Planning your digital marketing efforts for the coming year? In this article, I’ll take an in-depth look at what I see as the most significant trends in digital marketing for the year ahead. But, it’s not only my view, since I have ‘crowdsourced’ the importance of the different trends rated by the popularity of each trend.
“As consumers – via social media – we all have a seat at the marketing table —by sharing our needs and priorities through direct feedback and our purchasing choices. We’ve seen the impact of the ‘brand revolution’ on key consumer-facing industries,” DeBroff says. “In the coming year, brands will become even more attuned to the needs and priorities of the consumer, and increasingly shape their product offerings around the latest lifestyle trends.”
What happens when you grow up surrounded by social media and technology? Expectations of instant communications and entertainment become inevitable. Generation Z consumers gravitate to instantaneous social channels such as Snapchat, Instagram, and the new social app Musical.ly. “The downside?” DeBroff explains, “This generation has grown up with instant response as its baseline expectation. We can count on at least three platforms we’ve never heard of rising to social prominence next year that embrace faster, more pictorial, and more spontaneous ways for rising Gen Z to bond.”
Videos via YouTube to top 2017
Video will be one of the highest growth channels in 2017 says Chirag Kulkarni of Taco. Whether you are using Live Video or generating content on YouTube more consumers will be utilizing the channel than ever before.
Behavior-based email marketing
Digital marketing in 2017 would be all about segmented & behavior based email marketing. As consumers subscribe to more brands online, the volume of emails hitting their inboxes has only gone up in the past one year. This has resulted in higher unsubscribe rates and lower open rates. Consumers will not pay attention to your email if it is not useful for them says Deepak Kanakaraju of Digital Deepak. The best way to combat this would be to segment your email list based on consumers’behavior and send customized emails that are targeted to specific sets of customers.
For example, if a customer is browsing pages on dual sim Android mobile devices on an e-commerce store, a follow-up email with the best deals on Android devices would make much more sense to this internet user than a general offer email with all the best deals. When consumers notice that all the email communication they receive from a brand is relevant and useful for them, they will pay attention, stay subscribed and take action on the emails.
Usage of visual content to drive traffic and leads
Over the last two years, videos have been picking up slowly to be a part of digital marketing strategy of many businesses and I’m of an opinion that video content creation & distribution (to the right audience) will be one of the most effective growth channels in the coming year.
I had been writing on and off in 2015 that 2016 will see quite a lot of usage of visual content to drive traffic and leads, but from what I have observed and seen in the last couple of months, it appears to be a very strong area that a bunch of businesses will focus more on says Prateek Dholakiya of E2M. In fact, at E2M we plan to invest a good chunk of our marketing budget of 2017 to create and distribute video content.
Videos not only helps you convey your message very clearly in less amount of time, but also connects the audience with the brand very easily. In this digital age of virtual reality, the audience want to spend less time on reading but more time on doing. And as it is rightly said “a picture is worth a thousand words but a video is worth a million”.
Content marketing and inbound marketing will continue to grow in 2017, but the important thing to note is that content alone is not the king says Prateek Shah of Digital Defynd. It is distribution in fact which is the king because great content that doesn’t reach out to the right people doesn’t mean much. Marketers need to focus on spending right, upping their email marketing game and stop focusing on random traffic from SEO and similar activities. We’ve had enough buzz, now let’s start concentrating on conversions.
Mobile marketing (Mobile advertising, site development and apps)
Mobile was in the top 3 three years ago, but as more companies have adopted mobile responsive web design and email templates they have seen less need to focus on it, or at least there are fewer opportunities for growth.
However, research shows that retail conversion rates are significantly lower on smartphone, so there is work to be done for many businesses to optimise conversion on mobile, although they will likely always stay lower than desktop.
Mobile also has a large impact on search marketing as Google vigorously follows its mobile first mantra. To me, it’s a somewhat misleading mantra, since the reality is that many web users are still using desktop, laptop and tablet devices and there is a danger with mobile responsive designs that conversion on higher resolution screens may fall if mobile optimised. Instead, leading companies are looking at adaptive mobile design approaches which have the benefit of serving more relevant, contextual content and CTAs for users and reducing load times.
‘Mobile first’ is also misleading if we look at the overall customer journey since often different devices may be involved at different points. So a better vision for mobile strategy is treating it as part of a multiplatform or multichannel strategy. As this data from comScore highlighted in our mobile marketing statistics research shows, the multiplatform ribbons for all countries are much broader than users who are mobile only or desktop only.