps and GPS-connected devices out there, marketing will rely on connecting to people when they are out and about based on exactly where they are.

Jennifer G. Hanford

Senior Community Manager

B Squared Media – www.BSquared.media

Senior Community Manager for B Squared Media. Social media & blogging freelancer. Coffee lover. Contributes articles to a variety of social media and marketing sites including Curatti and TweakYourBiz.com.
Answer: As for digital marketing trends, I have to agree with many others in my industry that visual content will continue being important in helping brands stand out in 2016. More brands are becoming savvier with Instagram, for example, and I think this will continue. Another trend I see becoming more popular in 2016 is the continued growth of relationship marketing. Many businesses have caught on that people prefer doing business with people. Although many people predict that 2016 is the year that online video will finally take off, I’m personally skeptical. The internet is already saturated with videos. And this has been on everyone’s “top trends” list for the past 5 years or so, but I haven’t seen it become the big “game-changer” yet.

NataschaThomsonNatascha Thomson

CEO – MarketingXLerator and Co-Author – Yogi

MarketingXLerator – www.marketingxlerator.com

Natascha is the CEO of MarketingXLerator, a marketing consultancy with a focus on social media. She consults with small and large clients including SAP, Polycom, SLAP Company, LookingGlass and HR Strategies.
Answer: I predict an increase in reputation management, and I use that term widely. In particular, there will finally be an increased focus on cyber security.
Brands cannot afford to be hacked or to have their clients’ information stolen. They also suffer from impersonators who send phishing emails to their target audience, infecting them with viruses.
How can you make sure a URL sent by a brand on Twitter is safe to click on? This and more questions will be top of mind for marketers, and established solutions like Cyveillance (part of LookingGlass Cyber Solutions) and ZeroFox will find the field of competitors growing.


Andrew Hutchinson

Freelance Writer & Digital Strategy Consultant


Andrew Hutchinson is an award-winning writer, blogger and social media consultant from Melbourne, Australia.
Advanced Data Utilisation – More than 90% of all the world’s data has been created in the last two years, we’re just starting to work out to use all that info. Platforms will work to provide more accurate data tracking and linking of social efforts to the bottom line – ROI will come into focus as more businesses establish direct links between what their audience wants and how they can deliver it. And then, how that ultimately results in sales activity.
Understanding Emoji – No matter how you look at it, emoji is now a thing and a thing that a great many people – of a great many ages – are using. The rise of mobile communication has lead to more people leaning on emoji to quickly convey emotion, rather than having to spell out every single word. Facebook’s working with this trend, with their ‘Reactions’ tool, and Twitter’s working on similar – the next level of that will be understanding what those emoji mean and how we can use them as an indicator of brand sentiment. Does having a heap of laughing faces means you’re on the right track? Do people who use angry or sad faces want to see less of that type of content? Emoji analytics will be an interesting trend to watch.
The Rise of 360 Degree Video – Video was huge in 2015, and that momentum won’t slow up. Rather, what will happen is we’ll see the next stage of video, which is 360-degree content. Virtual reality is close too, but it’s not quite ready to take over, as new technologies which require new equipment take more time. But it’s coming, and 360 video will serve as the entree – we’ll get some really innovative, creative 360 video content over the course of 2016.


Keri Jaehnig

Chief Marketing Officer

Idea Girl Media – www.ideagirlmedia.com

Keri is the Founder and CMO of Idea Girl Media, a Social Media Marketing Agency that works with business brands, public figures & non-profits to achieve social media success and positive online reputation. She is humbled to have received a 2013 Small Business Influencer Honorable Mention Award, and a commendation for Outstanding Attainment in Social Media from the Senate of the State of Ohio. Her insight has also been featured at Social Media Today, SteamFeed, Search Engine People, and AOL Small Business, as well as at Forbes, Business Insider, and other industry blogs. Non-fat lattes, travel & quick wit make Keri smile, and she is always enthused to meet new people!
Answer: Publishing branded content regularly and consistently will be of even higher importance as social media and content marketing continue to evolve. Marketers savvy enough to use a variety of media types to do that will win in their niches. As we become more and more visually-oriented, social networks offering image and video options will soar in popularity. Those implementing video in their strategies will be the leaders as video offers such an awesome opportunity to connect with customers and target market.

Julia Campbell

Digital Marketing Strategist

J Campbell Social Marketing – www.jcsocialmarketing.com

Julia helps her mission-driven clients find their audience online, using websites, email, blogs, and social media marketing strategies.
Answer: I predict that a lot of the robotic, impersonal digital marketing automation will end. Scheduling posts into the future is one thing and a common reason people love these automated tools (find out what is the best social media scheduler), but I personally think fully automating all of your digital marketing does not work and is not effective. You need to understand your audience fully in order to succeed on these platforms, and you need to be present, responsive, and accessible.

Martin Shervington

Founder ‘Plus Your Business’, Speaker, Consultant

Plus Your Business – www.plusyourbusiness.com

Martin is the founder and community manager for Plus Your Life and Plus Your Business and has built one of the most well-known brands around all things Google for business, including Adwords, Search, Reviews and Google+.
Answer: Things will be getting, even more, visual. I see more Virtual Reality appearing on YouTube, as well as with live streaming; Google Photos app’s new sharing capability will make event and projects more social too, leading to sharing of a whole narrative, not just an image or two.

Gini Dietrich

CEO of Arment Dietrich and author of Spin Sucks


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.
1. Private communities. A couple of weeks ago, Arik Hanson wrote a blog post called, Should You Remove the Comments from Your Corporate Blog? In it, he showed Spin Sucks as the example in the decline of the comments. He’s right. We’ve seen a huge decline in comments. But you know where we’ve seen a ridiculous increase? In our private Facebook group. That place is mass chaos. It’s insanity. And it’s ridiculously fun. I predict we’ll see more and more of this in 2016. I think people don’t want their bosses, their competitors, or their peers seeing what they’re posting online—or that they’re hanging out online—so they’re going private.
2. Measurement, measurement, measurement.Measurement has to be one of the trends of 2016. We have to stop shying away from data and metrics. There is a gigantic opportunity in front of the entire industry to measure our efforts and finally prove we are an investment, not an expense. Take advantage!

StevenJWilsonSteven J Wilson


The Visual Life – www.TheVisualLife.net

I help digital entrepreneurs find success online.
Answer: I think email marketing will be a large focus for website owners in 2016. I see many discussing taking a closer look at email marketing. This should be a focus point for us all in 2016 and beyond.


Adam Connell


Blogging Wizard – www.bloggingwizard.com

Adam is the founder of Blogging Wizard. Previously Operations Manager for a UK based marketing agency, Adam now helps others to become more successful online.

Answer: More brands are integrating offline and online strategies, this will ramp up in 2016 as the technology behind these strategies becomes easier to access. For example, retail stores that offer customers the option to sign up to email lists in store, as a way to encourage future sales.

The experience of over reliance on certain channels/platforms (e.g. Facebook) for traffic and sales will push brands and marketers to diversify their strategy.

As more and more brands focus on native advertising to gain visibility, more consumers will start to realize that those “news” articles they read are really ads. Publications with smarter revenue models and less focus on ads could start to break through.


Randy Milanovic

Principal & Marketing

Kayak Online Marketing – www.kayakonlinemarketing.com

Randy is an entrepreneur, marketer, author, and blogger of online marketing, SEO & social engagement topics. A 4x author, he’s also a stage IV Cancer Survivor who has been seen in: forbes.com, business2community.com, steamfeed.com, socialmediatoday.com, financialpost.com, spinsucks.com, the CTV News, and recently, the was featured nationally in the Financial Post Magazine: Entrepreneur/Innovator edition, article titled: Keep Running.
Answer: Businesses who previously hired people to do things in-house are now laying them off due to the oil-led recession, and businesses who contracted online efforts such as Adwords and social media management to third parties are struggling to find the ROI in the spend. In such uncertainty, an opportunity has been created for knowledgeable specialists to provide a “help me do it myself” service. As one of the leaders in that space, all I can say is that I’m delighted. If things work out the way I expect, 2016 will be the year of higher quality, bigger ROI and client empowerment, leading to employees keeping their jobs due to improved knowledge and ability to deliver ‘more’.

 JacobkCurtisJacob Curtis

Owner Branding by Jacob


An experienced new media marketer and personal branding advocate, I work with both companies and individuals in developing, maintaining and leveraging their digital identity online. Connect with me on Twitter or view my social media video tutorials on jacobcurtis.com.
Answer: Social listening and proactive community management will become increasingly important for brands looking to grow, nurture and reap the benefits of an engaged community. Social will no longer be driven by the quantity of your social audience but by the quality of its members.

 Reginald_ChanReginald Chan

Entrepreneur, Consultant & Content Writer


Reginald is a freelance consultant focusing on content marketing, search and social media. Always thinking of Big Data and new marketing techniques.
Answer: Podcast and video will be on steroids. Rest assured that people will be focusing more on these two medias compared to others.

Jen Lew

Founder / Creative Strategist

Jen Lew Marketing & Design – www.jenlew.com

Jen specializes in providing innovative strategies and developing support services to manage marketing efforts with ease.
Answer: More social apps are discovering ways to keep users engaged within the app, such as the ability for e-commerce buying options directly from within the app. From a marketing perspective big changes are happening. Digital marketing, as we knew it is evolving quickly. We, as social media managers had it good for a while – we knew the basic rules (engage, monitor and create valuable content). Now, the game has changed back to more of a traditional advertising game. Business owners are savvier, customers are savvier and they’ve become more diverse. There was a time when everyone was on Facebook or Twitter and it was like shooting fish in a barrel if you knew the rules and understood your clients enough to be able to represent them. Now more than ever, an organic two-way connection with your audience is more necessary. Direct contact, and consistent engagement has always been the forefront but now it’s truly finding the right medium and communicating your message precisely how the audience wants to view, see, watch and read it. The basic trend seems to be the need to bob and weave to keep up with the ever-changing landscape.


Nigel Ohrum

Fearless Social Media Manager

Social Toppings: Web Presence Development – www.socialtoppings.com

DARC: Digital native with Analytical chops, strong web Reach, and Content creation skills. Media marketing director by day, social media helper by night.
Answer: Content Marketing steps into the spotlight this year. Those in the industry can already see the wave beginning to crest. Businesses and brands will shift their focus from selling to helping. Content quality will get better as it’s created around customer insights / needs. Along that same line, brands will also get better about content strategy, intelligent content, and ROI. Brand marketers – please stand up.

 MarjiJShermanMarji J. Sherman

Social Media Consultant

Sherman Social – www.marjijsherman.com

Marji J. Sherman is a globally known social media strategist that has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Jay Baer’s SocialPros podcast, The Growth Factor and numerous other podcasts and publications. She writes a successful blog (www.MarjiJSherman.com) where she relates real-life experiences to the ever-changing landscape of social media, and has over 160K followers on Twitter (@MarjiJSherman) where she focuses on positive living and leveraging social media while still remaining authentic.
Answer: I predict that real-time content will become a necessity for brands with the emergence of Facebook Live, Periscope, etc. Brands can no longer hide behind the fact that they cannot answer questions or provide content in real-time. Consumers will have the expectation to be ‘in the now’ with the brands they love. Gone are the days where a brand could wait for content to go through multiple chains of approval before it could be published. Brands will need to streamline their approval processes in order to get content out immediately.

Ingrid Kibler

Social Media Expert

HCK2 Partners – www.ingridkibler.com

Ingrid’s passion is to help clients harness the power of social media for their business. From presenting innovative ideas to devising a winning strategy to staying in-the-know of the latest, she helps clients utilize this technology in surpassing their business goals and keep them ahead of the competition. She has worked with clients ranging from small businesses to global enterprises, and from a colorful array of industries including fashion, technology and entertainment. Ingrid regularly executes and presents social media audits, gives group training sessions, consults one-on-one, as well as helps monitor, drive and report on activity for different brands’ social channels.
Answer: Attention spans will become shorter, mobile will become more important than desktop, social advertising among brands will increase, video will become even more important, social tools will improve in sophistication and decrease in cost, employee advocacy will become more widespread.

Stephanie Nelson

Social Media Maven / Owner

SBN Marketing – www.sbnmktg.com

Stephanie Boyette Nelson is a Charlotte, NC-based marketing professional. Her experience runs the gamut – print ads, print newsletters, event coordination, e-mail newsletters, paid search, SEO – you name it! She currently specializes in social media marketing and SEO for small businesses.
Answer: I foresee more businesses paying to get eyes on their messages. Facebook started the trend when it moved its algorithm to more of a “pay-to-play” model. In my experience, business owners are seeing that paying to boost/promote posts can be very targeted and reach a very specific demographic without spending a lot of money. It’s much less of a “buckshot” style of marketing than has traditionally existed, where you’re just hoping your target market sees your message.