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5 Up-and-Coming Digital Marketing Trends to Look Out For in 2016

The way people use the Internet has changed almost beyond recognition over the last decade alone, with the explosion of mobile Internet being by far the most prolific trend in recent years. As technology advances and adapts to fast-changing consumer habits, brands must never step off the high-speed train that digital marketing has become, lest they end up fading into obscurity. While recent years have seen the unprecedented rise of mobile marketing and content creation, 2016 will no doubt change the game yet again. Here are 5 top trends to look out for in 2016 and beyond:

1 - Video Advertising Is Set to Dominate

Video advertising might have been around for quite some years already, but it continues to grow. Many of the world's biggest online services, such as YouTube, Bing and Facebook, have become popular platforms for video advertising but, with Google's purchase of YouTube in 2006, virtually anything is possible. Being the world's biggest advertising platform, Google is finally working on embedding video content in search results, which is likely to have a major impact on search engine marketing over the coming years. After all, consumers are becoming more accepting of video advertising, leading to its appearance in a wider variety of mediums.

2 - Virtual Reality Presents New Opportunities

Although still in its infancy and not yet widely available to consumers, the launch of various virtual-reality devices, such as the much-hyped Oculus Rift headset in 2016, will present new opportunities for marketers. In fact, virtual reality is set to add an entirely new medium for content delivery and digital marketing in general and, while it could all just end up being a short-lived fad, marketers would do well to keep a close eye on the trends in the marketplace. Virtual reality promises to deliver a far more interactive experience for consumers whereby people can navigate virtually around stores and other venues as though they were there in person.

3 - Automation Will Take Over

With digital marketers already spending at least half of their time on content creation and publication and the cost of advertising constantly on the increase, companies are seeking out new and innovative ways to increase automation. Marketing automation is already leading the way in lead generation and nurturing prospects, since it makes it easier to schedule things like email newsletters, social media posts and content management. However, while a robust automation strategy offers businesses the potential to make better use of their marketing budgets, others may find themselves losing their voice to automation.

4 - Alternatives to Google Will Emerge

Although Google remains by far the most important marketing platform in most of the world, it is by no means invulnerable. The search giant has also experienced some major flops in recent years, with its Google+ social network being among the most noteworthy. The company has also been slow to adopt video during a time when the medium is becoming ever-more important to digital marketers. As a result, 2016 will likely see a greater shift towards other platforms. Digital assistants, such as Apple's Siri and Microsoft Cortana are already leading to a different kind of optimization, making it important for businesses to adapt their approach to SEO.

5 - Personalization Will Rule Supreme

Taking a personalized approach to marketing is the only way to create meaningful connections with consumers. As technology makes people more connected than ever before, the opportunities to personalize advertising strategies increases enormously, and it promises to transform the way global brands manage their strategies. As such, there will be an even greater emphasis on increasing localized influence and shifting further away from globalized marketing. Personalization, based on factors such as geographical location and past purchases, should be considered a key priority in the coming years.

Conclusion

Despite the fast-changing world of digital marketing, many businesses remain focussed on dated tactics that no longer work and, in some cases, may cause more harm than good. As consumer habits change and technology facilitates these changes, marketers need to move with the times to take advantage of the various emerging trends. While 2016 probably won't be the year that changes everything, the next twelve months will no doubt be an interesting time for marketers the world over.