Who doesn’t love a good “trends” article at the beginning of a new year? At Yeoman, we’re always glued to the latest tech news, and we’re pleased to present our in-depth trends report for 2016 as a three-part series.

Don’t worry. We’re going to start with the good stuff: the trends you really need to be aware of and ready to act on over the next 4 quarters. We’ll follow that up with trends you may want to read up on, but can probably just take a wait-and-see attitude toward until next year. Then, just for fun, we’ll lay out our predictions for all the “hottest” trends and “buzziest” buzz words we think we’ll all forget faster than the words to Auld Lang Syne.  

Act Now

In case you haven’t heard, more Americans than ever are cutting the cord to their TVs, stepping away from their desktop PCs, and using mobile devices—that is, smart phones and tablets—for everything from dating and  grocery shopping to banking and business deals. This is hardly a new trend. However, a whole new type of marketing has arisen in response to this dramatic shift in consumer behavior, and if you’re not on the bandwagon with these trends yet…you need to hop on.

Doubling down on content marketing: Content marketing has already fundamentally changed how marketing departments operate. Sharing interesting, non-promotional content across multiple channels builds stronger engagement with prospects and walks them down the path to purchase. Content marketing has been so effective that eighty-two percent of respondents to the 2015 Content Benchmarking Survey said they plan to produce more content in 2016 than they did last year. If you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place, it’s time to get moving. If you do, it may be time to step it up a notch. That brings us to….

Keeping up with social media: Again, social media is not big news, but this channel continues to evolve…and you need to evolve to keep up with it. Case in point: a study by Brandwatch revealed that out of over 72K online updates by individuals expressing their the desire to make a purchase from a specific brand, less than 1% were followed up on. This adds up to $36 billion in missed revenue opportunities. What social media platforms should you be on? That depends on your business, but LinkedIn is a good bet. B2B Marketing’s 2015 Social Media Benchmarking Report has revealed that 58% of professionals believe LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform, followed at a distant second by Twitter at 24%. Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest were all in the single digits, but keep an eye on them, as thing change rapidly in this space.

Getting started with video ads: Here at Yeoman, we saw a huge increase in activity with our clients’ video ads over this past year. And video ads are STILL cheap to promote, so you can get a big bang for the buck. Short, high-quality video clips with a clear call to action are the big winners.

Going mobile: If you haven’t made the leap yet, this is definitely the year for you to get mobile. Mobile commerce is expected to increase from 15% of digital sales in 2015 to 23% in 2016, so now is the time to work on your mobile presence. We really shouldn’t be saying this, but even our clients with terrible mobile sites get activity on mobile ads. This is really a case of just getting something going, and then working perfecting it over time.  

Tune in next week when we reveal the trends you should be keeping an eye on for next year.

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