Marketing is a bit like fashion – there’s always a new trend on the horizon. Unlike fashion, however, marketing trends tend to be long-lasting and far-reaching. Because of this, it’s important for dedicated marketers to stay abreast of trends in their industry. To help you do just that, we’ve compiled a list of the hottest marketing trends for 2016. Here’s what you can expect to see in the coming year.
- Apps, apps everywhere!
If you thought apps were so 2012, you’re wrong. Apps are growing in popularity as the climate of online marketing becomes more and more streamlined. In 2016, it’s likely that we’ll see apps for mobile devices, web browsers, desktop interfaces, and even television. While this may seem like an app invasion, it actually means that marketers can use apps to their advantage to dominate things like analytics, email marketing, and social media. Companies who go so far as to create an app will also be able to enjoy enhanced user engagement and a more direct line of communication with customers.
- The rise of interactive content
The last several years have seen transitions toward visual content, video content, and virtually all forms of social media sharing, but 2016 is projected to be the year of interactive content. Things like assessments, games, calculators, and Gifographics are the content tools of the New Year and companies who use them are virtually guaranteed to see a rise in engagement, social shares, and clicks. 67% of companies currently report that interactive visual material is pivotal to their marketing strategy, and this number will only grow in the coming months.
- Customized content will reign
Today’s consumers are more advanced than ever. In order for these customers to be loyal to a company or commit to shopping with a specific brand, they need to have faith that a company is creating content specifically for them. Because of this, customized content is going to dominate throughout the New Year. A full 90% of customers find custom content useful and valuable, which means that things like personalized CTAs, custom landing pages, and directed sales messages are the way to go in 2016. These forms of content not only tell readers that you’re paying attention to them, their demographics, and their needs, but they also serve to set your company apart from the rest and help provoke brand recognition and attachment.
- User-generated content will become a marketing forerunner
Did you know that most customers trust user reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from a friend? Brands have been catching on to this over the last few years and the popularity of user-generated content (UGC) has exploded as a result. In 2016, however, we can expect to see UGC get bigger than it has ever been before. Brands are now using UGC for everything from social media promotions to brand and product development ideas. In addition to boosting customer confidence in a company, UGC also creates an ample amount of high-quality, unique content that a brand can use down the road for things like promotions, contests, and incentives.
- One-on-one social conversations
Good brands have always known that engagement is important and marketers have heard for years that they should be reading and responding to the comments people leave on their blogs and review sites. Nowadays, however, many brands are taking it one step further. Today, customers love reaching out to their favorite brands on social media and, more and more, those brands are reaching out in return. Take, for example, Innocent Drinks – a smoothie company that regularly interacts with its users on Twitter:
While this interaction is lighthearted and silly, Innocent Drinks knows that interacting one-on-one with customers is a great way to promote more engagement and build a stronger brand-customer relationship. Small companies can use any of the various social media monitoring tools available today to ensure adequate responses to customers and comments.
- Enhanced loyalty programs
Right now, 37% of Millennials are motivated by companies that offer loyalty programs. This means that marketers in 2016 will be focusing more than ever on developing and maintaining loyalty programs that are truly valuable to their customers. From customer-specific discounts to incentives for things like referrals and social sharing, brands will be dedicating a significant portion of their marketing budgets to bolstering their promotional and incentives programs in the coming year.
- Live stream video
Platforms like Meerkat and Periscope have exploded in popularity in the last year and bands are beginning to jump on the bandwagon. By using a live-streaming service, companies can offer their users an inside peek of company happenings, brainstorming sessions, and culture while also providing relevant product sneak peeks and announcements. Solidly half of all web traffic is now dedicated to online video and that number is projected to rise to 68% by 2017 and 79% by 2018. In light of this, it’s obvious that right now is a great time for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to get involved in the streaming video trend.
While the climate of online marketing is guaranteed to continue changing over the next several years, staying abreast of the trends that are currently hottest in the industry is a great way to ensure that your brand stands out and connects with customers as much as possible. Plus, small businesses who seek to keep up with the bigger trends of the industry set themselves up to learn new things and become more competitive in their respective niches. No matter how big or small your company may be, seeking to incorporate these online marketing trends into your marketing plan for 2016 can help you grow your business, boost your bottom line, and increase engagement with your customers.
To learn more about effective online marketing or for help creating your own award-winning online marketing strategy, contact Strider SEO today!