Digital marketing trends: 2016

It’s that time of year, decorations are being dusted down and hung up, turkeys are casting furtive glances towards well lit factory floors and people in offices around the world are making predictions. Lots and lots of predictions. 

Now if you’re looking for the top 10 art shows of the year or the finest piece of architecture you’re in the wrong place, here we’re all about the digital. 

Immersive video will be a big new trend

Ever since dial-up squeaked its way into being back in 1704 (or the late 80s) video has been important. As internet connections have gotten quicker video has grown more important with everyone keen to identify the next big video experience and the next big thing is immersive video. The basic idea is you watch an event, move your phone or tablet around and see more of what’s going on, sort of like being there and using your eyes. As a sign of how much the internet believes immersive video is going to be big in 2016 Facebook launched 360-degree videos in September 2015 (check out their Star Wars Force Awakens video here). If you are only just getting around to creating traditional videos you’re already behind.

Live streaming will become increasingly popular

Speaking of video, live streaming is going to be BIG in 2016, Peter Mayhew big. The likes of Periscope and Blab allow people to stream events, interviews and the content of their dinner to audiences all over the world. Nifty, eh? While initial uptake might be from celeb endorsements, in 2016 live streaming has the potential to be a powerful tool when it comes to shaping how we receive information about the world around us, particularly when it comes to reporting on news stories. 

More focus on interactive content

Traditionally digital marketing has been all about writing articles, either for your own site or for relevant ones within your industry. And while it’s still important to write content and, in particular, build out relevant pages on your site, the type of content you should be looking at needs to become more interactive or else you risk getting left behind. That doesn’t mean jumping on the creation of static infographics (almost as outdated as dial up that one), instead, look at creating tools, calculators, dynamic infographics, parallax scrollers, videos, surveys, quizzes or whatever is relevant to your industry. The right content can help increase user engagement, social shares and, ultimately, help drive conversions.

Number of organic search listings per page will continue to decline

It’s not getting any easier to rank on page 1 in Google is it? In the past no matter how many algorithm updates there were you could always be sure that at the very least you had 10 organic listings to a page. Well not anymore. Google’s Knowledge Graph (the box Google pulls information into at the side of search results pages) as well as social posts appearing for search queries (have you noticed tweets popping up more and more in SERPS?) means that traditional organic results could drop from 10 a page to as low as four.

Shift from focus on rankings to web presence

As detailed above, organic search listings are being culled, so it’s going to become more important to rank in the top three or four places but much tougher to do it. So instead brands are going to have to focus a lot more on their overall web presence. This means growing your social networks, investing more in content on owned channels, such as Youtube and Instagram, as well as placing greater importance on the often poorly utilised role of email marketing. This should mean that the classic question, where am I ranking? grows less important. Instead, expect to get asked questions about open rates, engagements, views, shares and followers. 

Of course I’ve forgotten to mention mobile. Although after major mobile-related algorithm updates earlier in 2015, if you haven’t already sorted out a proper mobile strategy you might as well still be using dial-up. Happy 2016! 

Read our tech, design and web predictions here.

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