As the year comes to a close and our last day in the office draws near, we’ve started turning our attention to 2016 and what is set to be our best year yet. If you’re with us in the world of content and digital marketing, you’ll know it’s an ever-changing space and you always need to be on your toes from learning new tools, platforms and budgets to developing creative strategies and understanding media formats. So, to help you stay ahead of the pack (of course you already are if you’re hanging out with us!), here are the top content and digital marketing trends for 2016 that all of the cool kids will be talking about come January 4 (once they're back in the office, of course).
It’s no surprise that video is only going to be bigger and better in 2016, especially on the social networks. On Facebook, videos uploaded to the social network get twice the views and seven times the engagement of videos embedded into a status update from Youtube, according to Small Biz Trends. There’s also a theory that the Facebook algorithm prioritizes native videos over videos embedded by a third party such as Youtube. And that’s just the benefit of using video on Facebook! 2016 will see big budgets allocated to video content in an effort to increase engagement and many other metrics.
Influencer marketing has taken off in the last couple of years and 2016 is set to be no different as brands discover influencer marketing is an effective way to generate big returns in their marketing strategy. In March, AdWeek claimed that 60% of marketers plan to boost their influencer marketing budgets, since, on average, businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
More recently, when talking about the marketing and advertising budgets of the beauty industry, a Business of Fashion article said, “transferring print and broadcast advertising dollars to digital efforts – whether that means programmatic advertising, sponsored content or earned media through influencer gifting – is a trend that can’t be reversed.” Enough said?
Emphasis On Storytelling
Marketers and brands are beginning to see the real value in good content marketing, and all are scrambling to have the next ‘it’ campaign. With good content marketing in 2016 comes an emphasis on storytelling rather than hard selling, as invasive marketing and advertising is increasingly ignored by consumers and will eventually be silenced by ad-blocking technologies.
Social Media Algorithms Will Continue To Change
We’ve all seen, or at least heard about, the dramatic decrease in organic reach thanks to Facebook’s new algorithm, which has hit hard for a lot of small and medium businesses who can no longer use the platform to communicate and engage with their followers. And now that Instagram is owned by Facebook, and new things are on the verge at Twitter no doubt, there’s no denying that algorithms will continue to change and platforms will go from hot to not by the year’s end. As the old saying goes, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
People are consuming more content on mobile than ever before, which is both exciting and daunting for marketers. To see success on mobile, make every mobile moment and engagement count through targeting and optimization.
Long-Term Partnerships Are More Valued
With the growth of influencer marketing budgets we’ll see a new value on long-term partnerships and ambassador roles rather than one-off collaborations. Benefitting both the influencer and the brand, long-term partnerships are more genuine and have real potential to influence buying habits. Plus, nothing is worse than working with an influencer one week, to find them working with your competitor the next. Long-term relationships build trust and authenticity, and they generate long-term relationships, loyalty and ultimately sales.
Focus On Long-Form Content
The movers and shakers of the industry are predicting that long-form content will reign supreme in the saturated content sphere. Long-form content is more than just your regular blog post; it’s a piece of content with a minimum of 1200-1500 words, and a maximum of up to 7000 (and sometimes more). So why the new focus? Long-form content is great for presenting your brand as an authority figure, helps you get ranked on search engines, increases pageviews and social engagement and converts new leads. Here’s a great article on The SEO and User-Science Behind Long-form Content.
New Ways To Stand Out
As content marketing evolves into a saturated marketplace, markets are looking for new ways to stand out and be innovators among the crowd of people jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. Be inspired by what others are doing, use new platforms and technologies and think outside of the box to make your content stand out on the World Wide Web.
Snapchat Will Continue It’s Reign and Growth
According to recent research, Snapchat is the fastest growing social network when compared to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With 200 million active users monthly who send 400 million snaps per day, Snapchat is set to be the ‘it’ network in 2016 as more and more brands add Snapchat to their social media strategy.
Quality Over Quantity
While we all know that regular content is crucial for success, we must not forget that quality is always better than quantity. One piece of high-quality, relative and informative content is much better for engagement, metrics, conversion and awareness than three pieces of half-hearted content thrown together with little thought and imagination. Quality over quantity is the mantra you need to adopt in 2016.
Social Media For Content Discovery
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have evolved into content discovery tools, enabling consumers to discover new content on the web, often before they’re even looking for it. Take fashion for example: brands and retailers update their followers on new products and collections via Instagram, which is often the first point of contact between the brand and the consumer and simultaneously places consumers at the top of the sales funnel. In the past, consumers would browse online stores looking for nothing in particular, however now, their discovering content (e.g. new products) first on social media platforms.
This year we learnt the importance of email subscribers and how they’re the only list of ‘followers’ that you own and can contact directly without an algorithm or large corporation standing in the way. As we mentioned above, you can no longer rely on just one social media platform as an avenue to engage with your community; you need to have multiple channels of communication open, with email being the priority in 2016. Start building your email list today with a sign-up prompt on your sidebar, and then start adding incentives, opt-in products and calls to action throughout your website to start passively building that list up. Not sure where to start? We’ve got heaps of info about growing your email list in the coming months, so keep an eye out right here (or subscribe to our email newsletter in the top right corner so you never miss a thing). See what we did there?
Did we miss something that you think is going to be a big content and digital marketing trend for 2016? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and as always via email firstname.lastname@example.org.