Each new year brings with it many changes, from resolutions to improve eating habits and physical fitness to a new commitment to marketing tactics. The start of 2016 comes with numerous expectations in the digital marketing sphere, giving marketers a sneak peek into what it will take to stay competitive. Based on the trends of the last several years and expert predictions for the future, web-based marketing will continue its sky-high trajectory and those who aren't up to the challenge are at risk of falling behind. If you haven't taken the time to adjust your marketing strategies, the clock is ticking. Here's what to expect over the next 11 months.
Content Will Be More Important Than Ever
Content has been king for the last several years, and this trend shows no signs of stopping. 88% of B2B marketers now embrace content strategies, up from 86% at the start of 2015. Not surprisingly, the more budget allocated to content, the more successful content will be, with the best performing companies investing over 40% of their marketing budgets into the generation of high quality content. In fact, 76% of B2B marketers plan to create more content this year than in 2015, making a step-up in your strategy paramount to remain competitive.
As content marketing evolves, so do the methods marketers use to stay ahead of the pack. Visual content, whether in the form of infographics or video blogs, is picking up momentum, transforming readers from passive third-party viewers into engaged, active participants. Episodic content seeks to do the same, playing on the suspense of other serial forms of media, like weekly television programs, to keep readers coming back for more. No matter how you choose to employ content strategy and creation in your business, 2016 isn't the time to put your content marketing on the back burner; to stay relevant, your strategies needs an upgrade from 2015's tired methodologies.
Marketing Channels Will Be Even More Connected
If you think marketing channels are connected now, what's on the horizon for 2016 may surprise you. With standard cable TV falling by the wayside in favor of Netflix and Hulu, traditional print media sources losing ground to the digital realm, and music streaming apps replacing radio usage, the real world and the virtual world are joining forces like never before. In addition, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are also beginning to concede to the presence of shared user bases, making sharing across platforms simultaneously easier than ever. This evolution is great for cat lovers who want to share kitty pics with as many people as possible, but it's also good news for marketers.
The ability to share marketing material across many digital channels, either at the same time or separately based on target audience, holds amazing potential for marketers, providing measurable conversion statistics for advertising methods with less exact tracking opportunities. While it's impossible to quantify how many listeners heard your radio ads and responded accordingly, the success of an ad playing on Spotify or Pandora can measured specifically and immediately. With heightened insight into points of conversion, companies will be able to hone strategies in new and valuable ways.
Mobile Will Take Over
Mobile has been on a quest for global domination for the last several years, and 2016 will only add fuel to the fire. 2015's Mobilegeddon got the ball rolling, with millions of sites making a switch to mobile platforms or responsive design. Coupled with advances in cell phone technology, like mobile payments, what your phone or tablet can do is unprecedented. With mobile use representing a larger slice of the web use pie with each and every passing year, ignoring mobile users means ignoring a major component of modern day consumers. Even if you stood firm against Google's algorithm changes last year, it's in your best interest to improve your strategy sooner rather than later.
Over 50% of smart phone users access the mobile web first thing upon waking up, and over 80% of web users rely on mobile devices at least some of the time; no matter what your stance is, this number will only continue to grow in the upcoming months. Taking the time to optimize your marketing approach for mobile is a crucial part of remaining competitive, encouraging your readers to press on, no matter their device of choice. Mobile use is forcing marketers to rethink old standards, like layout, article length, use of visuals, and more, transforming the face of content as we know it. If you're not keeping up, your readers may not hesitate to leave you behind.
If you haven't updated your digital marketing manual since the start of last year, that's okay. Luckily, 2016 is still in its infancy and there is still time to make a positive impact on future. Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, and how you choose to work with the evolving trends can make all the difference; without a positive trajectory, you'll never know what your company is missing. By embracing the power of content, the growing connectivity of marketing channels, and focusing your attention on mobile, you can make sure this year is the best one yet for your marketing endeavors.