Social commerce tops marketing trends for 2016

With 2016 now just weeks away, marketers are turning their attention to new year planning with a new study revealing the biggest trends and anxieties marketers will face in the coming year – with social commerce topping the list.

The study of 100 UK marketers by digital marketing agency Greenlight, suggests that more than half of marketers (52%) believe that social commerce will be the most rapidly growing trend in 2016. This is closely followed by location-based marketing technology for 49% of respondents, and predictive targeting for 43% of those surveyed. The growth of wearable technology was backed by 39% of respondents.

Personalisation is likely to be a key driver in 2016, with 42% currently using location targeting to personalise their marketing and a third targeting by age group and another third by intent – such as purchase history. However, the survey also showed opportunity for improvement with more than a quarter (27%) currently not targeting by location, age group, intent, socio-economic group, religion, or sexual orientation.

Concern was revealed about the dominance of tech titans such as Yahoo! and Apple with 57% worried about their use of data, 32% concerned about becoming over reliant on their services, and 25% concerned about the cost.

However, the marketers surveyed also said such companies supported their online retail strategy. 86% of marketers said that Google helped them deliver on their aims whilst 71% considered Facebook a friend to online retail. 69% said the same of Twitter.

As marketers look to what skills they need for 2016 respondents identified a number of skills priorities. 59% said data analysis, 52% better content optimisation skills, 45% a better alignment with the sales team, 42% greater financial modelling and budgeting, 40% improved SEM and SEO competence, and the ability to code for 23%.

Andreas Pouros, COO and co-founder at Greenlight, said marketers had to consider what they were after. “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,” he said.