By using the trends of 2015, however, we can make some pretty good predictions for 2016. And they all seem to be pointing in the direction of digital and social marketing.
So let’s see…
- More Videos
If you want your brand to be recognized in 2016, you may want to beef up your mobile video marketing efforts.
A key reason why video is predicted to reign in 2016: Google Search is expected to get in the game. Last year, it ran a secret test of this new feature: embedded video advertising in search results. This is expected to increase the popularity of video ads across the board.
Even though YouTube is still the reigning video champ, other social media networks now have their own video platforms. Since these video platforms are different for each site, marketers should tailor each video to each individual platform for optimal viewing and success. Videos should be enhanced for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Tumblr and Vine, in order to ensure your brand’s audience will see them.
When it comes to video, remember you should have an immediate hook, or your audience will quickly be disengaged. Research has shown that you need to catch the viewer’s attention in the first 5 seconds of your video – no matter the type of video – in order to keep their attention for the duration.
Video streaming and new video apps are just beginning to get their feet wet with the marketing possibilities, but more campaigns and brands are likely to give it a try this year in order to remain relevant.
- Even Greater Expansion of Mobile
This year saw two important developments in the mobile world. First, the number of mobile searches eclipsed the number of searches from tablets and desktop computers in 10 countries, including the U.K., U.S., and Japan. (By the end of 2016, nearly 2 billion people around the world will have a smartphone!) Second, if websites aren’t configured for mobile devices, Google’s algorithm now penalizes those sites by changing their search ranking.
These developments are proof that mobile devices are not only where people are spending their time but also where marketers need to be targeting their campaigns.
In addition to mobile optimization, companies are expected to jump on other mobile bandwagons, including spending more money on mobile ads, accepting more mobile payments, increasing mobile loyalty programs, and creating their own branded apps.
While many predict that apps will eventually replace websites entirely, things aren’t likely to go that far in 2016. But you should expect this year to take a bigger step in that direction, especially as Google’s more advanced app indexing capabilities makes their development more appealing.
Apps and loyalty programs will develop even more ways to remind you to shop and then reward you for that shopping. With smartphone GPS, stores can send coupons to your phone when you’re in the vicinity of their store.
This will continue to change the landscape of how marketers reach their customers and blur the lines between digital marketing and “real world” marketing.
- Relationship Marketing
Building relationships and interacting with your customers has always been important to effective marketing campaigns, but it is expected to go up a level in 2016.
How? Personalization with data.
Brands today know everything about their customers – their preferences, where they live, what they buy, who they follow on social media. And advertising platforms from Google to Facebook expanded the audience segmentation options available last year. This new information increasingly allows marketers to specifically target their audience instead of continuing with general, wide-appealing ads and campaigns.
By changing their focus to the individual and that relationship, consumers will get the emotional connection they want from a brand and will hopefully be customers for life.
Expect more segmented, personalized messaging as brands become more sophisticated at putting the data to work.
- Virtual Reality
Several VR devices are set to release in 2016, including the much talked about Oculus Rift, which will be available in the first quarter. Many expect this to be the year that VR really takes off – and wearables, such the Apple Watch, are expected to continue to grow in popularity. With the advent of these devices, new internet marketing opportunities will emerge.
This could include new ways to integrate with social media, video, direct messaging, and location-based advertising. Most experts don’t expect VR or internet marketing related to VR to become mainstream next year, but it will start making a bigger impact. So those who want to stay ahead of the game should keep an eye on where it is headed.
Generally, marketing in 2016 is expected to continue with the trends of 2015 – but on a bigger scale. When creating your marketing plan for the New Year, consider looking for new ways to incorporate these trends.