Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016

2016 WordPress

As 2015 is drawing to a close, it is time to start looking into 2016 and thinking about what it has in store for us. Your 2016 marketing plans and budgets are probably already signed off (well, you’ve made a start writing them anyway), but what are the trends that will shape your plan over the next 12 months?

Here are seven trends to look out for.

Story Telling: With so many different organisations releasing content onto their web and social platforms, standing out is difficult – but content that tells stories in digital are the most successful campaigns. Not easy depending on your industry, but this is the challenge.

Content ROI: Story telling is not the only challenge of content marketing. Content marketing has had a lot of support over the last couple of years and 2016 is the year that CEOs are going to be asking what do we actually get for all of this investment? Better get your story straight (pun intended).

Video in Social: First it was images that were powerful in social media, but now consumers have moved onto video. The old barriers of needing expensive equipment, a film crew, director, etc. are over – all you need is a mobile phone. And the rise of live streaming which started in earnest in 2015 offers a good opportunity to engage with a younger demographic.

Social Is Not Free: I know a lot of you will have used social media for free this year, but it is going to become increasingly difficult to have a social media marketing plan without a budget attached to it. Standout of messages is so tough on the major networks now that paid is almost becoming a default – achieving your social objectives without budget may already be a thing of the past.

Mobile and Local Combine: Google has been spending a lot of time thinking about local SEO and mobile SEO over the last year or two. And while this doesn’t always work (Google Glass anyone?), where they are spending their time should be where you are focusing. For the right businesses, local and mobile are key and will become more important in 2016.

A Big Year for Apps: 2016 is going to be a big year for apps. Are they really there to take over from mobile websites, and in an age where storage on a mobile device is limited, is the battleground moving from the web to your phone? Do you need an app anyway? Find out in this shameless promotion of my own blog.

Internet of Things: 2015 saw the biggest contribution towards the Internet of Things with the launch of the Apple Watch. The Internet of Things is where ordinary household objects have connectivity and are able to send and receive data. While the Apple Watch didn’t have the impact that Tim Cook would have liked, it is still a big step forward. Expect more developments, and as such opportunities, to materialise in 2016.

What are your predictions for 2016?  Are yours on this list?  Leave a comment and let me know.

2015 Predictions

What does 2015 hold?

2015 Digital Marketing Predictions

With 2014 coming to an end and 2015 only 9 days away, it is time to start looking into the crystal ball to see what the big topics are going to be in the next 12 months.  I think that there are 7 key trends which will help to shape 2015:

Personalisation is expected
One of the buzzwords of 2014 was ‘Big Data’, and one of the challenges of this year was for marketers to get their head round how they can transform this into actionable marketing activity.  2015 is where this becomes a reality – there are already some examples of digital personalisation, Amazon’s is one of the most popularly cited, and consumers will respond well to this and expect it more and more next year.  Personalised communication and even personalised products / services will develop in 2015 and take segmentation to the next level.

Social isn’t free
Pressure has been building for some time for social networks to start delivering some (any!) return on shareholder investment.  So, the old saying of ‘social is free’ has come to an end.  To gain exposure in increasingly ‘noisy’ networks, you are going to have to set aside some budget.  And when you do advertise, native advertising is the way forward: consumers are bombarded with digital advertising, so being smart with your advertising will deliver the greatest return.

Content must get better
2014 saw a rise in the number of marketers who claim to be using content marketing as an inbound tool.  But with its popularity comes the challenge of being able to stand out.  This means that the content of your content (!) will need to be smarter in 2015 – story telling and personalisation (or at least segmentation) are huge opportunities, as are more interesting ways of displaying your content.

Wearables become mainstream
There have been interesting developments in wearables over the last couple of years, but in 2015 they will start to become popular enough to get the attention of digital marketers.  The Apple Watch will go on sale in 2015 and is likely to generate Google Glass-like levels of excitement – and more traction than similar products already in the market place such as Pebble or Samsung Gear.

Transparency will work
This is a lot easier to say than to execute, but transparency is becoming more of a modern-day consumer expectation.  With an increase in the amount of content being shared by businesses online, honesty (or a lack of it) can become obvious – and will be pounced on by critics.  Humour and honesty should be pillars in your content strategy for 2015.

Marketing is a 24 hour operation
Sorry folks, but the days of 9 to 5 marketing are behind us.  Organisations which are able to react very quickly, and this is often smaller companies with less red tape, will gain excellent exposure on social networks.  Remember when Oreo posted ‘You Can Still Dunk in the Dark’ during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout and everyone thinking how cool that was?  This is the challenge for 2015.

Mobile is default (again)
I feel like every year mobile is mentioned as the next big thing – but it isn’t for 2015: it is the default and the norm. According to Ovum, one billion people will use mobile as their only form of internet access in 2015.  So, if you are getting your mobile offering wrong in 2015, you can almost forget about digital, although this does depend on your product and marketplace.  Just make sure that you are not left behind.

What are your predictions for digital marketing next year?

2014 Digital Predictions

2014 Digital Predictions

2014 Digital Predictions

With 2013 coming to a close, now is the time to look forward to 2014. Your 2014 digital marketing plan may be finalised by now but have you captured all of the key trends for 2014? Here are the trends that I think will shape the next 12 months.

Location Based Marketing: I am still struck by the power of location based marketing. The power to advertise your product when a consumer is geographically very close to one of your competitors is incredibly sophisticated but very possible. The best marketers will start to exploit this.

Social Media Sophistication: Consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated about the media that they consume. The amount of media is almost overwhelming so to stand to from the crowd will take true outside the box thinking, even though that is an awful phrase!

Big Data: Yes, big data has been around in 2913 but it will become more mainstream in 2014. Consumers have never been more sophisticated, so businesses which are able to use data to anticipate consumer need will stand out – how could ‘people who like x also like y’ transform your marketing?

Death of the Desktop: Mobile is fast becoming the way that we regularly consume media, so if your message is not mobile friendly, this needs to change…urgently. Old school desktop focused businesses may have a tricky year.

Paid Social is the Norm: Even now, social media advertising is a great way of getting your message out to your audience. As social networks become under more pressure to deliver return to their investors, marketers will find that paying for social media exposure will become more and more business as usual.

Digital Marketing Specialisms: Digital Marketing will not become a thing of the past but at the moment, it is just large organisations and agencies which have digital specialisms such as SEO Manager, PPC Manager, etc. The workload of digital is becoming massive and progressive medium sized organisations will start to develop people in these specialist roles.

What do you think 2014 has in store for us? Leave a comment and let me know!

5 Hot Topics for 2013

What does 2015 hold?

What does 2013 hold?

So, the world hasn’t ended and its the first week of 2013!

January is a great time to take stock of 2012 and look forward to how the digital environment is going to affect your organisation.  To help you out, here are my thoughts on the top 5 topics to watch in the next twelve months.

Second-Screening:
This has already grown massively in 2012.  If you are active on Twitter, then you will be used to people tweeting their opinions on the TV show they are watching – indeed, many TV shows encourage viewers to do so by helpfully providing a ready-made hash-tag for users to tweet with.  However, in 2013, second-screening is going to develop – the number of devices that people can use to get online is growing all the time, so watch out for the rise of the Xbox and Wii U.  Also, the UK will follow the US and see significant growth in connected Smart TVs which may cut the number of devices required to multi-task down to one.

Mobile:
Perhaps the most predictable of hot topics!  It will come as no surprise that the number of smart-phones will increase (hopefully in line with people being able to use them!), but how people use them will change.  Mobile payment started to gather momentum at the end of 2012 with Starbucks accepting payment in 7,000 outlets via the Square Wallet app.  Apple’s offering, Passbook, has great potential for redeeming vouchers but the take-up rates suggest that it will need to develop in 2013.  However, adoption may be the issue in 2013 – consumer trust in mobile payments is yet to be fully understood.

Content is still King:
Search engine algorithms have become more and more sophisticated in the last couple of years – they are now capable of sniffing out and prioritising articles which are original, well written and informative.  Content marketing got some very positive PR in 2012 after Coke announced that it was one of their key priorities, but now its up to everyone else to develop their plan – make sure your frequency, themes and distribution plans are sorted for 2013.

Social Commerce:
This has struggled to gain traction over the last couple of years – ask 99% of organisations how their Facebook store is performing!  Organisations need to become more sophisticated and subtle about the way that they sell – Pinterest will continue to deliver referral success (look out for Instagram this year too).  After a couple of year’s ‘grace’, organisations will expect social media to start delivering revenue, particularly as social can be resource heavy.

Demographics out, Behaviour In:
Advertising is unrecognisable over the last ten years – the channels by which organisations communicate with their audience has changed dramatically.  However, many organisations still target their audience by demographics – age, gender, location, eduction.  In the digital age, the opportunity is in behaviour.  Let’s say you sell guitars (one of my favourite subjects!) – instead of targeting by demographics, target users who follow guitar manufacturers on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, or people who use guitar forums.  Those who unlock this in 2013 will have a good year.

So, those are my 5 hot topics for 2013 – what would be in your list?  Leave a comment and let me know!