Posted by Brenda Timm, VP – Strategic Communication & Online Services

Now that we’ve officially welcomed 2016, the big buzz in the marketing world has been focused on what kind of trends to expect for the year ahead, especially online.

We’ve been combing through the articles and found some interesting stuff in the process. While there are a lot of specific ideas and predictions floating around to contemplate, one piece from Inc. seemed to provide a pretty good look at the bigger picture.

A few highlights with our interpretations:

  • Responsive Sites – The real push to develop responsive/mobile-friendly websites occurred last spring when Google announced that this format would become a factor in its ranking criteria. Since then, more and more businesses are realizing the importance of proper site display on all types of devices, and they’re seeing a shift in the numbers from desktop to mobile traffic. The result? Existing websites are starting to convert and new ones will be built as responsive right from the get-go.
  • SEO + Content Marketing – Year after year, we hear the same argument that SEO is losing/already lost its effectiveness. But as any experienced marketer knows, SEO is still very much alive … just constantly evolving. For 2016, SEO and content marketing will go hand in hand. As the search engines get smarter in understanding what type of content people are looking for, the carefully (and continually) optimized sites with well-crafted, relevant content will continue to benefit.
  • Video and Interactive Content – People are more engaged online than ever before and video has played a major role in that. This won’t change in 2016. Consider the growing fascination with YouTube and then mix in the popularity of other social channels like Facebook and Twitter. As far as web content goes, users have shown that they tend to be very visual, prefer things that can be personalized and like the opportunity to give feedback. Plus, the more shareable the piece (think quizzes, polls, photos and videos), the better.

It’s exciting to see what direction online marketing will take in 2016, but one thing is certain: every strategy we put in place should be focused on catering to the customer. All three of the trends outlined here – a shift to responsive sites, optimizing quality web copy and including more interactive content – are definitely about that.