With each passing year, marketing trends shift and change to account for changes in Google’s search algorithm and the latest in social media. However, 2016 introduced even larger changes, such as augmented reality and the rising popularity of messenger apps.
Even if you’ve managed to find ways to take advantage of these new technologies, 2017 is right around the corner with even more changes on the horizon. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you’ll need to look at emerging trends and how you can use them to further your marketing campaign. The sooner you can navigate your way around a new platform, the more of a head start you’ll have on your competitors. In today’s world, it doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or expert, those who manage to use these trends to their advantage can elevate themselves to market leaders. These six trends can keep you ahead of your competitors and meet your customers’ needs.
Live Streaming Will Be KingIn 2015, video became a huge market for content creators. The natural progression from there is live streams. While this has taken off in the gaming community with sites such as Twitch, it made a splash in social media with Snapchat and Periscope. Now larger social media sites are beginning to implement live stream features to keep up with demand, such as Facebook and YouTube. Even Kickstarter has added a live stream feature so creators can show current and potential backers what they are up to.
The appeal of live stream is that viewers can live vicariously through the streamer. Thanks to faster phone data, better camera phones and decreased cost of smartphones, live streaming has become a possibility for almost everyone.
Keep in mind your demographic. Users on Snapchat tend to be younger, so if you’re marketing to a more mature audience, you might want to focus your efforts on Facebook Live instead. As for the content, make sure you follow the same rules of social media with your live streams as the rest of your posts. Make it personal and always stay on brand. Some good examples of live streaming could be a tutorial on how to use a product, a how it’s made or even a quick video update on what’s new in the company.
The Rise of Chatbots and AIMost companies have a team of social media experts to answer any questions their followers might ask them in private chat. Enter chatbots. These allow brands to reach out to their audience and engage with them in an automated way, allowing social media managers to focus on other areas such as responding to comments on a page and posting excellent content.
Of course, without good AI, chatbots are useless. As AI technology advances, users will be able to converse with these bots like an actual person versus responding to set questions and getting canned answers in response. Machine learning will become an integral part of improving AI. This will help gather predictive data and detect patterns within databases, which ultimately can provide more “human” and predictive responses.
So why are chatbots important? More and more people are spending time on messenger apps than social media sites. This marks a giant shift in how you will be able to reach and engage with your customers. Since most companies still have not taken the leap, there’s a huge business opportunity to dive in and offer an experience that matches your customers’ expectations.
More Immersive Experiences
Pokémon Go proved people were ready for a different kind of gaming experience. Despite its flaws, it managed to rake in millions of dollars a day during its peak. While the fever has died down, the game has changed people’s expectations on what they expect not only from games but their overall experience with a company. Augmented reality, live stream and 360 videos all have one thing in common—they’re immersive and interactive.
This is a trend that has been gaining momentum ever since the first social media site came into existence. However, it didn’t take off until Facebook when users could interact directly with companies on their page and get almost immediate responses. These immersive experiences are yet another way to empower and engage consumers.
Omnichannel Experiences53 percent of consumers want retailers to offer the same personalized experience across multiple channels and devices. Although this trend has been gaining momentum since 2015, 2017 is the year it will become a necessity for all businesses. While it might take some more time, embracing this trend will result in higher conversions, as you can follow the customer across platforms and channels and provide notifications at the right moment. For example, a retail store could send push notifications the moment a customer steps into their physical location of items they have left in their online cart.
While it’s still not 100 percent possible to have a truly seamless user experience between the different platforms and devices, there has been significant advancement in this realm for both Google and Apple. Google launched Android Instant Apps and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) while Apple expanded popular iOS features to their desktops. As consumers demand a more seamless digital experience, more brands will take steps to embrace cross-platform profiles while Google and Apple continue to present tools to enable this feature.
Granular DataThe mobile revolution has made it possible for businesses to gather important data points on their customers and habits. You can track exactly where your customers are and see whether they are driving, bicycling, walking or even standing still. With the growing popularity of wearables such as the FitBit and smartwatches, there’s now the potential to collect more body-focused data.
This data provides more insight into customer preferences and behavior, allowing for a more personalized relationship between customers and brands. Ultimately, you will be able to pinpoint the exact time and ad to deliver to your customer to improve your return on investment (ROI). What’s more, this type of granular data also helps you target each type of customer accordingly based on their recency, frequency and spend metrics. Combined with an omnichannel approach, you will be able to provide an incredibly tailored experience no matter your customer’s location.
It isn’t just ads that can benefit from this granular data. The biggest challenge for most businesses is customer retention. It’s one of the reasons they implement loyalty and rewards program. However, most of the rewards are generic and are not tied to specific milestones or behaviors. With these data points, you can offer more defined and specific rewards to customers to better motivate loyalty and engagement.
Focused ContentWith the rise of smartphones our attention span has dropped to eight seconds, which is even shorter than a goldfish’s attention span. People have endless content at their fingertips, from the millions of blog posts to endless posts on their social media profiles. This means it will be even harder to grab someone’s attention and get your point across. To make an impact, you’ll have to make sure every word and sentence counts. That means cutting out the fluff and getting straight to the point.
This is true for both video and written content. Concentrate all of the important topics and points in the first couple sentences so even if people decide to skim the rest or leave after the first paragraph, they will get the general idea of your article. Of course, to keep them interested, you also need to make sure your first few sentences also grab the reader’s attention. This way they will be more likely to read the rest of your post or watch your video. Also remember focused content doesn’t mean short. In fact, you should focus on creating long-form content as people tend to share these more often than shorter articles. Why? You can go into more detail on a report or argument, giving people more time to digest the information and discuss with friends.
Digital Marketing Trends to Look for in 2017
By being an early adopter of these marketing trends now, you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors who are likely still struggling with the changes that happened in 2016. While this list covers the six biggest emerging trends, you should still keep an eye out for other business opportunities that would suit your brand. It’s important to keep an open mind and remain flexible to potential game changers. As well, always keep in mind your brand and audience when adopting new technology or trends. While it might be tempting to jump on the latest social media network or technology, if it isn’t something your audience will use, it will simply be a waste of your time.
What do you think are the biggest game changers in 2017? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author:
Cassie is a freelance technology writer for Secure Thoughts. She’s amazed how much technology has not only changed the way businesses market to people but also the expectations people have of companies. You can follow her on Twitter for more articles like these.