There is no question that online marketing continues to dominate the way that business owners are reaching out to potential customers over more traditional methods such as direct mail and cold calling. The landscape for online marketing continues to shift focus as consumers are finding new and easier ways to stay connected, and search for things that they need on the internet.
So it would stand to reason that major changes to the online marketing scene will continue to be made to quench the ever growing thirst for information and social connectivity in 2016. Based on the flow of changes we’ve seen in 2015, here are 5 of my online marketing predictions for 2016:
1. Mobile traffic dominates desktop traffic.
2015 was a big year for mobile and everyone scrambled to make their website compliant with the new Google algorithm, known as “Mobilegeddon.” In 10 different countries mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic, as announced by Giigke when its algorithm update came out to phase out sites that were not already mobile-optimized. See my post on how to make your website mobile friendly and avoid “Mobilegeddon”, also episode 79 on the Smarter Online Marketing Podcast. While Google later announced that a mobile-only website with no desktop version is still perfectly acceptable to them, you do not need to have a mobile version at this time.
But it is quite clear where Google is seeing the future headed, as they are banking on desktop traffic moving over to mobile, therefore smarter ad dollars will be spent on mobile-focused online marketing.
2. Mobile digital assistants will require a new kind of SEO.
The way people search will continue to evolve as mobile decives become an every day part of our lives, and the way we search for the things we want and need are evolving, as well.
Voice recognition will continue to evolve and become better, as well. Didn’t Google study how people searched on the Internet to find what they were looking for, coming up with the smart text solution, serving you up choices, without having to type in your entire question? If you can ask your device for something, in plain English, and it can give you the answer you were looking for about having to type in anything with your clumsy thumbs on your phone. It’s not just about voice recognition; it’s about the ability to “read” a sentence and know what you’re talking about. For more on this, see the article on Business Insider: Digital Assistants are the Future of Search.
Two very popular ways to get your website seen by thousands of potential website visitors and customers are Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
But the rise of digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are going to require a new type of website optimization in 2016. These digital assistants do use traditional search engines, but only when necessary to find information you are looking for. In order to be able to optimize this new digital assistant format, businesses will need to make their business information up to date and readily available to these digital assistants, rather than trying to lead people to your website specifically through traditional marketing funnels and keyword strategies.
3. Virtual reality will emerge.
There are dozens of different virtual reality devices set to release in the next few years, some of which are dedicated for specific applications like video games, and others which are available for general use. Oculus Rift, arguably the most hyped VR device, is set to release in the first quarter of 2016. Oculus Rift and other VR devices will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging. There’s always a chance VR could fizzle as a temporary fad, but there are billions of dollars of funding in limbo, ready to bet otherwise.
In 2014, Facebook Bought Oculus Rift for 2 Billion Dollars. (See video below). This confirms that the social media giant is sure of how virtual reality will change the way we immerse ourselves in social media.
See my post, “Diving Right Into 360 video in Social Media”, also episode 106 on the Smarter Online Marketing Podcast. In the post, I talk about Google Cardboard, one of the newest affordable devices for you to be able to sink your teeth into 360 video, on YouTube. Why only YouTube? Well, let’s just say Google has a vested in the medium, as they own it!
The google 360 channel has a variety of interactive 360° videos of to experience not even created by but by other people using technology. I predict that even more and more people will be using technology to create experiences that will embarrass people into their friends like never before. Watch for this in 2016
4. Website Design and speed will be more important than ever.
Remember the old saying, it’s not about what you say it’s how you say it. It’s not just about what you’re saying on the Internet, but how fast people can find it more than ever before, as they are even more on the cooler than ever before with their mobile devices.
As the web matures, so will the way the pages are loading The websites that triumph are not only those that provide the best content, but will also do it in most effectively and efficiently
This means that the way that your site is designed and how fast it loads play a key factor in whether the visitor . As old sites get redesigned in 2016 we will see a shift from just providing content that is just useful to providing content that is useful, visually attractive, and quick to load on the end user’s screen (no matter the device).
5. Marketers will increase their ad spend and social media marketing in social media.
Facebook and Twitter are still the big players in social media and in the marketing mix overall. But according to Emarketer, the growth in marketing professionals who use these two mega platforms will slow in 2016. Use of Facebook and Twitter by marketers will increase by less than a full percentage point in 2016, while Instagram usage is projected to jump from 32 percent in 2015 to 49 percent in 2016.
The percentage of overall marketing budgets spent on social medial will increase from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2016. And while 18 percent of all U.S. digital ad spending went to social networks in 2015, social will comprise 20 percent of the ad dollars spent in 2016, according to eMarketer. This year-over-year increase will bring total social media ad spend in the United States to about $13.4 billion in 2016, based on the projections.
There is no question that social media and how we use the internet will continue to evolve over time, nut 2016 will be more social and interactive than ever before.