Into the Crystal Ball: 4 Online Marketing Predictions for 2016

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The fast paced, ever-changing world of online marketing can be a daunting prospect for business owners.

But it shouldn’t be.

In fact, business owners should feel more in control than ever. After all, the needs of companies and the increasingly sophisticated preferences of consumers continue to dictate the direction of the digital marketing industry as a whole.

If anything, online marketing is becoming more user-friendly, which means businesses will have an ever expanding choice of tools to reach new markets and stay ahead of the competition.

Related Article: A Look Inside: What Will Be the Big Online Marketing Trends for 2016?

These four trends promise to ensure the popularity and effectiveness of online marketing in 2016:

1. Watch for the Online Video Boom

Online video is the future of content marketing. Major players like Facebook and Bing now offer video options for advertisers and Google is experimenting with in-Search Engine Results Page (in-SERP) video advertising. These moves prove that users are growing more accepting of online video ads.

The stats in favor of video marketing are already strong:

  • Video will account for 69 percent of consumer internet traffic by 2017.
  • Seven in 10 people view brands more positively after watching their video content.
  • Sixty-four percent of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies.
  • Consider the potential reach—YouTube (owned by Google) sees more than a billion unique visitors each month, more than any other channel except Facebook.

What does this mean for small companies, and how can they afford this trend?

  • Video’s shareability is strong. Engaged viewers will share videos, spend more time on your website, and interact more with your brand.
  • Video is one of the best options for social media campaigns.
  • Production costs have fallen significantly, eliminating affordability concerns.

How can businesses use videos effectively for optimum ROI?

  • Remember your audience and use relevant material.
  • Small businesses must offer easily viewable content.
  • Use social media to promote across multiple channels.
  • Invest in mobile-focused online marketing. Google’s mobile traffic recently overtook its desktop traffic in 10 countries, and its Mobilegeddon algorithm is currently phasing out sites not optimized for mobile.

2. Marketing Automation Will Continue to Evolve

Marketing automation is undergoing vast changes. According to industry expert David Raab, 70 percent of markets are unhappy or marginally happy with marketing automation software. But businesses must recognize the huge potential benefits of marketing automation. What’s on the forefront:

  • Industry experts predict a shift in the prevailing marketing platform over the next three years.
  • The platform will be predictive first, offer full circle recommendations, and embrace open programs.
  • Companies like Conversica, Lytics, and Infer are making predictive analytics much more accessible.
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  • More companies are offering more efficient and effective solutions to the challenges with which marketing automation has historically struggled.

What do these new platforms mean for your business? Predictive intelligence platforms will be easier and more intuitive to use. These prediction systems can learn, improve, and adapt on their own as customers use them, essentially fueling the intuitive process.

Related Article: 8 Marketing Trends You Should Know About And How to Use Them

3. Expect Digital Advertising to Experience a Major Transformation

Companies employing interstitial ads, the frustrating full-screen ads that pop up on your mobile device when you’re trying to access a website, are about to see a crackdown. Users are sick of the ads, which often redirect them to irrelevant pages. Industry giants Google and Apple are taking action against these ads. Google announced plans to “permanently retire” interstitial ads, while Apple’s new iOS 9 provides ad blocker apps. How, then, can companies using online marketing to reach their customers in this consumer-driven environment?

  • See ad blockers as positive and rise to the challenge of finding user-friendly marketing solutions.
  • Reach your audience with soft and subtle promotions instead of in-your-face ads by developing high quality content marketing.
  • Use click-baiting wisely by using the curiosity gap article technique. Consumers clicking on headlines that engage their curiosity will click into an ad-heavy page.
  • Consider using native ads. Although obviously designed to entice consumers to ad-heavy pages, if the content delivers, the customer will click.

4. Apps Are the Future of Digital Marketing

The app wins, hands-down, for biggest, most exciting innovation in online marketing. More consumers are turning to mobile devices and smart watches, changing the landscape of online searching. The app will revolutionize how users search and make purchases. Google and other industry giants are paying attention. Is your business?

The latest facts and predictions for apps:

  • Users spend 90 percent of mobile usage on apps.
  • Google is now indexing apps similarly to how it indexes traditional websites.
  • App developers and digital marketers will be able to develop ways to shorten consumers’ searches by recognizing and analyzing common intersections between apps.
  • Apps get more visibility for their downloads in mobile searches, in turn ranking higher in searches.
  • Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, predicts apps will become commonplace for informational and functional needs within the next 10 to 20 years.

Why do apps appeal to users?

  • They’re more user-friendly and practical for smaller screens, like mobile and wearable devices.
  • Unlike older online search methods, the newer integration capabilities of apps allows them to offer more detailed and accurate results.
  • Voice-based search capabilities are on the rise, saving users time and frustration from web browsers.

2016 will be a crucial year in app adoption as business owners attempt to utilize the latest technology in apps to revolutionize methods of reaching consumers, potentially increasing ROIs. These tips will help online marketers prepare for the inevitable app explosion:

  • Create online marketing campaigns aimed at mobile users. Mobile digital media time has risen to 51 percent while desktop time has fallen to 42 percent. Forrester predicts mobile commerce transactions will reach $142 billion in 2016.
  • Businesses should utilize popular and well-reviewed apps.
  • Develop your own app to help your business stay ahead of the competition.
  • Be aware of consumer-driven changes in online marketing and be willing to adapt to the changing way users search online, capsizing on this cutting-edge way to do business.

Related Article: Top Marketing Trends From 2015 and What They Mean for the Future

2016 promises exciting new trends and changes for online marketers. Take advantage of the ground-breaking research done by Google and Apple to customize your own cutting-edge business marketing strategies. Remember, the consumer wants fast and convenient, so tap into these new ways to generate business on their terms.

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