At the back end of 2015, we all sat down as an agency and discussed where we think the different aspects of marketing will evolve in 2016, so take a look and let us know what you think.
Jon Butler, Big Brand Ideas Managing Director, talking about brand
It’s all about engagement, with the search landscape constantly shifting, creating engaging content that works through social channels is only going to increase. As a result, it’s becoming a harder place for companies without creativity to flourish. Big brands will continue to succeed as they have the financial clout and mass following to produce brilliant content for their target audience.
For the new kids on the block, it’s harder than ever to break through! Content for content’s sake will simply not wash! To win today, you have to be bold, be creative and offer interactive experiences. The continuation of richer online content that consumers demand will only continue to develop, as technology enables us to engage with people more than ever!
Tim Butler, Head of Web Development
Nothing stands still in the digital world, and there are a number of new techniques and technologies that we’re excited about. As ever, there’s always a balancing act between offering the latest, cutting edge tech versus compatibility and performance concerns. Here are a few of my predictions for 2016:
Offline-first will start to take off – sites/web apps will update in the background, making use of service workers to stay connected. This will allow us to create native app-like features for websites, such as push notifications and background sync.
Everything will be animated – think animated gifs, but bigger and potentially more annoying.
Flexbox will become mainstream – a new(ish) CSS technique that is gaining more and more browser support. This will make complex, flexible layouts easier to build and maintain.
Stephen Ainsworth, Senior Web Developer
I’m with Tim on the animation thing. I think we’ll see a lot more moving parts.
Hopefully we’ll start to see people moving away from the hamburger + full screen header image, but with a lot of people still using pre-made themes things might start to feel a bit samey in terms of UI/UX.
James Lowery, Director of Strategy
The one thing that matters most to Google when it comes to organic search is brand.
Users want to see diversity in the search results, and get access to information and businesses that they can trust. Users want to see brands, so that’s what Google and Bing give them: Websites which have a clear identity, great content, and which have clear authority.
Our unique approach to search is structured to help search engines find your content; understand it; and ultimately make it visible to your customers. There are 3 main elements to our approach, that reinforce each other to deliver outstanding results.
Dan Bell, Head of Search
Search as we know it will continue to evolve as Google (and other search engines) take more personalised signals to better understand the user. I believe we will see the first page of search results constantly changing and less focus on a list of 10 websites for a search query, and more of an experience related to driving a user to the answer they are looking for.
Rob Sproston, Head of Paid Search
Year of the mobile, again!
The number of people using mobiles was higher than desktop/tablet for the first time this year and that trend will continue into 2016 as advertisers need to look at ways of attributing mobile ‘researchers’ who later convert on desktop. This also emphasises the need for all businesses to have a mobile optimised website.
Paid search will continue to dominate the paid landscape. Examples of 4 paid search ads appearing at the top of the SERP are being tested further pushing organic rankings down the page.
Rise of paid social – As CPC’s increase on search engines advertisers will look to shift budget into social channels that offer a cheaper CPC and therefore more traffic for their money.
Video ads will become a mainstay in most digital strategies – Google has mentioned in-SERP video advertising could be on the horizon whilst the video ads functionality in Google AdWords is more prominent than ever.
Adam Britton, Digital Innovation Manager
With the ever rising presence of Big Data and Marketing Automation consumers expect to be sold to in a completely unique way more than ever before. Gone are the days of cold calling and blanket email marketing, this is now frowned if not laughed upon. With technology and software being so readily available to marketers and sales people it will be deemed lazy not to use them in 2016. Sales people always have and always will look for leads to drop in further down their sales funnel, these technologies allow this to happen. As we know, understanding your audience and the content that resonates with them is the first step of a good marketing strategy. We hear online every day “Content is King” however, if the content is not relevant for your audience you may as well save your money. We had a major spike in brands releasing content for contents sake in 2015, I believe more brands will wake up to the fact that they need to release content for a reason and invest in a proper outreach plan to get the most out of said content.
Rob Bolt, Head of Design
Material Style Design – flat style design has matured into material style design. Adding more depth to the flat style through lighting with shadows and highlights. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this style in 2016
Cinemagraphs are becoming more and more common place to bring life into an otherwise static image at the top of your website. They bring this area to life without the use of a video. Making it much more engaging.
Data Visualisation – infographics have been the norm for a while now, but more and more companies are waking up to using great visuals to tell what could be an otherwise laborious task of reading large paragraphs and statistics. Good use of animation, video etc keeps the consumer engaged and informed far quicker this way.
Mat Lucas, Lead Designer
While the influx of prototyping software has exploded — to the point of which there is a new one every week — I think that 2016 will sort the wheat from the chaff. With Adobe’s new prototyping software looking for an early release next year. It will be good to see what they offer and if they can keep up with the snappy smaller teams.
While each has a benefit with high fidelity UI interactions or an overview UX flow of a whole product. It would be good to see a jack of all trades come along and take it’s seat as the go-to generalist. We will still have the need for these other products for more bespoke, detailed interactions, but I predict a general prototyping tool that will find it’s place within the designers & developer toolkit.
Jodie Houghton, Digital Account Manager
The transformation of newsletters as we know them! Towards the end of 2015 I subscribed to a newly launched and hotly anticipated lifestyle newsletter called Lenny Letter. You just subscribe like you would with a normal newsletter to get it sent to your inbox twice a week. The thing that makes it different to other newsletters is that all of the content sits within the newsletter. So there are no links sending readers elsewhere. You are literally delivered a full piece of content to your inbox, whether that’s an interview or an opinion piece.
Considering the importance of unique and interesting content in marketing today, it seems like a natural progression for newsletters to veer from the sales side and towards the actual value to the subscriber. Not something that would work for every industry, but I’d like to see some experiments take place in 2016.
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level in 2016, please call Adam – our Digital Innovation Manager on 0161 441 4740. Alternatively drop him a line to [email protected].