Digital Predictions of 2016
The digital world is ever evolving, with new tools, platforms and techniques emerging all the time. As we prepare to embark on an exciting new year of digital marketing we take out the crystal ball and give you our predictions on what we think will be big for 2016.
Video advertising is nothing new, a quick browse through YouTube and you'll come face-to-face with video advertising and you've probably seen auto-play ads pop up on your Facebook news feed. Infact its pretty widespread across the internet, but where it hasn't been a dominant force is on search - until now.
Google is incorporating video into its search. Put simply, you will be able to use video ads rather than just text based ads to serve up when users perform a search. The exact details of how these will display or whether it will allow videos to auto-play is not yet known but this could prove to be a game-changer for search and reinforces the importance of video as a marketing medium in the digital arena.
Just imagine you could showcase your properties in a Google search. Rather than rely on a carefully worded ad to drive prospects through to your website, let your properties do the work. After all it's the imagery of the properties that are likely to sell them more than the words. Watch this space as we bring you more details in the new year.
Again, targeting with Facebook advertising is not something new. But, following the success of the Lexus NX Beyond Utility campaign in 2015, which we featured in our Best and Worst of Social Media 2015 round-up, the wealth of data Facebook offers could be used in a much more sophisticated way.
Facebook allows you to target your paid-for posts based on a wide range of demographics from age, gender and location to interests and types of pages you follow. Social marketers have been using this to target the list they show the ad to - choosing only to show it to the people they think are likely to engage.
But when Lexus took this targeting to the next level and created 1,000 variations of its ad to appeal to the individual needs and interests of the audience it targeted, it paved the way for more sophisticated targeting, usually associated with email.
While email marketers have been creating highly targeted versions of their messages and serving up different content to different people based on their interests and behaviours for some time, social has very much lagged behind. In 2016 expect to see this kind of targeting on social media take off more and more as the focus moves to targeting prospects based on their individual interests and preferences.
App content in search
In 2015 mobile browsing overtook desktop for the first time and Google's efforts to penalise publishers whose websites were not mobile optimised has gone a long way to improving the ease of mobile browsing across the board. However, there's no escaping the fact that apps can often provide a better experience on mobile.
But the problem with apps, if you rely on attracting a lot of your visitors from search, is that up until now the content of apps did not rank on a Google search. A landing page or an app store where the app can be downloaded may appear on Google but the actual app and its content would not.
That's all about change and could have some far reaching implications for SEO. For starters as Google starts to index the deep pages and links of apps a huge amount of search results that previously didn't exist are going to pop up and could result in pushing your website down in the rankings.
Imagine there were just 10,000 estate agent apps in the world and each app contained 1,000 pages. That would mean a staggering 10,000,000 search results to compete with that previously didn't exist.
The content used within an app is likely to also become more important since it is likely to impact where you app appears in a search. As searchable app content becomes more established in 2016 we'll bring you the tips and tricks to make your app work harder for you.
Facebook Messenger for Business?
When it comes to dealing with customer service on social media, Twitter is the go-to channel for most marketers. But Facebook is in it to compete with Twitter and the launch of its Messenger for Business app could swing the balance in its favour.
And it's not just the two way chat of customer service that Facebook is looking to attract to its app. Facebook already has 45 million active businesses on its Pages within the traditional social media platform and has amassed 700 million active monthly users of its Messenger since its release as a standalone app little more than a year ago.
It is now looking to tie those two things together and is hailing Messenger for Business as a platform where businesses could exist, without relying on their own apps or even a website to link back to.
Rather than being positioned as simply a messaging app the aim is for businesses and consumers to interact through Messenger, for dinner reservations to be made, taxis to be booked and properties to be sold.
Currently available to select businesses in the US, we'll bring you more news on Facebook Messenger later in the year.