While technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and automation will continue to have a major impact on commerce and society as a whole, more specific trends are emerging and solidifying in the world of digital marketing.

Your company might have to prioritise these trends in order to stay relevant and effective when it comes to successfully positioning your company, brand and message.

Here are some trends to look out for over the the next year:

1. Don’t get content with your content

For companies that don’t see themselves as traditional content creators and providers, content marketing can seem like an additional and unwanted marketing expense.

There are three very important factors to remember when considering the benefits of content marketing for your company: Google search, customer engagement, and brand control.

Keep investing in good content in 2016 and your company will:

  • maintain its searchability and ranking in Google;
  • engage with existing and potential customers on social platforms; and
  • retain some degree of control over its brand management.

2. Platforms and distribution get a mix up

The last 10 years has seen the proliferation of all sorts of platforms and channels for the distribution of marketing. YouTube and Facebook were internet curiosities for most people back in 2006, but in 2016 both of these channels likely play a significant strategic role in the marketing plans of most companies.

Getting the marketing mix right for so many platforms, channels, and mediums has become a complicated and difficult task. This year we will see more companies streamline and focus on the channels that are giving them the best return on investment as measured by their key indicators.

3. Data analysis gets more insightful

One way that marketing professionals and executives will be able to determine which platforms are best suited to their company’s needs is through smarter data analysis and insight.

Again, this is an aspect of marketing that has perhaps been ‘waiting to exhale’ because of the prodigious growth in data that has become available to companies through CRM, and CMS, as well as Google and social media analytics.

Looking at the mountain of data available and deducing key insights is crucial for companies that want to understand and serve their customer better. It’s no longer good enough to amass data in the hope that it magically presents insights by itself.

4. Social strategy gets streamlined

Facebook continues to be the major player in terms of social media, but 2016 will see changes in the landscape. It’s predicted that some previously big players will see their influence wane as others emerge to take their place.

This means that companies have to stay adaptable and nimble when it comes to switching resources between and across platforms. For example, some companies may have to review what they are doing with Twitter if the micro-blogging site continues to flounder through the year as it did in 2015.

Similarly, marketing executives will have to review allocation and investment when it comes to fast-emerging platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. Once again, content ties in with a strong social media strategy, as does the judicious employment of data analysis and insights.

5. Mobile marketing is on the money

Smartphone penetration is probably close to hitting its peak as plan and data prices continue to become more affordable to the broader population. This will continue to play a massive part in how consumers use the web and engage with your company.

Many of these trends are of course intertwined, so once again you will be wanting to look closely at your data to see how many of what type of customers are using mobile compared to desktop or even tablet.

The increased availability of mobile commerce options will also play a big part in how companies structure their marketing and design their customer experience across platforms. In 2016, your company will have to continue to think mobile-first.