Buckle In: It’s Going to Be a Fascinating Ride! Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016.

Just when you thought the online marketing universe was predictable, along comes the start of a new year, and with it a preponderance of industry trends to watch. They’re coming fast and furious. Don’t blink or you might miss something!

It’s a given that the digital marketing industry is a fickle and at times wildly exasperating field. Yet at the same time it is powerfully exciting, an ever-evolving entity that never ceases to surprise and amaze. Whether it’s the introduction of a new device, software, apps or social network, each year brings with it astounding changes. Those companies with the foresight and prescience to harness these changes are the ones that not only survive, but also thrive in this invigorating industry. It’s knowing what to embrace and what to leave behind that makes all the difference!

Want to see a bigger ROI on your digital marketing this year? Here are some exciting trends to watch:

Going Mobile

Reaching targets on the run will be more critical than ever in 2016. We’re not predicting the demise of the desktop just yet, but marketing via smartphones and tablets will come on even stronger this year, leaving desktops with a little dust on the keyboard. Humans are by their nature are always on the move, and marketers want to reach them, whether they’re in a cab, at the airport, going for a run, or away on business. Fact: Google announced that for the first time ever in 10 countries, mobile traffic supplanted desktop traffic in 2015. This mirrors exactly what we’re seeing here at Brainstorm: The majority of our clients’ traffic is being dominated by mobile devices — some as high as 70% mobile. That’s more than a trend; it’s a revolution!

Video Ads: Seeing Is Believing

News Flash: Video ads are here to stay! Well, the news is not all that groundbreaking, but at Brainstorm, we’re convinced that video ads will continue to dominate in 2016, and carry even more marketing weight than ever before. The reason is simple: Heavyweights like Facebook and Bing have begun offering video options to advertisers. That’s just the start: Today Google includes video content in its search engine algorithm — a major step for online video advertising. Why? Because it demonstrates that users are finally accepting their existence. And to complete the equation, businesses are beginning to discover their impact. Watch for more video — at a device near you!

Marketing Automation

While it’s been around for a long time, marketing automation continues to evolve and provide new opportunities for marketers to reach prospective customers — to the tune of about $5.5 billion annually. It’s no accident; marketers realize that automation saves valuable time, is cost-effective, and keeps the channels open to prospects. Among the most popular platforms are Hubspot, Marketo and Pardot. They all boast features like triggered emails, building smart lists, automating social media, and managing content — and it’s all personalized based on a user’s history of actions. At Brainstorm, we feel confident that automation will continue to offer marketers new avenues to target and pinpoint people and businesses. And it’s only going to increase in importance as time goes by.

Social Ads

There’s a reason marketers place such heavy emphasis on social media advertising: That’s where the action is! Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest, marketers simply cannot ignore the sheer power and reach of social media advertising. And 2016 shows all signs of these sites increasing in popularity among users and marketers alike. According to eMarketer, social network ad spending will approach $36 billion in 2017, amounting to nearly 16% of all global digital ad spending.

Here’s a tip: Action-oriented ad formats are smart, and an excellent new way to gain traction with prospects. (Look at Twitter Lead Generation ads and Facebook Click-to-Website ads with call-to-action buttons as proof.) It’s all about engagement and encouraging action — prompting people to do somethingrather than sit impassively with glazed eyeballs. Engagement prompts action, and action translates to sales. At Brainstorm, we’ve long championed the wisdom of social networking marketing. This year is no exception; embrace it, or watch the competition pass you by.

Better Targeting and Re-Targeting in PPC

In the old days (that would be 2015), marketers were content to concentrate on keywords as the Holy Grail in gaining visibility in the online universe. It was all about the search engine and scoring high on the page. At Brainstorm, we see a new trend unfolding for 2016; rather than targeting words, shift to targeting people and intent! It sounds logical, doesn’t it? This approach is becoming increasingly more accurate and much more sophisticated. Tools like Customer Match and Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) are changing the playing field by making targeting more exacting and efficient. At the same time, technology is improving by leaps and bounds: machine learning and artificial intelligence hold real promise in giving your brand the competitive edge when it comes to creating advertising copy and landing pages. While we’re at it, we also suggest that the road to PPC success will involve combining and making sense of the seemingly insurmountable quantity of data at your disposal. This is a crucial element in gaining a thorough understanding of the consumer’s journey — and using this information to generate more sales.

Naturally these trends merely scratch the surface of what’s in store for the digital marketing universe in 2016 and beyond. At Brainstorm, we are fully convinced of this: Online marketing is still evolving and will continue to expand, innovate and inspire, and in ways we can only anticipate. Stay tuned!

Do you need help implementing a digital marketing strategy for your business? Let’s Talk. We look forward to hearing from you.

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