Keep an eye on these 4 emerging Internet marketing trends

If you care about your company’s future, you must pay attention to emerging trends and get a head start on the next big marketing craze.

The first businesses to use the Internet, social media, and other online tools for marketing gained huge advantages in fast-paced industries. (It will be a while before a company dethrones Netflix, Amazon, or Google from their top spots in their industries).

The way people use the Internet changes with time, and it affects other forms of media and marketing. Here are four emerging internet trends business owners should keep an eye on.

1. The growing importance of apps and mobile websites

When mobile phones first entered mainstream usage, many marketers thought that SMS marketing would be the main vehicle for reaching text-happy owners. While there’s still a place for SMS marketing, the most important tools going forward will be marketing on mobile websites and ads on mobile apps. According a recent study from Nielsen analyzing smartphone usage trends, the average American spent 7 hours and 4 minutes more time per month using smartphone browsers and apps in the first quarter of 2014 than they did in the same period a year earlier. In other words, mobile web traffic is trending up.

2. More consumers are getting video entertainment online

One of the most dramatic changes that the Internet has fostered is video streaming. In the early days of the Internet, videos were low-quality, extremely short, and often had to be downloaded first. Now more consumers watch online video and less cable TV than ever before. The Nielsen study notes that Americans watched 3 hours and 47 minutes per month more of Internet videos in 2014 than they did in 2013. Plus, the average American watched 34 fewer minutes of live TV per month. Instead, consumers use DVRs or watch shows on sites like Hulu.

For marketers, this shows that there is a huge market for online videos that businesses can fill with their own content. With a little effort, small business owners can make quality videos about their area of expertise. This trend also means that traditional TV advertising will become less valuable in the future. Local marketers may reach more viewers advertising on YouTube than paying premium prices for ad space during primetime.

3. Mobile payment and mobile coupons will grow in importance

Besides being communication devices, gaming platforms, and cameras, mobile phones are now being used as tools for payments and coupons. It’s more than a gimmick: Consumers like to use mobile payments , and according to a recent report from Juniper Research, the number of mobile coupon users will double over the next five years, ballooning to 1.05 billion in 2019.

4. Digital marketing will affect all industries

No matter your industry, pay attention to online sales. Five years ago, the idea of ordering online from a restaurant (other than a pizza chain) seemed ludicrous. Now many restaurants use apps to offer faster service. Similarly, according to a different study from Nielsen, 60 percent of all U.S. consumer packaged goods sales will be digitally sold or influenced by 2017.

Be innovative: Finding a way to offer services online will set businesses apart from the competition.

Things will change and marketers will need to learn new tactics, but each of these trends point to new and exciting ways for business owners to connect with their target audience. Internet marketing is about targeted campaigns that reach the right people out of the billions of users. Watching trends gives marketers new ways to zero in and deliver a powerful message in a way that wasn’t possible before.

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