The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016

The online marketing industry is complex and volatile, but an exciting one for anybody who stays up on modern trends. Each year, new hardware, new software, new companies, and new user preferences dictate a host of sweeping changes that either get adopted or ignored by the businesses of the world. Early adopters get a leg up on the competition, appealing to new markets or cementing their reputations as industry leaders, while those lagging behind miss out on a key opportunity to retain their positions.

2016 looks to be a great year for online marketing, and I anticipate it shaking up the game with these seven trends:

1. Video ads will start dominating. Video ads are certainly nothing new, with social channels like YouTube dedicated to hosting billions of videos and advertising platforms like Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options. 2016 is set to be different because Google is finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising. It’s a sign that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online, and as that trend continues, expect to see more types of video ads popping up in more unexpected places. With Google’s ownership of YouTube, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

2. App indexing will lead to an explosion of apps. Google has offered app indexing for a while, but as the ranking possibilities for apps become more complex, 2016 will be the year more business owners realize the online visibility advantages of a dedicated app. A mobile-optimized site works wonders for appealing to the mobile crowd, but soon, apps will begin to replace them. Apps can do everything that websites can, except in more intuitive, convenient, accessible ways. We’re still several years away from apps completely replacing websites as a medium, but 2016 will be a pivotal year in app adoption from business owner’s perspectives.

3. Mobile will completely dominate desktop. 2015 was a big year for mobile—not only did Google announce that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries, it was also the year they released the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update to phase out sites not optimized for mobile. But apparently, you don’t have to have an optimized desktop site in addition to a mobile version—according to Google, a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable. This alone won’t be enough to drive down desktop traffic, but it’s clear what side of the fence Google’s on; they’re banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.

4. Digital assistants will lead to a new kind of optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two highly popular strategies for getting your site seen by thousands of previously unknown visitors. But the rise of digital assistants is going to lead to a new kind of optimization. Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana do utilize traditional search engines, but only when necessary to find information. The key to optimizing in this new format is to make sure your business information is easily accessible to these assistants, rather than trying to funnel people to your site specifically.

5. Virtual reality will emerge. There are dozens of different virtual reality devices set to release in the next few years, some of which are dedicated for specific applications like video games, and others which are available for general use. Oculus Rift, arguably the most hyped VR device, is set to release in the first quarter of 2016. Oculus Rift and other VR devices will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging. There’s always a chance VR could fizzle as a temporary fad, but there are billions of dollars of funding in limbo, ready to bet otherwise.

6. Wearable technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will pave new ground. While not quite to the level of virtual reality, wearable “smart” devices should start gaining more traction into 2016. 2015 saw the unveiling of the Apple Watch, a first-generation smart watch, but more smart watches and similar wearable devices should start emerging next year. Such devices will change the landscape of local marketing, and will do more to blur the lines between “online” marketing and “real” marketing.

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Local Business Marketing Trends for 2016

Heading into Q4, now is the time to start thinking about what your business’s goals will be in the next year, including how you’ll to organize your budget and what your overall marketing plan will include.

You already know the organization of your current digital marketing channels — from SEO to coupons and deals — and which were the most effective for you this past year. Going into the next year, you’ll want to make sure that your local business takes advantage of 2016 digital marketing trends so that you can reach new customers that use these mediums.

This article will provide you with guidance about how to structure the different pieces of your marketing plan — 2016 digital marketing trends included — so that you can build a successful marketing strategy. From the up-and-coming social networks to the next mobile device your local business can use for quick customer check-outs, we’ve got the most important 2016 digital marketing trends that can help you start the year on the right foot.


PREDICTION

Instagram will take off

Since Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, the social media giant has been consistently making small changes to the photo-sharing platform. In late 2015 and 2016, all these smaller changes will start to culminate into big developments on the platform.

2016 digital marketing trends, instagram takes off

Facebook is now the social media network that every local business needs to have a Business Page on, accompanied by an advertising package so that you can reach the followers you worked hard to amass.

Reaching your followers on Facebook with a post used to be free — just like it currently is on Instagram. However, with Instagram offering advertising in the form of “sponsored posts,” we predict that soon you’ll have to pay to ensure that your post is seen by your followers (just like you do on Facebook).

Instagram advertising gets strong results for its advertisers. The photo-sharing app says that their ad recall is 2.8x higher than other online advertising platforms, making it an attractive option for those businesses looking to get the most bang for their marketing buck.

Ad recall on Instagram is 2.8xhigher than other online advertising platforms.

New tools that combine trending topics on Facebook and Instragam, such asSignal, are further proof that Facebook plans to continue integrating Instagram into its platform. As the two continue to be more tightly integrated, Instagram will certainly become a bigger and bigger player in the 2016 digital marketing trend arena.

It has been predicted that by 2017 Instagram will have $2.8 billion in advertising sales (it already has $600 million in advertising revenue YTD for 2015). Instagram is available exclusively via mobile and tablet apps, positioning it for a clear leadership role as small business marketing shifts to mobile.

CONCLUSION

Expand your social media presence on the network that will get the most user engagement in 2016: Instagram.


PREDICTION

Search will expand beyond search engines

Search is moving beyond Google, Bing and Yahoo and onto social networks where search capabilities are expanding.

Pinterest jumped into the search engine game, expanding its search algorithm and incorporating “guided searches.” Pinterest isn’t the only one in the search game either; Facebook is already working on tests for its own search engine and Twitter is, once again, being indexed by Google so that public tweets are seen on both the micro-blogging network and the wider Internet.

88% of consumers are influenced by reviews and comments online and the ability to search on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube will connect people to these comments quickly. For small businesses that have been monitoring and building up the amount of positive customer reviews on social media sites, such as Facebook, you’ll be pleased to hear one of the side effects of a search engine: your business’s reviews are about to get a lot more attention because they will show up in searches.

2016 digital marketing trends

CONCLUSION

Expanded search means that your business needs to invest in expanding your listings and start monitoring social more closely. Not only should your local businesses claim a social profile on every popular network (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp and LinkedIn), but you also need to be able to respond to what may be said about it online.

If you’re looking for help with reputation management, The Berry Company provides a service that you can use to track everything being said about your business. With this reputation management service, you’ll be able to learn what is being said about your business and also respond to it.


PREDICTION

Targeting will be the new black

As the digital market continues to expand, the more consumer data it collects along the way. With all this data, more sophisticated targeting algorithms can be created to help you get better results by using more targeted messaging.

Depending on the state of your business’s online marketing strategy, targeted messaging can be a good or bad thing.You’ll be excited about targeted data if you have a comprehensive local online marketing program that you would like to refine and get more qualified results out of. You’ll be bummed if you don’t use local online marketing because your competitors are — and they’ll be able to reach more local customers than you can.

CONCLUSION

Take advantage of targeting by starting pay-per-click or re-marketing display ad campaigns. As more and more data is added to the funnel, your ads will automatically take advantage of new targeting capabilities.


PREDICTION

Mobile payments will skyrocket

With the development of Apply Pay and the reliance on cell phones, mobile payments will have a steep increase this year.

In 2015, nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already began paying for their daily latte fix with their mobile devices. As a whole, nearly 60% of consumers use their smartphone to pay, so that they receive some sort of reward or benefit from the business.

Furthermore, mobile technology continues to become more and more affordable, as demonstrated at Apple’s latest conference with its line of iPhones. As prices continue to drop, smartphones will replace older phones — eliminating limited payment functionality.

CONCLUSION

As mobile technology becomes more affordable, mobile payments will continue to penetrate the market. Start looking into different platforms and hardware that your business can invest in to accept mobile payments.


PREDICTION

Webrooming will become as important as showrooming

Consumers want to know exactly what they will be buying before they make a purchase, consulting 10+ sources before making a purchase.

Now these savvy-shoppers can use the web want to see how a product or service will fit in their lifestyle before they head to the store to make a purchase. By showcasing your product or service, or “webrooming” (it took me a minute to get that, web-rooming for anyone like me who didn’t get it ), you can help a consumer imagine how your product/service fits into their lifestyle.

ikea on instagram

Ikea does a remarkable job of marketing their products to many generations, from millennials who prefer webrooming, to baby boomers who are used to showrooms and window shopping.

CONCLUSION

Pick up a few of Ikea’s out-of-the-box marketing strategies to expand your offline experience with your online one.


PREDICTION

Video will get the most views

Video has been a part of many online marketing strategies for years, but 2016 will make video the center of attention.

From 2013-2015 there was a 360% increase in video views. Facebook jumped on the video bandwagon and began hosting videos to keep more users on their network (instead of sending them to YouTube).

CONCLUSION

Your local business can leverage video in 2016, too. Share (and host when available) videos so that you can to attract more views to your content and your business.

Video is an incredibly versatile medium. From showcasing a product to sharing behind the scenes look at your business, start creating videos to drive up your customer engagement.


It may be 2015, but these 2016 digital marketing trends will have a big impact on your 2016 budget and strategy. Make sure you stay in the know with the latest digital marketing trends for local business by subscribing to the LocalVox blog which will also help you implement and track your marketing success.