6 marketing trends in 2017 - pay attention and don't leave money on the table
In the beginning
It was way back in the 90’s when I first bought something off the internet- an ebook, something about finding your perfect career. I was finishing up uni, and the pressure was mounting.
As I hit the huge blood-red buy button, and waited an eternity for the order page to process, I wondered if the dark ocean of the net wouldn’t just swallow up my credit card details whole.
After checking that my account indeed hadn’t been emptied out, the computer spat out a download link - no ‘thank you’ message of reassurance here! Still, it HAD actually worked.
I sat there, amazed at all the possibilities of online purchasing.
Of course now in these wonderland days of ecommerce, we can buy literally anything via the Internet. Even a car if you so desire (though call me old-fashioned, I’d still prefer a test-drive!)
So with the whole globe open for online business, let’s look at how we can grab onto big opportunities with six digital marketing trends coming this 2017.
1. Digital to outspend TV
According to a new global ad forecast, Magna Global estimates that digital advertising will surpass traditional advertising by 2017:
Digital ad sales are expected to increase by +17.2 percent globally in 2015, while sales on traditional media formats declined by -2.0 percent. Digital formats thus now represent $160 billion globally, 32 percent of total ad sales, and will pass television as the largest media format in advertising revenues in 2017
This is huge. Television, the last great stalwart of traditional advertising, is finally succumbing to the new digital wave.
The death of traditional media is no longer a trend up for debate. It is real.
Many brands and agencies are even reducing their TV budgets, while simultaneously boosting their digital spend.
It’s now all about social media and internet video advertising, as this new medium provides a fantastic conversion rate through precise targeting of demographics - an advertising capability that TV networks struggle to match.
2. Video will reign supreme
TV still has the power of moving pictures going for it though- instead of endlessly scrolling and scanning through walls of computer text, we’d generally prefer something a bit more engaging, like a great video ad.
Videos are a powerful way to market effectively, as they mimic how we as humans prefer to naturally communicate - it’s hard-wired into us after millions of years of reading body-language and facial expressions.
Videos also have great impact because they demand less of the brain, entertain, and engage multiple senses like hearing and vision motion.
Syndacast finds that 74 percent of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.
Studies show that using the word “video” in the subject line of an email will prompt 19% more recipients to open them, 65% more to visit your website, and 26% less subscribers to leave.
Videos are also a great time-saver, in the sense that they tend to give a quick overview of a product - this is particularly useful for people who make purchasing decisions on the go from their mobile phone.
3. Mobile commerce will rise
So with our frantically busy lives, we’re now squeezing in surfing the net and socially connecting, all on our mobile phones- whether we’re commuting to work, or out for dinner. Go anywhere and you’ll see people engrossed with their mobiles- just hopefully not blindly stepping out into traffic.
As a result of this trend, commerce on mobile is also rising. According to eMarketer, more than half of digital buyers in the US will use a smartphone to complete a purchase during 2017- that’s 95 million people. eMarketer retail analyst Yory Wurmser adds:
“As mobile sites become better optimized and screen sizes grow, it’s becoming easier for shoppers to complete the purchase on the smartphone, which will drive mcommerce numbers up for the next several years.”
However while this is a huge opportunity, there are challenges too. Far more shopping sessions are initiated on smartphones than are completed. If retailers want to prevent leaving this money on the table, they need to make it as easy as possible for consumers to buy from their phones.
This means checkout processes that don’t involve extra steps and hoops for the customer to jump through, as well as fully optimised mobile websites - typically, mobile responsive websites - cut in half graphics and missing blocks of text do not help!
4. Social media app use increasing
This increased smartphone purchasing has also resulted in a boost in social media app use - in between their increased online shopping, people are taking the opportunity to check in on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.
These apps are having a huge impact on how we now socialise, work, and purchase.
The big players have recognized this trend, and haven’t wasted any time - Facebook recently bought WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus Rift. Twitter paid for Periscope. This year Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for a hefty $27 billion.
5. Artificial intelligence in customer service
Yet with all this new technology, our buying habits are still very much driven by basic human emotions.
So in order to better connect with our primal drives, in a seemingly ironic twist Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being utilised to provide a more personal customer service touch.
From Facebook’s facial recognition when you tag friends, along with their algorithms that learn your interests and then weave them into newsfeed topic suggestions, to LinkedIn’s use of AI to ensure better job matching between business and candidates.
They’re even chatting to us now, as you’ll likely know from Apple’s Siri, as well as Facebook’s latest edition Bot Engine for Messenger.
Online publisher TechCrunch go as far as to say that Chatbots have suddenly become the biggest thing in tech, with their promise to:
“Unlock the ability to provide personalised, interactive communication akin to talking to a human customer service or sales rep, but at a scale for much cheaper than call centres”
The rise of the robots continue, and with a personal touch it seems.
6. Expect to see more automation and predictive analytics
This rise in Artificial Intelligence means we now also have more intelligent ways to automate our marketing. As media fragments from traditional media, to now include online and social media, keeping tabs on marketing campaigns has become almost as tricky as spinning plates.
To manage everything on a piece of paper or spreadsheet these days is simply inefficient. You’re juggling website enquiries, email campaigns, and demographic research of your customers, all while attempting to measure, analyse and improve your ongoing sales funnel processes.
However, marketing automation software platforms like Hubspot are becoming almost indispensable to ensure you’re not swamped by all the moving parts of your marketing campaigns.
Digital marketing automation can also enable you to send the right content at the right time to the right customer - it’s the age of predictive analytics, or ‘crystal ball’ advertising.
An obvious example if you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time, is their advert remarketing methods – they identify your interests from where you’ve been surfing on the web and then deliver you relevant content. Cookies will also serve you relevant search based advertising.
Because these ad tools and data are focusing on your specific interests - and not wasting your time with other irrelevant products - they tend to convert at a much higher rate.
An exciting new year awaits
These new trends and technologies are just some of the digital transformations coming in 2017, and many will continue far beyond the next year.
Writing this, I couldn’t help but marvel at the span and scope of these digital marketing innovations - predictive ‘crystal ball’ advertising, smartphone shopping on the go, and Artificial Intelligence being no longer only the realm of science fiction movies.
As we march into a brave new digital advertising world where change is the only constant, the marketers and entrepreneurs that thrive will be those that adapt quickly to these changes.
Though I think before I buy, I’d still like to take that car for a test drive!
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