With a new year comes a new marketing strategy. Now is the time to identify the marketing trends for 2016 so that you can put together a strategy that will have the most impact with your customers and can help your brand stay current.

We’ve done that work so you don’t have to, allowing you to get a jump start on your planning. Here are some of the top trends you’ll want to know about for the coming year:

Insight-Driven Marketing

Your analytics are a treasure trove of information about how you are attracting customers.

Are you sure that you’re taking full advantage of that data?

You should be building your marketing strategy around the insights you glean from your analytics. For example, if you notice that customers are not staying on your pages for long, you will need to think of ways to make your content more relevant and engaging. That might include covering other topics, or it might mean changing up your writing style or presentation.

Look beyond the basic numbers to ask yourself “why?” and then find solutions to get the results you need.

Interactive Content

Interactive content will be huge in 2016.

Instead of just static blog posts, you want to add content like infographics, videos, polls, and more to your site. Today’s marketing is all about increased engagement, and interactive content draws in customers and asks them to engage with your site.

The more engaged your customers feel, the more likely they are to visit your site again and again and to develop loyalty for your brand.

Customer-Engagement Marketing

Tied in closely with insight-driven marketing and interactive content is customer-engagement marketing.

Customer-engagement marketing focuses on attracting users from the first click — rather than focusing on pushing them into a sale straight away. Brands will need to focus on creating a more engaging user experience, from the way the website is designed to the content it provides.

CodeFuel offers solutions for improving user engagement across multiple formats. These solutions focus on improving the user experience and gleaning insights from analytics to enhance strategy.

More Personalization

One of the best ways to increase customer engagement is to make your brand more personal — just not too much.

In 2016, you can expect to see more brands writing from a first-person perspective and incorporating more personal stories to illustrate points. For example, a brand that is selling roofing materials might talk about a family who lost their home because of extensive roof damage caused by inferior products.

These kinds of stories incite emotion in customers and help them understand the “why” behind products and services. However, it is important that brands don’t share so much personal information that they undermine their professionalism or alienate customers by triggering their bias one way or another.

More Personal Interaction on Social Media

Personalization will also be big on social media.

The difference is that there will be more personal interaction instead of sharing personal stories or points of view. That means that brands will engage more in the comments section with customers — beyond just responding to questions or taking the party line. Expect to see more intimate conversations with customers on these channels.

Explosion of Apps

More businesses will be creating dedicated apps in 2016.

Apps will no longer be just for games or specialty needs, such as tracking fitness goals or following stocks. Instead, more apps will be introduced that allow you to shop with a particular brand or browse its content.

Apps will basically displace websites in many cases. In fact, some say that apps are the future of the web.

If your brand does not have a dedicated app, you need to work on creating one this year.

Advocate or Influencer Marketing

Once you’ve won your customers loyalty, they can become your brand ambassadors.

Advocate or influencer marketing looks for ways to get your customers to do your marketing on your behalf. Some classic examples include encouraging shares on social media or linking to blog posts.

This year, more brands will focus on finding new ways to encourage advocate marketing.

Virtual Reality Content

Virtual reality will become a bigger player in 2016.

Devices like Google Glass and the Oculus Rift have been introduced to great success, and more products are in development. While virtual reality is not yet commonplace, it likely will be before long.

In 2016, brands will look for ways to use virtual reality to market their products. Those who do so will be early adopters and will be in more strategic position to take advantage of this technology when it becomes more widespread.

Staying ahead of marketing trends helps you to create an influential marketing strategy that will give you an edge over your competitors. You’ll save money on trial and error, and you’ll get a much bigger return on your investment.