Heather is passionate about helping companies deliver marketing that is hyper-relevant to the customer and drives profit for the business. As an experienced strategist with 20 years developing integrated marketing strategies across a range of industries, she advocates a data-driven approach to marketing.

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6 Digital Trends Worth Watching in 2016

A new year, a new set of New Year’s resolutions – eat healthy, exercise more, watch more cat videos – admit it, you’re following the latest trends as much as I am. And when it comes to your business, you need to plan ahead and understand how the following trends could work for you. Hopefully they won’t be too surprising – here at Vovia, we’ve been talking about this stuff for a while.

2016 Marketing Trends


Micro-moments are becoming more important in the ever-connected, smartphone driven decision making of potential customers. Micro-moments are defined as “intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.” Think about it, how often do you pull out your phone to check your email, look up an address, or do a search for concert tickets? Google/Ispos found that 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision while in a store. Traditional media can lead to a lot of these micro-moments and marketers are realizing that there’s an opportunity to integrate their messaging and capture additional revenue.

What should businesses do?: Identify potential moments in your customers path-to-purchase, target them through programmatic ad buys or location-based messaging.

Data Driven Creative

Data and creative go hand-in-hand. Bad creative can’t be overcome with a highly strategic campaign, just as good creative won’t drive results if the strategy isn’t there. MarketingLand has a great post on how the two work together. What we’re going to see more of in 2016, is using the performance of campaigns to drive creative decision making – both online and offline. With the rise of programmatic, it’s now possible to test different creative to audiences at scale and get near real-time results.

What should businesses do?: Plan to invest more in your analytics this year, paying special attention to outliers in the data. There are often valuable insights and creative ideas can come from looking at the “exceptions”.


Attribution is hot, hot, hot (here’s a great overview from Google) and for good reason! Understanding how different channels play in the path to purchase is critical to shaping your marketing investment. Customers may come to your website several different times, each time with a different goal before they decide to make a purchase. Understanding which channels are needed at which point is half the battle, the other half is understanding how to assign value to clicks that occur before the coveted “last click”.

What should businesses do?: Unfortunately, there is no one-sized-fits-all model for attribution. Start by spending some serious time looking at your analytics. You want to understand how different channels contribute to the purchase. Then you can factor in the length of a typical sales cycle so that you know how account for time decay in your model. Longer sales cycles typically mean less emphasis on last click. Google Analytics offers some basic attribution models based on position or time decay but to truly understand trends and outliers, we recommend developing a model that’s aligned with your business.

Privacy: Going Anti-Social

Social media continues to evolve, but 2016 will be the year that companies start to see a consumer backlash against being “always on”. Facebook has become the social media network for “old people”. Apps like SnapChat and WhatsApp have seen tremendous growth, partly due to their private nature and impermanence (kind of) of their offering.

What should businesses do?: Think about creating shareable social content in new and interesting ways – think Google Cardboard. Virtual reality (VR) provides an options for consumers to experience your brand and share those experiences in completely new ways. Relevance is always key. If your message is relevant, it’s less likely to be viewed as an intrusion. Targeting the masses is a surefire way to miss the mark.

Transparency, Viewability, Ad Blocking

The industry continues to be plagued by a lack of standards when it comes to digital advertising best practices and thus, transparency, viewability and ad blocking will continue to be a hot topic.  A recent study by Adobe & PageFair found that ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months with ~20% of Canadians employing ad blocking on at least 1 device.

In terms of viewability – comScore found that in Canada only 48% of impressions are viewable, However, Google has recently changed their frequency caps to include only viewable impressions and there’s hope that other networks will follow suit. Vovia’s performance-based philosophy makes viewability less of an issue because wherever possible, we optimize to metrics further down the funnel, like leads, sales, or conversions. If you’re still buying most of your media based on impressions, then you need to understand that viewability is going to be an issue and media efficiency could be lower.

What should businesses do?: Ad blocking isn’t going away so many brands are investing in native advertising as a way to reach consumers as it’s much harder to block content. Regardless, proper targeting of media (banners, native, search ads, etc) will increase relevancy and results. Insist on performance-based optimization – this requires more effort but you know that your media is performing efficiently and you’ll reduce wasted spend. Finally, ask your agency to separate out media and services costs so that you know what you’re actually getting. Our very own Denise has a post dedicated to ad-blocking coming out next week where she’ll discuss the topic in depth.

Video Killed the…Everything

2015 was the year that online video surpassed television with 97% of the Canadian population watching online video. That’s 25.1 million Canadians reachable via desktop video and 17.1 million (and quickly growing) mobile video viewers. It’s no surprise that video is on the trends list. 50% of Canadian adults (18-34) watch Netflix weekly.* I personally watch approximately 10 hours of cat videos online per month (but who doesn’t?). Video is hot with 18-24 year olds, many who prefer to watch YouTube over television. Looking at an even younger audience, a Consumer Insights Report found that 70% of Gen Z (those born 1995-2009) respondents reported watching 2 hours of YouTube daily.

As the post-internet generation, targeting Gen Z requires a different approach. There can be regulatory issues related to marketing to minors, and while this group has high purchasing power and heavy influence over household purchases, they crave authentic experiences with brands. How do you reach Generation Z that are under 18? Video should definitely be part of the answer.

What should businesses do?: If you’re targeting a younger audience, then video should definitely be part of your marketing playbook. Older audiences respond well to video as well, but testing placements and length should be part of your approach.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re on the path to marketing dominance in 2016! If any of the above trends have piqued your interest, but you’d like a bit of support implementing them in your organization (perhaps a custom attribution model…) then feel free to reach out, we’re always happy to help.