In the closing months of 2015, experts conducted studies and hosted seminars to prepare industry professionals for new digital marketing trends in 2016. Having participated in more than a couple of these seminars ourselves, we’d like to discuss what we think will be three key areas of change with regards to digital marketing in the coming year: content marketing, mobile marketing, and marketing automation using data and analytics. These developing trends could significantly change the field of digital marketing and, as such, the way we do business in 2016.
Trend 1. Content Marketing: A Shift to Strategy
Content marketing is nothing new to the digital marketer. Most major companies (and many smaller ones, as well) engage in some form of content marketing. Everyone is telling their story. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 51% of B2B firms plan to invest more in content marketing over the next 12 months.
What we think will change is the strategy behind content marketing. As more and more organizations jump on the content creation bandwagon, audiences are overwhelmed. The rush to create content – any content – has led to saturation, which means more content is being created than consumed. As this becomes more apparent, we believe there will be a shift towards developing a comprehensive strategy for content marketing. Companies will have to focus more heavily on creating quality, not quantity, by doing the following:
- Aligning content with marketing goals
- Measuring content performance based on reach, conversions, and engagement
- Creating “evergreen” or organic content that remains relevant and specific to buyers’ interests
Content marketing, blogging, and videos have been around for years, and they continue to grow in popularity for good reason. According to Smart Insights, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional tactics at a fraction of the cost, and about 73% of B2B marketers use videos as a part of their marketing efforts. If the statistics quoted by Smart Insights hold true, 71% of businesses will increase their digital marketing budgets in the coming year. Something else that will be different in 2016, we believe, is a new focus on the strategies behind content marketing. Not only will the focus shift to content quality, but to the delivery of that content as well, which takes us to our next emerging trend for 2016.
Trend 2. Mobile Marketing: Engaging On the Go
The ever-increasing presence of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices will continue to have a huge impact on how we market to end users in 2016. Movable Ink tells us that last year 66% of all email in the U.S. was read on smartphones or tablets — meaning marketing professionals need to adapt their techniques to reach audiences that are less and less likely to be sitting at their desks.
Mobile devices are also increasing traffic on social sites. Literally millions of shares happen each minute on Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and other social media sites.
This, combined with search engines that ensure sites are mobile-friendly, is forcing marketers to rethink their email and site design strategies. Messages need to be precisely targeted for immediate impact. Users will not dedicate the time to search for what they need on your site if it’s more readily available elsewhere.
Site designers have begun to shift from responsive designs that simply rearrange desktop content for mobile viewers to adaptive designs that serve up user-specific content based on the type of device being used. We expect that email testing will also be one of the growing digital marketing trends in 2016, as marketers strive to deliver short, frequent, heavily targeted messages to their audiences. Now that we’ve seen how marketers will improve content quality and effectively deliver it to their audience, the final emerging trend in 2016 will allow us to measure the results of our efforts.
Trend 3. Marketing Automation: The New Numbers Game
Both content marketing and mobile marketing strategies will rely heavily on marketing automation in 2016. Increasing quantities of data will be utilized by marketing teams as companies seek to refine their content and email marketing strategies through testing and iteration.
While in the past, simply publishing content and waiting for results was strategy enough, marketing experts are now watching carefully to see where customers are clicking, what they’re sharing, and what prompts them to take action. Tools like Google Analytics will allow marketers to collect more data based on:
- Conversion rates
- Site visits
As companies work to personalize their messages, marketing automation best practices will be increasingly used to provide relevant information to customers (or potential customers) based on their behaviors or lifecycle stage.
A Convergence of Digital Marketing Trends in 2016
While marketing has always been a fluid concept, we see a convergence in the major digital marketing trends in 2016. Changing demands for content and mobile marketing are being driven by mobile technology, which is also providing marketing teams with valuable data that allow more targeted efforts. In the coming year, we feel that having a comprehensive strategy for content, email, and marketing automation will be more important than ever.
Looking for expert assistance with content and email creation or marketing automation? The professionals at Total Product Marketing are always here to help. Get in touch with us today to discuss your needs.