Digital marketing success starts with an innovation-first company culture. This is due mainly to the fact that the digital age, including social media, is constantly evolving.
While new platforms emerge every year, existing players keep adding new features to stay relevant. Their evolution births new trends every year.
Here’s an inside look at some major trends that have already been forecasted for 2017.
1. Real-time updates
Media has moved on from being a mere collection of volatile channels to an era of cohesive platforms. This has turned digital and social marketing into a viable strategy. Real-time updates are the newest trend that would add to the practical marketing options provided by the media.
For instance, Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Live provide users the innovative option to broadcast live video. Marketers can utilize this option to stream live videos of their own promotional events, including product launches and trade shows. This feature will continue to help companies garner brand recognition and much need traction for their events.
On-the-go features are sure to eclipse the practice of scheduling social media posts in advance, as users and brands opt for a real-time personalized approach to business.
2. New publishing platforms
The existing functionalities provided by various social apps will continue to diversify. For instance, Facebook introduced Instant Articles. This novel feature solves the issue of loading times. By using Instant Articles, websites can be accessed much more quickly from the Facebook App. However, websites would have to be optimized for mobile.
2017 will likely witness many more brands doing so with their websites. The in-post search engine which plays the videos on scrolling would also be much more effectively utilized. Taking this as a cue, other players are also continuing to expand their in-app functionalities — a trend that is most likely to continue. This will give companies many more options to engage with their audiences in a better way.
3. Improved privacy
You can’t scroll through the major tech news sources without reading about privacy concerns and cyber security breaches these days. Privacy has always been an important aspect of social trends.
However, with high-profile security breaches on the rise, the issue is bound to be given the highest attention in 2017. Major players are already gearing up to offer more sophisticated tools for their users.
The need for a secure form of engagement and communication is one of the primary reasons for Snapchat’s popularity, which continues to rise. “Snapchat has attracted many privacy-conscious users with its self-destructing messages,” according to the Telegraph. Yet, there are strides to be made.
This, however, might not be quite exciting news for the marketers. However, privacy and the means in which data is collected from various form of advertising, will ultimately see a shift. Ads which at times are seen intrusive, will be minimized as marketers opt for more cohesive and organic ways to share their messages through sponsored or branded content and brand experiences.
4. Smarter analytics
Even with the popularity it has achieved, social media is still perceived to be in its infancy, at least from a marketing perspective. Though this may seem odd to hear, many companies still do not collect the right data or leverage social media.
This simply means, the opportunities presented could be much more massive if utilized in the right way. For this reason, social media analytics will see increased attention in 2017 and the years to follow. The trend of shifting focus from social budgets to social analytics is also likely to continue an upward swing.
5. Cross-device marketing
The average number of devices consumers use to stay connected is constantly increasing. The advent of IoT could cause a groundswell of devices, including wearable tech, in the future.
While this can be seen as an increase of opportunities for the marketers, it could also add to their woes in equal proportion. This is simply because marketing across multiple devices has its own set of challenges like data misalignment. These issues could well hamper the user experience, which is now a crucial thing to neglect.
For this reason, 2017 will continue to witness much more innovations in the field of cross-device communication. The development of new tools would be focused on recognizing the same customer over the multiple devices they use. In addition, tracking the unique activities of the consumers from these devices to get better insights on their preferences would also be given equal preference.
Disruptive technologies in the field of digital and social media marketing will continue to evolve. Brands will still keep their focus on content marketing, SEO, online video marketing and visual media. However, new trends could have a radical effect on the entire digital marketing landscape.
The years ahead could present founders, CMOs and their teams with a unique new set of challenges. Adapting efforts to match the growing needs of consumers by following these trends could be the secret to achieve lasting success.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Swapnil Bhagwat is Senior Manager – Design & Digital Media at Orchestrate Technologies, LLC, a Texas based business process management organization.
He is a creative design and digital marketing leader with global working experience in the United States, United Kingdom & Europe. Swapnil is a strategic leader and an accomplished MBA graduate with strong management skills.
He loves writing about digital marketing, business and leadership. Connect with @swapnildigital on Twitter.