2016 & Beyond: 7 Essential Digital Marketing Trends

Marketing and especially Digital Marketing is always evolving. The beginning of the year is always a great time to take a step back and review your strategy. As you do,  keep in mind these 7 essential digital marketing trends  (and click here for Social Media: What You Missed & Need to Know for 2016). 

Smarter Digital Strategy

The buzzword “Big Data” might be slowing down, but the importance of data and the availability of it will only increase. Data is being gathered from everywhere, social media, emails, location-based technology (i.e. Beacons) and so much more. In 2016, these data gatherers are going to act less in silos and more effectively together. Prior to 2016, complex CRMs and Social Media Listening tools that help bring all this information together were only available to the largest brands. Expect these services to slowly come down in price and become affordable to small to mid-sized businesses.

  • 2016 & Beyond: The number of devices and places acquiring information is only going to increase. Big data is going to get bigger with the influence of the connected and robotic world on the marketing industry.

Content & Content Creators Continue to Remain King

Developing quality, engaging content isn’t new, but its importance stays the same in 2016. Not only creating your own content, but the number of people creating content continues to increase. Social Media Influencers and YouTube stars grew exponentially in 2015 and it does not seem to be slowing down. With social media networks making it tougher to get in front of target audiences, companies are turning to influencers to spread their message in a more authentic way than advertising.

  • 2016 & Beyond: Social Media in the Workplace – Slack, the work messenger app, is one of the hottest start ups in the country and Facebook for Work will be leaving Beta soon. Expect social media in the workplace to not only become a norm but encouraged.

 More Video

Every social media strategy should have a video component incorporated in it. That’s because video is becoming increasingly important. Facebook adjusted its algorithm to showcase more videos and surpassed YouTube on the number of videos launched daily with over 8 billion videos, Ads are now available on Instagram (and soon video ads), and Snapchat is here to stay.  It seems that almost every social network either added or is adding more emphasis on video including 360º video. Plus Periscope, the live streaming app will continue to grow this year (more on that below). Social Media Managers always want to continue to push and evolve their content. If video isn’t already a strong component, make it one in 2016.

  •  2016 & Beyond: Virtual Reality – Facebook’s own Oculus Rift is finally coming out and is planning to make a big impact. 2016 consumers will begin to get to know what VR has to offer. Look for it to integrate into every day life in the coming years.

Live Broadcasting

In 2015, Periscope came out of nowhere, and disrupted the industry. Users started live streaming everything including Pay Per View Fights (UFC wasn’t so pleased), In the second half of the year, other networks began to take notice. Facebook started testing Live Broadcasting with select celebrities and plans for it become a mainstream feature in 2016.

  •  2016 & Beyond: the key word in “Live Broadcasting” is “Live”. Companies should begin building a “live” element into their strategy as social networks push for more real-time content.

Mobile-First

In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop and the number continues to increase. Developers, designers and marketers need to think mobile-first with their website, social media, or any digital marketing strategy. Potential customers are finding your business most likely through their smart phone. What is your customer’s user experience like on mobile?

  •  2016 & Beyond: Wearable Technology - Smart Watches are only the start. The Internet of Things will slowly make every product “smart”. We’ve already seen watches, cars, thermostats and more. Companies will need to think past “traditional” digital marketing and consider how consumers are interacting with their brand on all smart devices.

 

Customer Service

67% of consumers have used a brand’s social media presence to get a customer service response. If a company doesn’t respond quickly, a customer has likely move on to a competitor or make their frustrations known. Brands, more than ever before, will look to real-time engagement and customer service.  Facebook has been unveiling Messenger for Business to allow customers to interact with brands and more features on the way.

  •  2016 & Beyond: Customers are looking for instant feedback whether that is on Twitter, Facebook or another social network. Companies will increase spending on community managers and technology that makes this process more efficient.

 

Increased Social Media Advertising

The social media marketplace is becoming more and more crowded and it isn’t the “free” service that it used to be. Facebook has crushed company’s organic page reach, Instagram is exploding with new accounts, Pinterest has added “Buyable Pins” and Twitter is rethinking its algorithm to be more like Facebook’s Newsfeed. What was once the “free” marketing tool has become the pay-to=play space. According to eMarketer, social media budgets increased 33.5% in 2015 to $23.6 billion worldwide. Unless your business is completely strapped for cash, each social media strategy should include an advertising budget in order to be competitive.

  •  2016 & Beyond: By 2017 social media ad spending will reach $35.98 billion globally.

 

Digital Marketing is always evolving. These trends are a sample for what’s coming down the pipe in 2016 and beyond. Check back to the blog in the coming months for more Digital Marketing and Social Media analysis.