LOS ANGELES: Segmented 'little data' and predictive analytics are expected to have an increased strategic role for email marketers in 2016, a new survey has revealed.

Campaigner, the email marketing insights arm of tech firm j2 Global, polled 500 email marketers in mid-November 2015 and found two-thirds believe smaller, segmented data provides better insight for marketing strategy and execution than big data.

Specifically, the survey found marketers are looking for segmented data on their target audiences (34%), industry verticals (19%) and existing customers (13%).

Predictive analytics is also expected to become a bigger issue for marketers in 2016 with 30% saying they plan to use the tool this year, up from just a fifth (20%) in 2015.

They expect little data and predictive analytics to help them gain deeper insights into customers and establish more effective relationships with them, so meeting their top two objectives of attracting more customers (74%) and retaining current ones (40%).

EJ McGowan, general manager at Campaigner, predicted that little data will be crucial to marketing success in 2016.

"Every marketing strategy should not only be based on data, but based on analysis of the right data, directly relevant to your audience," he said.

"The industry is moving from a macro-data outlook to a more segmented and targeted approach to metrics, and I believe this will provide significant benefits across the board."

Elsewhere, the survey indicated email marketers expect to make much more use of social tools this year, particularly direct buy buttons.

With more than two-thirds reporting that they saw higher referral traffic from social media in 2015, almost 35% say they plan to implement buy buttons in their campaigns this year, an increase of nearly 60% on last year.

Marketers also expect their role to evolve this year with nearly half (46%) thinking they will be more involved in customer experience and almost a third (31%) seeing their role becoming more like a marketing technologist.

"Just as marketing strategies and technologies are evolving, so are marketers' roles and responsibilities," McGowan said. "Adapting to new innovations is key to maintaining, and increasing, business success."

Data sourced from Campaigner, Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff