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Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2016 (and Beyond)

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It’s the start of the New Year once again and that means predictions! We may not have a crystal ball or a fresh deck of Tarot cards, but we do have insightful analytical data from many or our clients, and with that big data we can make a few assumptions.

So take a look at our digital marketing trends and insights for 2016 and start strategizing on how you can implement them this year.

1. Local First

Where Have Organic Results Gone?
Where Have Organic Results Gone?

Local search and even more specific, local “mobile” search is the future for almost all businesses today. We can’t emphasize enough about how important local search is for any business with a brick and mortar location, or any location for that matter.

Today we are so mobile and so connected at any point of the day or night. A simple swipe of our phone and we’re looking up what’s around us. If your business is not claimed, verified, updated and listed on all the major maps and review sites you’re missing out on leads and traffic. It’s just that simple.

Our recommendation: Get listed, get updated content, get optimized and get local leads.

2. Paid Social – Instagram and Twitter

Twitter continues to explore new ways of introducing advertising.
Twitter continues to explore new ways of introducing advertising.

Want to have the most impact possible with reaching your desired audience? Put an ad budget down on social media. Today’s social media world for businesses and organizations can’t be impacted effectively without a budget. That’s just the way social media is today. Facebook is a pay to play platform now, you can barely reach the people who are your biggest fans and followers without boosting posts or running ads. Instagram recently rolled out their advertising platform and Twitter is fine-tuning their program daily, expect big advancements from these two in 2016.

Our recommendation: Set aside a budget specifically for social media. Create multiple ads and ad types monthly. Update your ads often and make sure your ads are relevant to your target audience. The more engaging and better your content is on social media, the bigger and better impact you’ll have. Going “viral” has a price tag these days, so accept the fact that dollars should be spent in the social media arena.

3. Mobile … Everything

Why wait in line?
Why wait in line this year?

Mobile Advertising: If your not already doing it, start. Besides being “local” you need to take advantage of the power of mobile. Simply search on your phone or tablet for something like “restaurant” and notice how mobile ads completely take over the immediate search environment. You have to do some serious scrolling to get out of the ad-mos-phere.

Mobile Payments: Adoption of application based mobile payments, besides Google Wallet and Apple Pay, will continue to increase in usage and add even more convenience, expect mobile applications to fine tune their applications like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Are your products being sold though mobile payments?

Mobile Orders: Who doesn’t want to pre-order food from anywhere (their mobile phone) and pick it up on their own time. There are a variety of apps already in use for restaurants but expect more companies to invest in their own technology and offer this to customers in 2016. Other industries are experimenting with self service apps allowing orders to be placed for pickup or now even drop off.

Our recommendation: Most websites are now seeing more traffic coming from mobile devices than desktop. Allot more of your digital advertising budget to mobile search and quantify the ROI. We don’t expect smart phone users to put down their phones in 2016, in fact we are starting to diagnose our generation with ‘Smartphone Addiction’.

4. Content

Nike serves up personal content though their Nike+ run club and mobile application.
Nike serves up personal content though their Nike+ run club and mobile application.

This is nothing new, however, the amount and emphasis of “Great Content” will continue to increase this year. You really can’t go wrong with good content as long as it fits into your marketing mix. From video, images and great writing, your potential audience is waiting to consume content that is geared toward them.

We expect to see more emphasis on in-depth content and newsrooms / media rooms built out. The typical 500-word blog post isn’t going to cut it anymore in 2016 as there are so many outlets pumping out similar topics.

Our recommendation: Personalize your message and take your time creating engaging content that your audience actually wants to consume. Create a content calendar with an overall theme; so whether you’re emailing a newsletter or promotion or posting on social media, your branding and messaging should be consistent no matter the platform. Content is king and it will remain on top of the throne forever…that’s our opinion anyway.

  1. SEO Gets Complex

Don’t listen to all the sky is falling talk—SEO is not dead it’s just different. The old days of black hat wizardry, back linking and keyword stuffing are over.

Google provides a significant amount of information before I ever click into a website.
Google provides a significant amount of information before I ever click into a website.

SEO is much more complex today, your brand and product is spread out across various websites, to which some you cannot fully control. A successful SEO strategy involves taking ownership and optimizing of all the third party websites.

The best thing to do is again, no surprise, create valuable content that actually keeps the website visitor on the page and not immediately bouncing. Great on-page SEO like meta tags, targeted keywords and a mobile friendly site will surely help your organic reach.

Our recommendation: Make sure every page of your site has the best page titles, meta descriptions and appropriate keywords. Then combine that with a mobile responsive site and good content and you’ll increase your SEO efforts. Always keep your content fresh and updated on your website and all third party channels.

If you’d like to learn more about I-ology and how we transform organizations with web technologies, send us an email.

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