Winning at digital marketing means keeping on top of the trends. Technology and customer demands are moving at an unprecedented pace and you need to be aware of what’s happening now, and its implications for tomorrow, in order to stay relevant, engaging and ahead of the competition.
As we approach the end of 2016, here are some of the top online marketing predictions it’s worth taking note of for 2017.
1. Explosion of video
Video marketing has seen sharp growth in 2016, a trend set to continue into the new year. In fact, it’s touted to become the dominant form of advertising in 2017 as more and more businesses take advantage of its ability to effectively engage and communicate with targeted audiences.
Trends within this trend? An increase in cross-device video consumption and the rise of live video streaming, video storytelling and video email marketing.
2. Mobile focus
With the balance now tipped in favour of mobile over desktop, and the recent announcement of Google’s switch to a mobile-first index, marketers will now, more than ever, need to adopt a mobile focus. As we head into the new year, businesses should look to make mobile search and optimisation a big priority – so they’re not at risk of slipping down the ranking.
3. Personalisation and the customer experience
In 2017 the need to create more targeted, relevant and personalised communications will be greater than ever. In addition, the customer experience will become a key differentiator of success.
As customers increasingly come into contact with brands across multiple touchpoints – e.g. websites, apps, ads, in-store – businesses should be focused on ensuring the messages they send out at each interaction are both consistent and highly contextual so they can improve and smooth the buyer journey.
4. Demand for immersive experiences
Demonstrated by the out-of-control popularity of Pokemon Go this year, audiences are now ready for immersive experiences – and will be looking to consume more of them in 2017. To satisfy this demand, businesses should be looking to 360 video, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology for new ways to market themselves and connect with customers.
5. Even cleverer content
Content will continue to rule the roost in 2017, but businesses will need to think smarter in order to satisfy the demands of today’s discerning audiences – they’ll also need to increasingly demonstrate return on investment (ROI).
While high quality, targeted, original content will always win favour with both users and the Google gods, businesses will need to be more creative in how they implement it. Integrating different mediums from video to social into strategy, sourcing niche writers and making every word count will be critical to success.
6. Direct social conversion
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter already feature ‘buy’ buttons. Facebook also features an ecommerce app which lets you import your store onto your Page. However, despite this, social media commerce hasn’t so far enjoyed much success.
This is set to change in 2017 as retail and consumer awareness and uptake increases and platforms continue to experiment and innovate with direct social conversion functions. Businesses which adopt it to shorten the sales funnel will be the ones that come out on top.
7. Wearable technology
2017 will see sales of smart wearable devices – such as the Apple Watch, Google Glass and Moto 360 – continue to skyrocket.
These will eventually change the entire landscape of digital marketing and businesses need to start thinking about how they can use them to benefit their brand e.g. healthcare marketers can use them to collect data. In addition, they’ll need to ensure they’re optimised for small, more interactive screens.
8. Increased reliance on data
Today’s focus on the customer experience is driving a greater need for rich data and the ability to analyse it effectively. Cognitive insights gleaned from advanced analytics are helping businesses better understand and predict customer behaviour – and the ones that invest in it in 2017 will fare well.
With all this data, the need for online security and an awareness of the potential threats which exist will continue to increase and businesses should be prepared.
Armed with this knowledge, it’s time to start thinking out how your business can move its digital marketing forward in 2017. Even if your online marketing efforts are still in their infancy, there are many ways in which you can use these trends to influence your marketing strategy.
Leave a comment and let us know what your focus will be for 2017?