January 11, 2016

Online marketing trends we’ll see in 2016

Clickagy: One way to slurp up the big data in your sector.

Get data-driven and adaptive in your online strategies

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, educators, Web publishers.

Chris AbrahamIf you’re here visiting from a global Fortune 500 company, you may already know some of the online marketing tools outlined below because, until now, only enterprises could afford to innovate and integrate the sort of services and application development required to go from the standard WordPress + Google AnalyticsGoogle AdWords + MailChimp + Facebook set-up that most SMBs are rocking for their web presence and online marketing.

Adaptive websites

robotic-29431_1280I thought I was pretty clever when I realized that you can use regular expressions (regex) to do global search and replace across an entire website with either direct access to your back-end relational database or via a convenient plugin. Before that, we did it all by hand, which is pretty crazy since most websites currently running even the smallest company brand is database-backed! Even the freebie open source MySQL is actually capable of amazing things. So, there are amazing things you can do with just the set-up you probably already have running your WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and even your Plone site.

As you probably know, the more you leverage the power of your database by adding plug-ins, the impossibly slower and unresponsive your website will be — Google hates that! So, the good news is that an entire industry of intermediary services has been developed to act like a value-added useful buffer between your underpowered and affordable web hosting package both your visitors and, more importantly, Google.

robot-312208_1280You might be familiar with Zemanta‘s Editorial Assistantand Related Posts, a couple of very useful WordPress plug-ins, but there are also some powerful services that can live between your blog and their browsers. Tools like RevealedContext and SoloSegment easily allow you to add very sophisticated functionality by taking the mature functionality of the Content Delivery Network (CDN), which is known for acting as a globally distributed cache for your site, and then actually interceding and adding value and functionality without ever needing to touch your website.

The prices are coming down and it’s always nicer to outsource the functionality of your website to a service that’s always keeping up with the trends and constantly making smart updates and decisions on your behalf while you just need to keep your brochureware website current and updated with content while these services take care of everything else: the who, when, where, why, and how. It’s amazing stuff.

And, guess what? A lot of it’s free, some of it’s cheap, and a lot of the best solutions make more sense then ever. And the free ones? Well, they’re probably making all their money from slurping, analyzing, using, and selling your site’s real data — it just might be worth it for you. Want to learn  more? Pre-order Outside-In Marketing by James Mathewson and Mike Moran

Don’t worry: until now, none of your competitors have been as data-driven or nearly as adaptive or reactive as is currently even more than possible — but as of 2016, things are going to get mighty competitive as prices lower, things become easier and cheaper to implement, resource-wise, and then actually follow-up and use, every day.

Programmatic advertising for ad arbitrage

Until now, advertising has been a real challenge: aren’t we all overspending? Don’t you feel like no matter what you do you’re getting soaked? Well, it’s impossible. All the best keyword strings have already been taken. And, if you spend some time experimenting, there’s a lot of associated risk. It’s just like investing in the stock market: brokerages and agencies always have the advantages; and, high-revenue corporations can just absorb some bad decisions as part of a larger plan (which is, they can afford to make bad decisions).

Services like Clickagy use all the big data they’re slurping up to allow you to let their service do the same thing you and I have been doing mostly by hand

Services like Clickagy use all the big data they’re slurping up from everywhere, both real time and historical, to allow you to let their service do the same thing you and I have been doing mostly by hand by Keyword Planner, WordStream, and MOZ but real-time, dynamically, and whereas I might work across 10-100 keyword phrases, programmatic marketing can scale to an active keyword list in the thousands that adapts according to affordability, in order to avoid click fraud, and then follow all those ads all the way through to conversions and sales.

Things are evolving, prices are still very high, and the advertising industry is super-pissed that there’s now a technology that’ll pretty much cut them out of their lucrative ad-spend-dependent high-life, chopping out the highly-profitable click-fraud-fueled revenue, and the process isn’t as automated and B2C as it’ll become sooner than later, but if a programmatic advertising does its job right, advertising costs could easily be a quarter of what you’re used to and click fraud could easily become a thing of the past.

Keep your eyes on programmatic ad buying in 2016.

Marketing automation software for the rest of us

Until now, marketing automation software has only been accessible, affordable, and viable to enterprises.  Until recently, the buy-in started at $2,000/month and the sky was the limit. In the world of free, even SalesFusion’s $500/month has been too dear in a world where it seems like you can get everything for free.

Because small businesses have historically been so tight-fisted and because marketing automation platforms have historically done a terrible job of explaining what they can do and why automating your marketing and sales process is no longer optional and nice to have, it’s the only real way one can both optimize one’s time in a world where marketing, sales, content, direct marketing, email marketing, reporting, and remembering anniversaries and birthdays aren’t even remotely in your core competencies. I know that for me, my core competencies are social media marketingdigital PR, influencer outreach and engagement, reputation management, and Wikipedia curation services.

Well, you know how it is, right? The cobbler’s company has no shoes. But if you think about all the things you do every day by cobbling together 100 different disparate services, having all of those solutions packaged together into one integrated soup-to-nuts data-driven platform is finally something you’ll no longer be able to ignore in 2016.

What’s top of mind for you? 

Have an incredible 2016, from me and the Gerris and Socialmedia.biz family.

What have I missed in terms of what’s coming down the pike and important in 2016? Pop them into the comments or let me know on Facebook or Twitter.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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