Although the fundamentals of an optimized website with quality content will always be important, internet marketing methods change frequently. That’s why if you’re a small or medium business owner it is important to turn to the experts who are on top of the latest trends. Using outdated techniques will not only bring poor results and waste your time, but in some cases may even harm you online presence.
There are a number of changes and trends to take note of for 2016. Here’s some of what we forecast:
Targeting Mobile Traffic
The last few years have been huge for apps and the mobile web. People just aren’t sitting at their desktops anymore, in fact Google received more mobile traffic last year than any other source. And this trend is only going to increase in 2016.
What this means for your website is that it absolutely must be mobile friendly, or as Google likes to call it “responsive.” Failure to do this is not only going to turn users away (because the site doesn’t look good on their device), but Google will also drop you down the rankings in favour of sites that are mobile-friendly.
In terms of marketing it is therefore also wise to ensure any paid ads are targeting mobile users. The larger platforms like Facebook ads or Google AdWords do this as standard.
If you sell products directly from your website then you may already be aware of the increasing number of people who buy products using their mobile devices. A mobile friendly store is one thing, but in 2016 more business owners are going to make the jump to a full blown app solution. With all of the leading online retailers offering user-friendly apps, it’s an experience consumers are beginning to expect.
Targeting Wearable Traffic
While mobile traffic will dominate this year, traffic from people using wearable devices like smart watches will begin to emerge more strongly as well. Some of the same standards of mobile-friendliness apply to wearables (responsive web designs cater to all screen sizes), but we predict wearables will start to demand some of their own unique optimization requirements.
We also expect that similar to mobile ads, there will be wearable specific advertising options to market your business in the near future.
Video as a Marketing Method
Last year YouTube continued its place as one of the most visited sites on the web and the premiere destination for video content, and there’s no sign of that changing. Using video as medium for marketing will continue to grow in 2016, as both direct marketing (commercials or ads on existing videos) but also as a content platform for brands and businesses. If you site doesn’t feature video content then now’s the time to start.
Data suggests that users are often more engaged by video than text, and visitors will stay longer on pages that have video content. From product information, to FAQs, reviews and more – video should be a part of your overall web presence.
We all know how important social media is for marketing your business and brand, but it’s rare that we consider a Tweet or Facebook post to be a long term traffic generator. Even if it goes viral the buzz tends to die down in a few days. It’s more of any ongoing process. This may all be poised to change in 2016 with the refining of “social searching.”
This term can mean different things, but in general it’s referring to the ability to search social media effectively. Facebook for example is currently working on a revamp of its own search engine that will allow users to find historic posts more easily.
The major search engines are also constantly revising how they should show social media posts in the search results. Could 2016 be the year we begin optimizing social media posts to appear prominently in social searches?
Social Media Diversification
As with everything else on the web social media is always evolving. While a Twitter and Facebook account might have been suffice in previous years, 2016 is the year where marketing on social media really diversifies. This means considering looking further afield to the likes of Snapchat which is now ranked the third biggest social network.
There is also a trend towards live streaming apps like Periscope and Blab, which offer a brand new avenue for marketing in real time.
Content is still King
No matter what happens in 2016, quality content is still going to be the primary factor in attracting customers to your website. This is still what search engines will pick up, it’s still what you will be linking to, and it’s still what people want to read. Providing users with the information or products they desire (preferably both) is what will still set you apart from the competition.
Email is still Queen
While everyone seems to be outwardly focussed on social media email marketing is as strong as ever, and it remains one of the best returns on investment if done right. Like web pages your email campaigns must be optimized to appear correctly on all devices, as around half of all emails are opened on mobiles.
While content is still king, some of the ways that content is being delivered are changing. There is a sure move towards interactivity and visuals to compliment the SEO optimized written content. Slideshows, Informative infographics, videos that prompt users to click and make decisions, webinars where you address your audience, Twitter Q&As, and other delivery methods are giving internet marketing a new lease of life and engaging users like never before.