Online marketing moves fast, and there are some times we wish would just hit the brakes and give up already. At ATAK, a lot of office chat veers to groaning about a trend that just won't quit, and makes the internet a worse place to do business and spend your time.
So I asked the team:
What Online Marketing Trend Should Get Left Behind in 2016?
David Ephraim: The Notorious Pre-Load Ad
My wrist may have more reps, but my brain is getting tired of stretching to click Continue to site nearly every time I go to a widely trafficked blog or news outlet. Have you ever clicked on a pre-load ad? Or do you simply click on, once again, so you can finally get to the site page you were trying to get to?
I haven’t, and I don’t plan to anytime soon, unless it is someone whose money I could be potentially wasting for being so annoying. Feel free to throw ads all over the sides of the website page, and even throw a pre roll in your video if you must, but please, do not make me click twice to view an article on your site.
Josh Goodman: Pop Up, Pop Over, Pop Out
One of the trends I would like to see reduced in 2016 is the automatic signup form pop-over on a site you have been visiting, either right away, or after you have completed a trigger action. I want to give the caveat that as a marketing agency, we do this for our clients (and ourselves!) and know it works. But personally speaking, I like to decide if I like your site enough to sign up for your marketing. Don’t push a signup on me and take away from what I am reading or viewing trying to get me to join your newsletter. Make sure this sign up form is easy to find and use, and let the users decide if they want to get your newsletter when they are ready.
My solution is to entice the user with the right information and tools, building trust and interest and inviting them to continue getting this content. Let the quality of your site be the impetus for the newsletter signup - not you pushing a signup form in a user’s face. Trust the quality of your information to be the motivation for a newsletter/form sign up.
Austin LaRoche: Stop Relying on Support Tickets!
Let me know if this situation is familiar. You’re loving a new website/software/product/whatever, and telling everyone you know about it. One day, there’s a glitch. It’s not a huge problem, but after a few days and no improvement, something needs to change. You go onto the website of your beloved website/software/product and look for a phone number to call to shore things up. You’re searching throughout the site and hitting all the usual hot spots - the header, the footer, the contact us page. Unable to find what you want, you head over to Google and do the “Phone Number for My Beloved Website/Software/Product” search. Nothing. Zilch. So you fill out the support ticket on the Contact Us page and you wait…
Customer service is more important than ever. It’s a great value proposition for companies looking to gain an edge on the competition. Unfortunately, some businesses choose to make short-term decisions that they feel makes them more efficient. If you look through a micro lens, I’m sure you can support their argument. Email support tickets keep everything organized, are easy to track if there’s further problems, and ensure your employees never get screamed at for something that’s not their fault. But through a macro lens, it turns these beloved websites/software/products into slightly less likable creatures. It turns brand evangelists to people who simply once liked your Facebook page. It makes loyal customers open their eyes and see what else is out there.
82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service and 58% are willing to spend more on companies that provide excellent customer service. So take a look in the mirror, and then the crystal ball, and make the smart long-term decision to have a representative available to speak to your customers.
Julien Gledel: Let This One Weird Trick Keep Me On Your Website
I wish click-bait headlines could stay in 2015 and never come back! They’re not only clogging my Twitter feed and Facebook Timeline, but are just annoying in general. I think they’re a lazy way to drive traffic to your site when you have no good content to share.
A facebook study showed that about 80% of the time people say that they prefer headlines that help them decide if they want to read the full article before clicking through. And click-bait is just a deceptive tactic.
Thankfully, facebook is now cracking down on them as they’re drowning out content from friends and Pages that people really care about. It seems that they have peaked and the growth is slowing but as far as I’m concerned, we’re still seeing way too many. So let’s hope that 2016 will be the final nail on the coffin!
Maybe one day a link will actually blow you away or change your life forever... you never know!
Madison Guerriero: Fishing for Clicks is so 2015!
Marketers know publishing good content is the equivalent of catching a bluefin tuna fish in the sea of advertising. Each piece of content is typically added to a website with one main goal, which is to reel in a high number of clicks. Increasing traffic to your site is a good thing, right? Not always. Some companies focus on the number of clicks, ultimately losing sight of their target audience. It is pertinent to know your audience and provide content in a way that best serves your readers via infographics, videos or articles.
With clickbait headlines prevailing in 2015, readers continue to click on catchy yet misleading headlines only to be disappointed by weak content that does not match the headline. In doing so, websites that offer this kind of content will lose the trust of their readers. If your goal is to build a long-lasting brand, you need their trust in order to gain loyal customers. So, next time you embark on a journey to create content or pay someone to do it for you, make it relevant to your audience with new, informative information of value, and stop fishing for clicks!
Svetlana Klyuchkova: Let’s have a PR fiasco-free 2016
When we look back at 2015 and examine the biggest PR flops the brands went through, it seems that our obsession with punishing companies and blasting them all over Twitter and Facebook is not going away. It does not make us right and it does not make us wrong. However, we still remember how Starbucks announced earlier this year that its baristas would be writing "race together" on cups. Good intentions to start an edgy conversation lead to pushback, and hasty cancellation.
Starbucks comes to mind again, when in some people’s eyes the company announced “War on Christmas” by moving to a more minimalist design for a holiday cup. Were consumers forgiving and understanding in the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays? Nope. "Starbucks" has been mentioned more than 474,000 times on social media in one week and "red cup" has more than 61,000 mentions. As a result, the feedback and clarifications were expected from the VP of Design and Content. And we will not settle till the PR crisis will work its way up the chain to CMOs and CEOs coming out with apologies.
Nowadays, the brands' ability to handle any PR storm is critical and the response time standards have been shrinking year after year. Online reputation is not built over night, but it can be ruined rather quickly. Looking forward to having a fiasco-free 2016 and happy holidays!
Renee Smith: Stop Inflating Your Pageviews
The key to SEO will always be enhanced user experience. The algorithms in place today were created to better measure and encourage the ranks of useable, informative websites. In the past, a key site performance indicator would be whether or not users clicked onto other pages. So the more page views a site had, the better the ranking. Well, you can only guess what happened next: companies would use any tactic they could to get someone to click to the next page of their website, even if that meant breaking up a single paragraph of thought across four pages. Let me say that again: one paragraph across four pages.
In 2016, let’s turn a new leaf. We don’t need to be wasting our readers' and users' time forcing them to click through page after page in order to get to the information that was promised in the title. If I want to know where my favorite childhood stars are now, I shouldn’t have to click through pages of photos and single sentences just to learn that Jaleel White from Family Matters is actually cool and cute as hell. “No more!” I say, “No more!”
If your content is good and you cater to your users, then page views will not be the be-all end-all when it comes to search engine results. In 2016, let's respect our users time more.
Lyndsay Peters: Stop Following and Unfollowing and Following and Unfollowing
Social media "engagement" and "follower growth" apps are the scourge of the internet, and they're alienating any influencers you're trying to target (more on marketing to influencers later...). I have a twitter following that makes brands target me as an influencer once in awhile, but the way many companies go about it is maddening. These follow management apps that tell you they'll grow your following? They follow accounts like mine, unfollow if I don't follow them, follow me again 3 days later... and so on. Some of the apps straight up ask you to follow an account back.
This is annoying, not engaging. You wouldn't call me this often. You wouldn't knock on my door day after day. You wouldn't even send me weekly emails. Don't do it on social media, either. Do the engagement like a human being - it's the surefire way to get followers who are also human beings. If you leave your following to keyword-focused robots, all you'll get is a crew of robots following your twitter account.