It’s that time of year again – Experts, marketers, and business owners everywhere are reflecting on the past year and making predictions for the new one ahead. By understanding what made your business most effective in 2015 and knowing which trends to take advantage of in 2016, you’ll start the New Year one step ahead of the competition.

Review of 2015

Mobile

  • With Google’s Mobile Optimization Guidelines, any business still not mobile-optimized will be required to build mobile into their 2016 marketing strategy or risk serious SEO ramifications.
  • In fact, mobile websites without a desktop counterpart are now completely acceptable by Google, forecasting that mobile traffic will not supersede, but dominate desktop traffic in 2016.
  • App indexing will continue to increase visibility and downloads, and the amount of time spent in apps will continue to rise (currently 82%). Therefore, we should see an influx of new apps to the marketplace as businesses that are already mobile-optimized take advantage of mobile app marketing.
  • Mobile payments will continue to penetrate the marketing, increasing greatly in 2016 due to: (a) the development of Apple Pay; (b) apps, like Starbucks and Uber, more easily facilitating mobile transactions; and (c) millennials’ growing distrust of plastic cards.
  • With the On-Demand Economy, millennials will continue to drive mobile engagement, requiring quick, immediate responses and forcing businesses to cater to the mobile customer. 

Marketing

  • SEARCH: Social media platforms, specifically Facebook and Pinterest, are and will continue to expand search capabilities, becoming greater competition for search engines and increasing the need for online reputation management.
  • VIDEO: With Facebook and Twitter already offering auto-play videos and video-ads, 2016 will be the year that search engines Google and Bing introduce video ads to search results, making quality videos even more important for small businesses.
  • TECH: Virtual Reality and Wearables will continue to emerge in 2016. Oculus Rift is set to debut in Q1 and Apple Watch has already paved the way for more advanced wearables in the upcoming year.
  • SOCIAL: Projected to make $2.8 billion in advertising sales by 2017, 2016 will be “The Year of Instagram” as it improves advertising and becomes a greater marketing tool for small businesses. Small businesses will also begin taking advantage of Snapchat, especially to connect with the 18-24 demographic.
  • SOCIAL: Businesses will continue to adapt social selling as more platforms implement “Buy It” options, like Facebook and Pinterest. In 2016, Instagram may even implement similar options.

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Business

  • Consumers will expect rapid response and have higher expectations of businesses. Social media will continue to fuel this phenomenon, meaning online reputation management will become increasingly important and social media cannot be neglected.
  • Higher expectations for consumer privacy will force businesses to re-evaluate cyber security. Use Forrester’s Targeted-Attack Hierarchy Of Needs to assess threats.
  • The world of work will change as hiring times climb due to high demand, especially among skilled positions, and more businesses will go up for sale as baby boomers prepare for retirement.

Takeaway

Use these predictions to influence your 2016 strategic marketing plan, but be sure to stay up-to-date throughout the year. In an ever-evolving industry, mobile, marketing, and business are fast changing. Keep an eye on these trends in the upcoming year and optimize your plan according. Continue to check back on the Advice Mobile blog for updates.