It is that time of the year folks, we’re all recapping 2016 and planning for 2017. This year’s projections for the top marketing trends in 2017 are pretty exciting. We’re always working to be sure that we bring the most relevant and realistic solutions to our clients, so here are a the top seven that we predict will be important to businesses (in general) in 2017.
Video Content Is Going LIVE
Live streaming has been an on-again-off-again relationship with digital creators, marketers, and consumers. Finally, social media users are starting to consume live video as more-in-the-moment content. The adoption of this content has been thanks largely to faster internet speeds and to platforms who are willing to invest in making the user experience enjoyable. Live video has been slowly gaining ground over the past few years, and we’re expecting that 2017 will be the year it proves out and is used by more brand and more people than ever before.
Sidenote on video in general: 2017 is set to be the year for video content to reach full integration into our social media lives. Previously we’ve consumed online video rather passively in our social media feeds, but Facebook is changing that with their new Video Search feature.
Native Advertising Will Boom
Advertisers are always looking for more and more clever ways to subtly sneak our products in front of consumers. Native advertising isn’t anything new, and we suspect that this year it will become the preferred method for brands to get natural-looking and feeling placement. I suspect that we will see some development in dynamic native advertising that will allow content to be delivered based on a specific consumer or subset of consumers (think retargeting within native ad content).
For Marketers: Data Visualization Will Become A Necessity
We can’t escape it, data is just getting to be so massive that we’re going to need more visual (read easier) ways to consume the information. Our brains can only digest so much raw number data, but we’re great at translating pretty pictures and charts into actionable information. We may be the most advanced species on the planet, but our brains still prefer stick figures to crunching raw data.
Immersive-Marketing Will be the new Content Marketing
Look, we aren’t quite ready to jump on the Virtual Reality bandwagon yet. I personally believe that the technology is cool, but as it requires obtrusive external hardware – I just don’t see it gaining much traction in the marketing world (yet).HOWEVER, customers are craving more immersive experiences, giving them the feeling that they’re doing more than staring at a phone or laptop screen. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are helping to drive this mentality forward (especially in the entertainment world) but don’t forget other ways of providing this immersive experience. You can offer 360 videos to make your users feel like they’re living in a moment, or host live webinars and workshops to get people to engage with you. The key is to provide some level of interaction in a way that makes people feel like they’re a part of something bigger. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m already witnessing the resurgence of “Live-Streaming” on YouTube to make viewers feel more included in the moment.
Facebook’s Search Impact Will Increase
In Facebook’s Q2 earnings report, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook now sees 2 billion searches per day. up from 1.5 billion a year ago. This trend will likely continue to grow in 2017 (thanks in no small part to video search). Google currently still leads the way in search, with 3.5 billion searches per day. With Facebook showing strong growth in this area, it probably won’t long until we see Facebook pursuing marketing dollars traditionally reserved for GoogleAds.
Chatbots Become A Mainstay
It is important not to think of Chatbots like autoresponders or static messaging. Just as we talked about everything being personalized, Chatbots really help to automate and enable that experience. Providing positive customer experience and service will require that we utilize technology to help automate these systems. A chatbot can know a customer’s likes, dislikes, and needs; it can make dynamic suggestions about where to eat, when to travel, or where to shop.
Chatbots can make use of AI, deep learning, and data crumbs from across the web to understand and logically guide consumer behavior. Shopify, Facebook, and several brands are already pushing this trend into the mainstream and we don’t see any sign of it slowing.
Increased Attention to “Right-Time” Marketing
Savvy marketing experts will be keeping eyes out for opportunities to market and score. This has been traditionally been in the realm of “hack the news” and big-splash guerilla style marketing opportunity in years past. Using Oreo’s “Dunking in the Dark” campaign as an example, we’re likely to see more marketers capitalize on THE moment. This trend becomes more of a possibility as we use more and more real-time data and input to isolate the best moment to connect with consumers, meaning real-time should eventually switch to right-time.
2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year for marketing professionals, brands, and consumers alike. That leads me to one final thought. As we continue to see the merging of lanes and channels throughout marketing, I believe that we will continue to see a more integrated conversation between brands and consumers, one that is less “us against them” and that is more authentic, more fluid and mutually beneficial for both sides.