2016 is almost over, and the year has been an eventful one in the marketing and advertising community. With the pace of technological development being what it is, it’s unlikely that the momentum of new online marketing strategies will die down anytime soon—if at all. If you’re like me and most other online marketers, you’re excited to be in the game—there are countless new opportunities to re-imagine your brand and connect with your customers in different ways—but it’s also a bit intimidating to keep up with the pace of change.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of seven online marketing trends settling into the thick of 2016—and there’s still plenty of year left to take advantage of them:
Mobile marketing has been a major topic for the past several years, as mobile device use has exploded to overtake desktop device use. Phones are getting bigger and easier to use, and companies like Google GOOGL +0.08% and Facebook FB -0.42% are formatting things to better serve mobile users, with new mobile-friendly algorithm updates and mobile-optimized layout changes, respectively. Wearable devices, like FitBit and smart watches, are also rising in popularity. These trends have influenced more businesses and organizations to opt for marketing that caters to these on-the-go experiences, such as more local optimization and greater attention to apps and advertising opportunities compliant with these devices.
The online world is flooded, more than ever, with content, and hundreds of new startups seem to emerge every day. Users are getting tired of seeing the same things over and over, and they’re tired of feeling manipulated through advertising. As a result, more online marketers are pushing the technological and logistical limits of personalization, attempting to give more unique and customizable experiences to every customer they can. These come in the form of interactive features, variable forms of content, and individualized recommendations upon repeat visiting.
Thanks in part to the sustained and growing popularity of mobile devices, app-based marketing is on a rising trend in 2016 as well. Users are beginning to rely on apps almost more than they rely on traditional websites, and companies like Google are already responding with new opportunities for business owners and app developers to take advantage of. For example, Google recently released a feature known as app streaming, which allows users to access unique app functionality within search results—even if they don’t have that app installed on their device. More businesses are developing apps, and once developed, they’re doing more with them.
User purchasing decisions are beginning to become more complex. The vast reaches of the Internet have put more information in front of more people, but thanks to the paradox of choice, those additional variables and considerations have made decisions more complicated, rather than simpler to make. People research in more ways and take more time to make decisions, and online marketers have responded by reaching out to customers in more diverse ways. Content has taken a step back, addressing problems earlier in the buy cycle, and marketers are taking advantage of more diverse channels and mediums to cast a wider net.
A handful of factors are influencing greater campaign integrations, forcing online marketers to stop thinking about all their marketing strategies as separate strategies, and instead as just different facets of the same conceptual block. Part of this stems from increasing technological sophistication allowing for the development of software that can track many different channels and strategies at once. Another part stems from the fact that online marketing strategies are becoming more co-dependent, like how it’s virtually impossible to succeed in SEO without a content marketing strategy also in place. In any case, greater integration is becoming a necessity for advancement.
Buying opportunities are everywhere these days, and for online marketers, that means hundreds of ripe new opportunities for advertising. For example, most social media platforms have adopted some kind of in-app shopping or in-app checkout for products advertisers are paying to display. Google shopping is becoming more prominent and more conveniently integrated with the search experience as well. This doesn’t exactly help the fact that consumer decisions are becoming more complicated, but it does give marketers more opportunities for conversions—even before users get to their respective websites.
Advertising technology has come a long way, and in 2016, there are more options than ever. Marketers are taking advantage of this by pursuing new options, planning their campaigns more efficiently, and ultimately realizing better results. For example, technology like attention metrics are starting to revolutionize how ad success and ad costs are calculated by measuring the qualitative experience of a user actually watching a video ad (rather than simply letting it play), and new ad opportunities are cropping up in new and old technologies alike.
These online marketing trends are all opportunities, in one form or another. Some are new technologies you can use to better reach your audience, while others are strategic approaches that are particularly powerful in the modern era. I highly recommend you consider integrating these online marketing strategies into the fold of your own campaigns; not all of them will be relevant to your brand, and not all of them will end up being effective, but they’re all worth considering for your broader campaign.