Every year marketers are trying to predict and exchange ideas on what Digital Marketing trends to watch for. What should we expect in 2016?

Digital Marketing has gone through a major transformation over the last few years and it never stops evolving. With the New Year just around the corner, it’s important to know what to expect and how to adapt digital marketing strategies to make the most of the opportunities.

Content marketing

The way in which marketers interact with customers changed dramatically in the last few years. One of the newer trends is content co-creation, where brands create content together with their consumers.

By embracing the voice of the customer and letting users create content, brands build loyalty and create a positive image for their brand with their customers.

Brands are already using campaigns like this to create not only meaningful engagement, but also to make the community proud owners of personalised content. As an example, Cadbury, for the limited edition of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, asked the community to share what ‘first love’ meant to them, and surprised them with a personalised doodle shared in real-time.

Content co-creation should be integrated into marketing strategies to accelerate marketing success and innovation, and to create brand loyalty and communities around it.

Visual marketing

In 2016 brands will also start to embrace more forms of content, especially visual content. Brands that already use visual content have found that it encourages greater engagement.

Next year is also set to be different because Google is going ahead with in-SERP video advertising, a move similar to Facebook and Twitter, which have been using auto-play videos for some time. It indicates that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online, and as a result more video ads will appear in different channels.

The attractiveness of visual marketing will reach more brands, and infographics, data visualisation, as well as social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, will play a greater role in content marketing strategies. Brands are also more and more eager to collaborate with visual influencers to create positive sentiment around the brand and earn more trust in users’ eyes.

Visual content should become another tool for marketers to drive engagement and interaction as part of an integrated marketing strategy.

Mobile

Mobile became even bigger in 2015 as it overtook desktop traffic, and Google released the mobile-friendly algorithm update to boost rankings of mobile-friendly pages. So mobile optimised sites are a must, and according to Google, a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable.

Next year will be the year when app indexing will lead to an explosion of apps. It will allow users to quickly find and access it through search results just like web page content. Apps won’t replace websites for many more years to come, but as they are more intuitive, convenient and accessible to use, they will play an important role in mobile strategies. It’s a great time for marketers not only to think about creating an app, but to get them indexed and to grow overall mobile presence.

Wearable Technology

Marketers will also be able to focus on generating more useful content with changes in technology like improved speech recognition. Voice search is becoming more and more popular, so marketers will have to adjust marketing strategies to accommodate voice-based queries.

While we are seeing lots of new wearable technology (e.g. Apple watch or Google glass), it will gain real power in the next few years, as many people still have no access to it. These technologies will form an integral part of the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition to targeting users based on their actions on the Internet, marketers will be able to capitalise on user attitudes, behaviours, habits and trends. However, marketers will have to keep up with its rapid development in order to stay in touch with the consumer’s changing needs.

These trends aren’t the only ones that will emerge in 2016, but it is impossible to mention all. Marketers need to adapt and scale their current marketing strategies based on what their users want and the technologies they are using. We are in a digital era and we need to follow it to boost our online presence.

 

By Agnieszka Szrubkowska, Managing Director of Web Behaviour Specialists. 


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