Online Marketing Trends for 2016 – What Should You Be Doing Now?

2015 was a big year for online marketing with the rise of mobile marketing, paid search, and content marketing.

Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to take a look at the future of online marketing. Here, we’ll discuss the major trends that influenced marketing in 2016 and what you should be doing now to prepare for the year to come.

Mobile Marketing Is The Way To Go

As the name suggests, mobile marketing focuses on marketing activities carried out via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Mobile marketing encompasses a variety of digital marketing tasks, including email marketing, search engine optimization, and paid advertising. Most notably, the rise of mobile marketing in 2016 was caused by the increasing number of people using their smartphones to access the internet. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 74% of American adults use their smartphones to get online, compared to just 28% who use a computer and 22% who rely on a tablet.

This trend is being fueled by the increasing number of American adults who use the internet. In 2015, there were 211.2 million American adults who used the internet; that’s up from 201.4 million in 2014 and 197.4 million in 2013. With more people getting online, come online marketers looking to reach them. This is where mobile marketing comes in.

Paid Search: Is It Still A Popular Choice?

Although SEO (search engine optimization) is not going anywhere, it’s clear that Google and other search engines prefer to reward websites that provide valuable content. As a result, organic search traffic gained considerable popularity last year. As noted by HubSpot Blogger, Eric Enge, in his article, “4 Trends That Will Define SEO in 2016,” organic search traffic grew by 24% in 2015 compared to the prior year.

It’s worth nothing that many SEO tactics come with a financial cost; however, the popularity of organic search suggests that marketing executives should continue investing in SEO as a useful tool for gaining website traffic and increasing brand awareness.

Content Marketing Is On the Rise

According to HubSpot Blogger, John Carlton, in a blog post published in January 2016, “content marketing is now considered mainstream marketing, as 86% of marketers say that they either use content to gain brand awareness or to sell a product. Furthermore, 84% of executives say that they use content to support marketing campaigns, and 74% of marketers say that they use in-house content (vs. third-party) to attract potential buyers.

Carlton goes on to say that content marketing is here to stay and that traditional marketing methods like advertising and sales referrals will continue to lose popularity.

Here’s the logic: consumers have more power than ever before, and they’re expressing themselves through different platforms. This allows marketers to engage with their audience wherever they choose, which in return, gains them more trust and loyalty. When potential buyers are having trouble deciding what product to purchase, companies should use content to provide valuable information about the products. This increases the odds that they’ll make a purchase decision, which is what companies want in the first place.

Email Marketing Is Still Relevant

In his article, “Email Marketing: Past, Present, and Future,” HubSpot Blogger Dan Zarella notes that email marketing is still one of the most effective methods of reaching potential customers. In fact, 40% of American adults still use email to get news, weather forecasts, bank transactions, and other information. This makes email marketing, quite simply, the best kept secret among digital marketers. Why? Email is still one of the most direct routes to the collective unconsciousness of any given population. A 2016 Contently research study found that 85% of American adults use email to get basic information. This includes news articles, weather alerts, and sports scores.

Despite its popularity, email marketing is not without its challenges. According to MarketingCharts, email marketing makes up 14% of total digital marketing budgets. This is compared to just 5% for social media marketing and 3% for search advertising.

Even so, email marketers should continue using this platform to keep their audiences engaged. After all, 40 million American adults still use email, while nearly a quarter of a billion people worldwide use TikTok, the popular video-sharing app.


Based on these trends, it’s clear that 2016 was a big year for online marketing. Mobile marketing, paid search, and content marketing are all here to stay, and that’s good news for marketers looking to build their business.

Organic search, in particular, grew by 24% in 2015 compared to the previous year, suggesting that SEO continues to be a useful tool for companies wanting to build a business.