With 2015 coming to an end, it’s time to take a peek into our digital crystal ball and see what 2016 might have in store.
For example, I think apps and social media will continue to make more headlines as users get more and more mobile.
We could even start seeing the death of the ‘home computer’, with tablets and mobile devices in more hands and pockets and desktops and laptops reserved for work purposes.
At the risk of conjecture, I’ve put together some of the things that we could be facing in the worlds of SEO, social media and content marketing next year, with evidence to support my predictions where applicable.
So without further ado, here are a few of my predictions for digital marketing in 2016:
With the opening up of Instagram Ads to all businesses in September this year (and the inclusion of a simple Instagram Ads option within Facebook’s Ad Manager), I’ll be wildly surprised if the image-sharing network didn’t soon follow in its daddy Facebook’s footsteps and start throttling organic reach in a bid to increase advertising revenue.
The study of Instagram Ads efficacy may be in its infancy, but there’s one thing we know: we can’t learn if it works if nobody tries it. That’s why, in 2016, advertisers and businesses large and small will start to experiment with Instagram Ads in a bid to be the first to yell its praises (and, I’d like to think, ROI) from the rooftops.
Competitive Intelligence Will Become an Integral Part of All Marketing Strategies
We’re long past the stage of businesses not having websites and social media presences, and if you consider that new start-ups are being founded by more digital-savvy entrepreneurs than ever before, agencies and companies will need to start looking more and more at what their competitors are already doing well in order to become market leaders.
Competitive intelligence (i.e. the research and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data around competitors’ online presences) can provide companies with data on where their rivals are both exploiting and missing out on opportunities across all digital marketing, from SEO and PPC to PR and social media.
Linkedin Will Acquire More Business Platforms (E.G. Lynda and Slideshare)
This year, professional social network LinkedIn acquired online training platform Lynda and the well-known slideshow host and network SlideShare, and I don’t think it shows any sign of slowing down.
Prepare for LinkedIn to start taking bigger and bigger slices of the business network pie in 2016, acquiring more companies and, crucially, connecting them together to provide a better experience for users and even more data for advertisers.
Social Selling Will Cross Over Into the Mainstream
Heard of Social Selling? I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t yet. It’s still a young art form, but, thanks to the scope of LinkedIn, it’s growing and becoming more and more successful.
The practice of hunting down leads and building relationships through social media is a far cry from the besuited salespeople of yore, but it’s quick and it’s data-driven.
If current growth of this practice (and the launch of LinkedIn’s own ‘Social Selling Index) is anything to go by, next year will be the when it hits the mainstream, and B2Bs across the globe will learn of its potential.
So if you’re a buyer, you’d better prepare your InMail inboxes for an influx of sales contacts! For more information, check out our Guide to Social Selling which includes the tools needed to revolutionise your sales team in 2016.
With more people going straight to the news apps that give them what they want, and going directly to their favourite shopping apps rather than searching for products, Google has a fight on its hands if it’s going to continue to prove the worth of advertising on its search engine.
Stemming the tide of traffic directly to apps (traffic that it is currently almost impossible to measure and gain data value from) is not going to be on anyone’s cards in 2016.
So what will Google’s response be? Will it encourage all apps to use Google App Indexing or does it have something more exciting and game-changing up its sleeve? Whatever it is, I think we’ll find out sooner rather than later.
Disagree with any of these predictions? Have any of your own? Let’s chat about them on Facebook or Twitter, bury the records in a time capsule and come back this time next year to see how wrong or right we were. It’s a date.