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IN-DEPTH 2 August 2016
The top five digital marketing trends of 2016
Preferences are rapidly evolving, and so must affiliates says Natalie Merrison, Director of ActiveWins Affiliates
By Natalie Merrison

In 2016, digital marketing became more and less. The data analysed became larger and more focused. The precision of the reach of adverts and how they were designed are becoming tailored to the ideal demographic. But the devices affiliates should be focusing on are smaller in size, and the web design that players favour are simpler and less cluttered, whilst still being visually captivating. With that in mind, here are the top trends affiliates should be mindful of in 2016.

MOBILE IS TAKING OVER

In early 2014, something happened in the United States which had long been predicted, but still caused ripples for businesses across the world, not least in marketing. This unprecedented incident was internet use on mobile overtaking PC for the first time in history. And this year especially, the focus for businesses had been on optimising mobile.

The creation of mobile-friendly websites for players needs to be a priority for affiliates if they want to convert more traffic. The ability to deposit quickly and easily is another massive consideration. Now that the mass hysteria of ‘mobilegeddon’ and ad blocking have been proven as overly-hyped, it is safe to promote ad banners optimised for mobile.

PLAYERS ARE EMBRACING SLEEK, MINIMALIST WEB DESIGN

Partly due to the simple, clean aesthetic needed to make mobile sites work, and partly due to a move away from the cluttered and garish affiliate sites of the past (you know the ones), forward-thinking affiliates everywhere are choosing clear text and simple, striking visuals over complexity.

White was the predominant colour of many of the sleekest and stylish affiliate web pages. Banner adverts and emails that adopt a reader-friendly visual style are sure to see higher conversion than their overtly busy, flashy counterparts.

HAVING GOOD CONTENT STILL MATTERS

With SEO-friendly copy and Google page ranking still a big focus for affiliate sites, it’s imperative to consider what is going on your page and how frequently you are updating new content. Gone are the days of filling sites with immense amounts of content, regardless of how relevant it is to your target audience. It’s far more important for copy and content to be engaging, fresh and relevant.

User-generated content is becoming increasingly popular. It’s cost-efficient, generally considered to be unbiased, and encourages players to build an affinity and bond with your site.

SPONSORED POSTS ARE EVERYWHERE

Many advertisers are turning to this most popular form of “native advertising” to get their brand publicised in a way which connects that advertisement with the type of entertainment that person is looking for. Sponsored posts also allow companies to show a different face to their usual brand identity, and can tailor this to fit with the site that the post appears on.

Buzzfeed have been one of the most high-profile pioneers of this trend, with their reputation for lighthearted fun. Crisps-giant Walkers, pharmaceutical company Novartis and Transport for London have all had “promoted” posts on Buzzfeed in the past few months. Aside from Buzzfeed, promoted tweets and posts on social media have been a popular route for companies in 2015. But marketing on social platforms has gone far beyond just promoted tweets…

SOCIAL MEDIA STRENGTH

A survey from socialmediatoday.com showed that over 70% of marketers believed Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be essential for advertising. And it’s easy to understand why. These platforms offer targeted banner advertising, the aforementioned promoted posts, and are a way to quickly reach potentially vast numbers of people interested in your brand (“likers” and “followers”) without the expense of traditional methods like TV adverts.

The traditional powers of social are being challenged by new social networks. Tsu, for example, offers revenue sharing on popular posts, meaning that creating something which goes viral could be more rewarding than ever before.

Natalie Merrison’s affiliate marketing career began at Betfred, where she successfully increased online acquisition for the brand. ActiveWin MD Warren Jacobs recruited her as director of the ActiveWins and Nektan affiliate programs. ActiveWins and Nektan now promote eight brands with 15 account managers working with top affiliate sites globally
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