The trends defining your marketing success in 2016 (Part 2)
In the second part of the Freshfield team’s annual look at the main PR and marketing trends for the year ahead, we discuss issues including search success, the need to protect customer data, and gaining a better understanding of target customers.
Search has become more than just rankings
As online marketing becomes more mature each year, success will be measured more by the overall online presence of the brand, not just its website ranking. As businesses fight it out on the content battleground, brands will strive on increasing engagement to keep visitors coming back to their website. Website features such as a good layout on all devices will help you stand out from the crowd.
This year will see websites more integrated with other online channels such as social media. Google has already made steps to improve how social content appears in search results and has deals in place with Facebook and Twitter to increase the exposure of social posts. This means a social post could carry a value similar to any independent web page and further blur the lines between social content and website content. In short, successful businesses are the ones who perform well in three key areas of online marketing – visibility, engagement and conversion. If a business is under-performing in any of these key areas, it could be missing out to a competitor. By Steve Baker
Your brand needs to be friendly, fast and accessible
With customer engagement through social media and video now the norm, businesses have great platforms to breathe life into their visual storytelling. Short videos and animations, like the one below, can make for a more visual user experience and we’ll see more of this as content is made primarily with mobile in mind.
Infographics will continue to flourish as businesses look to make both online and offline browsing experiences user-friendly, fast and accessible. Flat, simple and icon-based designs influenced by the app culture, and primarily seen online, will filter more into print-based media. By Samit Nayi
Demand for video cannot be ignored
The rise of connected technology, smart TVs and unlimited broadband deals has completely changed the way we consume media. Consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 per cent of all consumer internet traffic globally by 2019, according to Cisco. As smart TVs have become more prevalent, video to TV and consumer video on demand (VOD) has also dramatically increased. Every device is now capable of streaming video, often at a resolution we couldn’t have dreamed of just a few years ago. While there will always be a place for written content and longform articles, Video should now be an important part of any marketing strategy as businesses look to engage with their audiences in the way they want to receive information – online, through social media, and visually. By Ben Hewes
Cyber-security should be a top priority
When hackers exposed 32 million members of the Ashley Madison ‘adultery’ website in 2015 by posting their names, addresses and credit card details online it was a severe blow to the brand. TalkTalk customers experienced a similar fate, when over a million names, phone numbers and email addresses, along with the bank details of 21,000 customers, were accessed by hackers. Rising concern about cyber-crime will impact people’s trust and willingness to share data online and with companies. Google has also announced it will begin favouring secure HTTPS websites in search rankings over the standard HTTP websites to protect people from cybercrime. The PR lesson for businesses of all sizes is to ensure customer data is protected at all costs. By Jennifer Peacock
Engagement is still the critical success factor
Businesses need to continue moving away from obsessing over the number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ their pages have and focus more on the levels of engagement their content receives with relevant audiences. With social media platforms now saturated with businesses fighting for consumers’ attention, organisations need to consider paid-for social media advertising to get their content seen by the right people, such as this post below which targeted directly couples who were engaged to be married.
Investing in posts will not only drive conversation instantly, but will reap rewards in the long term by growing your online community and increasing website clicks and conversions. By Samantha Booth
Seize the opportunities to know your customer better
Customer research used to be relatively unscientific. Now there’s so much data available from customer databases, online transactions, social media demographics, website analytics, and so on, it’s possible to build up a more detailed picture of who your target customer is. I recently heard about a personal finance company that narrowed down its ‘typical’ customer to such an extent they were able to give him a name and say what kind of house and town he lived in. It’s become imperative for businesses to know their audience inside out if they’re to influence them and stay ahead of the competition. By Andrew Taylor
Read more of our thoughts in Part One of this blog.