Five years ago marketing was nothing like it is today. And five years from now marketing will again change and evolve based on new consumer habits.
It’s a constant and never ending process.
Your job as a business owner is to keep up with the face paced industry – the inability to do so will likely contribute to business failure – or at the very least make it much easier for your competitors to overtake you.
In 2016, we witnessed an upsurge of companies recognizing the importance of digital marketing - even organizations that once viewed digital marketing to be a ‘fad’ took huge strides forward in an attempt to keep pace with the changing trends.
- 32 percent of B2B marketers classified their digital marketing ability as sophisticated or mature (Content Marketing Institute)
More and more B2B marketers are taking great strides forward with their content strategy
Weekly meetings to discuss content strategy are a big jump from what we saw just a few years ago
- 49 percent of companies viewed their digital marketing to be “somewhat superior” in comparison to their competitors (Ascend2)
- 97% of local businesses that were surveyed said they have a website (ReachLocal)
- 81% of companies said their digital marketing strategy has proven to be effective in helping meet their goals, with 12 percent saying it has been “very successful” (Ascend2)
- The most popular local marketing tactics used in 2016 were social media marketing, search engine optimization, mobile-friendly optimization, Facebook advertising and search engine advertising (ReachLocal)
What does this mean for you?
It means the competitive marketing landscape is only going to get tougher – if you’re not implementing the most up-to-date trends to market your products or services – you’re not going to be around for long.
Outdated marketing strategies won’t get you much – if nothing at all.
So, what changing trends can you expect in 2017? Will new social media platforms overtake existing ones? Will influential marketing continue to increase ROI for companies?
Worry not – I’ve put together a list of 5 marketing trends you need to watch out for in 2017. And they’re all based on real world data.
Are you ready to take your marketing to the next level?
If so, here’s the first trend you can use to shape your digital marketing strategy in 2017.
1. Interactive content will increase full throttle
This past year was very interesting with respect to interactive content. With the up-surge of companies pumping out more and more content – interactive content was one of the mediums that stood out. And really set the year on fire.
Here are the different types of interactive content that really set the year on fire:
How effective was interactive content…really?
Compared to passive content, interactive content was respectively 93 percent, 88 percent, and 38 percent more effective at educating buyers, differentiating product offerings from competitors, and being shared. (Kapost)
This shouldn’t come as much of a shocker – marketers have known for years that people only recall 10% of what they read or hear after a few days.
With interactive content, on the other hand, the stats are much different – in fact it is estimated that people retain 65% of the information after a few days.
That’s a huge difference!
Given these states, more and more marketers recognized its importance and really stepped up their game. In fact, visual marketing was the most important medium for 37 percent of marketers, second only to blogging which accounted for 38%. (Social Media Examiner)
And what’s even more is….
Visual assets were used by 74% of social media marketers, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%). (Social Media Examiner)
Expect this trend to increase full throttle in 2017.
According to the Content Marketing Institute – 75% of marketers using interactive content plan to increase their use of the medium in 2017.
What does this mean for you?
Interactive content is going to grow in popularity – based primarily on the fact that it’s very effective at capturing audience data and transforming leads into paying customers.
If you’re not leveraging the use of interactive content – your organization will soon be forgotten in all the noise.
This will be especially true in 2017, considering 70% of B2B markets are expected to create more content in 2017 compared to 2016 (Content Marketing Institute). And 89% of marketers in general are focusing on creating more engaging content.
So how can your organization implement interactive content into your marketing strategy?
There are quite a few strategies you can use to take your dull and passive content and turn it into something that is both highly engaging and appealing.
Here are some suggestions to consider:
Let your audience rate your content
Organizations using the rating system have benefited tremendously – not only from the increased engagement, but also from the data collected.
Ratings are thus one of the best ways to make your content more engaging.
Keep in mind, however, the purpose of your ratings system is to increase engagement – it shouldn’t harm the overall content experience.
As a best practice, position your rating system in the middle or towards the end of your content – this reduces the likelihood of it being perceived as intrusive by readers.
Looking for an example to see how it’s done?
Check out Concur’s usage of ratings below:
Notice how the rating system ADDS to the content – instead of taking away from it. This is exactly what you want your rating system to achieve.
Pique interest with animations
Consider using animations to keep your viewers interested and engaged with your content. It doesn’t take much to pull this off – simple CSS animations can go a long way in exciting user’s curiosity and creating a richer and fuller content experience.
Search for new ways to display content
The change in content display was a pretty big trend in 2016 – with more and more companies leveraging the power of infographics to spread their content.
Not only did more and more companies change their content display – they also increased user engagement and generated more shares from doing so.
- Customers shared and liked infographics 3X more than any other type of content (Mass Planner)
- The use of Infographics by B2B marketers experienced the greatest increase from 2015 to 2016, up from 50% to 62% (Content Marketing Institute)
- Compared to a text based article, an infographic was 30 times more likely to be read (Kiss Metrics)
Based on these statistics, it’s apparent that experimenting with your content display is one of the best trends you can exploit in 2017.
How can you make your content display more engaging?
Surfing the internet will give you a great indication of what’s working and what isn’t – plus it’ll spike your creativity.
But in general – there are quite a few ways to make your content more engaging:
- Turn list based points into an intriguing layout
- Create an infographic summarizing your blog post and spread it on your social media outlets – this is a known strategy for increasing shares
- Leverage the power of charts – data is boring…unless presented in an engaging way. Charts and a little bit of color can go a long way in capturing audience attention
Here's a good indication for what types of content engage readers the most
2. Influencer marketing will continue to produce good results
The marketing industry faced major challenges in 2016 – driven largely by changing consumer needs.
Smart marketers thus tapped into the power of influencer marketing to overcome the obstacles and increase sales for their products and services.
And they experienced great returns!
The importance of influential marketing was more important than ever in 2016 – and it’s only going to continue in 2017.
Consumer behavior is changing – most of the traditional relied on methods of marketing lost their effectiveness in 2016…and will continue to decline in 2017.
- Even though 78 percent of companies produced more content – their content engagement declined by 60 percent (Content Marketing Institute)
- Ad block technology was used by 47 percent of online customers – making it more and more difficult to reach consumers through traditional advertisement mediums (Digiday)
- 74 percent of consumers relied solely on social media to make purchasing decisions – ignoring pretty much everything else (Content Marketing Institute)
What does this mean for you?
It means more and more customers aren’t making decisions based on company promotions (in fact most aren’t even seeing company ads – ad block technology has experienced a huge increase in usage…and this number will only grow as users become more savvy at decreasing the number of ads they see) - but instead are moving towards making purchasing decisions based on the opinions of those they admire and respect.
This has always been a trend (it explains why most companies target early adopters when first coming out with a product) – but in 2016 it took on a life of its own.
In fact, influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing. (Tomoson)
How can influential marketing be so effective?
It comes down to the changing needs of the marketplace.
With the growth of large social networks – more and more consumers are turning to their favorite influencer to make purchasing decisions. This is the case because unlike celebrities, influencers have more impact over consumer buying decisions because they are seen as more relatable.
This is evident in the following stats:
- 70 percent of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities (Think With Google)
- 51 percent of women consult their social networks before making a purchase (Syndacast)
- 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if an influencer on their social network recommends it (Hubspot)
- 40 percent of Twitter users have made a purchase based on a tweet from an influencer (Twitter)
What does this mean for marketers?
- Marketers are experiencing a very good ROI with influential marketing - on average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested (Tomoson)
- 81 percent of marketers who have used influential marketing said it was really effective (Augure)
- 59 percent of marketers will increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2017 (Social Media Today)
Influencer marketing was therefore one of the most effective strategies this past year and there’s no signs of it slowing down.
So how can your organization benefit from influencer marketing?
It’s apparent that tapping into the ‘good will’ created by influencers with large followings is a very effective marketing strategy – but how do you actually go about finding the right influencers for your business?
This can prove to be a little tricky. And the consequences of making the wrong decision can prove to be disastrous for your organization.
But it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, you just need to take the following 4 factors into consideration:
- Relevance 2. Engagement 3. Frequency and 4. Authenticity
It all starts with relevance.
Before you analyze anything else, you want to get a clear indication for whether or not the influencer’s content is something that corresponds with your company’s message.
Reading through their posts, watching their videos, and surfing through their comment section will give you a clear indication of:
- The type of content they post
- Their audience’s characteristics
Knowing these two things is a crucial first step in deciding whether or not a certain influencer makes sense for your business. Far too often businesses make the mistake of choosing an influencer based on unique visitors or some other static metrics – without first sitting down and figuring out if it’s a good fit.
Check for relevancy and you’ll dramatically reduce the likelihood of teaming up with an influencer that doesn’t make sense for your business.
After ensuring relevancy, now you can check for engagement.
This is crucial next step because it’ll give you a clear indication of audience responsiveness – high engagement numbers in the form of comments and shares is what you ideally want to see.
Keep in mind, however, you cannot view engagement numbers in a vacuum – you must view them side by side with the total number of followers and views.
Influencers with smaller following but more engagement will likely outperform influencers with large following but little to no engagement.
On average, it takes multiple exposures before you can influence a viewer to take your desired action. With that said, the more frequently the influencer posts, the better it is for viewer engagement.
You, therefore, want to look for influencers that post often and consistently – this will be a large driving force in creating a positive influential marketing campaign.
The last thing you want to check for is authenticity – there’s no point in using influencers with large followings but little to no authenticity.
If the viewer doesn’t relate to them or worst…doesn’t trust them – you’re going to have a very difficult time increasing conversions for your business via influential marketing.
So how can you judge authenticity?
Look for how often the influencer posts sponsored content – on average the less often an influencer posts sponsored content, the more authentic and trusted he/she is perceived to be by their audience.
In addition, you also want to check for how the influencer promotes product offerings – data consistently shows that influencers sharing personal stories about the product offerings are viewed to be more authentic than influencers who merely include a link to a product offering.
3. Mobile first world is here
It’s 2017 and the mobile first world has arrived.
This means if your marketing and websites aren’t optimized for mobile – you’ll soon fall behind.
What’s more is not only do you have to worry about mobile optimization, you also have to create an entirely new marketing strategy for mobile users.
Just take a look at your Facebook feed – you’ll notice that 95% of your Facebook feed is mobile videos.
And if you’re still not convinced about the power of mobile – here’s another stat for you: compared to desktop views, mobile views grew six times faster.
This all goes to prove that we’re now officially living in the era of mobile video – it’s time your organization embraces it.
How can your organization embrace this new mobile first world?
First thing first, you need to realize that converting mobile users is very different from converting desktop users. Next, you need to get a clear feel for how consumers are using mobile to access and receive information.
Here's an infographic that'll give you a pretty strong indication for my mobile users want
Here are some stats to help guide you:
- More than 36 percent of mobile subscribers use iPhones or iPads to read email – 34% of subscribers exclusively use mobile (Informz)
- The highest add-to-cart rates for e-commerce comes from tablet devices (8.58%) (Smart Insights)
- More than 50 percent of smartphone users check their phone as soon as they wake up (ExpressPigeon)
- 61 percent of mobile users are unlikely to revisit a website that isn’t optimized for mobile – 40% of those users are likely to visit a competitor’s site instead (MicKinsey & Company)
- Mobile email opens have grown by 180% in the last three years (Informz)
From the above stats, it’s obvious that marketers need to spend more time learning and experimenting with the different methods required to convert mobile users.
And that’s exactly what we saw in 2016 and will continue to see in 2017.
For example, the number of companies integrating mobile into their marketing strategies is increasingly at a very rapid rate – evident by the following data:
- Mobile marketing is now used by 68 percent of companies (Salesforce)
- Mobile marketing is viewed to be the pillar of marketing by 71% of marketers (Salesforce)
- More than 58 percent of companies surveyed have a designated team for mobile marketing (Salesforce)
- Mobile advertising will account for 72 percent of all US digital ad spending by 2019 (Marketing Land)
What does this mean for you?
Mobile optimization is no longer enough.
You need to create a marketing strategy specifically for mobile users.
Take into consideration their needs and ensure your ads, content, and marketing messages are created specifically for mobile users. Invest the time needed to figure out our new mobile first world.
Those who do are likely to come out as leaders in their marketplace.
And that’s because the future is here.
And mobile is leading the way.
4. Short lived content isn’t a fad – it’s here to stay
Snapchat created the sensation of short lived content – generating tons of appeal and intrigue by doing so.
At first, the industry viewed it primarily to be a fad, but after seeing how fast Snapchat has grown these last few years – it’s apparent that short-lived content is here to stay.
You should now expect more marketers and companies using short lived content to increase interest and engagement.
Why is short lived content so effective?
Content is everywhere. And audience attention spans are decreasing at alarming rates. In fact, Generation Z is known for having an eight-second attention span.
This means you have to come up with unique angles if you want to get your content seen and in front of the right viewers – one of the ways to do that is by using short lived content.
Creating urgency through short lived content inspires people to see it before it’s gone forever.
Come up with unique ways to make your content short-lived. You’re likely to see a rise in engagement and interest by doing so.
5. Increased need for personalization and instantaneity – Chatbots are leading the way
With customers demanding personalization and instantaneity in 2017 – chatbots are likely to become the driving force in meeting this need.
This is the case because 51 percent of customers demand a business to be available 24/7 (Venture Beat) – no longer are customers happy and willing to send emails and wait up to 24 to 48 hours to receive a response.
Instead they want their questions answered instantly – businesses leveraging the power of chatbots can thus use this trend to their advantage by satisfying customer questions no matter what time of day.
But are chatbots really what consumers want?
It seems very likely.
In fact, 45.8 percent of customers would rather contact a business through messaging rather than email (Venture Beat).
Even though messaging apps and chatbots are somewhat new, people are willing to use them instead of email.
Largely because of the need for personalization.
Customers crave the ‘instant conversational’ feel that emails just can’t provide.
Messaging apps in the form of chatbots, on the other hand, can provide that feeling. And are thus said to grow in popularity because they grant consumers the ability to interact with the company on a one-to-one level.
How can your organization leverage chatbots to meet the changing needs for personalization and instantaneity?
It’s important to note that chatbots are evolving from a technological standpoint at an alarming rate.
Gone are the days where chatbots came across as impersonal – in today’s day and age consumers can no longer tell whether they’re talking to a chatbot or an actual live person.
Implementing chatbots is thus one of the most important decisions you can make in 2017.
Consider using them throughout your website – especially when it comes to customer service related tasks. And you’ll experience a dramatic increase in your companies customer service abilities – plus you’ll cut down on the emails you receive.
With the above noted, it is apparent that marketing has changed at alarming speeds and will only continue to change even faster in 2017 and beyond.
The companies who can stay on top of these changing trends will experience an increase in brand awareness, engagement, and ultimately sales and market share – those who get left behind will soon be forgotten in the ever increasing noisy marketplace.
In summary, 2017 is expected to undergo the following trends:
- Rise in interactive content
- Influential marketing will take huge leaps forward
- Mobile first world is here to stay
- Short lived content will be used more extensively
- Personalization and instantaneity should be a primary focus for all your marketing efforts
Now that you’re aware of the changing trends – the question becomes...
Which trends will your company tackle in 2017?
Leave a comment below with the top trends you’ll be taking advantage of this year!