Digital Marketing is not going away. Some companies continue to stick their head in the sand, but while they do, others that are where their audience is will reap the benefits. Here are some key trends to be aware of for 2016.
If you hear someone say ‘2016 will be the year of mobile’ you’d be justified in quietly laughing to yourself. Safe in the knowledge that you know more about this subject than the person speaking. Of course, it’s mobile, what device are you using most of the day to check your status updates, watch videos, vines and message friends, it’s rarely the work PC, is it? It’s not just in Europe or the US either, mobile is already used heavily globally in Africa, Asia and Latin America for e-commerce micropayments, business, pleasure and more. (See here for a detailed illustration of how mobile is booming in Africa).
To just say ‘mobile’ it would be a truism. The important thing is to know which mobile device is the choice of your target audience. Then you need to drill into the analytics to learn which operating systems they are using, what time of day, from what location and more. Do you have a predominantly iPhone audience, or an Android using one? Do they engage with your content before work, at work, on the way home, at the weekend, across multiple devices? All of this is vital information to carefully plan your digital marketing strategies.
Digital marketing will be able to be laser-targeted on exactly the right audience for the type of products and services you are trying to sell for your clients. Successful digital marketing will discover where the ideal target audience is, and develop campaigns that are interesting, targeted and relevant to their intended audience.
The twin tools of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) are continuing to rapidly develop as bandwidth capacity increases for our mobile devices. Tomi Ahonen, leading digital commentator and author passionately explains how Augmented Reality will be the 8th form of mass media (following on from predecessors such as print, radio, and tv). The business case for augmented reality grows clearer to see as more and more businesses develop practical applications for its use, as recently demonstrated by Canon at its Paris Expo in October.
The annual European Augmented Reality Marketing Conference, held in Dublin is already into its third year. Demonstrating as always that the future is already here, you just may not have had a go on it yet! As bandwidth capacity increases, 4G becomes more widely available, and 5G begins to emerge, so the capability of AR/VR will only improve. Follow it’s organiser Alex Gibson for a constant insight into the world of AR/VR initiatives.
— Alex Gibson (@thepersuaders) December 5, 2015
As the ability to make a website and an app become easier and easier, this returns the focus to the quality of what you find there. Digital marketing will be the way to bring attention to your sites. However, you will need better, funnier, more interesting, more visual, and more engaging content than your competitors. At the recent Dublin Web summit, it was interesting (and great) to see that the Content Stage was packed every day, with long queues waiting outside to enter.
image by Brendan o Se
Whatever your particular digital marketing sector. You will still need to make sure you have got good ‘talent’ lined up. Bloggers, Instagrammers, vloggers, YouTubers, Pinteresters are already in demand, gauged by their digital footprint. You will need to have good talent in house, and good relationships with other, third party, content creators who like the brands you are trying to promote.
Some companies declare ‘we don’t do mobile’, ‘Twitter is not where our audience are’. Fortunately, this just provides the more nimble and agile digital marketing strategists with the opportunity to achieve great success while the ostriches around them keep their head in the sand. Your readers are viewing your content across multiple devices, laptops, mobile phones, tablets. It makes sense to be viewable across these different devices and also across the various social media channels themselves, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and wherever else your audience roam. While this makes it harder and more fragmented if you don’t carefully consider where to have a presence you may find someone else taking your place!
Check out the Digital Business Stream on our BSc Degree in Digital Technology and Design programme. This Stream is designed for the digital marketing leaders and innovators of tomorrow.