January 16, 2017

9 digital trends to include in your 2017 marketing plan

Emma Baumhofer - Digital Marketing Manager

As always, the digital landscape is moving at a steady clip, and the brands that incorporate the newest technology and communication styles will come out ahead as leaders in their markets. The early adopter gets the worm (or the customer) as they say. Luckily, many of the biggest digital trends of 2017 are familiar to us, focusing on video, live updates, and social influencers. Building on the blocks of your 2016 marketing plan and enhancing for new technology will set your brand up for a successful 2017.


1.  Share vicarious experiences

Posting photos or blog posts summing up events or experiences is no longer enough to engage digital audiences. People are seeking in the moment, vicarious experiences and live updates. Show your audience what it’s like where you are using livestreams, 360 images/video, and real time updates.


2.  Video / Livestream

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard that this will be the year of video, but in 2017 video content will continue to be an important part of your content plan, especially as brands begin to realize the full potential of all the video options on the landscape.

First among them is livestreaming, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Periscope. Use these tools to engage directly with your followers, interacting with them in real time, and giving them the inside view of your brand.

As Facebook rebrands itself as a media company, take advantage of all the new tools they are rolling out, including video livestreaming, audio livestreaming, 360 images and video (coming to Youtube this year too), as well integrated ad breaks in video.


3.  Creative advertising and influencer marketing   

Forget intrusive advertising like pop-ups, banners, or trying to inundate people’s social media feeds with your brand messaging. 2017 (as 2016 was) is about good, inspiring, useful content. Try getting your message out to consumers in new editorial, as well as audio forms with a light advertorial touch, and connect with influencers who can promote your brand to loyal audiences. You’ll see better results and consumers will have far less brand resentment.


4.  Social commerce

What was hinted at in 2016 will become full-fledged in 2017 when social ecommerce hits the market by storm. Social networks have been experimenting with built in shopping mechanisms already, like Twitter’s Buy button and Pinterest’s Buyable Pins, but this will grow exponentially in 2017. In particular, keep an eye on Instagram and their integration of shoppable posts/links.


5.  Artificial intelligence / bots

For brands with a lot of customer facing time or customer service needs to fill chatbots are a must. Bots are quickly redefining how companies speak to their customers, helping to address customer concerns quickly and channel them toward useful answers and appropriate customer service professionals.


6.  Augmented reality

Pokémon Go may have been the AR example that captured everyone’s attention but there are many more opportunities to be had with augmented reality and companies are beginning to catch on. Read our other post, Augmented Reality Bites, to learn all the exciting ways AR can enhance your company’s brand communications in digital and print.


7.  Embrace “dark social”

Users are moving consistently off of public social channels for their communications, sharing content more often through private channels like messenger apps, email, text, direct messaging, and tools like Slack. Brands can’t control this communication but content shared amongst family, friends, and colleagues is immediately more credible than content from an ad.

The challenge of 2017 is not to be afraid of dark social but to harness it for ecommerce and digital marketing. Identify dark social optimized content and utilize this new version of influencer marketing.


8.  Pay to play

It’s now clear that brands must pay in order to maximize their reach on social media, but in 2017 expect the prices to go up and social media marketing budgets to increase. In 2016 the Facebook algorithm changed to prioritize posts from family and friends over content creators so the challenge in 2017 is creating engaging ads that stand out from the crowd.


9.  Mobile, mobile, mobile

Mobile dependency is only increasing. A mobile responsive website is the bare minimum. Successful brands will create content that is optimized for mobile consumption and sharing, and focus on innovative ways to communicate with their consumers through mobile platforms and apps – think Snapchat, Instagram, live videos, augmented reality, 360 media, and whatever new platform that awaits us in 2017.


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