Editor's Note: This column is the ninth in an 11-part series on the Top Ten 2016 Marketing Trends. Check back for the remainder of the series and a deep dive into each of these trends.
In 2016, mobile doesn't just matter; it's everything. In 2015, 62 percent of all digital time -- that's total Internet traffic -- was spent on mobile devices, up from 50 percent in 2014. And that number is expected to continue growing rapidly in 2016.
What's more, mobile is projected to be the fastest growing advertising segment in 2016 -- a subset of the digital marketing category which is projected to officially outpace TV in total US advertising spend this year.
Further securing mobile's destiny for dominance was Google's infamous "Mobilegeddon" in 2015 in which the search giant deployed a significant algorithm change that gave priority to websites displaying well on smart phones and other mobile devices. The change caused massive disruptions to page rankings, essentially sealing the fate of sites not properly optimized for viewing by mobile users.
Google is clearly banking on desktop traffic fading away, as there is no requirement in their aforementioned algorithm change for a site to also be desktop optimized.
That's why smart companies are now building for mobile users first -- when it comes to websites, email campaign templates and social content -- versus mobile being an afterthought to desktop.
Users are spending significantly more time in mobile apps versus the mobile web, and eMarketer projects in-app ad spending will nearly triple this year compared to last. If your brand category is conducive to an app -- meaning you can offer practical value that will sufficiently entice users to not only download it but return to it often -- then this is the year to seriously consider building it.
Note that simply building an app isn't enough. User acquisition is tough and can be expensive given you're competing with a market of more than three million apps. Craft a strong launch plan with enough frequency to drive both downloads and repeat visits. Or, take a more cost-effective approach, advertising in the apps of other brands already generating consistent traffic.
Mobile video will be on fire in 2016, as advertisers are finding the video format wildly effective in engaging consumers and successfully delivering brand stories. When it comes to mobile video advertising, however, you only have five seconds to catch a viewer's attention or you'll lose them, according to Analytics Research. Users want engaging multi-dimensional digital ads that give them a sense of control. In fact, look for traditional banner ads to take a back seat to interactive ads in 2016. Also, look for native ads -- embedded within user content -- versus more intrusive banner ads to become more common on mobile devices and in mobile apps this year.
Align your 2016 marketing strategy around these mobile trends to ensure your plan delivers.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.