The online world is complex and forever changing. It’s crucial that marketers and business owners stay on top of the latest trends and changes which are essentially shaping our industry. So, taking what we’ve learnt throughout 2015, let’s get a leg up on what’s to come.
Here are the top 5 digital marketing trends to expect in 2016.
The Mobile Takeover
What can you do on a computer that you can’t do on a mobile phone or tablet? These days, not much. As mobile browsing inches closer and closer to computer browsing, people are making the switch. As a result, online search from mobile devices overtook computer search for over 10 countries in 2015 (for the first time ever!). Mobile browsing is all about convenience and usability, so we can only assume mobile users have fairly high expectations for exactly that – they want it fast, they want it now and they want it simple. Site owners are continually needing to adapt and adjust their design and content to compensate for this ever increasing mobile trend.
With this switch in device popularity, mobile responsive websites (a site that adjusts to fit the size of the browser) are more necessary than ever. Site responsiveness is not only important for usability reasons, but can also effect the way that your site is indexed and ultimately how it ranks. In fact, in April 2015 Google introduced a new ranking algorithm, know as ‘Mobilegeddon’, which boosted mobile-friendly web pages in Google search results. This saw a 21% decrease in non mobile-friendly sites on the first 3 pages of google.
The internet is moving fast, and it’s essential we keep up. We can predict that mobile devices will continue to take over throughout 2016, meaning site owners will continue to adapt and adjust all aspects of their online presence to keep up with these changing channels.
Video ads are nothing new, marketers having been utilising video as a means of advertising for a while now. Its seems that in 2016 this will only become more and more popular. There are a multitude of platforms that already allow for video advertising, the main contender for video advertising is clearly YouTube, with other current stand out sites and apps being Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It’s safe to say that more and more platforms will allow for this kind of advertising over the coming year.
Also, according to Forbes, Google is set to incorporate video advertising into SERP results, a development from text-only ads as currently featured. This can only be seen as an adaption to the growing interest and acceptance of video advertising altogether. Creating and distributing effective video content is due to become much simpler in 2016. As this trend takes shape we can expect to see an increase in video popping up on screens everywhere, advertising and general content alike.
Social Media Marketing Goes Mainstream
Overall usage of social media has been on a constant rise for the past few years, with 2015 seeing an adult user base of nearly 10 times that in 2005 (Pew Research Centre). As more people are using social media, and as more platforms are introduced, marketing and advertising tend to follow suit. 2015 saw a significant increase in the use of social media for advertising, eMarketer stating that by September 2015 social media ad spend was on its way to reach over $25 billion, a 40.8% increase from 2014. This growth in ad spend closely reflects the growth in social media usage, which according to Social Media Today, saw users rise by 176 million in 2015 from previous year. With social media users now exceeding 30% of the worlds population, it makes sense for businesses to utilise it.
Many major social media networks, such as Facebook and Instagram, allow for highly targeted, tracked and analysable campaigns. Advertisers are able to mould their ads to target specific sectors of their audience based on a number of crucial factors, from general demographics through to specific interests. The ability to bypass any irrelevant reach is major point of appeal for businesses. Social platforms seem to be recognising this appeal, and are introducing more and more of these features, meaning businesses are pumping more of their budget into social media. This can only continue to rise in 2016, with marketing through social media becoming increasingly more mainstream.
Marketing Gets Personal
Going into 2016 there is a significant emphasis on customer experience. To follow, marketers and business owners really should be placing focus on personalisation. There are clear correlations between the implementation of personalised marketing and the increase in response, conversions, loyalty and repeat customers. In fact, according to a survey conducted by CMO Council, 43% of participating marketers stated that personalised and enriched content lead to more conversions.
You’d be surprised at how much people are willing to to share online, given that they have a tangible reason to. Allowing an audience to understand the genuine benefits that they will receive by allowing a business to know more about them is what dampens the cautiousness of crossing the line between gathering data and prying. To gather personal data means businesses can send the right message, to the right person, via the right platform. Presenting your customers with more frequent, more relevant and more personal content is hopefully what’s going to bridge the gap between brand and consumer. Will we wave goodbye to mass content distribution in 2016?
Content always seems to makes these lists, and 2016 is no different. Content marketing is as relevant as ever before, offering businesses greater opportunity to expand their organic reach and provide real customer value. Whether it be as a blog, a newsletter, through web copy, via video or social media, business owners should set a goal to create more (or continue creating) original content throughout 2016. Content distribution is so diverse, and with this, the opportunity to home in on relevant or potential customers is presented. Of course expanding content is a great SEO opportunity, allowing marketers to make use of keywords and inbound and outbound linking. However, creating content is also instrumental to customer experience. Providing your consumers with valuable, helpful and resourceful content is enriching their experience with your business. It’s time to use content to gain the loyalty and trust of our customers.