As always, there is a lot happening in the world of SEO, social media, and digital marketing. The team at Site Strategics is always focusing on new trends, changes, and shake-ups in our industry, and 2015 was no different. At the end of each year, we take a moment to reflect and review what happened in our world, but more importantly what’s to come in the New Year. We capture all of this and more in our last show of every year on Edge of the Web radio.
Digital Marketing Trends for 2016
According to Margot da Cunha of Search Engine Journal, there are 10 digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2016: Social ads, Facebook Messenger for Business, podcasts, native advertising, personalized PPC, marketing automation, videos, mobile, wearables, and buy buttons. For social ads, you need to first ask yourself, “Which platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) are worth investing in for my particular audience?” According to Interpublic Group’s Magna Global, “In 2015 digital ad spend will have grown 17.2% (to $160 billion), and 13.5% in 2016, surpassing T.V. as the biggest advertising platform in 2017.”
Facebook Messenger for Business Pages
Speaking of Facebook, in March 2015, Facebook revealed Messenger for Business, which takes the widely used messenger system that you utilize to communicate with friends and family members, and makes it available for B2C and B2B conversations. Clearly, Facebook is invested in the success of its platform, and with such widespread popularity, businesses should be invested in it, too. In 2016, this tool will become more important in delivering the right messages to the right people at the right times.
There are other very important trends happening right now in the digital universe, including the continued rise in the popularity and frequency of podcasts. Did you know that approximately 46 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly, and the average listener listens to six per week? According to Edison’s numbers, podcasts are on the rise. We have had great success with clients choosing to do podcasts and think they are a viable way to build both brand and customer loyalty.
Challenges to the digital marketer have taken hold in the past year as well. Ad blockers are the modern-day marketer’s worst online nightmare. Although ad blockers, which prevent ads from being shown on websites, are not “new,” it’s still worth your investment to put in place preventative measures to ensure your advertising goals are met. Since native ads look, read, and feel like non-promotional content, ad blocking technology doesn’t prevent them from displaying and are worth the time, effort, and money.
The future for the digital marketer looks bright moving into 2016. According to an Adobe study, “One-third of marketers see personalization as the most important capability to the future of marketing.” Most would agree that the Internet knows more about you than your co-worker does. With the introduction of Google’s Customer Match in September of 2015, search and social have become more like email marketing, serving ads to people who are within a certain stage of your purchase funnel.
Another aspect of marketing that will become more prevalent in the coming year is marketing automation. Marketing automation is nothing new. As a $5.5 billion industry, marketers have clearly come to understand the importance of utilizing automation to save time and improve productivity. From scheduling emails, segmenting contacts, automating social media, and managing content, automation has allowed us to grow, reach, and exceed our goals quarter-after-quarter. Moving forward, it will become increasingly important to keep up with the competition, and anyone who does not have a system in place will fall behind.
Videos are nothing new either, and we can’t help but watch a couple videos as social feeds have become overloaded with them. Companies of all sizes are utilizing video, from the small mom-and-pop shop in South Dakota to companies in the tech space like Moz and Unbounce to huge brands like Hallmark. Video marketing is hot.
Then there is the mobile environment, and 2015 was the year of mobile. In fact, with Google’s announcement that mobile has surpassed desktop and the advent of “Mobilegeddon,” SEOs had to optimize their sites for mobile at a lightning-fast pace. Wearable technology, the ultimate mobile devices, is predicted to see an adoption rate of 28% in 2016, according to HubSpot. For marketers, this means that more data is available on every move your target buyer is making.
Social “Buy” Buttons
Finally, the ability to buy directly from a social site or search engine is going to explode in 2016. Furthermore, buy buttons have slowly been appearing on social sites like Pinterest and Twitter. In July of this past year, Google confirmed testing of its own buy button. Some may not like the idea due to a loss of branding and fear that Google and social sites are attempting to become retailers themselves, but it’s coming and there is nothing we can do to stop that train. It will serve as another means of increasing conversions, specifically those on mobile, so there will be benefits for all.
These top ten trends are just scratching the surface of what’s to come in 2016, but one thing is for certain – the digital space will continue to grow, innovate, and amaze our marketing minds. To listen to more trends for 2016 here’s the complete Edge of the Web podcast.