Another year has come and gone, and 2016 will be here very soon. The internet has radically altered the way people share information and digital marketing is consistently undergoing changes. Digital marketing evolves very quickly. As marketers, we face with new platforms, technologies, and tools to deal with, each year. Though change might be difficult, it is very important to have an idea and be prepared for the key trends that are going to shape the digital marketing landscape into a more complex, competitive, and an evolutionary platform. Of course, it might not be possible to predict exactly the trends in digital marketing in 2016, but we can make an educated guess. Let’s check out some of the top digital marketing trends to watch out for.
VIDEO MIGHT BE THE KEY
Video is the best way to get involved with the current generation of users and has emerged as one of the most popular and engaging forms of advertising content. Analysts say that videos offer the best Return on Investment, as channels like YouTube, Snapchat, and Periscope are on the rise more than ever. With the changing technology and internet penetration, the present generation of users prefer watching videos on these platforms more often than on TV. You might want to try out YouTube 360-degree video which is also optimised for Google Cardboard or mobile.
Besides this, with the availability of faster broadband speeds, 4G mobile networks, and free Wi-Fi, loading a short video is increasingly becoming effortless and instantaneous. In 2016, we can expect a rise in video content into home-screens and web pages. Another significant change in the sphere of video content advertising is that Google is ushering in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) video advertising. This basically implies that when the consumers search for a term through Google, they receive advertising video streaming options in the results page, which clearly indicates the emergence of visual media as a more acceptable option by consumers.
Formulating a budget and a strategy is within reach for most companies, as the advancement in technology continues to diminish the barriers to access in video marketing. It’s time to allow video streaming to be your top priority of your digital marketing strategy in 2016.
SOCIAL ADS WILL GAIN RECOGNITION
Every marketer must include social media as a part of their digital marketing budget in 2016. Companies are starting to see the advantages of using social media as a marketing tool. This implies that there will be more competition as more and more businesses enter this field. There has been an increasing trend of using videos in social marketing campaigns, as the videos offer an average of 60-65% more engagement as compared to static pictures. There are around eight billion video viewers a day in Facebook alone.
Facebook will play a major role in this field as some of its new improvements like the live broadcasting feature allows the real time casting of events as they happen. It has also added 360-degree video capabilities and announced the release date of “Oculus”, which is a virtual reality technology based platform.
Pinterest has recently announced a visual search discovery engine, which assists the users in finding all those things for which they don’t have words to describe. Similarly, applications like the Instagram Partner and the Periscope are widening their marketing capabilities. So, try to stay updated with the recent developments in the case of social search platform.
ORIGINALITY & CREATIVITY WILL GAIN IMPORTANCE
Out of the box thinking and creativity will dominate the 2016 digital marketing field. The World Wide Web is completely flooded with information and looking out for unique ways of creating interactive content might just get the audience interested. You might try using unique products like podcasts to showcase your marketing plans.
Try being creative by transforming a piece of writing into likable and engaging content capable of moving the hearts and minds of the consumers. You must find out inventive ways to convey your company’s defining values.
MOBILES & WEARABLES
The mobiles mind shift will soar up in 2016 and the expectations of the consumers will also be high. So, the businesses might treat the mobile (especially smartphone) platform as a key to the whole customer experience. One must not ignore the fact that, the number of people surfing on mobile passed desktop users a long time ago, which can be a strong reason for businesses to target more mobile-based campaigns and smartphone responsive websites.
Companies can deliver and create highly-personalised posts and messages by integrating marketing into mobility platforms, and send messages to the smartphones at the right moment. Search might also become increasingly mobile-oriented with the rise in smartphone user base. These days, Google Index is able to analyse the app content and stream the info to the Android users. So, there is no need to install the app. This might be more convenient from the user point of view as the app doesn’t require to be downloaded.
As new technologies continue to rule our world, the adaption rate of wearable devices wrapped around the wrists is stated to increase in 2016. Sooner or later, the term “glanceable marketing” – in relation to marketing through wearable devices, might become a buzz word. Businesses must ensure that the messages communicated through wearable devices are usable and relevant. The Internet of Things will continue gaining importance for online marketers this 2016.
INTENSIFICATION OF THE AD-BLOCKING DEBATE
Ad blocking will continue to be a significant challenge to marketers this 2016. Alarm bells are ringing as the spread of ad blocking tools is on the rise. Whether or not you will be effected by the ad blockers in 2016, it’s very important to be ready with precautionary measures to make sure your advertising objectives are not getting drowned.
You can use the native advertising strategy to deal with the ad blockers, as the tool does not check the native ads from being displayed. This is because, native ads feel, look, and read like non-promotional content. Though native ads are already flourishing in the current scenario, but with ad blocking tools becoming more sophisticated and popular, these native ads might be considered as an essential part of your internet marketing strategy for 2016.
ESCALATION OF CHALLENGES WITH E-COMMERCE PLATFORM
As the digital retail space matures and expands, a new set of encounters is on the vista for 2016, which might include tighter compliance requirements, user data privacy, the rise in competition, and tailoring the multi-channel know-how across retail segments.
In light of these challenges, the marketers in the e-commerce segment have to shift their priorities in delivering more value to the consumers and in a quicker manner. Consumers in 2016 will be interacting with their favourite brands through multiple channels and primarily through their mobile devices. So, the e-commerce marketers must focus on targeted promotions and effective and personalised loyalty programs to increase sales. In 2016, marketers will be under increased pressure to deliver measurable outcomes in business. So, marketers must develop a holistic approach towards the insights, invest in multi-channel measurement, and deliver targeted information to the customers based on their preferences.
INFOGRAPHICS & GRAPHICS
Marketers must not underestimate the power of graphics for developing an innovative content strategy. More than 90% of marketers agree that graphical content is more effective as compared with plain textual content. B2B (Business-to-Business) brands using illustrations and visuals have also benefited from this strategy. Graphics is important because it is accessible, mobile, and usable. In the future, marketers must make sure that their design fits all sizes, formats, media, and devices. Bold text, full-screen images, retro sensibilities, and muted colours have been some of the popular design inclinations in 2015, and this trend will be carried forward to next year.
NOVEL OPTIMISATION STRATEGIES
Until recently, most of the online marketing mix have been dependent on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) to rank their businesses. But, 2016 will notice an emergence of digital assistants like the Cortana (Microsoft) and Siri (Apple), which can be optimised to answer the questions posed by the consumers. Rather than simply listing the information on the World Wide Web, an increasing number of business owners will try to make sure their business information can be easily accessed through virtual assistants.
Humanising the business brand makes it more sociable. The objective of relationship marketing is for businesses and firms to build long-term, loyal, and strong customer base rather than the quick, unique sell. The trend of word-of-mouth promotions is trending right now and along with lead generation, businesses will try to develop stronger connections with their customers this 2016. Marketers will aim to create brand advocates and build up a loyal customer base.
Businesses can achieve this by collecting and analysing the static data related to their customers’ likes and dislikes. Businesses using mass targeting marketing approaches might slow down whilethose focusing on relationship marketing strategy will flourish. Transparency between the brands and the customers is an essential component of this mix, and has a significant effect in building trust relationship with the consumers.
THE FUTURE IS ALL ABOUT TECHNOLOGY
While 2015 has already come to an end, 2016 beckons with new possibilities and challenges. Today, technology and innovations are able to widen the gamut of consumer experience touch-points beyond the digital world – be it ambient, proximity, or any other technology. It is the increasing dominance of this novel technology which will shape the strategic milestones for the digital marketing industry in 2016 and beyond.
Having a clear knowledge of these new trends will assist marketers to rise ahead of the competition and catch hold the best opportunities available to them. These trends may not be the only ones emerging in 2016, as it is not possible to accurately predict all of them. As modern marketers, you need to step up your content game and be more reliant on the things you control and gain a decided advantage over your competition. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to move on!
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.