Feeling a bit behind as to what trends are expected in 2017? Fret not! With all the technological advancements that continue to pop up, there are many digital trends that are expected to peek their lovely heads out this upcoming year. We’d like to share five that you should pay close attention to and consider when planning your marketing efforts for the year.
(1) Video Storytelling
We all know that storytelling is a key component when developing content and connecting with your customers. But with video storytelling, you have an even stronger chance of building excitement and evoking emotion in your audience to create memorable experiences. Video will continue to grow in popularity, but we all need to keep our eyes open as to the various ways brands will use video technology to reach their audiences. Here’s a peek at just two of them:
- Live Video: Many brands tested the waters in 2016 using Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Snapchat. Expect better, more methodical production of live videos in 2017. With live video, brands have the ability to truly involve their audience in real time, show them authentic “behind the curtain” scene, and keep them engaged with never-before-seen content.
- 360° Video: In a recent case study by Magnifyre, it was identified that the average percentage of people who viewed a 360° video was 28.81% higher than the same video in a non 360° format, and twice the number of viewers watched the 360° video to completion. Now, this doesn’t mean every video you do should be done in this format, but be sure to consider it when it makes sense and truly brings value. When introducing a product, for example, 90% of users say product videos are helpful in the purchasing-decision process.
(2) Personalization (1-to-1 Marketing)
Creating a broad marketing message and hoping the ‘intended ones’ will grab on to that message and come to you doesn’t work. And the more advanced technology gets, the more is expected of brands to truly know their customers and personalize the communications sent to them. This is known as 1-to-1 marketing, which is a strategy that uses data collection, analysis and digital technologies to deliver personalized marketing. The Harvard Business Review reports that personalization can deliver 5 to 8 times the ROI for marketing spend, and increases the more mature your personalization is. So yes, expect more and more personalization in marketing communications this year.
Check out this example of integrating online data into an offline channel to deliver a 1-to-1 targeted message: Modcloth and UncommonGoods tested a technology offered by PebblePost during the holiday season referred to as Programmatic Catalog™, which transfers online interest into dynamically rendered and personalized direct mail pieces. Within 2 days of checking out a cute dress on Modcloth.com, someone could receive a personalized catalog with that same dress and other similar suggestions at their home. Amazing!
(3) Social Media
It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly to expect this upcoming year with social media, as changes to social media platforms seem to happen on a weekly basis. However, here are a few things to watch out for this upcoming year:
- Social commerce: Social media is no longer a “fluffy” channel that only captures likes and shares. It’s a viable lead capture and sales channel that tracks conversions. Pinterest reported that almost 75% of users have bought something they saw on their platform. And with the increased popularity of mobile browsing, we can expect that social commerce will continue to increase. But you will need to pay to play. If you need help developing a social media ad plan to get the best ROI, let us know. We have a killer case study on Facebook Ads that is sure to get you excited.
- Live Video: I’ve already touched upon this, but you better believe that this will be a huge content component for social media platforms containing this feature. Consumers want more authentic content, and what better way to deliver that content than via a live video through their social platform of choice. Here are a few things to look forward to with Facebook Live:
- The ability to go live from your web browser (laptop or desktop)
- Live Contributor role for fan Pages (allows designation of specific friends/people to go live on your Page)
- Video metrics for public videos on personal profiles (timelines), with more than 5,000 followers
- OTT (over-the-top) Messaging: 75% of millennials prefer messaging to voice communication, and it’s projected that 2 billion users will be messaging through OTT apps by 2018. 62% of millennials are more loyal to brands that engage via these channels because they want that personal touch, transparency and collaboration that the 1-1 communication allows. Because of this, brands are also now using chatbots through OTT in order to better service their customers.
- Fake News: Fake news was a huge problem for social media last year, and it was highlighted further during the US presidential election. Although Facebook has announced that it has banned fake news sites from using Ads, there is still a lot of work to be done. Google has also struggled to tackle fake news, changing its algorithm but finding out it actually made the search engine more vulnerable. This issue isn’t going away anytime soon, and you can expect big social media platforms to continue making changes.
- Refinement: The focus for brands this year will be about refinement as opposed to equally distributing effort & budget on to all social platforms.
Email is still the preferred method of communication for consumers. But in order to keep up with the ever-changing preferences and behaviors of consumers, marketers need to continuously improve their email marketing efforts. Here are just a few things you should expect to see this year:
- Interactive Emails: Think of emails that will include interactions that normally take place on a landing page. We’ll see functionality such as: hamburger menus, carousels, sliders, reviews, search bars, quizzes, and much more.
- Use of Big Data: The use of Big Data will only bring a more personalized experience to consumers, which is what they want and expect.
- HTML 5 Video in Email: This is not a typo. With the launch of iOS 10, HTML video support within email is back! And with video being such a hot trend, you’d be a fool not to join in on the fun. Just be sure to build a fallback for subscribers using email clients that don’t support HTML 5 video.
(5) The Internet of Things (IoT)
“Alexa, what should I expect in 2017 for IoT?” OK, I don’t have an Amazon Echo to ask…yet! But trust me, I’ll have one soon, and so will many others. The growth of IoT will only continue to increase with 26 billion units installed by 2020, Garner predicts. From a consumer standpoint, here are a few things to watch out for in 2017, according to Parks Associates:
- Voice control: Voice will become the primary user interface for smart home and connected lifestyle.
- New products: Electronics manufacturers will focus on new product categories and ecosystem strategies.
- Virtual, Augmented Reality: VR and AR gain a foothold in niche operations and greater awareness among early adopters, creating opportunities for social VR experiences.
- Internet Video: The difference between on-demand and live viewing continue to blur as consumers embrace a variety of over-the-top video services (Sling, Hulu, Amazon…just to name a few).
- Wearables: Wearables and smart watches will expand as healthcare tools and will be integrated with other IoT applications.
- Insurance: Insurers explore new business opportunities in smart home products and services and will continue to launch trials and new partnerships.
- Healthcare: Consumerization of healthcare services and devices drives integration with smart home ecosystems and new business models.
The world of digital marketing never sleeps. Be sure to keep up with our blog posts by subscribing at the top of the right side column of this page, as we’ll be sure to dive deeper into these trends and others throughout 2017.