10 digital branding and marketing trends to watch for in 2016

Savvy communicators are already taking advantage of changes with technology to automate tasks and better reach consumers. Here are trends that will dominate.

Tried-and-true marketing strategies will never go out of style, but savvy marketers also keep up with current trends.

Social media and the popularity of mobile use has affected how brand managers create and share content, interact with consumers and measure success.

Here are 10 things to watch for in 2016:

1. Facebook video is now king.

YouTube’s app received the second most unique visitors year over year; Facebook ranked higher.

With YouTube acting as the now-disputed king of online video and Facebook beefing up its own video platform, 2016 is poised for brands ready to commit to mobile video marketing.

2. You only have five seconds to grab attention.

Analytics Research shows that when it comes to mobile video advertising, if you don’t catch the attention of the viewer in the first five seconds, engagement drops dramatically.

Whether it’s humor, drama or shock value, the premium for higher results is what happens in the first five seconds.

3. Marketing automation will continue to grow.

As marketing automation platforms mature and collect big data, marketers will struggle to turn the numbers into tactics and make intelligent decisions.

The platforms are not the solution; they are the tool to make better decisions for both demand generation and customer experience.

4. The shared economy brings opportunities.

The notion that even affluent customers are looking to make extra money is revolutionizing the concept of social sharing.

Physical transactions such as transportation, hotel rentals, driving your own car and sharing resources are rampant in digital startups like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and Tinder.

5. Privacy is the new piracy.

Many organizations, from banks to The White House to the military, have experienced cyber security attacks and stolen data. Data piracy will become a major concern as new collaborative platforms such as e-healthcare records, accounting online service providers and other software companies will be trusted with your utmost secrets.

Who you can trust will become a branding issue, not a cyber security issue.

6. B2B technology will be affected by B2C demands.

From both a design and content perspective, Customer Experience and User Interface on your desktop, tablet or smart phone have been initially owned by impulse-based B2C advertising to consumer brands.

In 2016, as B2B corporate buyers use the same devices for work, they’ll expect their suppliers, vendors and partners to match the business-to-consumer experience. Demands for speed, responsiveness and ease of use—even with the most complex B2B enterprise software systems—will increase.

The divide between what’s right for B2B and B2C will diminish by default of the standardization of the devices being used.

7. Your boss might be a bot.

As marketing and customer relationship management platforms automate tasks, many marketers will find themselves reporting to a robotic system rather than a human being.

Organizations might struggle to identify when a human needs to be involved, like when to send a tweet or determine the timing of a campaign based on market research data.

8. Your brand reputation isn’t an algorithm.

Online reputation management will transform from predominantly robotic SEO to authoritative content that is shared with third-party validated media platforms.

It won’t be enough to match up with the latest Google algorithm for ranking, and it’ll surpass your tactic of only sharing old-school wire releases.

Download the free white paper, “How to be a brand journalist,” to learn how to tell your organization’s compelling stories.

9. Authentic and anonymous employer and product reviews are paramount.

As 2015 comes to a close, giants like Amazon that receive backlash are responding with adding “verified purchase” to their product reviews. Trust has dramatically eroded, and consumers question the authenticity of product promotions vs. genuine reviews.

That struggle will grow as employer review sites face the same issue of verifying the authenticity of company reviews. Until now, they’ve had little to no consequences. However, the threat of litigation will force them to act, and the pressure to generate advertising revenue will result in more paid sponsorship and reviews, which will further erode consumer confidence in the trusted brands.

10. It’s not you; it’s your phone.

With GPS-enabled apps such as Google Maps and Waze—which enable your smartphone to pinpoint your location at all times—marketers will create new ways to remind and reward you for stopping by their store.

Loyalty coupons are already sent to your smartphone, and will become the new way to get your business. It’ll eventually replace the old coupon-clipping routine.

Share these trends through the following infographic:

Gal Borenstein is the founder and CEO of the Borenstein Group, a top digital marketing communications firm Washington, D.C. He is also the author of “ACTIVATE! How to Power Up Your Brand to Dominate Your Market, Crush Your Competition & Win in the Digital Age.”

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