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Digital Marketing in 2016: 8 Key Trends & Considerations

Key considerations for Digital Marketing in 2016

The new year brings with it new challenges but also opportunities. Those who are able to stay ahead of the game have a deep understanding of their ideal customer, they understand what that customer’s needs and values are and they’re able to effectively reach and engage them with messages that hold weight. Delivering optimal customer experiences has always been key, but make sure your digital marketing in 2016 lives up to the promise.

So here’s our 8 key factors in digital we feel you will need to consider for your company or brand in 2016.

1. SEO SXO (Search Experience Optimisation)

SXO is often described as an intersection between SEO and CRO (conversation rate optimisation). The concept is quite simple really, by providing a great user experience, your business will win over more customers and in turn increase leads and sales. So does SEO really need a rebrand as such? Does the term SEO really capture the essence of what SEO’ers, marketing managers or business owners are trying achieve? The term has always positioned SEO as the basis of optimising primarily for the search engines, but the search engines are not the customer, they don’t buy our products or services, people do. Focusing on the user experience in its entirety will mean you optimise your efforts towards the end user, customers and not solely on the search engines themselves, this more natural approach will ultimately garner greater long term rewards.

importance of user experience for seo

2. A break away from the SELL, SELL, SELL, SALES SALES SALES culture.

Consumers are smarter and better informed than ever before. Black Friday is a great example of how consumers are becoming ever more blind to the promise of ever more sales, especially in the form of an email; this article explains it well here. A Coherent Path study for example identified that shoppers who make first purchases based on a promotional discount are actually 50% less likely to make a second purchase. Are brands therefore prioritising short term profit vs long term growth? Lower prices rarely lead to brand loyalty, they tend to instead attract smart shoppers who jump at the opportunity to take advantage of one off discounts. Predictability is key as shoppers become conditioned to your sales pattern.

Still it’s understandable for brands to push certain important and seasonal promotional opportunities, promotional offers will always have their place within a broader pricing strategy, but ecommerce stores should focus efforts on sales that complement long-term strategies, and build brand loyalty making price less important to the exchange process.

3. Importance of Video

The use of video for digital marketing has been growing year on year. YouTube is currently the second biggest search engine on the planet, processing more than 3 billion searches a month. 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. Making it bigger than Bing, Yahoo! Ask, and the other smaller search engine providers combined. It’s therefore critical that marketers tap into the platforms full potential. With an exciting range of advertising opportunities available on video platforms such as True view video ads, YouTube remarketing etc.

New apps such as Periscope allow brands to experiment with new means of customer engagement, allowing consumers to actually become part of the brand experience. Vine is another intriguing proposition for marketers, allowing for short 5 second video clips. However the platform does not currently support sponsored ads, marketers will therefore need to leverage their own community and utilise influencer marketing techniques in order to effectively grab your user’s attention.

Videos ultimately allow for far more engaging content so marketers should be doing their best to come up with innovative means to capture audience share, promote your companies culture, Live Q&A’s with key figures or even a behind the scene look at how you do business will go some way to help humanise your company.

4. Humanising the experience with personalisation

Humanisation is seen as the new automation, Humans are social by nature but its important for companies to first know and understand their customers well. This may well. Buyer profiles are useful here as they allow you to map out your customers typical demographics, behaviour and aspirational preferences. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to customer engagement. Certain customers like to interact in their own unique ways and respond to messages and stimuli in different ways. So develop a personalisation strategy to effectively develop tailored messages for each of your key customer targets.

personalisation

Data such as past purchases, content read and even your own customer research can help inform your personalisation strategy. With access to broad array of personalised information, a company can target a group of customers with specific incentives, discounts, and information that can encourage them to make a purchase or take an action.

5. Social commerce that works!

Social commerce has been around for some time now, with Facebook allowing brands to create their own Facebook store for example. However retailers are still trying to figure out how best to drive sustainable online purchases via social media. Facebook’s ‘Businesses on Messenger presents an interesting opportunity for e-retailers, enabling them to interact with customers directly through Facebook’s messenger app. Customers will be able to in turn buy products online through the app, receive order notifications, inform and share with friends their new purchases without leaving the app.

Twitters own take on social commerce involves buy now buttons. Twitter mentions following, ‘the goal for all our commerce initiatives on Twitter is simple: make it as easy as possible for businesses to connect directly with, and sell to, customers on Twitter. With Buy Now, businesses can drive more conversions and remove much of the friction in the mobile purchasing processes.

 

twitter buy now button

6. Old, dated and non-mobile friendly website fails

The importance of a clean, up to date, aesthetically pleasing website design cannot be stressed enough. Yet I’ve still had my eyes assaulted by a number of sites recently who don’t appear to have caught on to this. A Google study found that a visitor’s impression of a website happens in approximately 50 milliseconds, which is less than a blink of an eye. Also surprisingly it shows that a brand’s website design shapes customers perceptions even more than the actual content.

Is your site at least on par with competitors? Are they doing something that makes them stand out? If you’re not at least competing with rivals on this level your business will lag and suffer in the long term.

2016 will mean there is no excuse for lacking a web presence or showcasing a poor, non-mobile friendly out of date site. Up to date sites merge great written content with highly appealing visuals from images, infographics to iconography. Images and videos have been shown to help increase customer engagement so 2016 should mean your site meets these standards.

7. Instagram Ads Open for Public

ads on instagram

Instagram has finally opened up its ad platform to everyone, allowing you to target users on Instagram through the Facebook Ad Manager Dashboard. Instagram opens advertisers up to the potential to reach over 400 million users, many of which are highly engaged, motivated by the visual content on offer. Brands at present can expect engagement rates of 4.3%, according to data from social media analytics company Union Metrics, but organic reach is on the decline. So make sure 2016 is the year you start to really get to grips with Instagram ads, using it as a tool for customer engagement and brand advocacy.

8. New targeting methods for AdWords PPC & content amplification

AdWords gave us all a much welcome gift this year by revealing their customer targeted PPC ads feature called Customer match, which we blogged about recently here. Customer match allows advertisers to target certain users with relevant ads, based on their email address or phone number. This immensely powerful feature now means ads or content can be developed to exactly match certain customers’ needs or by expanding on that by targeting and reaching those people that are similar to your existing audience, for example those with similar traits to those of your current high value customers.

Using PPC to amplify your content isn’t a new concept by all means however with a new features allowing a deeper level of targeting and segmentation you can target your content to those users who will most value and in some cases most likely to share that content. Are some of your customers especially active on social media? Use targeted PPC to reach them and turn your content viral.

 

Need to talk to someone regarding your digital marketing plans for 2016? Contact us here.


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