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The 3 Big Digital Marketing Trends That Emerged in 2016

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As 2016 comes to a close, marketers are starting to make predictions about the upcoming digital trends for the new year. One of the best ways to do this is by looking back at the big digital marketing trends that made a splash in 2016. Below, we’ve put together a year in review to recap some of the top digital tactics that marketers used to engage their target audience in 2016.

Top Digital Marketing Trends of 2016

This was a year filled with many digital marketing successes. Here are 3 of the big digital marketing trends that took off in 2016:

1. Search on Social Media

According to Nielsen Research, Facebook took up 22% of the internet time that Americans spent on their mobile devices, as compared to the 11% on YouTube and Google search combined. Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that people were using the social media platform to search for brands and other information. In fact, users were searching 1 billion times per day on Facebook alone.
Though SEO was still a must for brands who wanted to gain visibility and remain competitive in the online marketplace, companies also found that it was worthwhile to increase their digital marketing efforts on social channels like Facebook and Twitter. By optimizing their social media profiles, more brands took advantage of each platform’s developing search capabilities.

2. Experiential Marketing with Video Streaming

Videos had become a must for brands who wanted to engage their online audience. In fact, the average internet user was exposed to an average of 32.3 videos a month, and YouTube reported that mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. However, as more consumers started to respond and engage with the more experiential marketing, brands continued to make live videos with streaming apps such as Periscope and Facebook Live.
By incorporating live streaming into their marketing tactics, brands were better able to offer their customers, followers, and leads a better interactive experience as opposed to a one-dimensional marketing campaign. Brands would “go live” to make important announcements, host live Q & As, give a behind the scenes look, and share event experiences, users would follow along and commented as if they were right there.

3. Visual Advertising with Instagram and Snapchat

As Instagram and Snapchat became more and more popular in the U.S., brands started to take notice. Instagram allowed brands to deliver less intrusive visual marketing campaigns, since sponsored Instagram posts appeared right in the user’s feed and looked much like a standard Instagram post, it felt less intrusive and users were more likely to engage brands.
While Instagram was a great platform for engaging consumers in a non-intrusive format, brands also used snapchat as a mobile marketing tactic to deliver advertising with an expiration date. This allowed brands to develop integrated marketing campaigns that provided exclusive content that only existed for a short period of time. While this may not appeal to every consumer, it is an excellent tactic for brands who were advertising to younger generations.

Year End Summary

This is by no means a comprehensive list, these popular 2016 digital trends give marketers and business owners a better idea of the current state of digital marketing. We can’t say for sure what’s on the horizon for digital marketing in the new year. However, if these 2016 trends are any indication, 2017 will be a year of marketing innovation as businesses continue to find better ways to connect with their audience online.
If you want to get ahead on your 2017 print and digital marketing strategies, contact us today for your marketing consultation. We would love to be apart of your print and digital marketing successes in the new year.

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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!