2016 Trends

Top Ad & Marketing Trends to Dominate 2016

 

2016 TrendsIf the past few years have taught digital marketers anything, it’s that keeping up with effective Internet promotion techniques is no easy task as the online marketing and advertising industry grows increasingly complex.

A recent Gartner survey reveals that digital marketing is now the mainstream, and 98% of professionals say that online and offline marketing are merging. This creates a vibrant market in which consumer-led media habits dictate into which channels and formats advertising dollars should be funneled. Marketing experts predict these top trends will dominate the industry in 2016.

1.Digital ad spend will usurp search ad spend.

According to a recent eMarketer survey, digital display ad spending will eclipse search ad spending this year for the first time in the US. The categories of video, sponsorships, rich media and “banners and other” combined, will account for the largest share of digital spending at 47.9%— worth $32.17 billion.

2.Increased mobile functionality for websites.

According business2community.com, mobile traffic outpaced laptop and desktop traffic in several countries in 2015, including the US. It is not that the average time spent on desktop is decreasing per se, but that time spent on cell phones and other devices is rapidly increasing. This means that it’s important for companies to make sure they have incorporated effective mobile design into their site, while still providing regular updates for laptop and desktop preferences.

3.Video is critical to digital advertising success.

It is common knowledge that most marketers have already explored the power of uploading video ads to sites like YouTube and Facebook. Social platforms like Facebook are now using paid video ads, which are performing well enough for this to be a new standard in the marketing mix, says B2C. The numbers also show that video will command a large portion of ad spend allocated to digital in 2016 at 14.3%— up from 12.8% in 2015.

4. Major increase in paid reach for social media (bye-bye organic reach).

The world of social media is at the apex of a major change. Social giant Twitter Inc. has seen a stall in year-over-year growth in active users for the first time, and a significant drop in stock price. According the socialmediaexaminer.com, Twitter will create an algorithm that affects which tweets are seen in which streams, similar to Facebook’s EdgeRank, where only a portion of a pages’ audience are able to view content based on level of ad spend, and other social networks are to follow suit.

Experts predict that as networks adjust their algorithms, the only way brands can ensure they generate decent traffic is through social advertising.

5.Content marketing still reigns supreme.

Business2Community research shows that marketers still believe content marketing will have the greatest commercial impact for their businesses, even more so than paid, organic search marketing, and social combined.

Marketers are also “chasing” influencers as a way to acquire a larger customer base. Research suggests that there is a growing trend to get thought influencers and celebrities to mention or promote products, and it might grow faster then SEO, PPC ads, and content marketing collectively. Until then, content remains king as it retains its positive impact on bottom lines.

6. So does email marketing.

A recent AdWeek survey reveals that marketers still believe email marketing is a core pillar of their business. When ads and content marketing can get expensive and competitive, there seems to be comfort for most in having an email list. Experts expect a significant portion of paid, organic search and social media budgets to continue focusing on growing subscriber bases.

 

Like to add to the conversation? Feel free to comment below!

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Are Millennials Re-defining the American Dream?

The housing buyer market is low, but not for reasons you may think.

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The Millennial buyer market is a completely different market than that of Gen X, or even Boomer generations. Because of economic changes that have swept across the nation over the past two decades, consumer attitudes about homeownership have changed dramatically. Recent data from a Housing Opportunities and Market Experience Survey by the National Association of Realtors has intriguing findings to back this up.

The most interesting report findings reveal that the majority (88 percent) of U.S. households believe owning a home is a good financial decision. While a high percentage of households believe that owning a home is still a part of the American dream, just under half of all households (44 percent) still believe the economy is in a recession, even though the desire to own a home remains strong.

“It is all about perception,” states Sibet Freides, principal at Idea Associates. “Many people may not feel as economically successful today as others did in the past, and the general population needs to become more accepting that the US economy is growing at a slower, more even pace.”

In the renter segment, the majority of those who rent do want to own a home in the future, but feel that affordability is the biggest barrier between them and their dream home, according to survey findings. They also believe that America is still in a recession, and most don’t feel confident in their ability to obtain a mortgage.

“The millennial hesitation to buy is not only financial, but lifestyle oriented as well. This demographic enjoys walkability, ease of services, and the social side of living in the city, so the majority are choosing to stay in-town and rent as opposed to moving to the suburbs where home prices are generally less expensive,” Freides enumerates.

In looking ahead to the next six months, survey findings reveal the trend that individuals who believe the recession is in an upswing will be more optimistic about not only owning a home, but home prices as well.

“Marketers will need to continue to find new ways to change the current perception of the modern renter/homebuyer, and, as the decision to go from renting to owning a home comes with significant lifestyle changes, developers will need to find different ways to appeal to their preferred lifestyle in order be successful,” she adds.

 

We would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment, share, like!

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Is the Next Generation Willing to Pay for Digital Content?

A recent Ad Age survey revealed that, contrary to popular belief, younger customers are more willing

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to pay for digital content. Among customers younger than 26 in developed markets, 30% are already paying for some forms of digital video; 34% pay for digital music and 40% paid for games.

Success for media companies and ad agencies depends on understanding Generation #hashtag and its media preferences.

New age digital content should be both user-influenced and, in some aspects, user generated. A business must be successful at growing audiences and building businesses based on user engagement and contributions. Today’s hottest trend is native advertising; old-school banner ads may be on the decline.

Consumers do worry about privacy and how their data gets shared, however according to the survey they were much more willing to share data if the gatherer asked for permission. It actually doubled the number of consumers willing to share their data.

How should agencies use this data? Deep insight into consumer behavior is more critical than ever. Advertisers demand precise targeting and ROI measurement while online media stores depend on recommendations for the next purchase. Customer profiling and saved payment information at the ready is the best way to drive impulse purchases.

To read more about the Ad Age survey and the #hashtag generation, click here.

 

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Location-Based Marketing is Taking Over

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Smartphones ownership has skyrocketed, and mobile technology will continue to grow to match demand, as consumers are moving toward mobile over PC. Marketers must evolve to meet this new way of life, and location based marketing is leading the way.

Mobile ordering means more than using an app to secure a pizza. Huffington Post says that Starbucks has already announced plans to roll out its new ordering app, which relies on a customer’s proximity to a store to allow customers to place orders and pay by mobile device.

In addition to ordering, retailers are adopting ways to push coupons to customers that are near their store. Many consumers have indicated that a coupon would be used more often if they received it near the store that offered it. This can also apply to stores or companies holding a big event like a grand opening; push notification technology can be combined with location-based apps to reach nearby customers.

GPS capabilities in phones are really shaping the location-based marketing landscape. Restaurants can announce to nearby potential patrons that a half price promotion is about to begin, or airlines can announce in real time that a flight has been delayed.

All of these things are offering companies ways to customize the consumer experience, and consumers, in turn, are coming to expect nothing less from brands. Companies like Uber and others are finding ways to turn this technology into convenient services for the user.

The only drawback as a business is finding a delicate balance so that privacy concerns don’t outweigh the potential. Consumers share that they feel uncomfortable having their in-store behavior tracked, yet still want mobile coupons from nearby retailers.

How do you find that balance? Share your thoughts below!

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Emotional Video Ads Capture Your Brain

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Our brains are bombarded with messages by the minute. We spend so much time online and on our smart devices that we’ve become rather blind to standard ads, even when they are animated and flashing – competing for our attention. Are you familiar with “ad blocker” services on your computer? Our brains sort of have them, too.  So how can brands get through to their audience without completely stalking and invading them?

A Forrester Research analyst in New York believes that brands need to deliver emotional messages to accomplish this. Especially in the crowded mobile playing field.

Using the available digital data and targeting to reach a consumer who is interested in the product, you can make it past the filter in the brain that evaluates content and decides if it is relevant. But there is more to it than data analysis.

While video and image-based mobile experiences are expected to become more important in the years ahead, you cannot succumb solely to technology and forget your message. Advertising works when it has a high emotional appeal.

Video is the way for brands to make the most out of their message. Beyond TV media buys, brands can learn from YouTube celebrities – they build big audiences, but it’s the RELATIONSHIP with their audience that counts. By making recommendations and offering helpful tips, subscribers pay attention to everything you have to say.

Since the launch of Netflix in 2007, there has been a steady progression of new services and products in the video arena. The time is now for your brand to show that you are relatable and relevant, and your audience is waiting to see it. What’s your video marketing strategy to show them?

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What’s Hampering Your Mobile Content?

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Mobile devices are quickly evolving beyond smartphones and tablets into smartwatches, fitness trackers, and more; recently 1 to 1 Media reported that marketers are still struggling with the same issue: delivering compelling content on mobile devices.

Ned Newhouse, executive director of mobile and native at Condé Nast, stated that, “If you buy an ad, it should be seen, but please make sure the ad you’re going to post is worth my time. We don’t have banner blindness–we have bad creative.”

Capturing people’s attention today is harder than ever. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human being dropped to eight seconds in 2013, down four seconds from a study done in 2000. That is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Adding to the challengers are device fragmentation, a lack of standardized mobile measurements, and a growing concern for privacy. This year, 37 percent of respondents to a mobile survey cited privacy as a very important issue compared to 22 percent who said the same in 2013.

And as screens get smaller, marketers and publishers must find more direct ways to communicate. People need to scan chunked information to get caught up, not read lengthy ads that must be scrolled or clicked to get the full story.

The solution to compelling mobile content is not easy; you have to use key data to find a balance between creativity and conversion.

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Millennials Prefer Mobile Over TV Time

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We know that millennials are mobile crazy, but now their obsessive behavior is affecting their all-around media habits. Media Post reports that the mobile behavior of 18- to-34-year-olds is cutting into their time with other media channels.

77% of Millennials use a smartphone daily, which far exceeds the 60% of Gen Xers that check their smartphone daily.

The multitasking generation?

Millennials are also known as the multitasking generation, yet surprisingly they appear to be spending significantly less time with their TV and computers. New research suggests that on a daily basis, 77% are watching TV compared to 86% of Gen Xers and 91% of Baby Boomers.

Only 58% of millennials are firing up their laptops or desktops at least once a day, whereas 67% of Gen Xers and 71% of Boomers are using their computers daily.

For marketers, this means your investments need to match your audience’s screen preferences.

How are you adjusting your messages to Millennials (18 to 34), Generation X (35 to 50) and the boomer generation (51 to 69)? Share your comments below!

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Google Warns Websites That Are Not Mobile-Optimized

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As Google continues to improve the mobile user experience, it’s obvious that brands with responsive websites benefit more from these efforts. However, Google has gotten a bit more aggressive and recently sent out a warning to webmasters via Webmaster Tools whose sites have mobile issues.

The warning highlights pages with ‘critical mobile usability errors;’ in other words, which pages do not display correctly on a mobile device. The warning goes on to state that, “these pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”

What specifically does this mean? That Google will now rank non-mobile friendly sites lower during mobile users’ searches. Their new mobile algorithm gives preference to mobile optimized sites in its search results.

With mobile traffic rising across every field and market, this update from Google will have a direct impact on traffic and sales. It’s imperative for brands to audit and update their mobile performance accordingly.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, do not take this warning lightly. Google will continue to reward brands that are investing in their user experience by gearing up for the multi-screen and multi device world – from PC, to tablet, to smartphone – and plans to penalize those that don’t.

To find out where your website stands, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to identify any issues that will negatively affect your mobile rankings.

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Is Your Website as Strong as Your Services?

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Your company website shouldn’t be a supplement to what products or services you offer; it should be as strong as, if not stronger than them. Without this, you will have a hard time reaching clients and customers. Here are some things that make a website strong and effective.

Load time. People have become increasingly impatient, and a long load time equals immediate page abandonment. Make sure that your site loads quickly – resize images and don’t use an abundance of bells and whistles. Fast, clean and simple are priority.

Mobile-friendly. People are on the go, and that means they’re looking at your site from their smartphone more than from a desktop or laptop. If you don’t have a separate mobile version of your website, make sure the design you have is responsive – meaning it adjusts to the screen it is being viewed on. The average American owns four digital devices, and your website should look good on all of them.

Fresh content. A stale website is bad for search engines and bad for visitors! Make sure you’re offering helpful content that makes you a resource for your industry. Whether it’s keeping a blog up to date or a calendar of events, fresh content is a win-win.

Colors. It takes less than 90 seconds for customers to form an opinion about a brand. Much of that decision is formed by the colors you choose for your website. Make sure it is sending the right message about your company. Blue equates to a trustworthy business, red conveys competence, yellow is energetic, and green is down to earth and healthy. Some lighter colors like pink can signify trendy or chic, depending on the product.

What does your website say about your business? Share by commenting below!

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Do Mobile Location Ads Work?

moving-forwards-1431094-1-mMobile location-based ads can result in improved targeting and engagement for advertisers. But do they really work? It depends on their accuracy.

Location accuracy is defined as where a user’s stated location is in relation to their actual location, which can vary depending on the source used!

According to a September 2014 report, the most accurate source is assisted GPS, followed by Wi-Fi and cell towers. Fourth in line for reliability is IP address and the least effective is user registration.

The largest share of accurate impressions served in the US in Q3 was from hyperlocal campaigns, up 12% from Q2. Surprisingly, mobile users are fond of these location-based ads, with 51% stating they find them geographically relevant. Just two years ago users were not so comfortable with the idea and voted geo-targeting as sort of “creepy.”

In order to keep up with this rising trend, advertisers should increase their mobile location spending to improve accuracy and give consumers the relevant ads they want.

Are you using mobile location ads? How does your audience respond? Share by commenting below!