7 Must-Do Digital Marketing Channels for 2016

By October 28, 2015Strategy

As an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Hawke Media, in the heart of Silicon Beach, I notice many tech startups and established companies becoming more fixated on identifying the next shiny digital marketing technology or trend. Maybe this is fueled by the desire for a competitive edge, or just plain silliness. Often these new strategies are enacted without an actionable plan.

Remember a few years back when “big data” was all of the rage.  Seasoned digital marketers knew that “big data” was simply a way of describing data that is high volume or highly variable. IT Executives erroneously allocated budget dollars to data warehousing and “big data” projects that never came to fruition. Now “big data” is not so shiny.

I explain to business leaders that commitment to an integrated marketing approach, based on past insights and baseline KPIs, is a commitment to a foundation of steady and sustainable growth. Results should be viewed over a longer time horizon. Marketing channels perform differently and optimize at different spend levels. Marketers would be wise to remember this when they chase the next technology fad or trend. The only shiny objects should be quarterly and annual revenue growth. All other shiny objects should be kept in the peripheral and viewed through the prism of how the support growth.

Here are Seven Must-Do Marketing Channels that are vital to brand growth for 2016:

  1. Influencer Channel via Content Syndication

The process of pushing your curated or original content (blogs, sites or videos) out into 3rd party sites, either as a full article, blurb, link or thumbnail.

  1. Shopping Ads Channel via Google and Bing

In 2012, Google moved shopping ads (product listing ads) from organic to a pure ppc play. This is a feed-based product. The feeds are submitted via Google’s Merchant Center and the product images + description + price is rendered in search results. In a nutshell, Shopping Ads is a highly visual and effective marketing channel.

  1. Geofencing via Mobile In-App Ads Platforms

Geofencing creates GPS marketing campaigns. A mobile notification, text message or an email alert is sent to the prospect when his or her device enters (or exits) a defined boundary.

  1. Mobile In-App Ads via Mobile App Publishers

An in-app ad is an ad displayed within a mobile phone application. Different ads are banners on screen or mobile interstitial. In 2014 a study showed that consumers use mobile apps more than mobile web. Furthermore, ads on apps get much higher click-thru than ads on the mobile Web is 0.58% on apps vs. only 0.23% on the mobile web.

  1. Email Database Monetization

In-house email databases tend to convert at higher rates than other channels. Building email capture, email segmentation, email nurturing, cart abandonment and promotional email strategies can lower your CPA and generate serious revenue.  

  1. Paid Search via Google and Bing

Although CPC and competition are increasing, paid search is a standard and effective digital tool for customer acquisition and branding. Note that in 2015 Bing has gained search engine marketing share.

  1. Social Media Ads via Facebook and Instagram

Reality is that Facebook drives approximately 25% of all web traffic. Advertisers leverage traffic driving channels. Just like paid search, Facebook Ad channel is a standard and effective digital tool for customer acquisition and branding.

As for Instagram in Q2 2015, most companies gained access to this ad platform. This channel is developing and I expect improved targeting will increase click-thru rates.

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