Since our article ’10 trends every digital marketer should know before 2015’ was such a hit last year, we have decided why not give digital marketers a little insight for what’s in store in 2016.
Consumers are not simply exposed to new products or services as they enter a store or browse the internet any more. Multiple devices, platforms and social media channels surround them daily, or if I must be 100% correct, hourly; even every minute. We are exposed to a digital world filled with exciting new products, services and digital innovations.
Looking at the trends for 2016, and you’ll see them in a moment, it takes creativity and an analytical approach to execute these trends, but it is totally worth it. There are still a few questions surrounding some trends, but we see it as an opportunity to provide answers and build up our own knowledge.
#1. Search and e-commerce will go beyond Google to Facebook and Twitter
Take a step back and think about that headline for a second. Imagine “googling” on Facebook and being able to buy products through a messaging app on Facebook? How great is that. What is even more amazing is you can use it to your advantage for your customers/clients. At the moment Facebook is working on a test for their own search engine, which will result in stronger search capabilities within social media. Brands will also get an automatic (visibility) boost with these search capabilities. But what is really tingling our excitement is the Businesses on Messenger launch.
Companies will be able to interact with customers through Facebook’s messenger app. In return consumers will be able to buy online through the app, receive order notifications via instant messaging, tell their friends about their purchases and share what they bought, all without having to go to the e-commerce site they want to buy from.
This is such a great opportunity that should not be put on the back burner.
#2. Snapchat: Advertisements with an expiration date
Snapchat took the social media world by storm. It was embraced by the digitally savvy users and thousands, more like millions of photos, videos and drawings are sent monthly. It was a ‘given’ that brands and businesses would start embracing the app as well. If you have never heard of Snapchat, it is a video/photo messaging app that allows users to take pictures, record videos, add text to images and send them to one of their contacts.
Very few brands have used Snapchat as a marketing medium, but in 2016 you won’t be able to ignore it. The hook is the time limit to content and the expiration date. You can create integrated marketing campaigns that offer exclusive content to the younger generation, which is quite difficult to do. Create teasers for upcoming products/services either with photos or videos that only exist for a few seconds. This creates an exclusivity to your campaigns, which users love.
The key takeaway here is that real-time marketing is becoming more and more popular, and companies need to create platforms which allows users to be a part of the experience, not just experiencing it.
#3. Link to extremely engaged audiences with live video streaming (Meerkat & Periscope)
Videos are popular amongst most people and as mobile connectivity and technology improves, it must be an integrate part of a marketing strategy. Being exposed to thousands of the same ads every day does not leave any room for mediocre marketing tactics. You need to grab consumers’ attention and then keep them engaged for more than a second. But how do you do that?
It’s easy, have a look at live video streaming. Brands have been experimenting with ways to incorporate this into their digital marketing efforts. This tactic will allow consumers to be a part of a brand experience.
Meerkat & periscope are two apps that give you the opportunity to live stream videos from your mobile and share it with your Twitter community. It’s as easy as pressing ‘stream’ and instantly you are sharing an experience with your target audience. Users can comment on your videos, and interact with it. Try and come up with creative ideas to use live streaming. You can use it for New Product Releases, Live Q & A, a Celebrity Takeover, promoting company culture or a behind the scene look.
#4. Advertise to users through Instagram
Instagram took a need and turned it into a super successful business. The society we live in today thrives on visual stimulation and Instagram just feeds that need to share your life and your experiences with the world. It was only a matter of time when the big heads at corporate would use it to their advantage.
Instagram has recently been offering paid advertising opportunities through selected developer partners such as Ampush, Brand Networks, 4C, Kenshoo, Nanigans, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, SocialCode and Unified. For now it is not yet available to everyone, but in 2016 Instagram ads will be available to all advertisers. I suggest your start preparing now. Get those creative juices flowing and start thinking of ways how you can promote whatever you are selling through Instagram. You can either create a carousal ad that allows you to produce multi-page ads or create 30 second video ads.
#5. Identity-Based Pay-Per-Click Marketing, changing the future of advertising
AdWords has given all digital marketers an early Christmas present this year with their reveal of Identity-Based Pay-Per-Click Marketing. You can now target people with specific ads, wait for it, based on their phone number or email. That means that you can direct ads or content, that exactly answers a need or want, to a targeted individual person.
Think of yourself as a magician, a PPC magician. Magically you are presenting consumers with content they are thinking about and answering their needs or wants before they could answer it themselves.
Another really interesting thing I read was the fact that PPC has never really been considered as a method of making content go viral, but it can help the process. PPC ads can get incredibly interesting content in front of a much targeted audience, which can in effect turn into viral content. Look at targeting people with big social profiles, on top of identity. This can really help to get your brand noticed and can greatly increase the chances of your message being picked up by your target market and taken viral.
#6. Capitalise on the merge between healthy living and wearable technology
The rise of digital tools and technology use among consumers is having a major impact on healthy living. Consumers are showing more independence on digital platforms than ever before. People are searching for health related information and making decisions related to their own health. We as digital marketers should take advantage of that.
Integrate this need for being healthy with wearable technology or apps. Give consumers the answers they are looking for. A lot of businesses have started already. Apple have partnered with Nike and have created an app called HealthKit. Users can now set goals and track their progress through a single dashboard. There is even an app called FitBark which allows you to track and monitor your dog’s sleeping patterns and eating routines.
And out of all this effort and creativity there is even more. Data will be generated from these technologies. Data you can use as a secret weapon to retarget consumers or to create even more cool ideas.
#7. Target a person based on their interest on Pinterest with an animated pin
Watch out, Pinterest has stepped up majorly in the marketing sector. We are just getting used to how awesome buyable pins are, but there is more to come. It has been revealed that Pinterest will introduce their new promoted pin called an Animated Cinematic pin. Brands will be able to target a specific person based on their interest with this animated pin.
The cool part about these Cinematic pins are the fact that they are set in motion when a user scrolls, but as the user stops scrolling, the motion stops as well. Now you are in control whether you want to watch the video or not. Users are a part of the experience. Brands like the Gap, Nestle, LÓreal, Unilever etc have already tested this out, and it has been proven to be a success.
#8. Let consumers be the marketers of your brand
If your buddy tells you how awesome this new product is he bought, then you will 95% of the time believe him. You might want to try it yourself, because your friend tried it. Marketers should use that exact phenomenon to their advantage. Enters, User Generated Content.
Brands should use and share their customers’ experiences as content. Let your target audience market your brand for you and use platforms such as Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, Meerkat and Periscope as your marketing channels.
Let’s look at Microsoft’s #MakeItHappen campaign. In December 2014, Microsoft helped 31 people from all over the world complete 31 new year’s resolutions. Users had to enter and then each winner was given a Microsoft Lumia to help them complete their new year’s resolution with the help of its various apps. It was filmed and consumers were shown how their peers are using the phone and how it was helping them. It was a huge success.
#9. Create an omni-channel experience
Now you might wonder what on earth an omni-channel is. If you google it you get various answers. I like the answer from SearhcCIO. They give the following explanation: “Omnichannel (also spelled omni-channel) is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a store.”
Basically, you want to target consumers with the right message at the right time in the right place. Just like digital remarketing online, based on a consumer’s browsing history and related behaviours, you must start digitally remarketing to ‘in store’ customers as well.
Let me give you an example to fully understand the opportunity of an omni-channel.
Disney created an omni-channel experience and gained great insights into the lives of their customers:
Their experience starts on their mobile responsive website.
Users book a trip and then use the My Disney Experience tool to help them plan the whole trip from booking hotels, obtaining passes etc.
Once they arrive at the park, the app helps users locate attractions and waiting times.
But the experience gets better with their Magic Band which acts as a hotel room key, photo storage device for any pictures, and a food ordering tool.
Disney has new insights into what their customers are doing throughout the whole trip which will help them find out what is working and what they can change about their experience. Now that is any marketers dream to have that much insight into their target audience.
#10. Last but not least, the goodness of Content Remarketing
Many marketers would agree that content marketing works. We have all been writing blogs, e books, white papers and other content. The trick is how do you recapture viewers that went on your site, read your content, but did not fill in a form to become a lead? This is where content remarketing steps in. It’s not much different from retargeting. It is the process of tagging visitors on your site and retargeting them with content after they leave. This gives you the opportunity to talk to people who are already interested in what you have to offer. Show them something awesome and new while they are watching a YouTube video, reading the news or checking their emails.
Your piece of content could be the reminder that sends them back to your site and initiates a buy.
Now, you are probably tingling with excitement after reading the absolute mass of opportunities there are to reach audiences and engage with them. I felt exactly the same as I was writing this article. These trends will revolutionise the digital age even more and will create both opportunities for consumers and for marketers.
Let’s take hold of this digital boom we are in and use it to our advantage to attract the attention of consumers and reel them towards your offer.