2016 Will Be the Year of Mobile Engagement in Digital Marketing

Online marketing is always evolving. What worked brilliantly for your business’s rankings last month may not work quite as well today, and those ideas you have for next week’s new techniques could fall foul of Google’s algorithmic changes.

To get the most out of your digital marketing campaign, staying up to date with the most effective methods is crucial: miss an approaching trend, and you could fall behind. Still, given the rate of change and the complexities involved, this is often easier said than done: every year, massive changes take place in hardware, software, and trends.

2016 is, of course, no different. What worked for you last year may well need a total revision, or areas you began to experiment in could take on much greater importance to your online presence.

Mobile Is Set to Beat Desktop Searches

In 2015, Google announced that mobile traffic had overtaken desktop traffic across 10 countries (including Japan and the United States). In their words, this presented ‘a tremendous opportunity for marketers to reach people throughout all the new touchpoints of a consumer’s path to purchase’, giving brands the chance to target their existing and potential customers at any time, any place.

Mobile search is set to be so important to the industry that, in a recent discussion, Google suggested businesses could focus on producing a website optimized for mobiles without worrying about optimizing for desktop-usage. It appears that they believe traffic generated by desktop searches will slowly but surely fade, leaving mobile as the predominant source of online activity.

Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ update last year changed the way in which its algorithm assessed and organized websites that are either friendly or unfriendly to mobile traffic.

Those sites which were well-optimized to accommodate searches from mobile devices (and Google classes mobiles as smartphones, putting tablets in the same category as desktops, as bizarre as it may seem) would, in theory at least, enjoy greater visibility, whereas others would see their visibility decline.

While desktop searches clearly aren’t going anywhere (think how many people use this technology in their everyday work alone, never mind those who prefer to browse at their laptops rather than on their phone), Google is clearly paving the way for a more mobile-orientated system.

Businesses should work hard to provide customers with the best possible mobile-search experience in 2016, incorporating fast-loading pages, outstanding response times, and simple navigation on smaller screens.

Live-Video Streaming: Bringing the Human Touch to Every Brand

Periscope is a fairly new app (owned by Twitter), but the potential benefits it offers businesses of all sizes, across all industries, is already obvious.

Using this app, anyone is able to broadcast their videos live, for free, giving them a chance to communicate with their followers and existing/potential customers in real-time.

Periscope (and other live-streaming apps, like Hangouts and Meerkat) give companies a valuable opportunity to lend a human face to their profile – while the ease of producing and uploading YouTube videos has already done this in part, live broadcasting itself offers greater interaction.

For example, a business selling electronic goods can live-stream an introduction to a new product, walking potential customers through its features and functions. By presenting a guide to the latest smart television in real-time (for example), a company can invite followers to ask questions and comment on what they are seeing, saving viewers the time and effort of searching for answers afterward.

Over time, live-streaming with the same members of staff or managers will allow a greater rapport to develop between the brand and its customers, building stronger long-term relationships. As apps like Periscope become more popular, and brands experiment with its potential, live-streaming will take on greater importance to the digital-marketing industry.

App Indexing will Boost Online Visibility for More Brands

App indexing is Google’s way of indexing apps in the same way they do websites. Links in Android apps appear in search results, providing users with a faster way to explore a business’s mobile platform. App indexing will present all relevant content from within the app itself (alongside the standard web results) for searches performed on a mobile device.

When app indexing was first introduced back in 2013, results only included those from apps the user had installed at the time. However, since then, uninstalled ones will be included, helping businesses lead people to their apps.

By optimizing app-content for Google’s indexers, companies will be able to attract new users to their app, delivering a more complete mobile experience in less time. Rather than compelling people to download the app through normal means (social media, blogs, advertisements etc.), businesses in 2016 can cut out much of the ‘middle man’.

What do these three trends tell us? That mobile-engagement will play a key role in boosting businesses’ online visibility in 2016, helping to build stronger relationships between customer and provider. As apps continue to play a bigger role in the mobile experience, integrating communication with these (such as Periscope) is an ideal way to capitalize on popular tools while expanding reach.

All companies, regardless of sector, should explore the potential benefits mobile-based marketing offers them – it may revolutionize their entire strategy, for the better.

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