It’s here, we’re living it.
The new year has started off with a bang, so it’s time we cover the top 2017 digital marketing trends and what you’ll need to know in order to keep your marketing strategy on the cutting edge.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 seriously insightful questions that will help you to better understand whether or not you’re prepared for what the coming 12 months (and beyond) has in store. The world of digital marketing is evolving faster than ever and this year promises to deliver all sorts of exciting advancements.
The way you’ll reach your customers is changing, so it’s only fair that I help you stay ahead of the curve.
#1 – Are we prepared to put mobile first?
Mobile devices have quickly outpaced desktops in both internet use time and in sheer volume. Globally, the gap has become even more dramatic, with populations in less-developed nations relying entirely on mobile devices to stay connected.
What does all of this mean for your brand?
It means that you need to be developing a standalone marketing strategy for mobile. That means unique:
It’s time to start measuring mobile as a separate channel, and it’s time to prioritize that channel. There are fundamental differences between how buyers interact with brands on mobile vs. desktop, and you’ll need to understand what that means for YOUR buyer in order to make the most of your marketing.
There’s a reason this is the question I chose to lead my list. Of all of the 2017 digital marketing trends on this page, this is the one that you need to begin implementing immediately.
#2 – Are we building for mobile first?
This is really a sub-question of question #1, but mobile is so big that it takes up the first two places in this 2017 digital marketing trends list.
When you prioritize for mobile, it means going all in. It means making mobile central to your corporate culture, your media plans, and especially to your creative process. Everything you create from here on out must be prioritized for mobile first.
If you truly want to put your customers first (and you certainly should), it means being a mobile-first organization. Review all of your concepts in the mobile environment and it will deliver new, more valuable insights into your customer behavior.
#3 – Do we have content/media assets that appeal to the entire lifecycle of our buyers?
Your content requirements have and always will be based on your product, BUT—and this is a big one—the way we (as a society) perform pre-purchase research has evolved.
A simple product may require a few seconds of video to get your marketing message across, while something more technical may take several times as long. In either case, your advertising needs to be backed up with loads of engaging, informative content that works to help your buyer make the right decision to match their unique need.
It’s crucial that you have assets in place to meet buyers in both the “I want to buy” and “I want to know” touchpoints.
- Do you closely monitor and understand the step-by-step process that your buyer goes through before they convert?
- If so, what are you currently doing to maximize your conversions?
- Do you currently have content assets in place that meet them at every stage?
- If not, how will you begin gathering that data?
Once you have it, consider the content you’ll create to ensure your buyer doesn’t get lost or distracted along their way through the buyer’s journey. One of the 2017 marketing trends you need to embrace is creating a marketing machine that capitalizes on the entire lifecycle of your buyer.
#4 – Does our media react in real time to customer actions?
This question fits this 2017 digital marketing trends list like a glove. We, as consumers, have never been so demanding. If a brand isn’t able to deliver what we’re looking for in the moment we want it, we move on to the next. There is always another way to get what we want.
For this reason, your organization needs to be able to deliver exactly what your customer is looking for in real time. That means different things for different brands.
For some, it will mean round-the-clock social media support pages or chatbots to help customers solve problems or answer questions. For others, it may simply mean having the correct content assets in place to handle those issues.
This sort of real-time feedback goes further than just being there when your buyers need you. It applies to your advertising too.
One of the 2017 digital marketing trends you’ll see more brands putting weight behind is “moment marketing,” or capitalizing on a world event, social media buzz, or similar goings-on online with some creative marketing.
For example, Axe body spray came up with this ad after Prince Harry was caught with a lady friend in some very sexy photos:
They used news that everyone was already talking about to relate to their buyer on a deeper (and funnier) level.
I couldn’t help but include this Smart reply to a viral tweet about the size of their cars as another example:
When a tweet mocked their car’s structural integrity,
Smart replied with this sharp tweet and graphic:
As you can imagine, their reply gained far more traction than the original tweet. The brand exposure it created was based solely on their willingness to capitalize on the real-time relevancy of the tweet.
If we know anything about 2017, it’s that brands need to stay on their toes in order to make the most of real-time opportunities.
#5 – Are we prepared to prioritize and capitalize on online video?
Online video is quickly becoming the equivalent of mainstream television. As more and more people consume their daily shows online, what are you doing to prioritize marketing efforts in this increasingly important channel?
Social media platforms (read: Facebook) are prioritizing video, and this is just the beginning. In coming years, the representation of video in online media will grow exponentially. Video drives more engagement in both advertising and content, making this one of the most important 2017 digital marketing trends to start practicing now (if you haven’t already).
Even if your brand is putting budget behind traditional television ads, the addition of online media to a traditional campaign has proven time and time again to deliver an improved result.
Video storytelling needs to be a part of your content production skill set, period.
#6 – How will native video play a role in our marketing in 2017?
Live video is an old format being pushed in new platforms. Few are putting weight behind native video like Facebook is, and it’s something you should be paying attention to.
Creating captivating live content is a skill few have truly mastered, but bringing it onto your radar early provides the opportunity to become an industry leader. Facebook is prioritizing its own native video, which means one thing for brands like yours: a new level of potential exposure.
I’m talking about a level beyond that of paid/promoted/boosted content, both photos and videos. Facebook wants live video to become one of the main ways users share content, which means Instagram isn’t far behind.
Instagram highlights live videos to followers and it’s only a matter of time before they shine an even brighter spotlight on their users’ natives videos. The full benefits of live are beyond the scope of this post, but putting resources behind native video now means becoming an industry leader on a burgeoning format.
I’ve waxed poetic about the value of Facebook and its adopted offspring, Instagram, but they are certainly not the only native video platform making a buzz these days. Periscope and similar apps are becoming increasingly popular.
Native video will undoubtedly become the most frequently shared content, the question is when.
#7 – How can you personalize every experience people have with your brand?
2017 is the year of customer-centric experiences. We already discussed that people are looking for what they want, when they want it, but I neglected to mention that we also need to deliver the “how they want it” experience.
How do you go about delivering these experiences?
Start by tracing the behavior of—and gathering as much information as possible on—your customers and prospects. Understanding who they are and what makes them tick will allow you to deliver a hyper-personalized customer experience and lead prospects through the buyer’s journey more effectively.
Build your marketing systems around this information and you’ll see the impact of your marketing increase dramatically.
#8 – What are we doing to create more interactive content?
Your content needs to be professionally designed to stand out, but is that enough?
One of the 2017 digital marketing trends we’re most excited to implement is developing interactive content. Interactive content is that which allows readers to follow different paths as they move through, for example, a Power Post.
The Power Post would allow its reader to click on sections that are most relevant to their interests, skipping sections that deliver the least relevant information, and avoiding the chance of their losing interest when skimming over important sections that they may have otherwise missed. Not only does the Power Post help its reader find the most relevant content without having to download a PDF, it keeps them engaged with check-boxed lists for tasks accomplished, as well as videos that help to demonstrate whatever is being outlined in a particular section.
Power Post Example: The Ultimate Guide to Fashion Ecommerce Content Marketing
The more action a reader takes as they work their way through a piece of content, the more involved they become, and the stronger the relationship with your brand becomes.
Another way to implement more interactive content is via quizzes. This tactic is especially effective in B2B relationships, as they allow brands to gather new persona information.
These are just examples. It’s up to you to get creative and ask the right questions about your audience’s challenges and needs and you’ll find your brand in a far better place to meet them.
#9 – How can we incorporate influencer marketing and online PR?
While influencer marketing has been around for quite some time, it seems like 2016 relaunched this online PR tactic as the vogue way to expand your audience.
This post it all about 2017 digital marketing trends and this may be the trendiest of them all, but for good reason. 2017 has more eyes on more screens than ever before. The level of connectivity we’re seeing today is only going to increase.
This turn to online media consumption has created online stars out of bloggers, vloggers, and content creators of all kinds. It’s time you start tapping into the (relevant) audiences of these influencers to drive new exposure and put new, interested eyes on your brand.
#10 – What do you want to achieve in 2017?
While this question may seem a bit vague, it may be the most important of them all.
- Do you have goals in place for the coming year?
- Are those goals specific, measurable, agreed upon, relevant, and timely?
- Is this a rinse-and-repeat year for your marketing strategy or is it time to create anew?
Digital marketing evolves too quickly to assume what worked in 2016 can be replicated in 2017. The main reason we look at 2017 digital marketing trends is to stay ahead of what’s to come. As such, it’s time you take look at what worked in 2016 and why.
- What insights did you gather from 2016?
- How can those insights be optimized and applied to your 2017 digital marketing strategy?
- What resources can you allocate to testing new activities?
It’s time to start creating a strategy that incorporates the 2017 digital marketing trends we’ve covered in this post. Look back on your 2016. Use what you’re learned about your buyer, your tactics, and your shortcomings to optimize your 2017 marketing strategy.