In 2015 we saw a lot of shifts like mobile searches taking over desktop and app usage gaining ground against browser usage for discovering things like directions and restaurants to gifts and even sourcing new products or gift ideas. Companies like Facebook are still investing a ton of money into virtual reality and technology is continuing to become cheaper. Because of this we’ll see some new things launching more mainstream in 2016.
Feel free to leave your own thoughts on new things or expanded things that will start making more of an appearance in 2016 in the comments section below.
Virtual Reality for Your Website, Service and Store
Virtual reality is now a reality for many of us and a growing trend. A few companies are already using this in some cool ways. If you aren’t thinking of it for your business yet, here are a few things that could happen, have happened and that you could try to do if you want to be a front runner instead of playing catch up.
- Marriott (hotels and travel) – Marriott has already begun using Virtual Reality for their business. They’ve been sending out large VR tubes for travel agents and random users at events to try out. Inside the vacationer can experience Marriott properties like they’re actually there. If a travel agent has clients looking for a vacation, they could also get to pick their vacation by exploring the property instead of having to ask the agent a million questions. If you’re at home and planning a vacation, imagine going to a travel site and browsing properties in virtual reality instead of just looking at a few pictures.
- Ecommerce stores – We already have datafeeds and almost everyone can upload images of themselves to the internet with smartphones and digital cameras. What if ecommerce stores combine the two so that people can browse available inventory and try products on. If you use something that comes in a standard size like a coin or a dollar, now the app could size the product to your image so that you could try it on virtually. You could look up and down, in a mirror and from different angles if you take a few photos or even a video with your body.
- Chat in virtual reality – People comment that chatting online and through apps doesn’t give you any real interaction with people and decrease your social skills. What if Facebook messenger, What’s App, Skype and other chat services began using the video camera that faces you on your phone, gaming system or device and projects you and who you’re chatting with into a virtual setting where you can chat 1 on 1, in a group or any place you would prefer. This type of interaction can help with people who are breaking up have a safe zone that feels like you’re there, couples in a long distance relationship feel like they are together and employees in a virtual space feel like they’re in the same room during a meeting.
Virtual reality is a really cool tool and as we move into 2016, we’ll start to see more companies embracing it and using it to help create a better web and at home experience.
Apps and App Promotion Budgets Will Become More Important
People are using apps to find products, places to eat, restaurants that deliver, what to do when you’re bored and for things that used to be something search engines would handle. Although they won’t replace search engines anytime soon (good news for affiliates and SEOs) your budgets and marketing methods may need to change.
As people start sourcing with apps, you may find less sales coming in from the search engines. If this trend continues, you may have to start finding out which apps match your customers demographics, what apps they use the most and begin testing ads to download your own app or go to your store inside from these apps. You also need to build loyalty as the go to solution for your industry or niche.
Push messages will become even more obnoxious so think of something different. How can you become something they instantly go to? Also think of your branding and if your app has a cool and easy to remember nickname. You can try running contests in the app and app only deals to get more people trying it out. Think about how else you can keep you customers using your app and making it a go to place. Thinking about how to get your app installed on new customers devices is also important for 2016.
It’s still cheap to run install campaigns on social media and you can run download our app campaigns from other apps. One other option could be to create a partnership with complementary apps where you cross promote each other.
Get creative and try investing some of your PPC or other marketing budgets in getting app installs. If Millennials and other smart phone addicted groups are your target, apps could be something you start needing to rely on sooner than later. If you can get them installed and loyal now, it’ll be a lot cheaper than trying in the future as ad costs increase with more market demand.
Google Search Is Turning into an app experience
Google is launching AMPs soon, they let you find deals on flights, make hotel reservations and even find recipes in search results. Google search is now basically an app on steroids and eliminating the need to click through to your actual website and website experience.
Google employees have been talking about how they’re going to provide services similar to Siri in their search and they already offer some checkout options to purchase products directly from search results. We’ll continue to see the SERPs acting like ads in 2016 and it’ll get more and more interactive as Google changes into a service provider. This means that if you want mobile traffic, your site has to be mobile USER friendly (not mobile friendly). If you want desktop traffic, how can you provide something better than checking out, making a reservation or converting in the actual SERP.
Your SEO has to be amazing, load times insanely fast and your UX/sales funnel simple (i.e. remove the whistles and bells from designers and branding). You have to load quickly, get people to the product (reducing the amount of clicks to find and purchase) and sacrifice the pretty things that don’t add value. If you don’t, you will be left behind. Google is changing the way their rankings are displayed in 2016 with AMPs (currently showing in a carousel), conversions in results and other things. If you don’t keep up, you will get left behind.
There’s a lot of cool advances that we’ll see in 2016 and things that you can start doing before it gets competitive and more expensive. If you want to compete, get your app installed and create loyal users. Make your websites load quickly and products easy to find and purchase. Forget about design whistles and bells and go for function. That is what is what will drive consumers moving forward. The more they have to click or work to give you money, the more you lose and the simpler sites/apps win. If you have a prediction or are excited for a new technology in 2016, feel free to leave a comment below.