The internet moves at a split-second speed. What’s popular one day is out of style the next. This couldn’t be more true for online marketing. Not keeping up with what’s current could impact your relationships with your customers and leave your sales in the dust. Whether you want your business to be on the leading edge, or you’re just curious about what the upcoming year will bring, here are a few internet marketing trends you can expect to see in 2016.
There once was a time where people depended on the information presented on commercials and in magazine ads to gain insight on a product. But as people have begun to understand more about how advertising works (just because it’s “made with real fruit” doesn’t mean it’s healthy), the trust for traditional marketing methods like TV commercials, billboards, and radio ads took a bit of a dive – at least as far as gaining product knowledge goes.
Today, people are looking for something less flashy and more honest. They want their friends and family to make recommendations. They want to read online reviews. And they want blog articles. These 500-word, 800-word, 1000-word posts do a lot more than boost your search engine optimization and lead people to your site. Whether written by the company or a third party, they’re where consumers turn to actually learn a thing or two about what they’re buying. It’s expected that in 2016, companies that aren’t blogging will start blogging, and those that are already blogging will up their game by getting away from pumping out lots of so-so content, and instead, focusing on providing fewer articles but with content that’s truly useful to their target market.
In addition to more developed blog posts, you can expect to see video accompanying those hundreds of words or even completely replacing them. Multiple studies this year indicated that videos are more engaging than words or images. Not only are 70% of major brands using video as part of their digital marketing strategy, they are finding it to be more effective than things like case studies, webinars, even infographics.
Businesses in 2016 are expected to integrate video into their articles, create tutorials for YouTube, build their brand with Vine, send coupons through SnapChat, and stream live events through their website. If there’s a way to translate something into video, 2016 is the year businesses are going to do it.
More Mobile-Friendly Capabilities
If you’ve gotten away without having to make your website mobile-friendly so far, then in 2016, your days might be numbered. For years, studies have been tracking the shift from desktop computers to mobile devices. In 2015, internet users were split nearly even, with mobile users leading the way. It’s expected that in 2016, this divide will become much more prominent, with a considerably higher percentage of people using tablets or phones. In fact, 1 in 5 millennials have already done away with their computers and are accessing the internet exclusively through mobile devices.
A mobile-friendly website will no longer be a convenience. It will be an expectation. Not just for blogs and businesses. Even more complex sites like portals will be expected to be not only accessible, but easy to navigate, through tablets and phones. Sites that aren’t willing to make adjustments to meet this consumer need are likely to be replaced with newer competitors that made their service mobile-friendly from the ground up.
In addition to making your website mobile-friendly, you may also want to make 2016 the year you incorporate a responsive design. A responsive design simplifies your website, making it easier to read, simple to navigate, and quick to deliver information.
Why take this approach? Because not only are consumers using smaller screens to access information, they’re also spending less time acquiring the information. If they’re not able to find what they want on your website after just a few seconds, they’ll just jump to the next site. A responsive design will also rank higher on search engine listings and will be easier to update in the long run.
More Humanized Social Media
If there’s one thing marketing firms have realized over the course of 2015, it’s that people don’t want commercialization clogging up their Facebook newsfeed or blowing up their Twitter page. It’s why some social media platforms have made it a little more difficult or expensive for businesses to advertise, and a little easier for users to remove or ignore the advertisements. Social media is and has always been about connecting with people, so any business that wants to use sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to market themselves need to present their human side.
In 2016, businesses will become more transparent about the people who work for them by including photos or interviews of their employees, from the CEO right down to the parking lot attendant. They will develop a voice on social media that does away with the typical advertisement lingo like “big sale” or “buy now” and instead will focus on connecting with their audience through more meaningful statuses and updates – stuff you might see your friends posting. Businesses will interact more with other users as a way of putting a face behind their logo.
As more people get used to using their tablets and phones to shop, pay bills, conduct research, and connect on social media, there will be an increase in businesses that offer their customers apps.
Apps can be used to get deals, host rewards programs, provide information, and track milestones. It allows customers to feel a sense of exclusivity, while giving them a reason to think about your business each time they look at their phone. If the latest studies are correct, that can be upwards of 40 times each day.
2016 is expected to bring more apps also because creating an app isn’t the level of work that it used to be. What previously took the knowledge of a developer and thousands of dollars in expenses can now be made using software online, like Appsme or BiznessApps.