5 Digital Trends Sticking Around for 2016

By David Metter

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to examine trends in digital marketing and predict what dealers should be prepared to consider and focus on in the upcoming year. 2015 has seen so much innovation and change, there’s no doubt 2016 will see even more. However, which trends in 2015 will stick around for the year to come? 

Experts say these five are here to stay:

1.    Mobile – It wasn’t that long ago that marketers thought of mobile as a secondary access point for consumers. However, in 2015 mobile usage overtook desktop computers for accessing Internet information, and that trend is certain to continue. Consumers want information on demand, and increasingly they are out and about and not tethered to their computer. Mobile is much more convenient for today’s on-the-go consumer. Businesses will be forced to shift their focus and provide an excellent mobile experience in order to remain relevant. Those that do not will find customers seeking and finding that information from their competition and ultimately lose business.  

2.    Apps – Not only is the mobile experience itself becoming more important, we’re also seeing an increase in the importance of apps. When using smartphones, consumers spend upwards of 85% of that time within apps. Apps offer multiple marketing advantages including location-based marketing, push notifications, loyalty program integration, as well as dynamic and personalized offers and coupons. In addition, with its mobile-friendly algorithm change in April, Google introduced app indexing. If you’re not familiar with app indexing, in a nutshell it means that Google is now indexing content within apps and integrating that content into organic search results. This will become increasingly important for businesses’ SEO efforts.

3.    Personalization – Businesses will continue to migrate away from mass messages and better utilize their customer data to send more relevant and personalized messages. Segmentation, cookies, and retargeting, mixed with the massive amounts of consumer information now available, allows marketers to further refine messages. By doing so, businesses will see increased response rates and conversions as customers start receiving relevant messages at more opportune times.

4.    Content – Businesses are starting to realize that content is the new advertising. Pressure is being applied from all directions – search, social and consumers – and they all demand unique and relevant content as the price of admission. If you want to be noticed, it is important to understand that consumers respond much better to content that solves a problem, tells a story, or answers a question. By producing this content, you will be rewarded by increased web traffic through consumer search, and also by higher page rankings from search engines.  

5.    Video – If there’s any form of content that is exponentially exploding, it's video. Every platform in existence is making a push for video content and rewards businesses that produce it. With the new explosion and popularity of live streaming apps such as Periscope, Blab and Meerkat, along with live-streaming to all users that Facebook is rolling out, businesses who find innovative ways to integrate live streaming into their digital marketing efforts will see increased exposure and engagement.

While significant, these are just a few of the countless ways digital marketing is changing. Chances are that 2016 will see more innovative ways for businesses to market to and interact with customers. Paying attention to and adopting these five trends will certainly help your business gain a competitive advantage and position it for digital marketing success in 2016.