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The end of the year is fast approaching, and it is natural to want to look forward and see what the big digital marketing trends will be for 2016. With technology advancing so rapidly, it is important for marketers to stay abreast of new developments and take advantage of them. Here are some of the digital marketing trends you can expect to see emerge in the coming year.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is already hugely popular, so this trend isn’t exactly new. However, there are some recent developments that make it highly likely that video marketing will become indispensable in 2016. Google (the world’s largest search engine) owns YouTube (the world’s second-largest search engine.) They recently announced that they will be enabling embedded video ads for search results, which means that many companies will use Google AdWords to run video ads going forward.

The video marketing you do can include commercials, but you can also find other ways of using videos to promote your business. For example, you can make a video demonstrating different ways to use a product, or make an unboxing video to show the things that come with a particular product. You might also make videos giving customers a behind-the-scenes look at your manufacturing process or answering customer questions.

Optimizing for Digital Assistants

Siri, the digital assistant who comes with the iPhone, is known for being able to find answers to almost any inquiry. While digital assistants may sometimes use traditional search engines like Google to find information, they only do so when necessary. Some of the things you may need to do to optimize your online content for digital assistants include:

  • Researching how customers are likely to use digital assistants to find your business
  • Allowing for casual, verbal inquiries instead of formal keywords
  • Posting content in forms that are compatible with wearable mobile devices, such as audio or video streaming

Digital assistants are already widely used by iPhone owners, but the introduction of wearable mobile technology like the Apple watch makes their increased popularity likely.

Mobile Payments

Mobile marketing is increasingly popular, and with good reason. Text messages have a far higher open rate than emails do, and they are a very effective way to stay in touch with customers. Large companies like Starbucks have made it possible for customers to pay for their coffee using mobile devices and the evidence suggests that mobile payments are going to be a major trend for 2016.

Another thing to keep in mind is that mobile traffic is very likely to outpace desktop traffic in the near future. Mobile access to the internet is increasingly common and easier to come by in many places than desktop access. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, now is the time to update it. Mobile users are notoriously impatient and will not patronize your site if it takes too long to load or if it isn’t optimized for mobile devices.

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Instagram Advertising

You probably already know that, thanks to Facebook’s algorithm changes, you now have to boost a post if you want to be sure it is seen by all of your social media contacts. At the moment, Instagram still works the way Facebook used to – meaning that the content you post is free and can, at least in theory, be seen by everybody who follows you there.

However, Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, and Instagram is expected to follow in Facebook’s footsteps and introduce similar changes in 2016. What that means is that Instagram advertising is about to take off. Year to date, the site has made about $600 million in advertising sales, and that number is expected to more than quadruple by 2017. The good news for advertisers is that user engagement on Instagram tends to be very high. A lot of brands use the site’s tools for sharing visual content and find that their customers are approximately 2.8 times as likely to recall the advertising they see on Instagram as they are to recall ads they see on other online platforms.

Social Search

Until now, internet searches have largely been conducted on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. However, there is a trend that looks ready to explode in 2016, and that’s social searching. YouTube is a classic example of how it can work. While it is primarily known as a video sharing site, YouTube is also a search engine. You can expect Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to follow.

What that means for marketers is that soon, things like customer reviews on social media will be searchable. If you’ve been diligent about maintaining a solid social media presence and cultivating customer relationships, this particular trend will be a very good thing for you. If not, it’s not too late to get started. Pinterest has already implemented guided searches, and Facebook and Twitter will soon follow.

Targeted Marketing

If you’re advertising on Facebook, you already know that you can target your ads there using detailed demographics (things like age, gender, and location) as well as psychographics (hobbies and interests.) Digital advertising platforms are adding new ways to target ads all the time, and in 2016 it will be easier than ever to focus your ad spending on the people who are most likely to buy what you’re selling.

One of the best ways to take advantage of this trend is by using Google AdWords to place remarketing ads. These are ads that target customers who have visited your website without making a purchase, or who have bought from you previously. They identify display targets by using cookies. It is already possible to target customers based on a wide array of criteria, and if you start now, you’ll be able to avail yourself of updated options as they become available.

 Digital marketing offers options and advantages that were not available a few years ago. Those advantages make it possible to get better results from your advertising dollars than ever before. While traditional print advertising can feel like a crapshoot, digital marketing is increasingly sophisticated and scientific. You can make the most of your marketing budget in 2016 by getting out ahead of these trends.

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