Published 14th November 2016 | Digital Marketing, Marketing Specialists

What to Expect For Digital Marketing in 2017

It’s become such an entrenched part of our culture that it’s hard to believe social networks have only been with us for just over a decade. Initially they reunited us with people we hadn’t seen in years, allowed us to ‘poke them’ (remember when that was a thing!) and, for many, became a distraction at work.

Not long after social media entered our lives, along came the smart phone, creating a combination that paved the way for a significant change in the way we work, socialise and play. It can hardly be a coincidence that since social media and smartphones appeared the time we spend online has doubled.

All that time spent online has helped make digital marketing one the most exciting, and rapidly changing, industries to be involved in. With a plethora of new technologies waiting to be the next big thing, it’s also one of the most difficult to forecast.

However, based on the success of certain approaches in 2016, here are our predictions for the digital marketing trends we expect to be doing well in 2017.

5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2017 You Need To Prepare For Now

 

1. Mobile Dominance Continues / Even More Focus on Mobile

Regular readers of our blog will know we have a tendency to bang on about ‘mobile first’ an awful lot, but with good reason.

It’s been nine years since the launch of the first full touchscreen smartphone and (with 81% of UK adults and 91% of 18–44 year olds using one) no other personal device has had the same impact, either commercially or on society.

When “Mobilegeddon” occurred it resulted in a ‘mobile-first’ mantra that dominated throughout 2015 and 2016. Smartphone sales were predicted to drop in 2016, causing some marketers to predict an end to the importance of ‘mobile first’ design in 2017.  But let’s get a little perspective here…

UK Smartphone Stats:

Smartphone penetration in the UK leapt from 52% to 81% of the population in the four years to May 2016.

 Sales revenues and unit volumes in the UK may decline in 2016 relative to 2015

It will plateau at a level which positions it as the most successful consumer electronics device of all time.

Globally, about 1.5 billion smartphones are likely to ship in 2016, a volume greater than the aggregate of all PCs, tablets, televisions and games consoles.

Source: Deloitte

With the use of wearables predicted to rise in 2017 and the release of Google’s Pixel smartphone, mobile technology is still a leading force when it comes to tech development.

Having a mobile-friendly website is just the beginning. In 2017 your content needs to look good and work well on all screen sizes, from smartwatch to phone to tablet.

2. (Video) Content is King, All Hail Live Video Streaming

Content remaining a core focus of digital marketing strategies in 2017 is hardly breaking news.  Even video content has been around, and immensely popular, for several years.

With so many videos online (74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video) how do you grab your audience’s attention? In our ever increasing search for authenticity it seems only natural that live streams, unedited and unsanitised, are rising in popularity.

Periscope and Meerkat were the first to make live streaming video easy back in 2015, and it truly took off in 2016 when Blab, Facebook Live and Snapchat Stories joined the party.

According to globalwebindex, 1 in 5 Facebook users are engaging with Facebook Live, considering Facebook’s massive reach, that’s a significant portion of the internet population who are being introduced to live-streaming!

Live streams are a great way to engage with your audience, allowing you to build trust and credibility online with genuine, unfiltered content. You can stream product launches, give how-to demos, show behind-the-scenes and broadcast events.

Given all you need is a smartphone, they are an extremely cost-effective marketing tactic to try, and you get instant feedback. We expect the popularity of live streaming videos to continue to grow in 2017, and look forward to seeing how brands make it work for them.

3. Social Media “Buy” Buttons

Considering how long we spend on social media, it was only ever going to be a matter of time before we started buying directly on these platforms.

‘Buy’ buttons were introduced back in 2015, and were expected to herald the start of a new era of online shopping, allowing consumers to immediately purchase items without ever leaving the comfort of their social media accounts.

In reality they’ve seen little use on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. However, despite their low usage, the social platforms still haven’t taken them down, which usually means they know something we don’t. Keep an eye out for ‘buy’ buttons becoming increasingly popular in 2017.

4. Get Personal

Back in the day ‘personalisation’ meant the ability to include a customer’s first name in a stock email, this is now so common a survey revealed 63% of consumers say it no longer has any impact. Welcome to the on-going struggle of marketers, as our tools become smarter, people’s resistance to them becomes higher.

Personalisation in 2017 means burrowing down into your data and analytics so you can pitch the right advert to the right audience at the right time. Utilising information such as what a customer bought from you before, and the location and time of day they made the purchase, can help you personalise that customer’s experience next time they’re on your site.

Creating personalised, helpful content for a more specific audience means users will feel you understand them and are more likely to engage with what you’re putting out. As well as your website, social media also provides an ideal platform for personalised content. For instance, Facebook re-targeting and adverts, driven by identifying where you have been on the web and your interests, are becoming increasingly popular as it delivers relevant content that converts at a much higher rate.

With so much content out there, giving your audience a more ‘personal’ experience can really help differentiate you from other brands and we’re expected to see it more in 2017.

5. Less ‘Organic’ Social Traffic, More Paid Advertising

Social media has taken off in a way few people could have predicted, with a third of our online time now spent on social platforms. More users spending more time on social media means more stories, and ultimately, less chance of your posts being seen.

A significant step in this was the Facebook ‘friends and family’ algorithm change. Facebook introduced this to keep users seeing posts from the people they are friends with first, in turn meaning content posted by brands and publishers shows up less.

While there is still the opportunity to create unique, engaging content that will organically be shared, paid advertising is becoming more important for businesses who want to be seen. (In this article we share 4 Tactics to Keep Facebook Working for Your Business).

And it’s not just Facebook; the need to boost or sponsor your posts is prevalent on Twitter, Google and YouTube. The upside is that the improved algorithms allow you to target your customers more accurately (personalisation!) which in turn allows for more conversions and a better return on investment. Does your 2017 marketing budget allows for social media boosts and advertising?

 Take Away

We don’t have a crystal ball (or unprecedented access to the inner workings of Mark Zuckerberg’s mind) so this list isn’t exhaustive, there’s always room for the unpredictable.

Computers in our pockets, personal assistants on our wrists, the ability to 3D print products in our own home – these were all just dreams not that long ago. Who knows what new technologies will emerge in 2017 and how they’ll change the way we live our lives.

 While technology and customer behaviours continue to evolve, the one thing that will not change is the need for businesses to connect and interact with customers in real time.

If you’d like to chat about your digital marketing plan for 2017 we’re here to help. Call our friendly team for a chat on 01763 877110 or click this link to find out more.

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