In 2016, we'll see an accelerated maturation of marketing analytics, with companies taking increasingly granular looks under the hood at how, where, and why marketing is driving revenue.

Here are the marketing analytics trends to watch in 2016.

1. The use of predictive- and prescriptive-only analytics decline, and explanatory analytics rise

Predictive analytics is an incomplete approach because it only gives you a likely outcome if nothing changes. It doesn't tell you why outcomes are likely, the correlations driving those outcomes, or—perhaps most importantly—how to change those outcomes.

Prescriptive analytics is something of a step beyond predictive analytics in that it tells people not only where they're headed but also the moves they can make to improve the outcome. However, that is still basically a black box approach; most prescriptive platforms don't let people understand why the platform made certain recommendations.

Enter explanatory analytics. Marketers are smart people, and as such they (not computer code) should be asking the analytics questions, driven by their curiosity and intuition. They should then bring in the machine to investigate the correlations that matter.

2. Social media listening platforms get a facelift

In 2016, it will become even more apparent that social listening platforms, by themselves, are unable to correlate to revenue or reveal growth opportunities.

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image of Joshua Reynolds

Joshua Reynolds is head of Marketing at Quantifind, an on-demand insights platform for brands.

LinkedIn: Joshua Reynolds