It’s cool and crisp in San Francisco (where highs in the 50s = winter), which means it’s the time of year for predictions! It’s when thought leaders, analysts and influencers reflect on the past year and think about what will be important to businesses going into 2016.

Marketing predictions always seem to contain some flavor of mobile + personalization + customer journey, which was what I was expecting to hear in eMarketer’s Digital Trends webinar last week. I about fell out of my chair when the first prediction from senior analyst, Cathy Boyle, was around phone calls. We at Invoca couldn’t agree more.

eMarketer Names Inbound Calls A Major Trend For 2016The prediction was stated as follows, “2016 will be the year when consumers’ voices will actually have an impact on marketers. Smartphone usage is driving up the number of inbound calls to businesses and voice activated search has been rising steadily. So, voice for the first time in a long time is back in the mobile spotlight. What that means is that marketers and businesses need to prepare for an influx of phone calls that are likely to come.”

eMarketer Names Inbound Calls A Major Trend For 2016This was followed up by the most recent data from BIA/Kelsey predicting that calls to businesses from smartphones will reach 162 billion by 2019, primarily driven by mobile search. And I’ll put in a plug for our own Call Intelligence Index data here as well..we found 70% of phone calls come from digital marketing channels and mobile search drove 45% of all calls.

eMarketer Names Inbound Calls A Major Trend For 2016Here’s what Cathy had to say,”Growth of inbound calls paired with innovations like voice initiated searches from mobile phones, smart watches, connected home devices (like Amazon’s Echo), and even connected cars, is what’s significant here. The rise of voice as a means of engagement is definitely a critical trend. It’s important for marketers to track what’s being said on the phone because these calls are having an influence on conversions. The inbound call trend is important from a measurement and attribution standpoint. On the voice initiated search front, businesses also need to understand how these queries differ from text-based queries. And they need to make sure that their content is easily discoverable by predictive search engines like Google Now..”

We’re very excited for voice to play a major role in marketing for 2016. To hear more interesting predictions for next year, check out our recent webinar, 2016 Expert Predictions; What the future holds for mobile marketing.

Laura Schierberl

Posted by Laura Schierberl

Laura Schierberl is director of content marketing and communications at Invoca. Prior to that she held positions at Oracle, Responsys and Hill & Knowlton where she honed her skills in all things PR, content and social media. Laura earned a B.A. in Spanish and Communications at Wake Forest University. Fun facts: she loves crime TV shows and her labrador has dabbled in modeling.

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