As a year in marketing comes to an end, we wanted to take a look forward at the hottest marketing trends. Here are the top modern marketing trends to look out for in 2016:

Increase in Social Advertising

Marketers spent $10.45 billion on social advertising on social advertising this year, up from $7.32 billion in 2014. In 2016, this figure is expected to increase to $13.43 billion (eMarketer).

With an increased focus on monetizing social platforms, it is no surprise that organic reach continues to decline. As the organic reach of social media efforts continues to decline, investing in social advertising will become a necessity in 2016.

Ad Blocking

With more than 250 million consumers already using ad blockers, 2016 will require marketers to shift ad budgets into more innovative ways to connect with consumers.

This reinforces the need and expectation that 2016 will be a huge year for native advertising as brands seek more creative ways to get in front of consumers. In fact, spend on native advertising is projected to reach $21 billion by 2018, up from $7.9 billion this year (Business Insider).

Influencer Marketing

The rise of the social media influencer will create an opportunity for marketers in 2016 and beyond. Broadly, influencer marketing leverages individuals with influence over potential buyers to sell, promote, or gain exposure for something. For example, a tech blogger for a new startup or a celebrity for a new product.

A supplement and often boost to traditional public relations, influencer marketing helps brands connect with consumers more organically. And with the increase in ad blocking mentioned earlier and general ad fatigue and blindness, this has never been more important.

Another reason influencer marketing is so powerful is that a recommendation from a third party is often more trusted than coming from a brand itself.

Related: Thought Leadership Marketing Guide

User Generated Content

User generated content is a strategy to leverage your existing customer base and user their original content to power your marketing campaign.

Not only is this content often deemed more ‘trustworthy’ because it is coming from a third party and not the brand itself, but it decreases the burden on publishers to actually create content.

With the content craze in 2016 and beyond, it is no surprise that this is such a powerful tactic.

Check out these examples from HubSpot of some great user generated campaigns.


Relevancy is a huge factor in creating effective and engaging customer experiences. Personalization can take the form of something as simple as including a name in an email to more advanced tactics like serving up targeted/predictive website content or location-based marketing.

With an abundance of customer data points available there is no excuse to not deliver relevant content to consumers.

Therefore, personalization is an opportunity for marketers in 2016 to break through the noise and get their messages to consumers. And as technology continues to improve, personalization will become even more personal.

Integrated Ecommerce

In 2015, social networks continued their efforts to drive purchases without every leaving the site.

Facebook continued their testing of their buy button in ads on the newsfeed and added a new shopping tab for Pages. Earlier this year, Google released buy buttons on mobile ads called Purchases on Google.

At this point, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram have all introduced some sort of integrated ecommerce feature.

Marketing Analytics

The underlying factor of many of the 2016 marketing trends we have mentioned is the ability to use data. With the increased sophistication and availability of marketing analytics, data-driven decisions are empowering marketers.


It is not a suprise that content continues to be the underlying theme of many marketing trends, especially the ones you can expect in 2016. If you want to brush up on your content marketing basics, check out our Guide to Modern B2B Content Marketing. And if you need help with a marketing project in 2016, don’t hesitate to contact us!


By: Lindsay Brown