New Insights into the Evolution of Email Marketing: Social Media and Data Analytics Advances Emerge as 2016 Influences

email marketing, data analytics, CampaignerMarketers are now seeing a shifting and dynamic ecosystem as their tools, strategies and responsibilities continue to evolve with technology, according to new research from email marketing brand Campaigner, which recently announced the results of its marketing trends survey, detailing key industry insights and identifying specific areas of focus for 2016. Advances in social media and data analysis, as well as a heightened emphasis on the customer experience, will likely be the leading influences shaping the email marketing industry in the coming year.

From Social Basics to Social Buy Buttons

Marketers have been catching on to the benefits of social integration for a few years now, but new data indicates a shift in the use of social tools, specifically centered on direct buy buttons. In fact, 36 percent of marketers report seeing an increase in sales from direct buy button integration.

Looking to the year ahead, the results indicate an even higher emphasis on this tool in 2016, with close to 60 percent more marketers projected to utilize buy buttons this year. In 2015, only 22 percent of marketers implemented buy buttons, yet the data suggests closer to 35 percent plan on using them in 2016.

Furthermore, it seems this investment in buy buttons and other social integrations is paying off. More than two-thirds of marketers reported seeing higher referral traffic from social media in 2015, with almost half of them attributing it to a higher social spend.

Analytics Evolution: Big Support for Little Data

Additionally, the survey data reveals that marketers are turning away from the recent hype of big data, and, instead, seeking out “little data.” According to the survey, two-thirds of marketers believe smaller, segmented data provides better insight for marketing strategy and execution than big data.

Specifically, marketers are looking for segmented data on their target audiences (34 percent), industry verticals (19 percent) and existing customers (13 percent).

“This idea around ‘little data’ will be crucial to marketing success in 2016,” said EJ McGowan, general manager at Campaigner, in a news release. “Every marketing strategy should not only be based on data, but based on analysis of the right data, directly relevant to your audience. The industry is moving from a macro-data outlook to a more segmented and targeted approach to metrics, and I believe this will provide significant benefits across the board.”

Supplementary to little data, predictive analytics will become a bigger emphasis for marketers in 2016. The survey reveals an almost 50 percent increase in the use of predictive analytics from 2015 to 2016: 20 percent of marketers reported using it in 2015, while 30 percent say they plan to implement it this year.

Marketers hope to leverage these strategies to gain deeper insights into customers and establish more effective relationships in order to accomplish what they rank as their top two goals for 2016, attracting new customers (74 percent) and retaining current customers (40 percent).

Professional Progression Among Email Marketers

Further supporting the increased emphasis on customer relationships is the evolving role of marketers. Job descriptions of email marketers in 2016 may be vastly different from those of years past, thanks to new emerging technologies and goals.

The data shows that 70 percent of marketers see their role evolving this year by focusing on optimizing their website for individualized, personalized user experiences. Forty-six percent see an increase of ownership of the customer experience, and almost a third (31 percent) foresee their role evolving into more of a marketing technologist.

“Just as marketing strategies and technologies are evolving, so are marketers’ roles and responsibilities,” McGowan said. “Adapting to new innovations is key to maintaining, and increasing, business success. Seeing that marketers are preparing for a role shift in 2016 is not surprising, but, rather, promising for the future of the industry.”

Additional insights:

  • Email marketers think earning new subscribers will be their biggest challenge in 2016, though increasing open rates proved most challenging in 2015.
  • Newsletters net the highest use among email marketers in their content marketing strategies.
  • Email takes the top spot among priority marketing methods for 2016.

The online Campaigner survey was commissioned by Campaigner November 16 through November 20, 2015. The survey sampled 506 email marketers from the Campaigner customer base. The average margin of error is +/- 4.30%.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

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