The constantly evolving nature of SEO will significantly impact digital trends for 2016, alongside the progression of content opportunities in mobile advertising.
Preparation for the upcoming year will give certain businesses the opportunity to cement their online reputations, while provoking others lagging behind to catch up with the widespread digital demands of 2016. Here are 6 digital marketing trends that I think will dominate in 2016:
1) Content marketing’s influence on SEO
I believe that it is highly likely that the demand for quality content over keyword optimisation will escalate in 2016. This year saw updates to Google’s algorithm that resulted in an increased importance of visitor time spent on webpages – with a need to keep the reader interested. SEO has evolved beyond keyword density and inbound links, and now the importance lies in producing web content that reads well, and is relevant to the searched term entered by users in Google. Developing quality content should be seen as a priority for any company – regardless of industry, with 86% of B2B organizations claiming to have a strategic content marketing strategy (Impress, 2015).
2) Social media’s influence on SEO
In today’s digital environment the majority of brand-related conversations are situated on social media networks, and social media’s growing influence on SEO ranking will come to the fore in 2016. I believe that the increase in social reach of content, through sharing on Facebook and retweeting on Twitter will not only generate brand visibility benefits on the networks, but also improve SEO ranking.
3) Widespread mobile optimisation
Globally extensive smartphone use has naturally caused an increase in traffic from mobile devices – so much so that I can’t see how mobile-optimisation wouldn’t surpass desktop this year. Consumers are now connected to their mobile devices as if it were an extra limb, and it’s becoming an absolute must for all company websites to be user-friendly and easily accessible from mobile devices, and already ensure that all web development services they provide are mobile-compatible as standard.
4) Advertising through Instagram
Instagram recently overtook Twitter in terms of global users, surpassing the 400 million mark. I would suggest that the social media channel has gained widespread popularity by appealing to the demographic of young adults, and also through its ability to stimulate visual interactions between users and brands. Today’s society ‘thrives on visual stimulation’, and it was only a matter of time until brands took advantage of Instagram’s functionality – allowing them to interact with the user at many different moments of their daily lives (Conversion Advantage, 2015).
5) Video ads:
Video ads on platforms such as YouTube have been around for years, but 2016 is set to be the first year Google introduces in-SERP video advertising. According to Forbes, this is a sign that users are becoming ‘more accepting of video ads online’, and I expect this trend to continue and progress considering Google’s ownership of YouTube (Forbes, 2015).
6) Wearable tech and lifestyle marketing:
The kindred advancement of technology and digital marketing has had a major impact on the awareness and interest in healthy living, and the subsequent marketing possibilities. Apple have created the iWatch, have partnered with Nike create an app called HealthKit, and I’m expecting an influx of new products and marketing opportunities in the tech market in the coming year (Forbes, 2015). Stay tuned.
Mobile Optimised VS. Mobile Compatible Websites
Whilst many business owners are aware that their websites need to be accessible through mobiles, many are unsure on the difference between mobile optimised and mobile compatible websites.
I am frequently asked if new websites should be mobile optimised upon creation – or if that’s an investment for later down the line when the company is more established. My advice is to do it now. An estimated 60% of website visitors come via mobile devices, so it is essential to achieve this right from the beginning. However, a common misunderstanding is the difference between Mobile Optimised vs. Mobile Compatible. I’ve attempted to highlight the differences once and for all:
A mobile compatible website is a HTML based website that does not contain Flash. It means that a website is viewable on a Smartphone or Tablet, but it is not optimised for these devices. These websites have been designed for web browsers on PCs with much larger screens and navigation using a mouse.
These sites may load slower on a Smartphone or Tablet and you may find you have to scroll left or right, or zoom out to see everything on the page. Links are small and difficult to click and this can be a real pain for users.
A mobile optimised website is a website that is designed specifically for a Smartphone or Tablet. A mobile optimised site will not require the user to pinch and zoom to read text, navigation is built for efficiency and the images and media are optimised for quick loading. Additionally, mobile-only functions will include handy tap-to-call, tap-to-email and map functionality.
Research proves that these sites are much easier to navigate and use and companies with mobile optimised websites are much more likely to see less bounce rates, higher engagement levels and improved conversations. Other benefits of a mobile optimised site include the fact that they are viewable in landscape and portrait mode, have big ‘finger-friendly’ buttons and navigation, are optimised for mobile data speeds, the text is large and readable, and it will display an overall more appealing look.