“Although dividends have long been a major boon for portfolio total returns, companies that can deliver dependable dividend growth – rather than the highest yields – have taken center stage as a core part of portfolio management strategies emphasizing capital preservation and income generation,” according to FTSE Russell.

Investors who are interested in the dividend growth strategy can look to ETF strategies that track these specialized benchmarks. Specifically, the ProShares Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF (BATS: SMDV), a dividend spin on the Russell 2000, the benchmark U.S. small-cap index, tracks the Russell 2000 Dividend Growth Index, which includes small-cap firms with dividend increase streaks of at least a decade.

Additionally, the ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (BATS: NOBL) tracks the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, selecting components that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. The ProShares S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (BATS: REGL) follows a mid-cap Dividend Aristocrats Index that requires 15 consecutive years of increased dividends for inclusion.

For more information on dividend payers, visit our dividend ETFs category.