Every year digital marketing specialists from all over the globe speculate, using stats and their expertise, on what the best online marketing trends are or will be. This is all well and fine, but do we ever stop to ask if these trends are actually ground-breaking or valuable to our businesses? Well, let’s take a look at these trends closely.

This article doesn’t seek to identify and regurgitate trends, as this has been done already, but to analyse their value.

Are video ads really going to dominate?

Everyone is talking about video. In fact, they’ve been talking about video ever since buffering got left behind along with the telegraph. So why would video start dominating now especially in the age of ad block and just general displeasure from ads? What’s different?

Well, last year Google announced its plan to roll out in-SERP video advertising. Why is this relevant to your business? Because search is the most used medium, so you no longer have to wait for potential customers to come to you or find you on YouTube, and then skip your video ad after 5 seconds.

Once they (customers) search for a service or relevant keyword, your video ad is served to them on search results. Unlike some ads, this is less intrusive as the person using the engine is more likely to be looking for the business you’re offering and not trying to view a YouTube video titled 15 Cats That Make You Go Awe.

Is mobile finally going to destroy PC?

Jeez! Just thank the universe there’s only one train of thought when it comes to PC vs Mobile, which is mobile is the future. But in all honesty, mobile isn’t really the future anymore. It’s the now and has been the now for years, especially last year when Google announced that mobile traffic took over desktop.

Can mobile domination really be a year on year trend? I doubt it. But that’s not to say that mobile doesn’t matter. On the contrary, mobile marketing should be part and parcel of any digital marketing strategy. It’s basically the yoke to an egg. Sorry.

Will consumer purchasing behaviour become more complex?

Of any of the aforementioned trends, this can’t be argued against. New technologies, such as VR headsets, continue to enter the market at a rapid pace. This increases the touchpoints a consumer has with a brand.

Undoubtedly, this makes the entire activity of purchasing a product more complex. At a time when we can expect more wearable tech, social networks and software such as livestreaming, consumer purchasing behaviours will be a hot topic/trend, this year and beyond because of its continuous, rapid evolution.

Is personalisation where it’s at?

Again, this is quite a problematic prediction. Why? Because personalisation has been where it’s at since two years ago. Like mobile, personalisation (especially with email) should be part and parcel of the strategy by now. For the sake of email deliverability, high open rates, engagement and conversations, everyone should be personalising where they can. Even if you’re not doing email marketing (which you should), personalising content to suit the needs of the audience and potential customers does more justice than feeding your entire audience generalised and untargeted products and content.

This is not the future of 2016. It’s been the now since forever.

Should we put our money on Automation?

Now we’re talking. While automation started picking up steam last year, it wasn’t being rolled out at a large pace because it was relatively new. However, marketers have begun to understand the process in relation to the businesses they manage. Yes, automation has also been around for eons, but it was restricted to menial tasks like scheduling. Now it’s going to be used for complex tasks such as audience segmentation, content distribution and seamless communication. If you’re not too familiar with this trend, you best start reading up on it.