Internet-Marketing-Changes-in-2016With online marketing trends constantly evolving year-after-year, it can often be difficult, time-consuming and sometimes stressful to learn and adapt to these trends. With 2016 upon us, it is without doubt that this year will be anything but stagnant with changes in the digital world. In order to survive we must adapt. We must dedicate ourselves to a lifetime of learning and innovation. If we do not, we are sure to be left behind in the dust. Ignorance is not bliss, but a road to extinction in this day and age.

Don’t get left behind. Check out these 10 changes in the Internet Marketing world that could effect your business:

1. Dissolution of the Marketing Formula

Say goodbye to your one-size-fits-all marketing formula as those no longer fit today’s online audiences. In 2016, businesses will be forced to pursue riskier and more diverse marketing strategies than ever before. Even small businesses will not be able to limit their efforts to single campaigns, but instead diversify so that they are able to reach multiple areas of the marketing space.

This shift relates largely to the significant growth of mobile technology the tech world experienced in 2015. According to a comprehensive report conducted by We Are Social, 39% of all of the world’s website pages are accessed via a mobile device. In North America, 81% of our total population is a mobile phone user and 52% of our total population has active social media accounts that they access regularly via a mobile device. Studies have shown that people across all demographics now own smartphones and tablets, meaning that a greater number of people are showing more variety in their interactions with content found on the web.

Marketing campaigns will also need to focus on different content for different devices, such as wearable technology.

2. The Ascension of Personalized Marketing

Relevancy to your user base is key to holding attention both online and offline. The content being delivered must be engaging and in order to do so, that content must be catered to your consumers interests as they discover your business and subscribe to your blog, service or email list.

With the increasing variety of digital marketing technologies that are becoming available, more and more are including the ability for businesses to provide personalized marketing. They are also mostly within the resources and reach of most businesses and the pay-off is becoming increasingly more evident.

Your first step in personalized marketing is obtaining detailed information about your audience. Using complicated metrics as well as opt-in forms, you can determine your customer’s:

  • Names
  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • Needs
  • Locations
  • Professions
  • Income Levels
  • And more!

The more information you are able to gather about your consumer, the easier delivering targeted, personalized advertisements and communications becomes. Personalized marketing is allowing businesses to build personalized relationships with these customers at scale which in turn builds loyal brand advocates with little to no effort. Calling the recipient by name and mentioning their past interactions with your business, website or social media profiles are making online correspondence progressively more effective.

3. Shifted Focus to Earned Media

Smart consumers are no longer trusting the same advertisements as they once were. Instead, recommendations from trustworthy sources are being sought out as to what products to buy or companies to do business with. If a Facebook friend or trusted blogger starts raving about a new widget, that product becomes infinitely more appealing.

According to a recent article by AdWeek, Influencer Marketing is “like the new TV ad during live sports” because of the seamless integration with the content they are promoting. Social media users are craving content cultivated by their cherished influences just as much as sports fan await anxiously for their favorite teams’ next games. With more social apps shifting to include or solely dedicate themselves to social video sharing and streaming, there will be more ways for brands to collaborate and connect with their audience via these influencers and their ability to interact with bussinesses consumer base in a way they would not be able to on their own.

In 2016, this trend will continue to grow and flourish within our society. Businesses will be turning to likes, mentions and recommendations by the media and other sources rather than paying for advertisements or sponsors. Encouraging loyal customers and clients to recommend their products via word-of-mouth advertising will become an invaluable asset, whether in person or on social media.

So how can your business harness earned media?

  • Create shareable content: The farther your content reaches, the more consumers tend trust it. Create content that your user base will find interesting and want to share with their own circle of connections.
  • Start conversations with customers: Engage with your audience on your blog, in social media, and via other online channels. Build relationships with these people through these online sources so that they can be proud and excited to be your advocates.
  • Build relationships with media personalities: From bloggers to TV correspondents, make friends with influential people in media. These relationships will propel your internet presence to the next level.

The challenge businesses will face in 2016 lies in the unpredictability of earned media this year. Businesses can influence and solicit – but not control earned media. And with this unpredictability also comes the possibility of conversations turning negative, so business owners must learn and prepare to address those situations calmly and transparently.

4. New Wave of Wearable Technology

In earlier years, the focus of promoting businesses through the internet was dedicated mostly to efforts on their websites. Then the introduction and immersion of mobile technology from smartphones to other handheld devices, the objective was shifted to focus more heavily on the adaptation for those devices. With mobile now considered the “first screen” as it is the primary source for most social media users to access their accounts, marketers have adapted the “less is more” approach. Since you cannot do everything on mobile you have to do what matters.

Now in 2016, we face our greatest challenge yet: wearable technology.

Gadgets such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass represent a new wave of media. Consumers will be interacting with these devices differently than other devices they’ve used in the past. So it is essential for businesses to first, recognize this movement in technology and second, adjust their marketing strategies to reach consumers using wearable technology.┬áThe challenges of marketing with wearable technology include:

  • Creating content that is visible on much smaller devices
  • Providing quick, actionable answers for popular search queries
  • Focusing on location-specific ads and messages

5. Video and Interactive Infographics Increasing in Popularity

Written content will never lost it’s importance, but businesses who are neglecting these types of media will be left in the dust in 2016. Endgadget conducted a study in 2015 that reported the average consumer’s attention span decreases in direct correlation to the advancement of technology.

Consumers want their information fast. They are done wading through the fluff before getting to the “good stuff.” If you can present the same information in a 15-second video or 10-inch infographic, your audience will appreciate and engage more with that content. It is quite possible this information has directly contributed to YouTube surpassing Facebook as the most trafficked social platform.

According to Facebook’s Q4 earnings call, their numbers are up in almost every way that they can be measured – growth in revenue, daily active users and number of video watched each day. Facebook reports that video content is being consumed more than ever showing that 8 million videos are being watched daily producing a collective 100 million hours of videos watched daily on their platform.

6. Advancement of Metric Accuracy and Diversity

Since people now carry their devices around in their pockets, on their wrists, and even over their eyes, 2016 will encounter a surge of growth and development in marketing metrics. Although the technology is not currently available, time and money will continue to be invested into targeting metrics including the locations their consumers are going and how they are spending their time.

Since GPS technology allows smartphones the ability to track its owner’s footsteps all day long, soon resources will be available to access this information and content can be pushed as notifications and other correspondence to it’s users with almost frightening accuracy.

7. Progression of Co-Creation Content

We have already seen companies and customers uniting to create content together. This trend is expected to gain momentum in 2016 as businesses increase their use of mobile technology and engage their audiences through social media.

This is no new concept. In fact, we saw back in 2004 the Real Beauty campaign launched by personal care brand Dove, invited consumers to be a part of a discussion about the definition of beauty in today’s society and working to break the mold of unrealistic expectations of women’s body image. This campaign continues to this day, incorporating hashtags and other social media constructs.

Though co-creation is no new concept, it is sure to ramp up in 2016 with revived efforts on the parts of both big and small brands. Engaging your digital audience does not just expand your businesses online presence, but also creates word-of-mouth advertising advocates and loyal customers to your brand.

8. Revitalization of Email Marketing

A refreshed interest in email marketing will be evident in 2016 with the ascension of personalized marketing that reflects the metrics the sender has collected. Consumers now have access to their email accounts anytime anywhere, whether they are sitting at their desks or taking a stroll along the beach.

Businesses are expected to revamp their email marketing campaigns with the integration of consumer personalization. To be successful, businesses should include the following in these campaigns to keep their consumers interested:

  • Telling stories
  • Offer free gifts
  • Shareable content through social media
  • Distribute money-saving coupon codes
  • Follow patterns of the user to personalize content as to what their interests are

We will be sure to see many try multiple email campaigns and comparing their results of each in order to fine-tune their strategies.

9. Exactness of Value Propositions

Businesses and online marketers have appreciated the power, importance and utilization of a unique selling proposition (USP) or value proposition for decades. However in 2016, we will see a change in the way businesses will need to develop their USPs. With the increase in diversity of demographics now accessing the internet and social media platforms, businesses will need to focus on precise, engaging value propositions that target a slimmer demographic to reduce ambiguity and relate to consumers on a more personal level.

As a result, volume in some marketing campaigns may see a decrease, but business owners must recognize that a quality-over-quantity approach works best when leveraging the value proposition to win over customers.

10. Continued Rise of Paid Social Media Advertising

Do you remember the days when social media was free? I sure do.

The fact that social media was free was one of the aspects that attracted myself as well as many other marketers 6 years ago. But like anything in the world of online marketing, things have changed. Facebook has wound it’s organic reach for pages back to almost zero. Want to reach your Facebook fans?

You’ve got to pay to play.

This is game that all social networks are now engaging in and social media has become just another media channel – and that reality is not going away. In order to keep your head in the game, businesses will be forced to adapt to this reality.

Facebook made HUGE dividends from this in 2015, but if you are paying to advertise through social networks – it is essential that you are measuring actionable results. You don’t want to be spending $100 in advertising every day only to be making a $50 profit.

Always test the waters first. Do your research on what works and what doesn’t by analyzing metrics of every campaign on every channel you are utilizing before you go putting big bucks into an advertising campaign through a social media network.


 

As you’re gearing up for online marketing in 2016, these are the trends to be sure to keep an eye on and incorporate into your marketing strategies. Getting ahead of the ball can put you ahead of the game to make waves in the New Year.

What about you?

What digital trends have you adopted for 2016? Has it made a difference? What technologies are you thinking of implementing? What do you think it the most important trend that will disrupt your industry?

Looking forward to reading your insights and experiences in the comments section below.