As with every other year before it, 2016 seems like it just flashed by us.
And when you’re talking about the world of digital marketing, trends come and go faster than in fashion.
We won’t waste any time talking about the year of 2016 past, but let’s instead look to the future. While I wouldn’t bet my life on my fortune-telling skills (there’s a reason I don’t play the lottery), I am confident you will see these trends sooner rather than later.
Here are the top digital marketing trends to expect in 2017.
1. Video Content
If I were to gamble, I would bet my money on a surge in video marketing in 2017. In 2016, Facebook videos saw a higher average number of shares than any other type of post, including images, questions and giveaways, according to research by Buzzsumo.
- Nearly 80% of all global internet content will be consumed through video by 2018 (Cisco)
- Social video produce 1200% more shares than image and text posts combined (Buzzsumo)
There a variety of video forms you can incorporate into your business’s marketing plan, including:
- Facebook Live
- Instagram and Snapchat Stories
Expect to see more live streaming in the New Year. It’s cost-effective, fast, easy to create and, best of all, shows a real side to your brand.
Podcasts will also be stronger than ever in 2017.
Email is not dead. It’s actually one of the most viable forms of marketing communication today.
Emails are going to become more:
Long ago are the days when your emails were addressed to “Dear Valued Customer.” Today, marketers have a bevy of email personalization tools and platforms at their fingertips. Every email you send should be tailored toward the recipient.
But this goes far beyond adding first names to emails. Certain tools, like HubSpot, allow marketers to utilize dynamic personalization tools.
By using customer data and specific audience information, marketers can create content that is unique to different audiences. For example, let’s say your business develops leadership and coaching software. One customer who is the leadership manager of a cosmetics company would see a different email than the leadership manager of a food manufacturing plane.
Speaking of personalization, it will extend far beyond email.
Nearly 75% of online customers complained when the website content they see is irrelevant, according to Janrain, a customer identity and access management company.
Marketers must take advantage of smart content. Create a unique experience for your customers when they visit your homepage, download an ebook or click a CTA.
Every single one of your customers is different, so why should they have the same experience when interacting with your business?
By using smart content, you can tailor content specific to the needs of your leads, customers and followers. So how do you discover what all of your customers want? By asking them!
Build buyer personas, which are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. You can also send out surveys and speak to your company’s salespeople.
4. Data Data Data
HubSpot’s annual marketing report, State of Inbound, reveals that being able to prove the ROI of marketing activities is the biggest challenge marketers face.
Furthermore, 93% of CMOs today believe they are under more pressure to deliver measurable ROI than they were just a few years ago, according to Leapfrog Marketing Institute.
No longer can marketers rely on assuming — we must rely on analytics. In-depth buyer personas and A/B testing will influence every step we take.
5. Native Advertising
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, tweeted native advertising is the “gateway drug to content marketing… in a good way,” and he was spot-on.
Native advertising is a paid form of advertising that flows naturally with the user experience. You know when you are scanning through a news site and see a “sponsored article,” or you’re scrolling through Instagram and see “paid post,” or you're shopping and you see a “sponsored product” on Amazon?
That’s native advertising. Unlike traditional advertising, which disrupts people’s user experiences (think, pop-up ads and commercials), native ads naturally fit into the content users are already consuming.
Contrary to what you make believe, paid advertising is not inbound marketing’s adversary. It’s rather a powerful emissary that will help deliver marketers’ content to the right people in an oversaturated, noisy digital world.
If you want your content to be seen, you must properly promote it and position it, and the way to do that is through paid advertising.
6. Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing is the future. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. It is a key ranking factor for Google, which translates to: your website better be mobile-friendly.
In order to be mobile-friendly, you must use responsive design when building your website. Doing so will not only optimize your site for search, but it will also ensure users have a consistent experience when accessing your site from different devices, such as their iPhone or tablet.
With responsive design, content automatically adapts to different screen sizes and orientations. In addition, this technology uses the same HTML and URL across all devices.
Now, these aren’t all the trends you should expect to see in 2017. Digital marketing evolves so fast that some trends aren’t even on our radar! Who could have predicted the success of Pokemon Go? Marketing is unpredictable and the best way to stay on top of it is to always research educate yourself.