15 Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016

By Stevie Carpenter, blog post 17/12/2015

The digital marketing industry is in a constant state of flux. Year in, year out, the perpetual evolution of communication technologies completely transforms the online landscape for businesses and the customers they target.

While this makes it extremely difficult for marketers to stay ahead of the curve, it’s not impossible. So, with New Year fast approaching, here’s a selection of leading experts’ digital marketing predictions for 2016 that will help you decide where to concentrate your efforts in the forthcoming year.

Web Design

One page design will become more prevalent

The migration towards mobile devices shows no signs of slowing, which means that long scrolling, one page web design will become more prevalent. One page web design incorporates less clicks and shorter loading times, making it ideal for mobile devices. User-friendly in conception, one page design is also an ideal solution for people who want to shop and search online quickly and easily while on the move.

Predicted by: George Fuller@ Carid Marketing

Typography with a greater wow factor

While typography has always been one of the main foundations of good web design, in the last few years, many designers have favoured the use of clean, minimalist fonts. In 2016, web designers are set to re-introduce a greater emphasis on the ‘wow factor’ into typography choices. Consequently, the creative use of text that is comprised of images, textures and patterns will become increasingly popular.

Predicted by: The Web Design team at Wix

Responsive web design, version 2.0

Responsive design ensures that a website adjusts to the device it’s being viewed on. In 2015, responsive design for mobile and tablets was a massive trend. However, with smart watches set to become even bigger next year, responsive web design will need to evolve again to provide users with a consistent performance for even smaller screens.

Predicted by: Jyoti Wadhwa @ Steam Feed

PPC

Keywords won’t be as important as they have been

In the world of PPC, keywords will remain significant. That said, both Google and Microsoft are working hard to improve the user experience by accounting for user intent, not just the keywords used. This is the beginning of a move towards semantic search, where words, context, device, location and several other factors are used in combination to determine user intent.

Predicted by: Larry Alton @ Search Engine Journal

Video adverts will increase massively

Online video ads are one of the fastest-growing ad mediums around. They include the best features of other digital ads – such as advanced targeting, tracking and interactivity – but with the storytelling ability of their television counterparts. However, it’s the increasing interactivity of these ads that is set to continue generating rapid increases in revenue for PPC advertisers.

Predicted by: Larry Alton @ Search Engine Journal

Identity-based PPC will change the future of advertising

AdWords has just announced the release of Identity-Based Pay-Per-Click Marketing. Subsequently, PPC marketers can now target consumers with specific ads, based on their email or phone number. For example, if a user is logged into their Google account while searching the web, this provides the opportunity for skilled PPC marketers to put content and ads in front of an extremely targeted audience.

Predicted by: Karlyne Zovitsky @ Conversion Advantage

Social

Real-time updates will dominate

Both Periscope and Meerkat launched in 2015. While platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat already provided users with ‘in-the-moment’ updates, both these live video broadcasting apps revolutionised the immediacy with which people could share experiences online. If real-time updates do start to dominate the social landscape in 2016, you might have to think twice about bulk scheduling social media posts in advance.

Predicted by: Jayson DeMers @ Forbes

Fewer new social media platforms will appear

In the last few years, we have witnessed a veritable explosion in new social media platforms. However, because of an increase in privacy concerns and the number of better performing new platforms being bought up by bigger companies, fewer social media platforms will emerge in 2016. For this reason, independent social channels might struggle more than ever to gain traction next year.

Predicted by: Ehsan Khodarahmi @ Social Media London

Buy buttons will become near ubiquitous

Next year, social media’s quest to become a one-stop-shop for everything and anything will continue apace. Facebook were the first to introduce buy buttons in 2014, followed by Twitter and then, most recently, Pinterest earlier this year.

Expect all these platforms, plus the likes of Instagram and Snapchat, to increase the use of buy buttons significantly throughout 2016. And, now the major platforms are also introducing Amazon-style ‘one-click purchase’ mechanisms, expect impulse buying on the web to become a lot easier for consumers.

Predicted by: A. A. Currey @ Social Media Today

SEO

Apps, apps, and more apps

Arguably, mobile-friendly websites were the biggest SEO factor of 2015. Apps, however, allow mobile users to do everything they can do on a company’s website, only much more quickly and easily. Now that Google are making deep linking, app indexing and app streaming key concerns for SEOs in 2016, you’re only going to see the number of apps increase still further.

Predicted by: Adam Audette@ Momentology

Voice search will flourish

In the wake of search’s continued migration from the desktop towards mobile devices, voice activated search will flourish next year. Because people don’t like typing on the move, Google is currently launching voice recognition features for all its apps. Structured data helps Google provide direct answers to voice search queries, which will make including structured data markup to webpages even more important in 2016.

Predicted by: Jeff Bullas @ Jeffbullas.com 

Google will roll out real-time Penguin updates

Recently, Google’s Gary Illyes announced that the search giant’s new Penguin update, set to be rolled out next year, will be a real-time algorithm update. If this works as expected, those websites hit by a Penguin update will no longer have to wait months to recover from any penalties imposed. Consequently, the fervour of panic usually created when the Penguin algorithm updates could soon become a thing of the past.

Predicted by: Allie Viau @ Emagine

Content Marketing

Video ads will be bigger than ever

Social channels such as Facebook and YouTube have been hosting video ads for years. However, in 2016, Google will be introducing in-SERP video advertising for the first time, and it could be a game-changer. As this trend reaches an apex, expect to see video ads popping up just about everywhere online.

Predicted by: Jayson DeMers @ Forbes

Less will become more

It’s no secret that the internet has been bombarded with an influx of content in recent years. If nothing else, this has made engaging with consumers via content increasingly difficult. Therefore a ‘less is more’ strategy is set to become more popular in 2016. Quality will prevail over quantity, and there will be a greater focus on producing only content that provides value to the end consumer.

Predicted by: Louis Georgiou @ The Drum

Direct-to-platform publishing will be massive

Snapchat Discover, Facebook Instant Articles, LinkedIn Pulse and Twitter Moments are each encouraging publishers to run articles and native ads to their platforms. These direct-to-platform publishing services are allowing brands and businesses to provide in-depth content without the need to push them to another site via a link. This, in turn, is providing them with more autonomy over their stories, which will encourage bigger brands to start using these type of services in the future.

Predicted by: John Hall @ Forbes

 

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