When it comes to digital marketing for small businesses, staying ahead of the curve – and your competition – is extremely important. Are you keeping up with trends for the new year? Before you prepare your marketing plan for 2016, take a look at Yodle’s predictions:

Make some room, Google: Social Search is here.

Up until now, SEO has been the absolute, stand-alone king of discoverability. Optimizing your websites’ metadata, NAP citations, and populating it with carefully tagged content has long been the dominant method of getting found online… but with the shift towards social networks for word of mouth marketing, you can’t afford not to do it. Sharing reviews, content, and offers on social networks can get you further than SEO can alone. In 2016, it’s extremely likely that Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest will start fleshing out their search algorithms – making it easier for your customers to find your social media presence.

Mobile matters more than ever.

We’ve known that mobile is the future of advertising and marketing for a while, but 2016 will overwhelmingly focus on mobile optimization. Sound dramatic? Check these stats:

  • In 2014, 2.1 billion consumers owned smartphones worldwide, according to the Internet Trends 2015 report.
  • Mobile use now accounts for more than half of the total time people spend on digital devices, the report states.
  • Eighty percent of Internet searches are conducted on smartphones, according to data from the Global Web Index.
  • Sixty-six percent of all email in the U.S. is now read on smartphones, according to the US Consumer Device Preference Report from MovableInk.
  • In 2015, mobile Internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic, according to Google.

Your emails and your website should reprssent a one-two punch of communication, and if they don’t both display brilliantly on a smartphone, you’re missing out on the lion’s share of your revenue.

Content hits its stride.

Content marketing is all about value and staying power. A good piece of content takes effort, but you’re rewarded with something that will hover around the top of Google searches for years, seeing a constant influx of new page views, comments, email addresses, and social shares.

Thanks to the explosion of social and mobile in 2016, content marketing is expected to multiply in importance. You can stay ahead of the curve by putting serious work into your blog and creating educational, useful, shareable content.