The digital marketing industry is still in its youth, but it is developing and maturing at an impressive rate. Think about this: It wasn’t that long ago that some marketers were buying product reviews and social media followers; furthermore, many of those same marketers were using unreliable metrics to measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns (i.e. likes, shares, and follows).
While 2015 was a formative year for digital marketing, it wasn’t without its crises. If you paid attention, there was much to be learned by witnessing several trends appear and others fall into obsolescence. From all those lessons, though, perhaps the most salient takeaway from the last year in digital marketing is the emergence of mobile-friendly content. As we look forward to what 2016 has in store, there doesn’t appear to be another “mobilegeddon” on the horizon. However, there are a few emerging trends that we as digital marketers need to keep in mind as we forge ahead in the digital marketing space.
- Content is Still the King
“And long may he reign!” some might say. Others, though, often struggle with developing the right kind of content to engage their targeted audiences. Regardless of whether or not anyone likes it, there’s no denying that the most successful digital marketing campaigns are vehicles being driven by great content.
Good content serves a number of purposes; chiefly, it builds trust, entertains, serves as a brand’s vehicle and increases a brand’s awareness. That might sound unbelievable, but it’s true. If we turn to the numbers, studies indicate that over 75% of decision makers in business would rather receive information in the form of articles or blog posts than they would in the form of advertisements.
The world of digital content is evolving, too. In fact, more and more digital marketers are beginning to realize that online consumers find audio and video content more engaging than the traditional blog posts, listicles, and social media posts. Look for 2016 to be a renaissance of sorts for several different forms of consumable online content.
- “Mobilization” of Digital Marketing Campaigns
If you’re doing business online and your website isn’t mobile-friendly by now, don’t be surprised if your doors and windows are permanently closed this time next year. We mentioned “mobilegeddon” earlier, but let’s briefly delve into it now to provide some context. Essentially, “mobilegeddon” refers to an update Google made to its algorithms last spring, in which the search engine began showing favor to websites that are mobile-friendly. Ultimately, this update did not impact desktop searches; however, it did dramatically impact mobile searches. Since a lot of browsing is done on mobile devices, the overall effects of the aforementioned algorithm update had a remarkable impact on the online presence of several businesses.
Moving forward, in the aftermath of “mobilegeddon,” businesses and digital marketers alike absolutely must keep their websites mobile-friendly in order to optimize their results and realize the best ROI on their digital marketing campaigns. This especially rings true when one considers targeted audiences, who are mostly young people. As a society, we are virtually attached to our mobile devices. Naturally, being aware of all of these things and acting accordingly can only bode well for all parties involved.
- Social Media: Living in the Moment
Have you heard of Periscope? In case you’ve been living under a rock, Periscope is an app that lets you “go live” no matter where you are. It’s a broadcasting platform that allows users to send what they’re doing out into the world in real-time for others to watch. While it may or may not be the next big thing in social media, the idea behind it is certainly a key force driving the digital marketing industry right now. That idea, of course, is immediacy.
Digital marketing is all about creating conversions to win and increase profits. We already know that social media exists “in the now.” Live updates, live feeds and live broadcasts dominate our homepages. Social media is now affording its users the opportunity to be even more in the now with features like “buy” buttons and other in-app functionalities that cater to users’ desires to be in the moment. Knowing this, leveraging it, and designing initiatives around it could be the difference between making 2016 a business’ best or worst year ever.
Don’t expect the digital marketing space to stop expanding or evolving any time soon – it won’t. There are several things behind the digital marketing wheel that are steering it into the future, and these are just a few of them. However, keeping an eye on the trends we just discussed should greatly help with your efforts in 2016.