Digital marketing was subject to many twists and turns in 2015 and shows no sign of slowing down as 2016 approaches.
One of the skills that a savvy marketer needs to possess is the ability to be able to spot trends as they develop and get ahead of the pack by employing the latest strategies and making the most of the most popular mediums, before everyone else realises.
As is the tradition at this time of year, I like to look at various aspects of the world of digital marketing, how they have developed over the last twelve months and the ways in which they are going to continue into the new year.
With that in mind I put together this quick and easy guide of 2016 digital predictions to help you build your digital marketing plans for 2016.
2016 Digital Predictions for Content
The onset of content co-creation is one of the newer ways in which marketer/customer relationships have changed significantly over recent years.
Co-creation involves brands coming together with their customers to craft the content that they need. By working in this way, brands show customers that their voice is valuable and, as a result, builds loyalty whilst simultaneously creating a positive image for the company.
One way this can be used is for brands to reward meaningful engagement with personalised content. One now very famous example of personalisation in action is of course the Coca Cola ‘Share a Coke With’ campaign which continue to run successfully as we speak. This holiday period it’s possible to ‘share a coke’ with Santa, under the mistletoe, someone naughty, someone nice … You get the drift.
Coca Cola has become one of the best in the world to create and run successful personalisation campaigns, along with the likes of Oreo whose social team seem to work around the clock looking to jump onto news stories that will allow them to further resonate with their audience.
Creating communities around your brand is one of the best ways in which businesses can leverage the power of social media and content co-creation is a great way in which to achieve this.
Look out for much more of this in 2016.
2016 Digital Predictions for Visual
Google announced this year that it is going to start introducing video advertising in its search engine results pages. Already a prominent feature of Facebook and Twitter, we can expect this move to herald an era of more and more video based advertising in the online world.
This is a sign that internet users are becoming more accepting of this type of advertising and we will almost certainly start seeing video advertisements appearing across a multiple channels. Not only are people accepting video advertising in their content feeds, but it has been shown again and again that visual content promotes more user engagement than other types of material.
Video advertising aside, we can also expect to see a greater variety of visual content becoming more and more prominent. Different methods of presenting data such as infographics and visualised data (graphs, charts etc.) as well as visual based social networks, including Pinterest and Instagram, will enable marketers to present visual content in a multitude of ways that will appeal to a diverse body of internet users.
As visual content evolves, you no longer need a designer to help you get your message across. Awesome new tools such as Pablo, by Buffer, make it very easy to spice up your social feeds with eye catching visuals. Expect much more emphasis on visual in 2016.
2016 Digital Predictions for Mobile
Mobile browsing finally overtook desktop traffic in 2015. The vast majority of us now do the vast majority of our browsing, reading, shopping and more on our smartphones and tablets, and we can only expect this trend to continue upwards as time goes on.
Google now has an algorithm that gives a slight boost to the SEO rankings of pages that are optimised for mobile devices and, if your website is not then you can be expected to be relegated to the back end of the results pages before long. Now is definitely the time to make sure that your website is mobile friendly.
2016 will also be the year that mobile app indexing occurs. This means that mobile apps will begin to appear in search engine results alongside websites, images, video, shopping etc. Whilst mobile apps are not looking likely to replace websites completely in the foreseeable future, the trend is certainly in motion. As apps become more fluid, intuitive and convenient however, we can expect them to overtake conventional browsing at some point in the coming years.
If your business does not yet have an optimised mobile website or even a dedicated app, then 2016 may be the year to start considering one.
2016 Digital Predictions for Wearable Technology
Speech recognition is rapidly becoming more popular. With Siri from Apple, OK Google on Android and Cortana making the move from Windows Mobile devices and into Windows 10, more people than ever are embracing voice commands. As this way of accessing content becomes more popular, marketers are going to have to make sure that their strategies are in place to accommodate it.
Wearable technology has had a bit of shaky start, what with the Apple Watch not meeting sales expectations and the cancelation of the Google Glass project. However, it would be unwise to dismiss wearable technology at this point.
Garmin and GoPro in particular have seen their wearable devices enjoy huge popularity – especially amongst the fitness sect. As wearable technology enters and becomes more popular in more and more arenas, marketers will have new and exciting ways to analyse user data.
Not only will they be able to craft content based on web based activities, but they will also be able to view data on attitudes, behaviours and habits as well. Savvy marketers would be wise to keep up with the rapid development of these devices to stay ahead of the game.
2016 Digital Predictions for The Internet of Things (IoT)
As we see more and more connected devices reach the home, IoT represents another potentially rich source of data for marketers across niches. Smart TVs, fridges, home alarm systems and much more are now more accessible to the average consumer.
This presents some of its own problems, mostly relating to security and privacy, but for the innovative marketer in certain industries it’s something to keep in mind for the coming year as it represents advertising and personalised marketing experiences.
So that’s my quick look at what exciting changes and innovations we can look forward to in the coming year. It’s far from an exhaustive one however, so do feel free to add your voice to the discussion.
Do you have any other trends that you predict will take off for digital marketers in 2016?
Or maybe you would like to share with us some of the ways you have been levering some of the concepts that we have discussed here?
As always, please let us know.