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Industry Roundup 2016

March 10, 2016


So we are a quarter of the way through the year already. How has the year panned out so far in terms of digital marketing? Are we building on the trends of previous years or maximising and investing in new innovations? What makes our industry so exciting, is the fast pace in which it moves, so here is our roundup of the key trends emerging in the year so far and what we predict to continue to rise in the coming months.

Growth of Mobile
From Google’s so-called Mobilegeddon of last year, everyone who has anything remotely to do with the digital industry were made aware that mobile was going to be big, even bigger than it already is. The rumour-mill was rife with stories that any site would be penalised for not being mobile-friendly, giving any web-master the impetus to work on making their site adaptable to smaller devices with immediate effect. Helped along by this development, the growth of mobile continues well into 2016 and is set to continue for the rest of the year. With the ease of mobile site navigation comes the associated marketing technology and effective mobile marketing possibilities, made even more effortless with the increase in wearable technology and the never-ending advancement of mobile apps . Thinking about how people access technology, particularly mobile devices, will determine how we as marketers develop our strategies.

Video Marketing
There is no getting away from the fact that the term ‘Content is King’ continues to rule, but nestled amongst a huge rise in content brings with it great competition, and as marketers we are always looking at ways to rise above the competition and stand out from the crowd. Video content is one such way to stand out, enabling large amounts of information to be distributed in a relatively short space of time to a mass audience. There is more of a human and emotional connection with video marketing, and as a platform it is much easier and quicker to digest – the world’s largest video sharing platform YouTube, is not the the second biggest search engine to Google by accident! Including a video in email marketing, is said to increase the click-through rate by 96%. This is in addition to an 80% conversion increase when video is added into a website landing page. Including video into a marketing campaign can increase organic Google search tremendously, with 70% of the top 100 search listings including video. Any marketer worth their salt will be including video in their marketing strategy this year!

Paid Search
On Thursday 18th February Google dropped the news that for desktop it would no longer show paid ads in the right side bar but instead depending on the search term, display four paid ads above the organic results and a further three ads at the bottom of the page, compared to the old layout where we could see up to 11 ads on a single page. It’s one of the more obvious changes that Google makes as it (allegedly) attempts to improve the user experience.

For paid advertisers we should expect to see a lot more competition for high profile search terms and potentially higher CPC’s for the top spots. The cynical side of us thinks this is simply a money making exercise, however whether the costs ramp up dramatically will soon to be seen.

Shopping ads will still display to the right for certain queries and should stand out a lot more than before with the removal of the ads, meaning for e-commerce businesses it’s now more important than ever to get your shopping campaigns in the best shape they can be, as expect to see more traffic through your shopping campaigns than ever before.

With four paid ads at the top of the page, organic results have yet again taken a hit and have been shifted down a notch. This means for some queries and certain screens, organic results could be displayed below the fold, meaning organic space is even more precious than before.

Currently this is not a change that has forced us to change tactics dramatically or panic and our plans remain the same, as these things tend to play out well over time for us and for our clients, as the end result remains the same; try to reach the most relevant people at the most relevant time with the most relevant content.

Social Media Platform Updates
We got thoroughly over-excited at Facebook’s Reactions last month, it had been awhile since the last mainstream refresh of the network. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comment

“What [people] really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.”

was a timely move for the social network giant, with the monumental social media impact of the Paris attacks in November last year.

Facebook have continued to update their News Feed algorithms this year, aiming for greater engagement with the stories we are truly interested in.

And Facebook’s other platform, Instagram, has introduced the facility of switching between accounts, making the posting process for marketers that much easier (as well as for anyone wishing to live a double life!) Despite largely being a photo-sharing platform, Instagram is said to have several video updates planned, with the most recent this year being video counts. So it is now possible to see who and how many times your video content is being viewed. This helps tremendously with marketing campaigns and as a tool to analyse the content that works best.

Despite a Twitter crisis earlier in the year, with share prices and revenues dropping, staff being made redundant and the word on the street that the micro-blogging platform was no longer the leader in social media that it once was, Twitter continues to develop and grow regardless. Amongst lots of speculation, Twitter remains a prolific global tech company with around 305 million active users. The biggest development to Twitter so far this year, are the whispered rumours that the character length will increase from 140 up to 10,000 and that the timeline will change to non-chronological listings. So far these have not been actioned, but are definitely ones to watch!

Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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