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The lull between Christmas and New Year’s is when I like to reflect on the closing year and begin thinking about the coming one. As I reflect on the accomplishments of 2015, I want to also give you my marketing predictions for 2016. As always, I welcome your comments and 2016 predictions.

I am excited for 2016! Based on the success and momentum from 2015, it is an easy prediction that it will be another amazing year for us at Impact Radius. Our recent acquisition of Ebay’s attribution technology, ClearSaleing has helped us close the gap on our attribution capabilities. 2016 will mark our ninth year in business and looking back at where we started, it is very rewarding to see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown since in 2015.

Making predictions is easy. All I need to do is sound smart and write up a few things that seem relevant and will hopefully hold true. Even if I am wrong, you’re most likely not going to call me out on it 12 months after the fact. But I want to assure you that I am giving this some serious consideration, and want my predictions to be relevant and hold true. So what does the future hold for Internet marketers? Here are my top 5 marketing predictions for the coming year.

#1 – Cross Device Tracking

Cross Device is my first prediction and pick for buzzword of 2016. Marketers will begin to adopt cross-device tracking as the standard. With people averaging 4 internet devices each, if you aren’t able to see across devices, you are missing a big piece of the puzzle. Today’s shoppers are using laptops, tablets and smartphones to view email and ads, make buying decisions, and shop online. Remember back when we looked at each marketing channel as a silo before cross channel insights existed? None of us would give up this valuable perspective now that we have it, so imagine how much more valuable your data will be once you have cross-device data included.

#2 – Ad Blockers Will Force Change

Ad Blocking issues will force the industry to change their behaviour and come together to address the problem. Everyone is feeling the impact of ad blocking software. Whether you see it or not, this is a real issue that even Facebook has mentioned in their SEC filings as adversely affecting their revenues. Native advertising has the potential to help fill in the gaps created by the ad blockers, but  the industry needs to reform its ad serving practices to make them less invasive and take into consideration the consumer’s preferences. Whitelisting is a band aid approach – real reform needs to happen in order to effectively deal with this issue.

#3 – Marketing Data in Real-time

Real-time marketing data will provide marketers with better insights into their marketing spend. Just like no one likes to read yesterday’s news (hence the demise of newspapers), marketers are not longer satisfied with yesterday’s data (much less last month’s or last quarter’s data). Waiting week or even months to analyze your marketing data or for attribution models to render results puts marketers at a distinct disadvantage to those that are getting today’s data today.

#4 – Predict the Future of your Media

Predictive media forecasting will begin to gain traction and help marketers improve their media planning and budgeting. There is so much historical marketing data being captured that can now be leveraged to predict where and how much you should spend in the future. Sophisticated machine learning and predictive algorithms can now help you see where, when, and how you should spend online in order to hit your KPIs and revenue goals.

#5 – From Online to Offline

Integration of online and offline will become more sophisticated and give traditional retailers a competitive advantage over internet pure plays. If you’re a retailer, your biggest competitor is Amazon, and you’ll need every advantage you can get if you are going to effectively compete against the largest retailer in the world. Brick and mortar advertisers have a distinct advantage that Amazon doesn’t have – physical stores. Apple realized this years ago and began opening their own stores to gain more market share and grow revenues. Online promotions can drive in-store traffic. Consumers can now buy online and pick up in store. Mobile apps can help customers find and price products; take advantage of special in store promotions and even remind them to buy more consumables before they run out. Brick and mortar combined with ecommerce give customers more choices on how, where, and when they can shop.

As I said, I am excited for 2016. I feel that the industry is getting faster and smarter, and for a marketing technology company, that means more opportunities to solve problems and provide value. Please let me know what you think of my predictions, and feel free to add your own in the comments below. I wish you all much success in 2016 – Happy New Year!

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