Technology is ever evolving, yet whilst we see small changes in the immediate future, it is unlikely we’ll see a radicalisation of the industry. But where will Digital marketing be in the year 2026? This is a much more interesting question.
We can already see the way we work now has changed over the last few years. with the sheer volume of marketing technology at our disposal. The below graph from Scott Brinker of the Chief Marketing Technology Blog demonstrates how marketers use so much more technology now than ever before!
As previously alluded to, the changes will be significant but not radical and many of the same principles will exist in the next decade and perhaps even further. Here are our predictions:
Digital marketing decisions become 100% customer centric
One of the main changes, in our opinion, will be one of mind-set, due to the advances in tools and software. In 2026, it’s now all about the customer – marketer’s decisions are based 100% on customer centric value. This could be in the form of virtual customer experiences, hyper personalisation or perhaps utilising all 5 senses. No matter the execution method, maximum customer value will govern all marketing decisions.
Video & live streaming
YouTube is completely integrated into Google and video is one of the most important elements of a content strategy, especially as the algorithm is advanced enough to be able to rank videos based on recognition (not meta data or video optimisation). This shows a common theme that the reliance on the written word is almost non-existent. Video consumption will be at an all time high. Visual storytelling will be one of the most important communication methods, especially as periscope and meerkat are used by the masses.
This shift in consumption shatters some of the conventional marketing models. Brands will become more agile and creative and digital agencies more often than not will be morphed into one as ideas need to be seamlessly executed across all channels simultaneously.
Content is still king in the future
Yup, content is more important than ever, but we are already seeing more importance being placed on relevancy. This will continue and content will have to be of the highest standard and completely relevant to the user. Plus, click baiting will be a thing of the past as content only reaches those genuinely interested.
Transparency: Native Advertising, Branded Content and the loss of control
Native advertising and branded content are already very powerful marketing options. Consumers are bombarded and often see straight through marketing attempts. As we become less tolerant of advertising and marketing most branded content will in fact come from the consumer – brands will have to reduce the amount of talking and use every available touch point as a catalyst for audience participation (we can already see this with feeds and comments). Of course brands have to relinquish the control.
If organisations hope to keep any control it will need to be native and far less intrusive. Marketing messages, whatever the medium will need to fit into its natural interface and of course be fully transparent.