The marketing industry develops very fast. Each year, new software, new hardware, new companies, and new user preferences dictate a host of sweeping changes that either get adopted or ignored by the companies of the world. Early adopters get a leg up on the competition, appealing to new markets or cementing their reputations as industry leaders, while those lagging behind miss out on a key opportunity to retain their positions.
For marketers, it’s crucial to spend time reviewing data from 2015 and attending strategic planning meetings to build momentum for 2016. But it’s also important to consider marketing trends and forecasts that may impact your team’s plans.
2016 will be a great year for digital marketing, and we anticipate it refreshing up the game with these 10 latest marketing trends:
1. Mobile will completely dominate desktop
2015 was a big year for mobile—not only did Google announce that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries, it was also the year they released the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update to phase out sites not optimized for mobile.
But apparently, you don’t have to have an optimized desktop site in addition to a mobile version—according to Google, a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable. This alone won’t be enough to drive down desktop traffic, but it’s clear what side of the fence Google’s on; they’re banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.
2. Search Past Search Engines
With Facebook already working on tests for its own search engine, it seems inevitable that search capabilities will go far beyond Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
As search capabilities improve within social media, brands will get an automatic boost. In addition, when buy buttons and payment messaging appear on social in 2016, an all-in-one-type platform will manifest (more convergence).
3. Personal Development
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4. Video ads will start dominating
Video ads are certainly nothing new, with social channels like YouTube dedicated to hosting billions of videos and advertising platforms like Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options.
2016 is set to be different because Google is finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising. It’s a sign that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online, and as that trend continues, expect to see more types of video ads popping up in more unexpected places. With Google’s ownership of YouTube, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
The E-Learning market is growing at a staggering rate. And for good reason. If done right, E-Learning can produce great results by decreasing costs and improving performance. Online courses ranging from business to technology to language learning are appearing almost daily.
Here are some of the advantages for learners of taking online courses.
- Available 24/7 – learners can take courses at midnight if they wish, when they rather learn than sleep.
- Flexible – learners can work at their own convenience wherever they are: in their office, at home or on the road.
- Self-paced – learners can pick and choose what lessons they want to follow, skipping the easy ones and focusing on the more difficult ones.
- Designed smartly – courses are created and produced to meet learner needs and keep them engaged.
6. The explosion of apps
Google has offered app indexing for a while, but as the ranking possibilities for apps become more complex, 2016 will be the year more business owners realize the online visibility advantages of a dedicated app. A mobile-optimized site works wonders for appealing to the mobile crowd, but soon, apps will begin to replace them.
Apps can do everything that websites can, except in more intuitive, convenient, accessible ways. While mobile websites aren’t going anywhere just yet, 2016 will be a turning point in the adoption of apps by business owners.
7. New optimization strategies
In the past, most online marketing strategies have relied on search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Now, digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana can be optimized to answer consumers’ questions.
In 2016, more and more business owners will be looking to ensure their business details can be easily found via virtual assistant rather than simply listing the information on the web.
8. Video will become a much bigger content platform
In 2015, as YouTube continued to dominate the web, video proved that it was a key player as a content platform. This goes to show that as the internet continues to advance, so will the ways that we consume content. While long form content, such as blogging, will always have its place as a content marketing medium, video is able to engage users at a much higher rate. In fact, studies have shown that visitors will stay on a site for two minutes longer if it has a video.
Google now includes video content in its search engine algorithm. This is a significant step for online video ads, because it shows users are finally accepting their existence and businesses are discovering their effectiveness.
9. Virtual reality will emerge
There are dozens of different virtual reality devices set to release in the next few years, some of which are dedicated for specific applications like video games, and others which are available for general use. Oculus Rift, arguably the most hyped VR device, is set to release in the first quarter of 2016.
Oculus Rift and other VR devices will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging. There’s always a chance VR could fizzle as a temporary fad, but there are billions of dollars of funding in limbo, ready to bet otherwise.
10. Wearable technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to gain momentum
The Apple Watch, a first generation smartwatch, was released this year and competing smartwatches are scheduled to launch in 2016. Internationally, consumer uptake of wearables is expected to grow 35 percent per year between 2015 and 2019, which will have a large impact on marketing strategies.
Because the devices’ screens are so small web and app content should be shorter, favoring a “listicle” format over a traditional article format. Wearables also require online marketers to think about how to best provide “on-the-go” information, as well as create content that is easily searchable via voice commands.
What game changing marketing trends 2016 can you name? Please share with us in the comments below.
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