Top Marketing Trends of 2016: New Marketing Methods

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In this multi-part series, we’ll look at upcoming trends in marketing in 2016 you should be prepared to address. Today, we’re looking at new marketing methods and how they’re faring.


What’s worth paying attention to in our buffet of new marketing methods? Stay on top of influencer marketing, and be cautious of content marketing.

Above, I’ve charted out 5 terms or industries using Google Trends.

  • The blue line represents overall digital marketing. It’s still ascending, still trending upwards.
  • The red dotted line represents the topic of influencer marketing. It’s just beginning to seriously trend.
  • The yellow dotted line represents the topic of social media marketing. Trendwise, it’s reached peak and has plateaued.
  • The green line represents Facebook marketing specifically. Note that it’s trended as well, but is almost synchronous with social media marketing.
  • The purple dotted line represents the topic of content marketing. Its curve shows that it may have already peaked as well.

Why do Google Trends matter? Trends charts out searches over time. The more people search for something, the more interested people are in that topic. For example, our fellow marketers are likely the ones doing most of these searches. If our profession has started to search less about content marketing, we might have started to give up on the field. We might also call it something different.

What do the above trends mean? Digital marketing as a whole isn’t going anywhere. In fact, as a field, as a general search category, it is just beginning to trend. We can see this from the ever-steepening slope of the blue line.

The yellow and green lines for social media marketing in general and Facebook marketing in specific appear to have trended. They peaked, and now they’re more or less holding steady. Social media marketing has reached maturity. It’s still relevant; these two search categories are the highest by volume of individual new marketing methods. They’re not going anywhere. However, your chances of “getting in early” in social media marketing are obviously long over; you would have needed to get in early in 2009, when the trend first took off.

The purple content marketing line appears to have peaked as well. We are struggling with content marketing – not because we don’t know what it is, but because marketers have flooded the Internet with content. Mark Schaefer calls this content shock; we have far more supply than demand. Should content marketing be part of your digital marketing strategy? Yes. Should it be what you spend every last dime on this year? No.

The red influencer marketing line is the one I’m paying most attention to. Mathematically, it’s just getting going. Influencer marketing began to trend as a search term, as an area of focus, in 2015. People – presumably marketers and influencers – are searching for it in increasing volume.

We should not be surprised by the ascendance of influencer marketing. Facebook and Google both change their algorithms with great frequency and opacity. Influencers are a form of insurance against those changes; a well-run influencer marketing program creates a critical mass of loyal audience by transferring loyalty from influencer to us. If what we have to offer engenders loyalty, then our influencers plus our loyalists keep our digital properties popular despite algorithm change.

For new marketing methods, where should you be planning your 2016 focus?

  • Digital marketing is where the action is.
  • Social media marketing should be a key part of your overall mix.
  • When we say social marketing, we really mean Facebook marketing.
  • Content marketing is important but not an all-in bet.
  • If you’re not good at influencer marketing, get up to speed as soon as you can.

In the final post in this series, we’ll look at how the stalwarts of digital marketing are faring.

Top Marketing Trends of 2016 posts:

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