Posted: 24 Jan 2017 Contributor: Jacob Smart
Strategic Digital Marketing Trends for 2017
2017 is finally here and, as always, a new year brings an abundance of unique trends that are either already occurring or largely speculative. Before we use our tremendous amount of marketing knowledge to hypothesize what marketing trends for 2017 may occur (not trying to brag here), let’s take a look back on the top advances from 2016:
- Video marketing was dominant in 2016, with video content being shared 1200% more than images or text.
- Internet users spend 1/3 of their time watching videos.
- Mobile devices are taking over (if they haven’t already). Back in November, Google announced that they began testing a mobile-first index to rank websites.
- Social media live broadcasting such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live progressively became excellent sources of branding for businesses.
- SEO is still terribly important.
- Penguin became part of Google’s core algorithm in September, changing strategies needed to improve organic search rankings.
Whether you’re a small start-up company or an agency, it’s certain we saw some really nice developments in both advertising and digital strategies this past year. The question is:
What direction are we heading toward in 2017?
Visual Content is King
As the adage, “Content is King,” goes, content marketing is presumed to be one of, if not the most, important strategic steps any brand can take toward success. However, coming into 2017, we see that this has evolved quite a bit. According to a report from Social Media Examiner, 37% of marketers said the second “single most important form of content for their business” was visual marketing, second only to blogging (38%). Furthermore, 74% of marketers “use visual assets in their social media marketing, up from 71% in 2015”.
Infographics, photos, GIFs, videos, and even memes (RIP Harambe), are all tantalizing forms of content that visually connect with web users. In general, content is extremely beneficial because it encourages engagement from consumers, adds value to a company’s products or services, and boosts a brand’s SEO. For this new year, increase your investment in visual content creation and revolve your strategies around the idea that “Digital Marketing 2017” goes hand in hand with “Visual Content Marketing”. This leads to the next point of discussion:
Social Media? More Like “Live Media”
According to Statista, “In 2016, 78 percent of U.S. Americans had a social media profile, representing a five percent growth compared to the previous year.” Social media has unquestionably remained a substantial component of strategic marketing, and consequently, advertisers are regularly on the hunt to take advantage of any medium it has to offer. What’s the big thing in 2017? Going live.
Snapchat really took over the game in 2016 by consistently updating features such as live moments, face swapping and geofilters. The biggest takeaway, and what you should attempt to emulate, is just how well they advertises to their 150 million daily active users. One avenue is sponsored lenses, which give brands the opportunity to promote their company through specially designed photo filters. At the same time and for a lower cost, businesses can advertise by giving inside scoops of how they operate through story-driven video campaigns. Consequently, eMarketer is forecasting a massive Snapchat ad revenue jump from $366.69 million this year to $935.46 million in 2017. We seem to be dwelling on Snapchat. Let’s switch up the focus to other brands that’ll share the floor in 2017.
Facebook as one of the first to jump into the ‘live’ scene. Facebook Live allows any brand to connect directly with their audience by broadcasting in real time through Facebook’s video streaming service. This effectively allows businesses to promote company updates, news announcements, and even industry relevant suggestions.
As expected, Instagram followed suit with their own version of live streaming. Labeled Instagram Live, this broadcasting service is part of their stories repertoire and grants users the ability to publicize what they’re doing at any given moment. Unlike Facebook Live, Instagram Live stories disappear after the broadcast ends, so take that into consideration if you plan to go live this coming year.
Building up the hype for products and services can be a compelling endeavor for businesses to pursue for 2017. A recent blog post about Instagram Live explains that “Product launching and demonstrations offer an exciting route to take with live broadcasts. They’re especially ‘in the moment’ because one, they’re actually taking place that exact moment, and two you’re not watching a recording of a demonstration, you’re watching the actual demo take place!” Without a doubt, your brand should plan to implement live broadcasts into its marketing strategies for 2017.
SEO is Changing Up
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be at the top of every company’s “Digital Marketing Trends 2017 New Year’s Resolutions” list. Google went heavy on their updates this past year with overwhelming changes to their algorithms, including mobile-first indexing, Penguin 4.0, and Possum. Where to start?
Google is slowly moving towards a mobile-first world. With mobile-first index being implemented, your brand’s mobile web pages need to be:
- Responsive: content should be presented the same in both mobile and desktop versions
- Fast: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will be the future of internet usability
- Mobile-friendly: easy to read/navigate through on a smaller screen
In addition (drumroll, please), the future of Internet search is here with voice search changing traditional keyword discovery as we know it. Voice search queries on Google were up 35x since 2008. With voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Home gaining mainstream popularity, talking to a piece of technology is evidently the future of task functionality. Accordingly, your optimized content should be as voice-friendly as possible. Voice search favors contextual and natural human phrases, so learning how to benefit from user experience is imperative in search developments. Still a little shaky about your brand’s search optimization for the new year? No need to fret, try partnering with a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO services!
A Final Note
Look at 2017 as a make or break year. Brands across the globe need to adapt, and fast, to some of the recent changes we’re sure to encounter. Success in the new year means adapting to the ongoing technological advances and search changes the industry will inevitably face. Let this post serve as both an information source and guide as you urge your business into the future.