In this post, I'm going to share 16 digital marketing trends I see being BIG in 2017.
You'll also hear from 53 digital and social media marketing pros and influencers on what top #3 trends they see being HUGE in 2017.
We've had some incredible contributions and some key patterns have emerged.
But, first, I'm going to discuss the 16 digital marketing trends I see being important in 2017 (and beyond).
So, without further ado, let's get into it.
- 1. Mobile First
- 2. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- 3. Interactive Content & Rich Media
- 4. Video
1. Achieve Increased Rankings, a Better User Experience and 2x More Social Sharing by Optimising Your Content for Mobile First
Mobile will be an incredibly important strategy (it should be now) for digital marketers in 2017.
Total mobile usage has now overtaken desktop usage by a significant margin, which was at 51% compared to 42% in 2015, according to Mary Meeker's 2015 Internet Trends analysis report.
That's a whopping 325% increase in usage since 2008. It's also a margin of 9%.
Couple this with the fact that an enormous amount of content is consumed on social platforms using mobile devices and you'll probably have an idea of how important it is going to be to make sure the experience is a pleasant one.
While most sites nowadays seem to be 'optimised' for mobile to some degree, often the initial onus is on the desktop site, with mobile being an essential, but additional extra to the spec.
This move towards a mobile majority world is something Google hasn't missed and/or taken advantage of.
Just like in 2016, there will be an ever-increasing focus from Google, and other search engines, on mobile content and the experience of the user while consuming this content on their device.
This means that your website and marketing must be tailored for mobile users first if you want it to rank well.
Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is focused solely on fast, mobile optimised content delivery, and with players like Facebook introducing features like Instant Articles, as well as others like LinkedIn Pulse, it's critical to make sure your content looks great and loads fast on mobile devices.
It HAS TO BE readily accessible, easy to read and easy to share. But, it also has to be FAST, with an interface that is straightforward and enjoyable to use!
The mobile web is twice as social as desktop, with sharing as a percentage of total activity for mobile at 7.7%, compared to desktop's 4.4%.
This is crucial to understand! And, not least to comprehend where the market will be heading going forward.
The 'mobile tipping' point for Internet usage (the point at which mobile usage overtakes desktop) within native apps in the U.S. occurred in 2014, according to a report by comScore. That's almost 3 years ago.
And, there are clear signs that we are swiftly approaching this tipping point for general Internet usage, if, in fact, we haven't already done so.
This means that mobile marketing is paramount, and it's only going to get even more important in 2017. Especially, with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) (see trend #8).
Marketing on mobile has some fundamental differences when compared to marketing on the desktop, so, it'll be important that you take into consideration these factors and the context in which these arise when running any type of mobile marketing campaign.
You're going to need to think about a multitude of things when optimising and designing for mobile first, which include:
- Resolution/Device Width
- Imagery (Size, Complexity)
- User Experience (UX)
- Viewing Area
- Streaming Solutions (for Webinars)
- Writing Style
And much more!
As digital marketers, we're going to need to gain a deeper understanding of how users behave when using different types of devices, what their preferences and motivations are, and how we can use the information to create better experiences.
Google has already started the process of focusing on mobile devices with the introduction of its mobile-friendly ranking algorithm update, also known as 'Mobilegeddon', as well as the Google sponsored Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, and their interstitial penalisation (see trend #16).
With Google's focus keenly on mobile-first indexing, optimising for mobile devices isn't optional or an afterthought anymore. It should be the primary focus when building a website and marketing online.
This means that our marketing activities have to adapt to reflect this trend. This isn't Google driving this trend, it's user behaviour ignited by the revolution in smartphone and tablet technology.
Is your website just adequate for the purpose? Or does it really shine on mobile?
2. Automate & Revolutionise Your Marketing with the Amazing Tools & Technological Advancements Made Possible by AI & Machine Learning
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are exploding at the moment (this is a personal passion and interest of mine).
Even though this technology is still only really in its infancy, the use of AI and machine learning algorithms in digital marketing and advertising is becoming ever more prevalent.
From self-driven ad and autonomous marketing platforms such as Albert 2.0, to automated trend forecasting platforms such as Tilofy, AI and machine learning, with respect to digital marketing, is only going to get better and faster at doing what it needs to do.
With the exponential growth in computing power and technology, and as software algorithms get more and more powerful and smarter, you're going to see these types of technologies become even more critical to your marketing efforts.
2017 is going to be a big year for artificial intelligence and machine learning in digital marketing.
We've already seen this trend emerging with the introduction of products and services like Amazon Echo, voice search, and software like Siri and Cortana.
There are currently some astounding services coming online, such as Pandorabots which offers AI as a Service (AIaaS).
This is a remarkable service, and it allows you to build things like automated chat bots, or messenger bots, enabling you to interact with your customers using AI without much need for human interference.
Combine this with innovations on the horizon in quantum computing and things just start to get crazy. But, I'm getting carried away with myself. We're talking 2017 here!
Hopefully, we've got a little while yet before Skynet comes online and becomes self-aware. ;-P
Seriously, though, the possibilities are unimaginable and so far-reaching with tech like this coming our way, it's truly inspirational and awe-inspiring, if not also a little worrying.
Sophisticated AI and machine learning are going to revolutionise many industries, including the digital marketing world.
Imagine being able to analyse user behaviour instantaneously and adjust your marketing message appropriately, all on auto-pilot. This is the possibility of AI.
3. Educate Your Audience, Create Better Brand Message Retention & Increase Your Engagement by Using Interactive Content & Rich Media
The use of interactive content for marketing purposes is going to be a key marketing strategy in 2017.
Well-designed and developed content which enables readers to take a journey, choose a particular path, or interact with and play a part in the content, offers great opportunities to help educate your audience on a topic while increasing engagement.
The ability for people to physically and virtually interact with content is becoming more and more widespread. And, it's producing one desired marketing result we all strive for. Better engagement.
From 360º panoramas and cinematography to interactive content journeys and infographics, interactive rich media is going to get bigger and better in 2017.
Rich media can be described as any type of content that deviates from plain text and static images and allows the user to engage and interact with the content in some meaningful way.
From interactive (and animated) infographics, video and imagery, to quizzes, contests, and interactive ebooks, you're going to see more and more rich interactive content coming through in 2017, and beyond.
If done well, interactive content and rich media have been shown to grab a user's attention more effectively than static content.
4. Increase Conversion by 80% and Boost Ad Engagement by 22% Using Video
Video content is already a major winner in the digital marketing world, but it's going to be even more important in 2017.
If you're not doing anything with video right now, make sure you start soon.
We spend countless hours watching video content online.
According to HubSpot, a whopping 90% of people say that product videos are helpful in the decision-making process, and 75% of online video viewers will be watching and interacting with an online video ad this month.
So, video is increasingly becoming the way people comsume content via the web.
In fact, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content, according to a white paper by CISCO.
According to EyeView's Digital Video at the Inflection Point report, including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%.
While getting enjoyment from watching a video ad can increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.
So, after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to make a purchase online.
This is utterly staggering!
And, if these statistics alone don't wet your appetite for video marketing, then perhaps this will:
87% percent of digital marketers reported a positive ROI from the use of digital video marketing.
In an age where information overload has taken on a whole new meaning and when attention spans are short, video marketing is the ideal platform to help get your message out there.
According to Insivia, including video with full page ads boosts engagement by 22%.
The fact is, people expect to see video content. Yes! FACT!
If you're launching a new product or SaaS solution, what is the first thing people look for when reviewing its worth? That's right, video.
People want to see things in action and with Live Video (see trend #6) becoming extremely popular, it's only going to become more normal to expect to see video content on anything and everything.
5. Achieve a 7.8x (19.7%) Increase in Traffic, Reduce Costs and Generate 3x More Leads Using Content Marketing
We all know how important content marketing is. Right?
Well, it's going to continue to be important going into 2017.
There's going to be even more focus on well-researched, longer, more in-depth, actionable content creation than in 2016, with a stronger focus on quality over quantity, though as more people invest in content marketing in 2017, we can expect the quantity of content published to increase.
We're almost reaching a content saturation point.
It's going to get more challenging, more expensive, and more time-consuming to produce quality content that attracts consumers and catches the eye of search engines like Google. So, we're going to see those who haven't got the patience, resources, or will, fall to the wayside.
According to a 2013 Aberdeen Group report, leading content marketers (those who invest the time and get it right) see a 7.8x increase in traffic, compared to content followers.
Content marketing also reduces costs when compared to outbound (traditional) marketing. In fact, content marketing costs on average 62% less than traditional marketing, according to Demand Metric.
As well as costing less and increasing traffic, you can expect to get 3x as many quality leads using effective content marketing for every dollar spent.
So, in 2017, expect digital marketers to focus heavily on creating quality, actionable content.
6. Achieve 3x Longer Watch Time and 135% Organic Reach Using Live Video
Live video is going to be absolutely massive in 2017.
Facebook are now investing heavily in the technology, and many marketers have seen great success using it.
Platforms like Periscope will begin to see a bigger uptake in usage, as well as others such as Snapchat.
Live offers an incredible opportunity for marketers, businesses and consumers.
It allows us to connect on a human level. Unedited, raw, live video that allows your audience to interact with you directly (unlike live TV and traditional online video), in real-time, is a fantastic development.
Watching Mark Zuckerberg speak to astronauts live on Facebook from the International Space Station was an eye-opening experience.
I've been jumping on many Facebook Live sessions ever since with people like Ian Cleary, Karen Richardson, Mark W Schaefer, and others, and I have to say, I LOVE them.
That one-on-one interaction is priceless, and it actually does build trust and emotional connection.
It's a great way to build and foster relationships while developing your personal brand.
According to Facebook Product Manager Vibhi Kant, people spend 3x longer watching live video compared to video that is pre-recorded.
This has led Facebook to make a slight change to their Newsfeed algorithm to place live video higher in Newsfeeds when the video is on-air.
According to Socialbakers, video on Facebook receives 135% better organic reach than other types of content, and this includes live video.
7. Increase Your Sales by 49% Using Social Media
Out of the 3 billion active Internet users worldwide, around 2.1 billion of these have social media accounts.
Knowing this, it's not difficult to realise that social media is one of the most important marketing tools and with such extensive demographic, behavioural, and targeting data at your disposal, it becomes a digital marketers dream.
In 2017, we're going to see social media become even more important, in part, due to its massive and increasing growth. Up 10% since January 2015.
But, also because of the simple fact that an ever-increasing number of people now consume content directly on social media, mostly via mobile devices.
The more people who consume content on social media, the more important the medium becomes and this trend will continue with additions such as Facebook Instant Articles and LinkedIn Pulse.
The social media platforms want your content. They want users to stay on their websites, and they want you to begin publishing your best content directly on their platforms.
Now, this doesn't mean that you can't publish the same content on your own website, but what it does mean is that Facebook, or LinkedIn, will own your audience.
This isn't the best news for marketers, but even so, there are still opportunities.
Kyle Clayton increased his company's sales by 49% using social media, so if he can do it, then so can you.
It's time to surrender and begin using this as a strategy to help build your audience.
And, with massive investments in technology from the likes of Facebook, in areas such as live video streaming (see trend #6) and virtual reality (see trend #13), social media is going to become an even more important strategy for marketers and salespeople to master in 2017.
8. Make Use of a Predicted 1.5 Trillion Connected 'Things' as Part of the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things!
We've all heard about it. Right?
Well, in 2017, just wait and see what new and innovative technologies become available as part of the IoT.
The world is becoming ever more digitally connected via the web. In 2008 alone there were more 'things' connected to the Internet than people, and it's estimated that by 2020 the amount of devices/things connected to the Internet could reach 50 billion.
In the very near future, everything from your refrigerator to your vacuum cleaner is going to be networked in some way.
Well, maybe not, but we're fast approaching an age when regular everyday items will be connected via the web.
We're already seeing the emergence of intelligent transportation systems, technologies that help target individuals while on the move, and things like wearable devices becoming ever more mainstream.
With increasing Wifi speeds and the introduction of technologies like Li-Fi, we're going to see an explosion of devices and everyday household objects become 'wired in'.
All of this innovation offers marketers fantastic opportunities to reach wider audiences where they normally wouldn't be able to do so.
With an estimated $19 trillion in profits and cost savings coming in the next decade, the IoT is going to bring significant change to the marketing world.
According to NerdGraph, by 2020 90% of cars will be connected to the Internet, in comparison to only 10% in 2012.
Clearly, these types of innovations and technological milestones offer tremendous marketing opportunities, from smart cities, transportation, and homes, to a multitude of gadgets such as smart textiles, glasses, and watches, the IoT is set for explosive growth. Especially when you consider there is currently only 0.06% of possibly connected 'things' now connected.
9. Become 6x More Likely to Exceed Your Sales Quota by Becoming Skilled at Social Selling
With social media platforms looking for better ways to monetise their offerings and marketers and salespeople looking for better sales opportunities, we're going to see more prevalence and deeper integration of social selling/shopping mechanisms.
We've already seen this type of deeper integration with Facebook, and it's Marketplace integrations, both on the desktop and in the native apps.
In 2017 we should see a move towards more direct selling on social media platforms.
Facebook already allows you to create a Facebook Store, but we should see other platforms moving towards this, too.
According to KiteDesk, salespeople who have a firm understanding and grasp of social media are 6x more likely to exceed their sales quota and exceed it by 10%+.
Marketing automation is big business at the moment, with companies like HubSpot, Marketo, Active Campaign and Act-On leading the way.
With the introduction of machine learning and AI (see trend #2), marketing automation is going to get a lot more exciting in 2017.
The ability to automate your sales funnels and email marketing campaigns using tools which allow you to tailor your message based on user behaviour and interaction is going to be vital to success in 2017.
But, it's the innovations that are coming in analysis and messaging tools that may make the most impact in the digital marketing space.
11. Increase Conversion Rates by 332% Using Personalisation
People are getting more and more intolerant of advertising and marketing campaigns, with a low tolerance for the hard sell, click bait, and let's be honest, ads that don't match well with their interests.
Building long-lasting, personalised relationships with your leads and customers is going to be key to successfully growing any business in 2017.
Tailoring your message and content to the individual, and making an emotional connection with them on a personal level, will allow you to build better business relationships and expand your network of brand advocates.
Content that is created with a particular focus on specific people, personas, and their interests will offer much more value, in turn creating much more loyal customers and increasing sales/conversions.
According to the 2013 Online Personal Experience study conducted by Janrain, 74% of online consumers get frustrated when offers, ads, and promotions don't have any relevance to their interests.
The fact is, people expect the experience to match their personal interests.
Furthermore, according to the Evergage 2016 Trends in Personalization Report, 89% of respondents saw an improvement (conversions, user-experience, visitor engagement, etc.) from their websites or in-app personalisation efforts, with 53% seeing an increase of around 10%.
A case study detailed by Smart Insights suggests that the online retailer Millets.co.uk increased their average conversion rate by 332% when using personalised recommendations, with similar results (277%) being achieved by Blacks.co.uk, another online retailer.
There are plenty of stats out there to help back up the claim that personalisation is a significant tool in helping to increase engagement and conversions.
So, we're going to see more effort and significant investment in personalisation solutions moving into 2017 and beyond.
12. Become 6x More Likely to Achieve a Competitive Advantage in Increasing Profitability Using Data-Driven Content & Marketing
People love it when they can see the data and statistics that back up specific claims.
In 2017 you're going to see a lot more data-driven content start making an appearance.
Easily digestible and visually appealing data-driven content helps support a topic, idea, or opinion.
This type of content is so successful because the content doesn't make claims, or offer opinions, without verifiable facts and statistical analysis to back those claims up.
This gives weight and credibility to any piece, and more credible articles are always going to get more shares and links.
Brian Dean of Backlinko.com has a fantastic article showcasing why data-driven content is so powerful.
Furthermore, with respect to data-driven marketing, according to a study by Forbes, 43% of leaders say that data-driven marketing has achieved a competitive advantage for them in gaining new customers, with 34% saying that this has increased revenue, and 41% stating that this has helped with customer retention.
It's clear from this study that data-driven marketing has delivered demonstrable results regarding customer loyalty, customer engagement and market growth.
13. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is something you're going to be seeing a lot more of in 2017.
It's been touted as the 'next big thing' for decades, but it's only recently that the technology has become good enough to pave the way for a truly immersive VR experience.
From Facebook's investment in the Oculus Rift, and Microsoft's new VR games console, codenamed 'Project Scorpio', to Google's Cardboard and Samsung's Gear VR (powered by Oculus technology), virtual reality is now becoming mainstream.
With that in mind, we're going to see huge marketing opportunities open up, with things like in-game and VR advertising.
2017 is going to be a fantastic year for virtual reality and digital marketing.
Combine all this with the opportunities that come with augmented reality (think Pokemon Go), and you'll be able to engage with potential customers in new and exciting ways.
14. Get Ready for Increased Advertising & Marketing Budgets
With social reach dropping on all platforms, especially Twitter and Facebook, it's going to be imperative in 2017 that you use paid advertising to build your audience.
Advertising across the board is going to become an ever more important marketing strategy in 2017.
If you have the framework and foundations in place of a well thought out sales funnel, you can think of advertising as an investment, rather than merely an expense.
If you have all the fundamental elements in place, and you put effort into converting visitors into leads (by capturing their email address), and then nurturing those leads into sales, then you will always make a return on your investment with advertising.
With advertising getting increasingly more granular and targeted, you're going to be hard-pushed to find a better way to build an engaged audience who are willing to buy your products and services.
In 2017, we're going to see an increase in spend for advertising budgets, especially on social media, in particular, Facebook.
15. Increased Investment in Tech & Tools
Investing in your technology infrastructure is going to be a major factor in how successful you'll be in 2017.
From productivity and efficiency to automation and analytics, you're going to need to invest in the best tools you can afford to maintain a competitive advantage.
Investing in technology isn't going to get the work done for you, but it will allow you to work faster and smarter.
Every other day a new tool comes on to the market that makes our jobs easier.
But, remember, tools are only ever as good as the person using them. A fool with a tool is still a fool.
16. Bye, Bye Pop-ups
Welcome mats, full-screen pop-ups, mini-popups, interrupters, interstitials.
In 2017, we're going to see the end to the widespread use of these conversion tactics.
Yes, they convert really well, but they are highly annoying to readers.
In 2017 you're going to need a better way of getting people to part with their most valuable asset. Their email address.
Yup, that's right. As of January 2017, Google will be doling out ranking penalties to sites who use intrusive pop-ups.
Initially, these interstitial penalties will affect mobile devices exclusively, but we can certainly expect this to permeate to the desktop, especially with such a strong focus toward mobile usage (see trend #1).
Google want to serve users with the best and most appropriate content for their search term, and this includes a good user experience.
If you have bad UX, and Google considers intrusive pop-ups bad UX, then you're going to be penalised in the rankings for it.
Start thinking about your strategy now, as January will soon be upon us, and you don't want the BIG G slapping you around the chops for annoying your visitors.
With popups on their way out, you're going to need to come up with a good way of converting visitors into leads.
One of the best ways and one which is going to be remarkably robust in 2017 is going to be content upgrades.
You're not going to be able to produce any old rubbish, though. You're going to have to offer genuine, quality resources that people will actually find useful.
Every man and his dog are going to be moving to using content upgrades, so you're going to need to differentiate yourself from the countless others offering similar downloadable content.
Top #3 Digital Marketing Trends 2017
So, what are the top 3 digital marketing trends that we'll see further develop and grow going into 2017 and beyond?
Well, to find out and get some tips on how to best use them, click the image below to download your copy:
Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute to the article.
Some fabulous insight has been gathered here for you from some of the worlds best marketers. Enjoy!
1. Content Marketing Re-constructed
If you are operating under the idea that what worked in content marketing last year will work this year, it’s time to update the perspective. The world of 2017 will look nothing like the marketing world of 2015. These trends will be forcing dramatic change: Information Density, A Failure to Launch, The Social Media Dead-End, Bot Writing
2. The Rise of the Private Networks
For the first time in history, the number of people posting on private networks like Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat exceed what is being posted on public social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
3. The Influence Crunch
In 2012, influence marketing was not much of a thing but I predicted in the book Return On Influence that it would become a mainstream marketing activity. That’s one prediction I got right! The reason behind the trend is simple. Nobody sees ads on TV, the internet, mobile, or traditional publishing like they used to. We are moving toward an ad-free society. Where are marketers going to place their ad spend?
Influencers. You can’t block ’em. You can’t ignore ’em. And they have legions of passionate fans they can activate. What’s not to like?
Here’s the problem. There are only so many influencers to go around. Tying up an influencer for your brand can create an unusual strategic advantage. So we will be facing an influence crunch.
Digital marketing is evolving rapidly – there are some evident trends that marketers are going to have to adapt to as we fast approach 2017...
The obvious necessities will be video, virtual reality and augmented reality; so I’m going to discuss a few others:
1. The Rise of the Social Messenger Apps
Check this out...social media isn’t just about the typical public platforms anymore. We are experiencing a revolution – conversation blended into private and open formats, often switching between the two at a constant rate. Immediacy is expected now more than ever.
Easy to manage as a business? I’d say no...
2. Greater Dependence on Marketing Automation
It’s only increasing in popularity and as buyer journeys become extraordinarily advanced, so are brands in engaging them appropriately to aid conversions across multiple devices.
Integrating such complex systems takes great time, energy and resource.
3. Artificial Intelligence: The Uprising
As much as I hate to say it, this is no joke...Google are already designing a kill switch to prevent a similar scenario to that of The Terminator and The Matrix...
While we’re not quite that far into the future, AI is in force on Google’s algorithm (RankBrain) and we will be seeing much more impact from AI in 2017 in relation to SEO, CRM and chat bots.
Are you ready?
1. Mobile is Here
To echo Google ‘Mobile is here’ and now it accounts for over half of all traffic for paid search. As a result, Google has started and will continue to change the AdWords platform with a predominant focus on how ads appear on mobile devices.
2016 saw one of Google’s biggest changes to AdWords – with the search engine giant dropping the right hand side ads on desktop to make the search experience consistent across all devices. During 2017 Google will continue to expand on its ‘mobile-first world’ strategy, introducing changes to both text and display ads.
2. Voice Search
With more of us talking to our mobiles through Cortana, Siri or Google, together with the recent launches of Google Home and Amazon Echo – optimising content to support voice search and voice delivery will grow heavily in 2017.
3. Get Personal
2017 is all about getting personal on social media – namely developing a more strategic and relevant approach to your social media strategy. Think about how you can better your user experience online, and establish more engaged marketing campaigns that strike a chord with your target audience and help them to relate to your brand and your business.
1. Get AMP on Your Site
The buzz is growing around AMP (accelerated mobile pages). This “HTML/JS/CSS lite” is an open-source project aimed at producing fast-loading mobile pages. Initially, many people thought AMP would work best for large publishers who typically have ad-riddled sites. However, the AMP team recently posted about the benefits of using AMP for ecommerce. This could be a huge competitive advantage for early adopters in ecommerce. Think of it as Mobile Revolution 2.0.
2. Improve Organic CTR: Write Title Tags Using Techniques from Google Ads
Brian Dean has a great case study over at Backlinko on improving organic traffic. One of his coolest techniques is to look at the kinds of ads that show up for your keywords. The ad copy will often include a concrete, specific benefit. Brian suggests changing your title tag to read like this kind of ad copy—especially mimicking (and surpassing) the concrete, specific benefit. This tip is really only relevant if your benefit is actually better than the benefits in the existing ads. Otherwise, you’re just not offering a competitive content product in your market. That’s another discussion entirely.
3. Learn the Ins and Outs of the New Moz Keyword Explorer
At 216digital, we’ve tended to cycle through Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Moz for keyword analysis. Each one seemed to have its own strengths and weaknesses. But the new Moz Keyword Explorer is stunning. It’s much more intelligent than Ahrefs or SEMRush as far as discovering relevant keywords based on the one you entered. The Difficulty, Opportunity, and Potential scores are especially neat. Unless I’m missing something, this is new ground in the keyword analysis game. For example, Moz already shows numerous keywords related to Google’s AMP initiative (see above). When we searched these topics in Ahrefs and SEMRush on August 26, we got irrelevant results in Ahrefs and no results in SEMRush.
1. Intrusive Interstitial Penalties
I think the biggest thing to look out for in 2017 is how the recent announcement of overlays on mobile devices is going to impact search. It's well known that these convert really well, but they can prove to be an inconvenience for many. It will be interesting to see how people ultimately get around this. I think people are ultimately going to scrap overlays from showing on mobile devices upon a user landing there and more of an emphasis of exit intent overlays when a user tries to leave the site. Who knows, maybe we will be surprised with some creative "workaround" or new technique :)
2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
More emphasis on increasing click through rates with less linkbait are going to be more of a priority in order to reduce pogo-sticking. I think we are all guilty of tossing out a few page titles/blog posts with a clickbait-y titles. While it's great to get the click, it's not so great when the title doesn't deliver the expectation it set, ultimately causing the user to click the back button and bounce from your page. So I think we might see a little less generic clickbait titles and more titles that promise what the content delivers.
Importance of mobile will continue to rise in relation to your organic rankings. Not really a surprise trend to predict, but you can't ignore the need to have a mobile friendly, fast loading site. Obviously Google is focused on mobile UX (see Thing #1), so I don't doubt that these factors will weigh more heavily than before in regards to where a site will rank.
1. Increased Content Quality
Content Marketing is not easy. It takes AT LEAST a year of hard work to get a substantial amount of traction when starting from scratch.
I think that 2016 saw content marketing reach a certain saturation point. I think once those who are not dedicated to doing the hard work (creating meaningful, actionable, better content and promotion, promotion, promotion!) fall away, what will be left will be great.
I think the content in 2017 will be representative of the strong that survived.
2. Increased Budgets
Content Marketing has certainly proven it is a force that cannot be ignored. Smart businesses will start to put some money behind it; either by investing in an expanded content team, or tools.
3. Increased Usage of Freelance Teams
With many offices going remote and the rise of the gig economy, I think many teams will seek out freelance and remote work. This way, teams can hire a great designer to research and produce a great infographic geared towards their audience instead of trying their own hands at it. This opens a huge pool of talent from which to choose!
My digital marketing predictions for 2017 are that there’ll be 3 areas where marketers will invest much more heavily.
1. Increased Adoption of Retargeting
Firstly, I expect marketers to make much greater use of the retargeting opportunities that social media platforms make possible. To date it’s been mostly large corporates who’ve tapped into this potential, but actually there’s nothing holding back small and mid-sized companies from doing the same. Whether you’re looking to generate candidate interest, client leads or online sales, the likelihood of prospects converting rises considerably with repeated exposure to your messaging.
Expect to see far more of this in 2017.
My second prediction is that we’ll see much more widespread adoption of automation. As artificial intelligence and the sophistication of automation services evolves, reluctance to experiment with these technologies will diminish – and when confronted with the results that automation can bring, I think there’ll be a tipping point reached in 2017.
3. Personalised Video Campaigns
Last but not least, video marketing we can expect to grow and grow – with more services coming online that allow for the delivery of personalised video marketing content.
1. Social Advertising
Advertising on Social Media is going to skyrocket into 2017. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat will continue to take the lions share. Brands are being created everyday using a combination of clever social targeting through ads and imagery which will make 2017 very interesting. Not only will direct advertising on these platforms grow, sponsoring social influencers has become a normal part of digital marketing and is only going up.
For years, experts have used video as a way to stand out and whilst more and more businesses have incorporated video into their online presence, there's still a long way to go. The introduction of new video apps / tools will make creating and editing videos fun, easier to do and overall lower the barrier to entry. Video content is going to take a bigger stage!
Google's algorithm updates will continue to increase the cost of doing SEO, both from a time and budget perspective. For the industry this means that content will be higher quality and visually appealing. Doing SEO is now more about doing a combination of Content Marketing and Online PR, and that's going to continue. With Google adding another ad spot at the top of search result, this hasn't yet deterred businesses away from SEO, but will be interesting to see what other changes they will introduce to encourage Google Ad spend.
1. Product Reviews
Reviews of products will count for SEO more than ever in 2017.
2. Death of Twitter
Twitter will have little or no impact, while new platforms like Instagram will have more impact than ever before.
3. Less Hype for Digital Products
The days of massive hype for digital products will finish as this is getting done to death by everyone and a new format will have to be created.
Video will become even more important. We have seen a huge rise in video in 2016 and this will only grow stronger in 2017. Video will be the main form of media we consume over the next few years.
2. Bots & Messenger Apps
Bots and messenger programs will become super powerful tools. Being able to ask messenger bots questions and even pay for goods all in messenger is super powerful. Be prepared for most brands to use this technology for customer service queries, customer engagement and sales.
3. Multi-Platform Marketing
Multi-platform marketing will become the main focus in 2017. In a mobile-first world we need to focus on mobile but we also need to recongise that desktop/laptop is still used for more in-depth analysis and purchasing across all demographics. In 2017 we will see a stronger focus on delivering marketing reports across all channels/platforms not yet seen in 2016.
1. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two technologies driving massive changes in the tech world - there have been attempts by a few brands to utilise these technologies such as IKEA's augmented reality product placement section on their iPhone apps, but 2017 will see the rise in both heading towards the mainstream.
2. Technical SEO
Technical SEO will see a resurgence within the SEO community, so much emphasis has been put on 'content' over recent years and some of the big wins in 2017 will be seen by those making sure their sites are as easily crawled as possible and operating as quickly as possible.
3. Customer Segmentation
Customer segmentation will continue to become more and more important particularly in email marketing, but new technologies will make it easier and easier to learn about your customers and become as highly targeted as possible. Customer segmentation will also become more apparent in other marketing channels with different content, PPC targeting & adverts being displayed to the correct audiences.
There is a fundamental shift happening in business. Consumer-focused data-driven companies are growing and adapting more quickly than their counterparts. As the straggling companies compete harder for attention, there will be greater interest and investment in customer experience.
Due to these factors, I expect that in 2017, we'll see the following:
Personalization will become more common and necessary.
2. Analytics & CRO
Greater personalization will lead to more investment in analytics and CRO.
3. Mobile & Video
We'll see even greater growth of mobile and video.
1. Content Upgrades
Content upgrades will become the new popup. As popups become more intrusive and defacto, their effectiveness will decrease. As Google penalizes interstitial popups, websites will shy away from them. On the other hand, stuff such as content upgrades or other methods which offer value to the visitor will keep growing in their effectiveness.
2. White-Hat SEO
Fully white-hate SEO will grow as an industry as Google keeps clamping down on black-hat techniques and boosting content which is deemed relevant to users through user behavior rather than just backlinks.
3. Increased Ad Spend
Digital ad spend will keep eating away at traditional advertising where it is becoming increasingly obvious that this is the more effective advertising particularly on mobile.
1. Rich Content
As Google's algorithm gets more and more sophisticated, we'll move away from ideas such as 'great content has to be at least 1000 words' and other such ideas. Instead, we'll move towards something that I term 'rich content', which is well stuctured, well written and completely fulfills the reader's concerns and intent. Instead of ultra long content that is written with SEO rather than the reader in mind, this shorter form but ultimately richer content will win the day because it offers the user a richer, more useful and more rewarding experience.
2. Standalone SEO Will Decline
Search engine optimization will always have its place but I think more and more people who class themselves as 'SEOs' will have to expand their offering and skillbase into wider marketing. With so many sources of traffic, clients and customers, simply offering SEO will become somewhat old fashioned. More and more people will want more intergrated services that take in such things as PPC, online and offline advertising and social media. SEO will become less of a standalone offering and more of an (important) part of the marketing mix.
3. Back to Basics
There's always new trends in SEO but in 2017 I think that the basics will continue to be if not more important than ever. Of course things like AMP, schema, the increase in voice search and other issues are all worth engaging with but only if these are done whilst not forgetting the basics. Sites that load quick, do what they they say on the tin and have a logical structure to them with fantastic content will always do well with Google.
1. Facebook Advertising Will Grow
Both in terms of revenue for FB and usefulness for businesses.The targeting in terms of geographical location and interests makes it really useful for getting in front of the people you want to, and it is still really good value for money if you are able to convert the traffic.
2. Social Media PresenceMore businesses will be running entirely on Facebook or social channels, with no external web presence (no website etc). Partly because of the advertising being so useful.
3. Microsoft Will Become More Relevant
They are the underdog now - the big 3 usually mentioned are Apple, Google and Amazon! Weird not seeing Microsoft listed. As the underdog they can now take bigger risks and we see that with the Surface 4 - whereas the new Mac Book Pro's have disappointed. Their Azure Cloud business is really kicking some ass too!
Digital marketing and SEO are rapidly changing. We are seeing changes all the time and as such people are going to have to adapt their approach to match. In 2017 I believe we will start to see some real separation between those that can do SEO and digital marketing well and those that are/ have been living in the 'fake it until they make it' era. So here are (in my opinion) the top 3 digital trends that will emerge in 2017.
1. The Slow Death of Twitter Will Cause the Fake Likes/Followers Market to Boom
I hear people say that Twitter is still great and yes it can be, but that is going to change because Snapchat is growing fast. There are a lot of digital marketers that have spent years building up Twitter followings and never touched Facebook, YouTube or any other, platform.
As Twitter marketing results decline, we will see an abundance of marketers panic. This panic will result in a huge boom in the fake followers market. By this, I mean that those services that sell fake likes by the 1000's will become very busy as people try and gain social proof that they can do their job. For consumers, I think this will cause even more damage to the credibility of the industry as people will purchase social media management and get poor results.
2. Content Price Will Rise Dramatically
The cost of great content will rise dramatically, and this is great for writers. We see so many poor quality services out there now, and I too have been stung buying terrible content. I believe that Content Marketing is growing fast and people will recognise that quality content costs more.
3. SEO Services Will Cost a Lot More
The SEO market is packed with every service you can imagine, and I believe the price will go up. You will still be able to get cheap SEO services, but people will be avoiding 'black hat SEO' like the plague as they operate an 'it is not worth the risk' attitude. The result is that people will want white hat services more and be willing to pay for this. This means higher costs for outreach, technical SEO and content.
1. Social Shopping
People will be buying more products and services through social media platforms. There is no reason why people will not buy on social platforms but it has to be supported by the platforms. We have already seen Facebook making moves in this direction and I expect a big push across multiple platforms in 2017
2. Smarter Marketing Automation
Imagine having a chat with a customer on Facebook Messenger and based on the chat automation sequences are created with an email follow up with potential customers? Imagine dynamically creating all emails based on where the potential customer is browsing on your site? Imagine integrating with iBeacon technology and adjusting automation based on people visiting your premises? There's massive potential with Marketing automation and we'll see lots of innovative functionality in this area.
3. Live Video
This is going to grow massively. We'll see it rolled out across all social platforms but we'll also see it more on websites. For example, instead of live text chat you'll increasingly see live video based support chat.
1. Micro-targeted Ads
The use of micro-targeted ads with small yet highly motivated audiences.
2. Marketing Budget Shift
A shift from marketing budgets from pure branding to more actionable marketing.
3. Increased Budgets
Increased digital ad budgets in 2017.
1. Video Advertising
The past few years video producing has become easier and it's a fact that the masses like info delivered that way.
I think we will see many more services spring up promoting themselves using cleverly formulated video 'adverts'.
2. Social Aggregation
A service which will interupt the market will soon come out. I speak of something that will aggregate all social media for businesses and intelligently allow them to target (more precisely) their markets.
This is a service that will better aggregate the social media followers of a business and do a much better job at targeting customers. As of right now that area is underdeveloped.
I think LinkedIn is underserved in the marketing sense. I think people are going to better understand the importance of marketing on there.
1. High-Capacity Data
2. UX Design
3. XF Audience Building Attributes
3. Customer Experience/UX
1. Live Video
Live video is something that is popping up everywhere. From Facebook's Live feature to Instagram Stories and Twitter's native integration with video and Periscope.
The major social networks have all caught on to what marketers have known for a long time -- visual content is more appealing and makes a much bigger impact than text.
4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.
Live video takes this to the next level by offering communities an authentic view of a business or brand's story and instant interaction.
Social networks are encouraging the trend by regularly improving features and alerting followers when YOUR live content goes out. That's powerful stuff.
2. Native Advertising
The future of social advertising is native, particularly in the mobile space. Consumers have developed a mistrust and 'blindness' to traditional banner ads and are turning instead to things like recommendations and sponsored posts.
Native advertising will account for 63.2 percent of all global mobile display advertising by 2020, reaching $53.4 billion.
Social networks have jumped on that and offer various ways for business to promote content natively within their applications. They can be Google paid search results, promoted listings on Twitter, sponsored updates on LinkedIn or even content-recommendation engines at the end of articles.
Facebook has it's own Adverts Manager where you can create campaigns based around boosted or sponsored posts. This is great for local businesses wanting to build their social media audience Campaigns are easy to set up and relatively cheap compared to other forms of advertising. Not only that, the business gets social proof, ie metrics on each campaign that informs the next round of ads.
There is still a place for organic reach in advertising and yes, content must resonate with readers. A sponsored post with little organic traction will do poorly, so look instead to promote social media content that is already popular for more exposure to a wider audience.
3. Social Selling
Businesses are now building on the consumer information they receive through social by engaging with customers at each stage in a sales funnel and leading them to buy directly from within a social media app.
Pinterest has done this very successfully, being seen as the place for ideas and shopping. Partnering with major commerce platforms, they launched Buyable Pins in 2015 so people could buy products without leaving Pinterest.
Reaching the milestone in 2016 of 150M users each month, 87% of them have made a purchase after finding a product they liked. Some companies have reported double their usual sales since using Buyable Pins.
Instagram has also launched a direct buying feature by partnering with commerce platforms and offering a "Shop the Feed" link through tools like Have2have.it. Especially useful in the beauty and fashion industries, it's a great way to showcase products, style them and allow buyers to achieve the same look.
In this age of 'get it now' consumerism, social selling through engagement with customers and direct buying will only grow in 2017 and beyond.
2. Voice Search
With the advent of Amazon Eco, Google Home and more and more people doing voice searches from their home, understanding semantics and users search intent will be a new challenge for marketers to tackle, so they come up for those types of searches.
I see companies getting more personable with their marketing tailoring the marketing around the individual customer's interests and online shopping behavior. Instead of just blanket marketing the same thing to everyone, I see advertising becoming more dynamic to attract more customers.
1. The Increasing Dominence of Video Ads
Video advertisements are certainly nothing new for social media giants like YouTube and Facebook, the news of Google entering the fray witH VIDEO ADVERTISING will change the whole spectrum of online advertisement.
This also suggests the increasing acceptance of video ads among users and, as the trend continues, we may expect different types of video ads popping up on our screens very soon.
2. Mobile Will Completely Dominate Desktop
We have seen how Google virtually phased-out all websites not optimized for mobile. The ubiquitous presence of hand-held devices and fading away of desktop traffic clearly indicates that the smart money rests on INTERNET MARKETING.
Mobile search and mobile optimization should, therefore, be a top priority for digital marketers in the year 2017. Jump on board NOW!!!
3. Search Algorithms Will Change. And Change Again
Like it or not, but the search engine algorithms will change. With the enormous amount of information being added to the internet every second, search engine giants will keep on updating their algorithm to decide which content should get priority and rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs), and which should not. BLOG. BLOG. BLOG.
I think 2017 will be a massive year for digital marketing as I believe we will see a lot of strong shifts made throughout the year.
1. Video Advertising
I see video advertising becoming the biggest method of digital advertising and marketing before the end of 2017.
2. Mobile Dominence
Secondly, I think 2017 will officially be the year where mobile complete dominates desktop and thus causes businesses and consumers to completely make the shift to mobile.
3. Wearable Technology
Lastly, I believe 2017 will be the year of wearable technology and smart devices and businesses that can find ways to market through those platforms will be ahead of the game.
More focus on mobile first strategies.
2. Instant Content
More focus on real time/instant content.
Continued growth in video strategies.
1. Mobile SEO
With Google testing using mobile data instead of desktop data as its primary method of grading a website, delivering an optimal mobile experience will be at the front of everyone's mind. This combined with the lack of visibility of organic listings in mobile results, that conversion rates are low on mobile devices and that mobile plays a massive part in contributing to the desktop sales funnel, means we're going to figure out how to match up the user journey across devices and ip addresses to gain any valuable insights.
2. Instant Answers
Partly due to the issues around organic visibility in point 1 and that organic listings are becoming increasingly jumbled up with other universal search elements, means position zero or the Google instant answers box will become the focus of many medium and long tail campaigns. Expect lots of battles around delivering the best result and figuring how to get users to click on the instant answers listing to drive traffic.
There's lots of talk around AI being used in search. From chat bots and personal assistants to AI based organic rankings, I think 2017 will be the start of the battle between man and machine. SEOs will have to think about optimising machine based output and/or gaming systems that learn patterns.
Mobile in 2017 is going to see site owners make many changes in their strategies.
I see UX also playing a huge part in strategies - especially streamlining mobile interaction and usability.
Then probably still content, but with more of a mobile focus - Yes, Mobile yet again :)
1. Social Media
There is absolutely no way social media can be left out! In fact, it's taking bigger steps forward. Examples of top social media platforms to watch out for in 2017 are Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
There is absolutely no way this can be removed from the toolbox of a digital marketer.
3. Business Hashtags
The use of branded hastags in posts.
1. Content Marketing Gets More Difficult
Due to the sheer amount of exposure that people have to advertising, content will still be king in 2017 - if an advert doesn't inform or entertain, why engage with it? Getting your content to stand out will become more difficult, and the more promotional and less subtle an advert is (e.g. 'our product is great, please buy it'), the worse it weill perform.
2. Mobile First (Yes, Again!)
This appears every year in digital marketing tremnds articles, but 2016 was a big year for mobile. Google put an emphasis on it in 2016, and 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 deaktop. You really need a great mobile website in 2017 but not for Google - for your user.
3. Internet of Things Becomes Reality
Wearable technology was the first step towards the Internet of Things and it has had mixed success. Devices with a clear purpose and advantage (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?
Visual communication will catch up, in terms of gifs and infographics.
2. Social Listening
This will be a key aspect when it comes to checking out a brand or what people are saying about them.
3. Social Media
Social media will remain a key strategy for staying in touch with people, but offline interactions will be the bridge to build more solid rapport between brands and consumers.
1. Small Businesses Will/Should Stop Chasing the Elusive Facebook Organic Reach and Accept the Pay-to-Play Reality
I imagine a lot of people will take issue with this, but the whole Facebook as a free marketing channel party is winding down in a big way.
It was great while it lasted, but the saturation of businesses on Facebook makes it unsustainable to show your business’ message to users for free. Look at all the businesses you’ve liked on Facebook. If you saw even a quarter of the messages they put out, your newsfeed would be a hot mess of advertising.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to sustain organic reach with your business page, if you have a great team and you’re posting amazing content that’s getting crazy engagement. What I am saying is, for most businesses, it’s not worth the effort anymore.
The good news is that Facebook advertising is very effective. The better news is Facebook ads are crazy cheap right now if you take the time to learn to target well. As more businesses gravitate to Facebook ads, the price will go up. Small businesses need to take advantage of Facebook as an inexpensive ad platform in 2017.
2. Live Video Will Break Out in a Big Way
In 2015-2016 we saw a quick evolution of live streaming video with the launch of Meerkat (now defunct), shortly followed by Twitter’s Periscope, and now Facebook Live.
2017 will be the year we see businesses start to refine how they’re marketing with live video. It will be all about providing value and, frankly, I’m excited to see how the best brands start to use live video that will reach the masses.
3. Social Media as a Customer Service Platform Will Become a Necessity for Many Businesses in 2017
With the ever-growing amount of people interacting with businesses on social media, the lines between social media marketing and customer service are starting to blur. A growing number of customers are turning to social media for support and that’s happening in public the eye. Think of it like if your 800 number was available on the radio for anyone to listen in.
It goes without saying that you need to be there for customer support, although I still see a lot of big brands who leave Twitter messages unanswered – #baffling. But also, how you handle support on social media is social proof for potential customers. Business should embrace these opportunities and need to have a solid customer service on social media plan in place in 2017.
1. Video, Particularly Live Video Streaming
Video is rising in popularity across all platforms and I don't see this slowing down. Video will continue to be a major way that people connect with their audiences across Facebook, Instagram and more.
2. Immersive Experiences/Content
It's going to be more and more important for people to provide a truly immersive experience to their audiences. Using augmented reality, virtual reality and 360 degree video, people will be able to fully experience something before they get there or buy it.
3. Mobile Optimization
In order to compete in 2017 and beyond, mobile optimization across all channels, including the website, is going to be of vital importance. Anyone who doesn't optimize for it will be left behind.
1. Influencer Marketing Grows Up
In 2017, look to see influencer marketing mature. Instead of seeing countless lists of influencers of often variable quality, we will hear more insights from people who are actually influential. There will still be lists, of course, but they will be better researched, and, more importantly, marketers will spend more time listening and sharing what these people have to say.
2. Push for Better Understanding Audiences
One of the central messages from the Brexit vote and the 2016 U.S. presidential election is that can be surprisingly hard to understand what the public is thinking. It is clear now, however, that much of the public is jaded. In 2017, marketers should do a better job at listening to the public (and business contacts), hearing their frustrations, and starting a dialogue with them.
3. More Focus on Services
Our culture is gradually starting to become more wary of wasteful spending on widgets. For many, gadget fatigue is setting in. Savvy marketers, however, understand that many of the business models of the future will have a service component or, eventually, could be completely based on services instead of products. There are already many examples that this transition is underway. The medical device behemoth Medtronic, for instance, is not just selling hospitals widgets but offering services to help them run more efficiently. And the German air pump company Kaeser Kompressore is ultimately planning on marketing “air as a service.” In the long run, technologies like self-driving cars open up new possibilities for services—not only in terms of hailing rides but also occupying commuters’ time as they suddenly find themselves freed from the steering wheel.
After monitoring the Digital Marketing field in 2016, I can predict 3 digital marketing trends for 2017 especially in the Middle East:
1. Video/Live Streaming
Videos and Live Streaming will dominate the content of Social Media platforms.
2016 was the year of mobile and it will continue to 2017 with more growth, dominating desktop. There will be also a huge integration of wearable devices as we saw some in 2016 like spectacles, smart watches etc...
3. Online Advertising
Online Advertising will be included more in the budget of the Middle East companies with a huge shift towards the importance of retargeting.
The top 3 digital marketing trends I see as most important in 2017 are:
1. Video/Live Streaming
As Google moves towards a mobile-first index and penalizes interstitials in 2017 we will see people putting prioritizing for mobile.
2. Artificial Intelligence
This won't be 'the year' for AI but we'll see more and more platforms integrate AI into their platforms to automate proccesses and data analyzation. I foresee this happening especially in the paid media realm as programmatic rises.
3. Virtual Reality
As virtual reality starts to become more mainstream, 2017 will be telling of whether it's going to stick around or not. My gut tells me that augmented reality will take precedence, but not in 2017.
1. Live Video
Live video is around to stay and getting massive engagement. It’s only going to get bigger. Platforms will start to monetize live video more effectively, making it easier for publishers. And we’ll see more e-commerce companies starting to use live. Not just for engagement, but to sell directly.
2. Augmented Reality
Pokemon Go’s meteoric success (even though it fizzled out) showed that augmented reality is a huge opportunity to influence people’s behavior and get people to buy.
Smarter, easier and better marketing automation because of AI. Right now marketers are still wading through data and manually setting up segmentation for automation tools. And it’s not easy to do. Smarter, AI based marketing automation tools will start doing more of the grunt work. So marketers will be able to focus on more important work and strategy.
Although the pace of Digital Marketing is going to be stretched to a new level in 2017, I do believe brands and the marketing team will become more aware of the simple desires of a customer. In a brief survey, I did on Twitter, I asked what the customer wants most from a brand they follow and the clear response was personal attention. As we get smarter in our ways of reaching potential customers and direct targeting is taken to the next level in this coming year, the brands who will win will be the ones who find the balance between talking to and talking with the customer. There is no greater time to turn a large portion of attention to the voice of the customer and use a part of the marketing plan to be available, responsive and supportive within the online space.
If you’re in the video industry, then 2017 is going to be your lucky year. The marketing trend is going to spike with in the video marketing space and brands are going to be figuring out the best ways to spend their budget, to keep up with the demand of video consumption era. I believe this will spill over into my next expected trend, in the live video space.
2. Live Video
Brands are going to be hunting down the most creative ideas to go live and dominate the brand space between platforms like Facebook Live, Snap and Insta Stories. I believe we’re heading back into a highly creative phase, as this is taking “content is king” to the next level.
3. Augmeted Reality
With the attention turned to Augmented Reality and a lot of envy that Pokémon Go got it so right, I envisage hours of creative strategy as brands try and dominate this rapidly growing form of digital marketing. I believe 2017 is going to be a year where creative thinking and out of the box strategy is going to have to be taken to the next level if brands really want to stand out.
1. Increased Risk Using Black-Hat SEO
Real time Google Penguin will start to affect more industries by either rewarding or penalizing. Seems like a lot of industries still heavily rely on black hat SEO tactics - because it works for them! This will become riskier and riskier.
2. Increased PPC
Google is forcing more and more people's hand into utilizing PPC with the increase in mobile browsing and the amount of ads running on the top of SERP's. The good thing is that PPC is still a very profitable marketing channel for many niches.
3. Adaptive Design
Adaptive design, serving separate pages for different screen sizes is no longer just for the major players. We tend to lose mobile conversions with responsive design, especially from PPC so it pays to have a dedicated mobile lander to get your most important info and call to action on the screen.
1. Google AMP
Google says that over 50% of searches globally happen on mobile. Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source coding standard for publishers which main goal is for all the websites to load much faster on mobile devices. We're already seeing more and more sites to embrace the new AMP standart and this tendency will only increase in 2017.
2. Google Voice Search
According to a case stufy performes by SearchEngineWatch (https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/31/the-continuing-rise-of-voice-search-and-how-you-can-adapt-to-it/) 60% of smartphone users who used voice search have begun using it within the past year. Among them, 41% began to use voice commands in the past 6 months! This is a clear indication of how popular voice search is becomming. It saves time in our hectic lives, makes searching information online so much easier and it's not a surprise that users will start using voice search even more throughout the next year.
HTTPS is a protocol for secure communication over a computer network which is widely used on the Internet. More than 2 years ago, in August 2014, Google officially declared HTTPS as one of their ranking signals. SInce then, according to Moz (https://moz.com/blog/https-tops-30-how-google-is-winning-the-long-war) almost 33% of first page Google results now use the HTTPS protocol. This is the third trend I am sure will be on the increase during 2017 making the Internet a more secure place for all of us.
1. Video & Data Strategy
Have a strategy for linking all video content to actionable data and a business solution as we move towards the 2020 mark where 79% of all internet traffic will be video.
2. Customer Experience
Throwout the social media content calendar that was for marketing & sales only and start creating content that focuses on customer experience, customer service and employee thought leadership. Nobody is ok with being sold too or marketed too anymore in social media.
3. Digital Natives vs. Digital Dinosaurs
Redefining what today we refer to as the "Millennial customer" and starting thinking about the millennial mindset and grouping customers as either "Digital natives" or "Digital dinosaurs" not determined by their age but rather the amount of digital they use & the amount of digital change they're prepared for.
1. Google Cracking Down on "Pay for Play" Guest Posting
Guest posting has risen to the top of many SEO strategies in 2016. It is a relatively straightforward process that earns a quality backlink. And it can be replicated in every industry. Matt Cutts has already spoken out against guest blogging (https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging/), but it is a difficult thing to stop if quality sites are exchanging links. After all, that's how things are supposed to work - quality sites producing quality content that link to other quality sites. But there is an exception that you should absolutely avoid for 2017:
Avoid sites that offer you a guest post in exchange for money (Unless they bring heavy referral traffic by themselves). These practices and the "Write for Us" pages that accompany them are the lowest-hanging fruit for Google to pick in the war against manipulating rankings. They may work for now, but you can be certain that these links are going to be devalued.
2. India-based Companies Struggling to Keep Up in the U.S. Market with Content Marketing Due to the Language Barrier
Google has made massive strides in the war against "black hat" tactics and spammy content, though admittedly they still have a ways to go. But one thing is certain for SEO Professionals and Marketing Managers alike -- the "dark side of the force" and employing those that perform it is much less attractive than it ever has been.
As offshore, India-based "cheap labor," continues to fall in value and Black Hat SEO Sweat-shops continue to close their doors, expect to see customers start to become less price-sensitive and more concerned with results as they spend their money on companies operating closer to home.
3. Euro-based Companies with Solid Understanding of English Will Begin Taking Indian SEO Market Share in the Blogger Outreach and Content Marketing Space.
English has been a dominant language in Europe for quite some time, and young entrepreneurial-minded millennials in Europe are going global with their SEO and content marketing skills. These groups are being welcomed with open arms by American SEO firms that are looking to fill the void with reliable "white hat" SEO sub-contractors.
A reliable and English-fluent European content marketing & link-building company is an awesome asset to have for 2017. Expect to see many more professionals (especially in Eastern Europe where labor is cheaper) to arrive on the scene in 2017 with content writing and marketing offerings.
The digital era is a fast innovation era. Every year occurs some small or big change in the way the Internet works and this is clearly shaping the behavior of the average user. At the front line, the social media platforms are where trends seem to spread the fastest. The mass-market experiences new features and that seems to set the standard of what the online community is expecting from the web.
That’s why my forecast for digital marketing trends in 2017 is mostly rooted in the 2016 premises of changes in the social media platforms.
1. Virtual & Augmented Reality Gets to the Mass-Market
Facebook is well known for being a trendsetter in terms of digital experience, so when they bought oculus back in 2014, you could bet that VR would be the next big step of the social media era. That’s with no surprise that they started to roll out 360 videos in 2015. The skills and gears required to produce such a content have made it a slow trend to grow. That’s a little different story with Facebook 360 pictures launch in june 2016. From your smartphone, you can now share your surroundings with any of your friends : much easier and attention grabbing!
The virality & rapid adoption of Pokemon Go shows that AR is not only a tool to engage the communities online but also drives to action in the real life : get your coffee shop listed as a Pokemon Go gym and you’ll see real traffic coming in. This might be the key for local/small business to get more customers & raise brand awareness. Geolocation marketing at its best. The gamification brought by Pokemon Go is also interesting to note as it is clearly the addictive feature of the app. Now think about a Trip Advisor that would involve cruising a city to find the best restaurant and rewards you with great exclusive deal . You don’t have to promote your exclusive deal anymore, people would literally hunt them.
Once again, innovation needs to be accessible to a large public to become “trendy”. Platforms offering to further the user's capacities in terms of content creation always lead the pack.
2. Live Content
Video was forecasted as the most engaging & used media for 2016. Youtube and it’s billion daily views clearly set the trend. And sharing Youtube video on Facebook was a great way to attract traffic to a youtube channel until now. Lately, It turned out that live & native video from Facebook itself recently reached more people and gather a greater engagement.
Snapchat & recent Implementation of “stories” on Instagram , shows that users are keen on snackable low-edited content. It’s about showing the behind the scene that other can easily relate to. That definitely creates bound between people knowing each other just through social platform.
Authenticity seems to be a selling point in this “digital era”. So in 2017, bringing people into your raw reality is a must.
3. The Targeting of Communities with Facebook Groups & Instagram
As the common FB feed started to be more advertising than real social discussion, FB groups became a great place for communities to interact freely and gather around topic of their taste. Forums, made easy and social.
Big groups with 40K + members are usually the target of some self advertising by the members and admins usually do great job at regulating it. Albeit , they might feel a little worried as Facebook showed the sign of first group advertising feature. The community seems to be doomed to watch in silence the Putsch of their beloved admin operated by the social platform itself. Well, it seems pretty obvious that free advertising to big and highly targeted group on Facebook is competing with the Facebook advertising business model.
Instagram communities also became a target for marketers for 2017. The platform is now mature as it has its own in-app analytics feature, business profile options and advertising platform. Watch out influencers, the post you were billing to build brand awareness for others might get in direct competition with Instagram advertising itself.
In 2017, where will people go to hang out online with their peers without being target of advertising?
1. Niche Focus
It’s becoming clear that social media, with its array of targeting options, is not a broadcast medium As such, many of the established benchmarks by which we measure marketing effectiveness no longer apply – brand awareness, total impressions, etc. While, in reality, these have never been the crucial stats, they’ve been the best we’ve had, which has made them the focus, but digital marketers now have access to much more insight and ability to track performance. As such, we’re moving away from broadcast and more towards focusing on the smaller groups that truly matter – market to them and let the community spread, rather than trying to reach everyone.
2. Experiences > Transactions
Brands are becoming increasingly aware of the need to build community to help spread their brand message. This is particularly true on Facebook – the ‘friends and family’’ algorithm update in June underlined the need for marketers be generating engagement as a means of boosting reach. As such, and with the rise of ‘social storytelling’ (e.g. Snapchat, Instagram Stories), brands will need to provide more context and work to create more experiential campaigns that immerse their target customers into the wider brand experience.
3. Social SEO
I predict that Facebook is going to make a concerted effort on search in 2017. This will change the focus of SEO – whereas once you’d be totally guided by what works for Google, brands will now also have to take into account how social media audiences are utilizing these platforms to find their products and services. Much of it will be the same, but Facebook adds a whole new element to the search process – they can rank search results based on affinity, on feedback provided by people in your network. That’s an element that’s far more difficult to game, which could alter the Facebook marketing process.
2. Data-Driven Content Marketing
3. Growth Hacking
1. Relationship Building
It probably seems strange to list relationship building as a “marketing trend” but for anyone working in SEO I don’t think this can be avoided any longer. We’ve had some great success for our clients where we have built up solid relationships with industry influencers to co-create content to generate quality backlinks. Also, once you start to grow a network, it will organically grow. Once you create a genuine relationship with an influencer, you then gain access to their existing and future networks. Of course to do this you have to be truly genuine and work on mutually beneficial projects, which may seem long winded, but the end results are great.
2. Conversion Rate Optimisation
Again, possibly not really a “trend” but I think the importance of this continues to grow year on year. Competition for traffic is fierce whether it’s through AdWords, organic or social, so it’s important to make sure any traffic you receive is “converting”, A/B testing and careful analysis of traffic data can help you keep a step ahead of the competition. If you can take a clients badly performing AdWords campaign from 3% conversion rate, to a 10% conversion rate, that’s more than 3 times more conversions for the same price. Try and find a customer that won’t be happy with that!
3. Multi Channel Traffic Generation
Google have already increased the amount of adverts they show at the top of the SERP’s and its now looking like paid adverts could be coming to the local map packs. This has seen a drop in organic traffic in some industries, and as more companies turn to PPC to recover their lost traffic PPC costs are rising. Google will always drive traffic to websites, but the future probably holds more changes and relying solely on only one marketing channel could be a huge mistake. Studying your businesses customers browsing and search habits will help you uncover new ways to reach your audience and techniques such as social retargeting become very important. For 2017 and beyond focusing on multiple channels or how different channels can complement each other will be something marketers have to focus on.
Companies will increasingly use customer data to offer personalised experiences throughout the customer journey.
2. Value Based Marketing
Customers have more power than ever. Marketing strategies need to have value creation as a core staple. This will primarily take the form of high quality content marketing.
3. Automated Responses
For transactional products, we will see an increases in chatbots and AI-powered service tools. Conversely, for complex products, we will see the use of more sophisticated customer service tools beyond chat and email.
1. Technical SEO Will Re-Gain Its Importance
Recently, I was reading an awesome post on Technical SEO from ipullrank. The post talks about the lost focus on technical SEO and why it is absolutey important to have more conversation around it.
- According to the post, SEO's have a new challenge in 2017: To make Google Understand the New Technologies like Angularjs, React & many more.
- We will see newer issues on such platforms - that we will have to monitor via server log and come up with a workaround for the Google, so that Google can index/ parse the website content well.
2. Content Outreach Will Become a Mainstream SEO Activity
It's been time, when almost all the old link building activities will be dead & every agency/ SEO professional in 2017, will start outreaching of their content to earn links. So, content outreaching in my opinion will become a mainstream SEO Activity.
3. Webmasters Will Observe Further a Decrease in Organic Visits Due to Answer Box
If you have observed last few months closely, good amount of search queries now has answer box. Answer Box from Google, as we all know has a direct impact on website's organic traffic. Since, Google's dream is to answer everything within just that Answer Box, we will continue to see the new enahncement's in 2017 which will further decrease of the number of clicks on the blue links. Here's a fantastic post on Disappering Clicks for more understanding.
In today’s digital era, measurement is becoming increasingly important. So much so, those who have figured out how and what to measure effectively outshine their competitors. In 2017, the digital marketer MUST move beyond vanity metrics and measure that which drives real business results. The data is out there. You just have to find it and use it.
2. Artificial Intelligence
A few years ago, I was introduced to Narrative Science, a company in my hometown of Chicago that ”writes” stories for publications using robots. At the time, I was appalled. After all, I’m a writer, author, blogger. The idea that I could so very easily be replaced is scary. Because it scared me so much, I wanted to dig in and better understand what they do. It turns out, they can write stories for things such as earnings reports and Little League baseball games—stories where the stats are more important than storytelling. That made me feel a bit better. And now I’m obsessed with artificial intelligence and how it might affect the role of the digital marketer in the next five to 10 years. While it won’t change the role of the digital marketer in 2017, it is something we all need to be aware of and plan to embrace. It’s coming and we can’t stop it!
3. Professional Development
For several years now, digital marketing has been operating in the wild, wild west. But it’s time to grow up and do things differently and with more sophistication. To do that, we need to learn how to measure effectively, how to implement new trends, and how to figure out how AI and virtual reality and video all affect our roles. The best way to do that is through our own professional development, which is plentiful on the web. You can do everything from reading blogs and teaching yourself to taking online courses or buying and reading books.
It’s an exciting time to be a digital marketer! There are lots of changes that are both fun and scary. How we embrace them will dictate how things look a year from now.
1. Brands Will Increasingly Rely on Data to Make Important Business Decisions
More and more brands will rely on data to tell them who is buying what, when, and what messaging is most effective for them.
Brands that currently use half baked measures to understand their marketing performance will start using marketing automation tools like Hubspot and Marketo. Those who already get it, will look for ways to analyze and visualize their data better for efficient decision making. Savvy brands will start using new business intelligence and data visualization tools like Domo and GoodData.
2. Brands Will Crack the Code of Marketing on Messaging Apps with Mixed Success
Brands already know how to connect with consumers using email and text messages. They have still not been able to figure out how to successfully sell or market on messaging apps.
Facebook’s announcement about Messenger’s support for bots, meant that marketers can now send personalized messages to users through Messenger, such as order confirmations or shipping updates.
The interaction that has started with customer support and transaction messaging will slowly turn into marketing and sales related communication. The brands that perfect it in 2017 will win big time before marketers hack it and this channel also gets cluttered like other marketing channels.
3. Brands Will Adopt 'Immersive Experience' Video Content
Live streaming is already big and it is going to stay here. We now know how it worked for ‘Chewbacca Mom’ and also for a random experiment like Buzzfeed’s Watermelon blow-up.
According to Facebook, more people tuned in to watch watermelon event live than any other live video. While watching it a large numbers of viewers were anxious because they thought they were doing nothing but just staring at their screens.
To take it to the next level brands will work on offering immersive experiences to consumers. Some of the brands will leverage augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to do it.
Starting point for most brands will be livestreams with some level of two-way interactions giving the consumers a good reason to stay engaged. Live video adoption has been moving upward or the last few years, but in 2017 more brands and more individuals than ever, will utilize it. Brands will also leverage platforms like YouTube live 360° video. Once they see engagement they will invest more resources and craft well thought, finer experiences.
You should explore more to understand the opportunities that these trends offer, as it relates to your brand. Based on what you find out, integrate it in your campaigns. All of them may not work for you but they are worth considering as you formulate your plans for 2017.
1. Paid Search Marketing (Adwords)
2. Influencer Marketing
3. Search Engine Optimization
Less and less web visitors from desktops and laptops, with more and more visitors from mobile devices.
2. Social Media
Social media tweaks are getting more and more important than tweaking web pages.
3. Facebook Fan Pages
Getting more impressions/clicks from facebook fan page posts than any other kind of social media.
2. Affiliate & Influencer Marketing
3. Big Data
1. Increasing need to tie social media marketing to tangible results
All the big social networks are giving users new ways to create content from Instagram stories to a wide variety of options for paid ads. The key for digital marketers is now being able to measure the effectiveness of all these different methods – paid, earned and owned – to see which actually work for their company. Investment in social is increasing which will mean that digital and social marketing teams will need to get better at proving the value of their efforts.
2. Brands will need to be able to analyze and monitor visual/video content
It’s no secret that visual content and especially video content, is taking over the internet. It’s easy to consume and entertaining, with major media brands like Buzzfeed taking the lead. This trend is only likely to grow but companies will start seeing a need to understand it better. This will be both in terms of a campaign management -measuring the effectiveness of their own visual/video content -and from a brand protection or PR perspective - being able to monitor and analyze when, where and how they are being discussed in this type of content.
3. Digital marketing land grab by social media giants
We’ve seen this already to some extent with Facebook trying to discourage users from linking away from the site. This will force digital marketers to think of new strategies to generate leads from social sources. From an analytics point of view, it will also require brands to get a clearer view of the actual value they are getting from publishing on each network and making sure their content is always optimized to make the most of each social media channel.
1. Live Streaming
We can no longer rely on static content like a blog post or even images to make an impact with our audience, fans want immersive experiences that connect them to a particular brand. Regardless it is Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Periscope or Facebook Live, live video streaming has seen a huge spike in popularity over the past few years, in part because it has become a more accessible channel, and in part because millennials are growing tired of older channel. With the trend of live video, we can connect with our target audience and give them more “live” and in-the-moment updates, that could increase engagement significantly, especially with the release of Facebook Live.
2. Virtual Reality
From a brand perspective VR offers the opportunity to make deep more meaningful connections with our audience, it’s already been used by many of the world’s leading brands like Lowe’s Holoroom, Ikea, Volvo, McDonald, Marriot, JC Penny, Dior and Redbull to create impactful campaigns. For an example in the travel industry, a cruise company will take advantage of the VR tech to develop solutions to boost up sales. Instead of just looking at cruises video, a cruise salesperson can show the potential customer a VR video, helping them understand the what their dream vacation could actually look like. The concept extends to many other lifestyle brands from architect firms to a virtual fashion boutique, which base much of their marketing strategies around the concept of storytelling and VR real life experiences.
Mobile is growing faster than ever and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Although many marketers are already targeting their mobile clients, but mobile is still very confusing and not a well-understood marketing channel. With attention spans of most millennials online thought to be a mere six seconds, the key trend for this year is businesses tapping into that need for instant information to fit into people’s busy lifestyles. Over 65% digital media consumed on mobile, we can expect to even see more emphasis on the mobile audience over the coming years as mobile usage continues to grow and dominate desktop usage.
1. Death of Twitter
To kick this off I need to tell you something. When talking to Gareth about this article, he said he would include my Twitter.
Except, I don’t have Twitter. Nor do I want Twitter! With talks of Twitters dire financial situation, by the day Twitter must be losing its appeal with business. Couple that with the disappointing interaction rates that can often be seen. For me, the death of Twitter has begun.
So whilst Gareth’s request to contribute was more than welcome, the ironic offer of my first negative trend to be seen in 2017.
But how can you improve your business?
Customer experience is more prominent than ever with online reviews accessible to the masses its more important than ever.
The rise of the webinar, the resale speech, handling one to many. Whilst highly effective and time effective lacked that personal touch.
We have all seen website live chats, there for you. When you need it. The big negative, is the time consumption and micromanagement of each and every conversation.
Chatbots allow us the power of the "one to many” marketing webinars hold.
If your getting asked the same question you can utilise artificial intelligence to give the personalised touch to set you apart without the time sink. Smart companies will be jumping on this already.
3. Virtual Marketing in Virtual Reality
We all saw the phenomena of pokemon go. Whilst short lived, it united entire nations in a craze, young or old, gamers on non gamers.
Even small business owners. They could purchase credits to lure pokemon and thus players to their store. Genius!
Now, what the market needs is a VR where Players Big and small can get in on the action.
Keep an eye out for the next big craze, jump on it early and if it can sustain the capture of an audience longer than pokemon go you could be in for a fantastic 2017!
1. The Human Touch
The main trend I see is people returning to the human touch.
Whilst automation is key, I see people getting more personal with lists, prospects, and clients.
I think this has come about as people become slightly disenchanted with digital marketing.
I'm sure more tools will surface to enhance this.
2. Live Broadcasting
I expect to see some exciting developments with live broadcasting. New contenders and I think FB will lead the way with enhancing the service.
There's already been mention of broadcasting from desktop and having more than one person on a live.