3 Online Marketing Trends to Watch for Heading into 2016

Last updated on by Minta Montalbo in Lead Generation

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

As a business owner you ask, “How do I attract and keep customers?” As a marketer, you seek the best answers to that question.

Marketers spend a lot of time looking for the “Next Big Thing.” Businesses that wish to stay relevant to their ever-changing customer base need to stay ahead of the pack.

In our mad rush forward, we tend to forget about the first part of Einstein’s advice: “learn from yesterday.” The evolution of marketing can tell us a lot about where we’re going next — and why.

In this post, I will identify three broad online marketing trends that will carry us forward into 2016 and how to apply them to your landing pages. Future posts will dive deeper into the details of online marketing trends worth watching in the coming year.

Online marketing trend #1: Mobile optimization

Mobile optimization includes responsive websites and landing pages, mobile advertising, and mobile-specific content. The number of smartphone users worldwide is predicted to surpass 2 billion in 2016. That’s one-quarter of the people on the planet, a staggering statistic and a game changer for marketing trends.

Yesterday: At the end of 2014, 64% of American adults owned a smartphone. Marketers were predicting increased mobile advertising activity, but businesses were slow to adapt. Forbes reported in 2014 that 42% of business respondents said they ‘rarely or never’ used mobile responsive design.

Today: Businesses are catching on in 2015, allocating almost half their digital advertising budgets to mobile, a 50% increase over 2014 spending. On the consumer end of the equation, Goldman Sachs projects mobile sales will reach $298 billion in 2015, up 49.5% from 2014.

Here’s a great example of a mobile-responsive email campaign by Red Bull:

Tomorrow: Location-driven mobile marketing will gain momentum through wearable technology, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things.

Look for more innovative platforms like Mobile to Mortar:

How to apply this trend to your landing page:

Create unique mobile landing pages designed with mobile users in mind. For more on mobile landing pages, see Mobile Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid.

Online marketing trend #2: Social media diversification

Social media, social engagement, social networks, social sites. The world has gone social, and marketing is the veritable social butterfly. Marketers are predicted to spend $8.3 billion on social media advertising in 2015.

Yesterday: Remember when social signals were all the rage? Marketers were convinced collecting Facebook “likes” would increase SEO and conversions. That turned out not to be the case, but Facebook still reigned supreme as the go-to social media platform.

Take a look at Pew Research Center’s chart on social media usage:

Today: The social media marketing trends in 2015 are rooted in personalization. Social media — and the data analytics it offers — provides plenty of opportunities to give consumers exactly what they want. Businesses can deliver targeted messages on platforms like Facebook, as well as Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Tomorrow: To compete for your share of marketplace attention, you’ll need to connect with your customers in real time. Social Media Today predicts a continued obsession with live-streaming. Live social sites like Periscope, Blab, and Snapchat will dominate social media marketing trends as Virtual Reality (VR) technology goes mainstream.

How to apply this trend to your landing page:

Capitalize on the engaging power of videos on your landing pages. Make them contextual and personalized, matching the ad source audience target.

Periscope leads the way in experiential videos, and their landing page demonstrates the use of video:

As virtual reality technology becomes more accessible and mobile in 2016, landing pages can offer users a virtual brand experience that will engage and convert landing page leads. From creating virtual stores to guiding visitors through virtual representations of real estate offerings, 2016 is sure to be heavy on virtual reality.

Online marketing trend #3: Content marketing dominates

Content Marketing Institute’s Amanda Maksymiw sums it up nicely: “Traditional advertising shouts at prospect customers whereas content marketing talks with them.” As mobile and social media marketing take over traditional advertising, the demand for platform-specific content is hotter than ever.

Yesterday: The idea of content marketing has been around, but it’s mainly limited to marketing departments and not widely understood. Only 44% of B2B marketers reported having a documented content strategy in place in 2014.

Today: Content marketing is a growing force in marketing strategy. 80% of decision makers in businesses prefer to get information about a company from a series of articles rather than from advertising. Sponsored Spotify playlists, Pinterest boards, and LinkedIn pages are other good sources for content marketing.

One of my favorite examples of content marketing is John Deere’s The Furrow magazine.

Launched in 1885, The Furrow is full of informative articles sprinkled with John Deere ads throughout the magazine. The online version includes videos, testimonials, and the option to “flip” through the virtual version:

The Furrow is read by 1.5 million people, in 40 countries, in 12 different languages. Readers connect the magazine’s content value to John Deere, successfully establishing John Deere as a partner, not just a product. Content marketing at its finest.

Tomorrow: Social media will master the content marketing game with innovative publishing platforms like Facebook’s Instant Article. Social Media Today flags Twitter’s Lightning project and Snapchat’s move to more “story” content as upcoming examples of wooing customers through a continuously updated stream of published content.

How to apply this trend to your landing page:

The subtlety of content marketing can be tricky if your business offers a variety of products or services, as visitors who find their way to your website might get lost among the homepage options.

The solution? Create landing pages featuring phrases a reader might search for after reading your content, so they know immediately they’re in the right place. Once they’ve landed, continue the marketing strategy by offering useful content like eBooks, free trials, and How-To videos.

For more tips on using content marketing on your landing page, read this article.

Albert Einstein was one smart dude

Marketing is an industry focused on the behavior of people who are constantly changing. We can find success by following the sage advice of Mr. Einstein:

Do this and you’ll have more than hope for the future. You’ll have an effective marketing strategy based on proven marketing trends.

One way to get ahead of these trends is to create a mobile responsive, optimized landing page. New users can enjoy a free 14-day trial, and all Instapage users receive unlimited pages, page views, and domain publishing. Learn more here!

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