Digital Trends for 2017 – What Do You Need to Know?

Content Marketing · Digital Marketing

If you want to set yourself apart from the competition and future-proof your digital marketing performance, taking into account new trends and industry innovations is an essential practice. We’ve already outlined the digital skills that you’ll need to sharpen for 2017, but what about the overarching industry trends? Do you know what to expect? Thankfully, we’ve researched the most important digital trends that you’ll need to know about next year, and listed them below.

Data

Measurement and reporting have long served as the foundation of any digital marketing activity, yet in 2017, the data-driven nature of digital will be even more important. Optimizing not only your collection but your use of data will be integral to ongoing success. Worryingly, 30% of Executives state there is a lack of resources and skills that is holding them back from being able to use their data effectively.

However, this lack of confidence can be easily overcome. Like anything, the more often you access and interpret your organization’s analytics, the more adept you’ll become. If you download the Google Analytics app onto your smartphone, for example, this will accelerate your ability to view essential insights and data whenever you need them. Analytics apps such as GA are fast, accessible, and frequently updated, which means that you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine.

The more you practice reviewing and interpreting these results, be it during your morning or evening commute, or over a coffee at the weekend, the more you’ll be able to perfect your performance as a direct result. 

In-store marketing

In-store marketing has grown in popularity as advertisers have successfully harnessed its ability to target relevant consumers with the most applicable deals and offers when they’re in close physical proximity to the point of purchase and more susceptible to your marketing. This is reinforced by the fact that over 80% of millennials are using their smartphones instore and 74% are willing to receive location-based ads.

Serving as an example from which you can gain inspiration for your own brand, fashion retailer Rebecca Minkoff created a “save your fitting room session experience”. Her fitting rooms include screens that allow a customer to save the items they liked during their in-store try on and then order them later via their mobile device. As a result of integrating this in-store customer data and offline channels, they saw a 6-7x increase in sales in less than 6 months.

Though you may not have the capabilities to achieve something as technologically sophisticated, Rebecca Minkoff demonstrates the value of location-based in-store marketing. For example, your brand could use iBeacons to target customers with relevant offers depending on which aisle or department of your store they happen to be in. If you have an e-commerce website, you can use the data from their previous purchases and behaviour patterns to target them just as specifically, and consequently increase the chances of conversion. 

Video marketing

It will probably come as little surprise that over 50% of organizations include video as part of their content marketing plan. The growth of video marketing has been almost unstoppable in recent years, and will only continue in 2017. When done well, video has the innate ability to convincingly convey brand stories in a way that can compel audiences like no other channel. All you need to do is find your unique angle.

Instructional videos, product demos, industry-specific webinars and creative ads are all avenues that you can explore, regardless of your budget sizes and skillset. Whichever type you choose, it’s important to ensure that it’s relevant to your brand, the products or services you want to promote, but most importantly, your target audience.

Facebook Live, the channel’s live broadcasting platform, has established itself as a highly effective advertising outlet. In fact, initial data from Facebook revealed that people comment 10x more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

For example, Benefit Cosmetics used Facebook Live as a platform for broadcasting a themed video series on a set date and time, to encourage their audience to get into the habit of watching them. Their Tipsy Tricks series asks the audience questions to stimulate engagement, polling them to find out which beauty product they’d like them to use. 

Personalization

74% of online customers get frustrated when the content they see on a webpage isn’t relevant to their needs or preferences, a statistic that highlights the need for a more tailored, targeted digital experience. The secret to success lies in personalization, and simply adding in a subscriber’s name to the email copy is no longer enough. Personalized content should be implemented wherever possible, and to as great a level of detail as your organization can achieve.

Dynamic ads on AdWords and Facebook are automatically generated and display different content to users depending on the search terms they’ve used. This means you can target the right potential customer with the right content about the right product at the right time. Dynamic advertising is personalization in full force, and significantly increases the likelihood of conversion.

Dynamic advertising can be utilized beyond search ads too. The use of dynamic creative in video is becoming increasingly popular. For example men’s grooming brand Axe decided to relaunch in Brazil by recreating the story of Romeo and Juliet over 100,000 times! Each version of the video had minor permutations based on the user’s unique interests. The music and genre of the video content could change, with further personalization dependent of specific user interactions. 

Native content

Native content was worth 4.7 billion dollars in 2013. That figure is estimated to rise to 17.5 billion dollars next year. Viewability and the rise of ad-blocking have posed substantial problems to traditional digital advertising formats, such as pop-ups and banners. The only solution is to adopt a subtle, less intrusive approach that provides its target audience with genuine value. This is reflective of consumers’ aversion to the traditional “push” marketing tactic, where they were served hard promotional content that didn’t resonate with them.

Native content can include sponsored stories and news articles that sit seamlessly alongside other pieces of organic content that display in a user’s social newsfeeds and the websites they visit. For example, the New York Times ran a 1500-word article about female incarceration which actually served as a tactful advertisement for the Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

Native content can include sponsored stories and news articles that sit seamlessly alongside other pieces of organic content .

Mobile marketing

If you’re concerned with your organization’s SEO efforts and how well your website ranks, you need to prioritize mobile marketing in 2017. Ever since its mobile-friendly update in 2015, Google has cited mobile as an incredibly important ranking factor. As a result, mobile responsive websites that adapt to different screen sizes and facilitate a clean and simple user experience have become all the more important.

Every year there are trillions of searches on Google and over half of them are carried out using a mobile device. With the introduction of expanded text ads and mobile bidding that’s independent of base desktop bids, AdWords is already well on its way to becoming a mobile-first advertising platform. Now, Google has announced mobile-first indexing, which means that either a mobile responsive site, or a separate optimized mobile site is integral to the success of many other components of your digital strategy. From content marketing to creating display ads, everything you do should consider and incorporate mobile.

Virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 video

Virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 video are advanced digital advertising techniques that have been adopted by multinational organizations from McDonalds and Coca-Cola, to Topshop and Volvo. Yet because of the nascence of these technologies, there isn’t as much data to corroborate their effectiveness and as a result, many digital marketers are still reluctant to adopt them. However, more mainstream advances such as Google Glass have demonstrated their potential impact on the digital industry in the future.

An advisable way to start experimenting with these tactics is 360 video, the more affordable, immediately accessible version of VR. Facebook’s 360 video platform has seen over 20,000 uploads in the last year, while the majority of videos on YouTube get hundreds of thousands of views.

Rolls-Royce is one of many brands using 360 video. For the release of its 103EX model, it created an immersive video tour of the car so viewers could enjoy as intimate an experience as possible checking out its enhanced features and benefits. To date, the video has received over 207,000 views. 

Which digital trends do you predict will be particularly important in 2017? Have you created and documented your strategy for the new year yet? We want to hear all about it in the comments section below!

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About The Author
Sophie Elizabeth Smith

Sophie enjoys creating content that connects with readers and helps them to better understand and practice all things digital. Sophie also enjoys guacamole and all films starring Nicolas Cage (but mainly Con Air).