5 Marketing Trends That Dominated the Scene in 2016

Last edited 1 February, 2023
Industry Insights
3 min read.

Social realism

More and more brands are turning away from “gimmicky advertising”, and turning towards social realism when it comes to advertising. This means using fewer celebrities to promote products, and involving more real people in advertising to show how the brand is relevant to families.

A good example of social realism in 2016 is in the latest TalkTalk ad campaign, where cameras were put into participants living rooms to create a realistic Gogglebox style advert.

A recent study by Marketing Week and Sensum showed that emotional response to advertising that uses social realism is higher than that of flashy and celebrity-oriented ads. The emotional response led to a Sensum score of 47 for the new Talk Talk ad compared to a score of 35 for their old one. Iceland, Aviva and McCain are just some of the brand names that are focusing on showing how their brand can benefit real people.


Video content has become even bigger in 2016, and now it’s easier than ever for users to watch videos as they continue to dominate our news feeds and timelines, with 92% of mobile video consumers sharing videos with others. Videos can be a very effective way of communicating information and can stand out much more than just a simple image when done correctly.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Vine, YouTube and Snapchat are also helping to put the power behind this increase in video content, adding autoplay features to help users endlessly consume addictive video content. A great example of this is from Buzzfeed’s “Tasty” facebook page, which posts short and simple cooking videos that roll into one another on the news feed.

Live streaming

Live streaming has also been big in 2016. Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and more recently Instagram have been jumping on the live streaming bandwagon, and it’s becoming a major way of sharing content to a huge audience.

Live stream technology is nothing new, but more and more brands are realising its full potential, using it for behind the scenes footage, Q&As, product introductions and more. Live streaming can help build brand awareness, boost engagement and provide a human-to-human real time connection. This means that content can be more improvised, allowing users to participate in brand storytelling.

A great example of live streaming this year is from Dunkin’ Donuts for their Valentine’s Day campaign. This received over 39,000 views and was done along with a Snapchat filter.

Interactive and 360-degree videos

2016 also saw a surge in 360-degree videos. 360-degree videos allow the viewer to use their smartphone to look all around the scene for an immersive experience. This can help the viewer to feel as though they are really part of the action, all from their own home, staff room or train carriage. This trend could be one to watch for 2017, as more and more brands are opting for 360 and interactive content to engage their audience.

Warner Bros Studio tour released a series of 360-degree videos in 2016, aiming to encourage fans to experience the tour in real life.


More and more brands are looking to take advantage of Snapchat’s features to get their name out there, with geofilters, masks, and stories. Snapchat have been busy accumulating more daily users than twitter, showing the world that they’re not to be ignored. They also released Spectacles this year, which are wearable cameras that send video straight to the Snapchat app.

Other social media platforms were also keen to get a piece of Snapchat’s action this year too, with Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp all releasing their own versions of “Stories” on their mobile apps.

In 2016, Dominos launched a Snapchat puzzle campaign which led to a “surprising” surge in orders. This means that Dominos are looking to explore what else they could do with the Snapchat app in the future, which is something which many other brands are looking towards as well.

So, what’s next?

It’s always important to look to the future so you can stay at the top of the game when it comes to new trends in marketing. Make sure to keep an eye out for our next post on our predictions for the upcoming marketing trends in 2017!

In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about how your business can stand above the competition, why not get in touch today!


Karen O'Donovan

Client Services Director

As Client Services Director, Karen is hugely passionate about delivering top-tier marketing ideas that make an impact. From assisting with the seed of an idea to watching it grow and succeed, Karen is always identifying and seizing opportunities for our clients to add value and achieve more. Simply put – business and marketing is part of Karen’s DNA.

It’s in Karen’s nature to challenge, ask questions and dig deeper into analytics in order to get a true understanding of a clients’ objectives and deliver outstanding results. Karen’s best memories at EDGE are from our many team nights out – even when she was beaten by Kelly at bowling.