Top Online Trends to Be Aware of in 2016

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving and will likely see the emergence and change of a number of different tactics. In this post we’ll explore six  online trend’s that are predicted to make an impact in 2016, and offer insights for you to consider in order to stay ahead of the competition. Let’s take a look!

1. Video Ads Will Dominate

While video advertising is necessarily new, this method of advertising will definitely be gaining popularity 2016. Search engine results pages (SERPs), like Google, will soon begin to include video advertisements, which will validate and reinforce this marketing trend. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, already offer thumbnail videos as users scroll through their newsfeeds.

Consumers also rely heavily on videos to view peer reviews prior to making purchases and for product and service explanations. In fact, 96% of shoppers find videos helpful when shopping online and 1 in 4 shoppers use YouTube while in-store, to search for videos related to a product they desire. Video will soon dominate the internet, with industry experts predicting that it will represent 79% of all traffic by 2018 — globally!

2.  Mobile Use Will Overtake Desktop Use

Mobile use officially dominated desktop use for Google searches in 2015. More people are relying on mobile devices for emails, interacting with websites, and consuming content. For 2015, internet usage on mobile devices accounted for 51% of time spent each day with digital media. More Google searches also occur on mobile devices than desktops in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.

The importance of this trend is clearly illustrated by Google’s latest algorithm update which actively penalizes websites that aren’t optimized for mobile with a lower search ranking. For businesses, the rule of thumb should be to think mobile first when creating content and developing advertising. This means testing your creative on a number of different screen sizes and utilizing responsive design on your website and landing pages. Don’t get left behind! Check if your site is mobile-friendly today.

3.  Digital Assistants Will Change SEO

2016 will see a rise in the use of digital assistants for internet searches. With the advent of digital assistants, such as Siri and Cortana, the SEO landscape is responding to accommodate more conversational search language. Consumers are now able to use sentences that resemble everyday language when using digital assistants for search queries. And, with tightly-packed schedules and increasing mobility, people prefer the convenience of being able to speak directly to a device with simple commands and questions. Consider including the following into your SEO strategy and PPC campaign:

  • Make use of conversational search terms. Use long-tail keywords, colloquial phrases, and long form questions. Your site is more likely to show in search results when your content matches the conversational queries of consumers when using digital assistants.
  • Stop focusing on basic information. Digital assistants thrive on retrieving basic information for consumers and don’t need your site to provide that. Focus on complex, niche content for successful SEO.
  • Incorporate more videos and photos. Digital assistants can’t do this on their own like they do with basic information. They need your site’s visual content to satisfy search queries. Adding more visual content will help optimize your site to accommodate the rise in digital assistant searches.

4.  The Rise of Social Media Platforms

Social media cannot be denied as a tool for marketers. Marketing campaigns aim to connect with and bring value to consumers in real-time. You won’t see Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn disappear anytime soon but the new year will see the increasing popularity of Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, and Periscope as advertising platforms. Snapchat — the increasingly popular photos and video sharing app — is proving to be an excellent source for quick advertising in real-time. This is becoming clear by the growth of their brand-focused Discover feed where companies like Buzzfeed, Daily Mail, and National Geographic maintain channels of content that expire and are refreshed every 24 hours.

5.  Content Remains King

Consumers are savvy, well-informed, and continue to crave information, therefore, your content should provide useful information that educates and encourages consumers to purchase from you. Recent data shows that 81% of consumers review products online and 61% read reviews before making a purchase.

Customers utilize social media, YouTube videos, peer reviews, and other content to make informed decisions. Continue to focus on developing content that answers commonly asked questions and addresses specific needs for potential customers. Be the answer your customers are seeking! This will ultimately help position you as a leader in your industry.

6.  Further Adoption of Marketing Automation

Automation tools allows marketers to trigger specific tasks based on actions that users have taken. This ensures more effective delivery of quality content that targets specific audiences and increases the ability to nurture leads. The automation process helps shorten the sales cycle and increases leads, sales, and cost savings. Let’s look at some automation trends you’re likely to see in 2016:

  • Mobile: With increased reliance on mobile devices, marketing automation will be used to send push-notifications and in-app messaging to reach consumers.
  • Personalization: Personalized messages, such as a contact’s name in the subject line of an email, get more responses and click rates. Automated marketing will become more personalized by using consumers’ search histories and items left in a virtual cart before checkout.
  • Lead Nurturing Programs: Using a series of emails and content to move customers from cold to warm leads will become the norm for marketers.
  • Choosing Your Own Path: The convergence of personalization with nurturing programs allows contacts to have a personalized path of content. Each contact  may receive similar content in the beginning of their journey but then, based on their response, they are put into different content categories to optimize the chances of becoming a customer.
  • Utilization of Experts: Agencies can manage multiple clients at once, therefore, more and more businesses will be relying on the help of experts to manage their marketing automation.

As the New Year approaches, consider how you can get a leg up on the competition by embracing these marketing trends. Be visible! Invest in your online presence and offer valuable and diverse content on multiple platforms to engage prospects and keep them thinking about your brand.