2017 Digital Marketing Trends

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With Christmas almost upon us, it is time to take a look at 2017. What will this have in store for us? A terrifying prospect considering how 2016 panned out, but let’s stay calm and concentrate on digital marketing for now. Here are seven trends to look out for during the next twelve months:

Display Ads Evolve: Display advertising has had yet another bad year, let down by, if we are honest, some rubbish marketing. Intrusive and poorly targeted ads have seen the rise of ad blockers, so marketers are likely to move towards video marketing (great when done well, awful when done poorly) or native advertising. The bad news? Both are much trickier to execute.

Augmented Reality Will Be Back: Pokémon Go was like a great firework display in 2016 – it started, it soared, everyone went ‘ooooh’ and then it went out. There has been a lack of follow-up in the augmented reality space, but I think that there are companies out there developing games or gamified marketing right now – it will be back in 2017.

Content Marketing Gets Tougher: Content will still be king in 2017, and the fact that virtually every marketer is creating content for their audience means that standing out from the crowd will be increasingly difficult. Consumers see hundreds of adverts per day which means two things: firstly, they are probably bored of them and secondly, they can spot a bad advert from a mile away. Impactful, visual content with a narrative will win in a very busy field in 2017. Early adopters of the relatively new live video streaming will receive an advantage.

Mobile First (yes, again): Rather like ‘content is king’, mobile first is a bit of a cliché when it comes to digital marketing trends. But 2016 was a big year for mobile: as ever Google was leading the way. Google has started to not only drive the speed or mobile websites through its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, but is starting to really look at mobile SEO and allow it to lead the agenda over desktop. You really need a great mobile website in 2017 but not for Google – for your user.

Internet of Things: Wearable technology was always going to be the first step towards the Internet of Things and it has had mixed success. Devices with a clear purpose and benefit (e.g. Fitbit) have performed well, but the Apple Watch was a bit of a flop. The agenda is moving on with devices like the Amazon Echo becoming more mainstream. It is being advertised as a voice activated entertainment system, but its capability is much greater – will this along with Dash buttons start to change the direction of ecommerce next year?

Hey Google, what’s the future of SEO: Voice search started to grow in 2016 and this is likely to continue into 2017. With people literally asking questions from their search engine, does this mean that the days of true long tail search engine marketing are with us, and what does this mean for PPC advertising? Again, Google are leading the agenda here and they will have a plan to protect their PPC revenue stream – will be interesting to see what it is.

Social Media and the News: Events over the last month or two have brought into focus the role of news in people’s news feeds on social media. The pages that people like and the way that they engage in content should mean that news feeds are a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. you should continue to see the content you want to see. But that isn’t necessarily the independently-verified news and who is to say that is what people want to see? Quite how Facebook and other social networks hope to solve this issue remains to be seen, but the political pressure to offer balanced news will grow – which may in time pose a risk to user engagement. Something the social networks cannot afford to jeopardise.

What is your digital marketing prediction for 2016? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016

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As 2015 is drawing to a close, it is time to start looking into 2016 and thinking about what it has in store for us. Your 2016 marketing plans and budgets are probably already signed off (well, you’ve made a start writing them anyway), but what are the trends that will shape your plan over the next 12 months?

Here are seven trends to look out for.

Story Telling: With so many different organisations releasing content onto their web and social platforms, standing out is difficult – but content that tells stories in digital are the most successful campaigns. Not easy depending on your industry, but this is the challenge.

Content ROI: Story telling is not the only challenge of content marketing. Content marketing has had a lot of support over the last couple of years and 2016 is the year that CEOs are going to be asking what do we actually get for all of this investment? Better get your story straight (pun intended).

Video in Social: First it was images that were powerful in social media, but now consumers have moved onto video. The old barriers of needing expensive equipment, a film crew, director, etc. are over – all you need is a mobile phone. And the rise of live streaming which started in earnest in 2015 offers a good opportunity to engage with a younger demographic.

Social Is Not Free: I know a lot of you will have used social media for free this year, but it is going to become increasingly difficult to have a social media marketing plan without a budget attached to it. Standout of messages is so tough on the major networks now that paid is almost becoming a default – achieving your social objectives without budget may already be a thing of the past.

Mobile and Local Combine: Google has been spending a lot of time thinking about local SEO and mobile SEO over the last year or two. And while this doesn’t always work (Google Glass anyone?), where they are spending their time should be where you are focusing. For the right businesses, local and mobile are key and will become more important in 2016.

A Big Year for Apps: 2016 is going to be a big year for apps. Are they really there to take over from mobile websites, and in an age where storage on a mobile device is limited, is the battleground moving from the web to your phone? Do you need an app anyway? Find out in this shameless promotion of my own blog.

Internet of Things: 2015 saw the biggest contribution towards the Internet of Things with the launch of the Apple Watch. The Internet of Things is where ordinary household objects have connectivity and are able to send and receive data. While the Apple Watch didn’t have the impact that Tim Cook would have liked, it is still a big step forward. Expect more developments, and as such opportunities, to materialise in 2016.

What are your predictions for 2016?  Are yours on this list?  Leave a comment and let me know.