This is a guest post from Giles Metcalfe, SEO guru, social media manager and all round digital marketing megastar. 

We often collaborate with Giles, along with other first-class folks with specific marketing specialities, in order to provide our clients with a complete marketing solution. 

In this guest post, Giles sums up what digital marketing trends we can expect to see this year. You can contact Giles via his website, Facebook, or why not send him a tweet?

 

Predicted Digital Marketing Trends for 2017

At the time of writing, we are now in mid-January 2017. The Christmas 2016 break and New Year is a fading memory, and everyone is back at work. You may already be thinking about your summer holidays. Yesterday was ‘Blue Monday’ – the so-called “most depressing day of the year”. In fact, in marketing terms, Blue Monday was dreamt up by marketing executives to sell more holidays to those already thinking of summer and warmer (and happier) times to come, perhaps you included. Whilst the time for wishing people Happy New Year has now passed – call me miserable and a cynic but I firmly believe that there’s a very small window of opportunity where its acceptable to wish someone Happy New Year (12.01 on the 1st of January, to probably your first day back at work), any later than that is weird to my mind – and your New Year’s Resolutions may already be falling by the wayside, we can still look forward to the predicted Digital Marketing Trends for 2017. So, without further ado, let’s get predicting.

Brandwatch’s biggest digital marketing trends for 2017
Kit Smith has put together a list of 11 digital marketing predictions for Brandwatch:

Crystal balls. Tarot cards. Extra Sensory Perception. Looking at tea leaves. Using your sixth sense. Fortune cookies. Reading Nostradamus. Precognitive dreaming. Palmistry. There are many ways it is said you can tell the future, and precisely none of them were used to research this list of the biggest digital marketing trends for 2017.
Instead, I have taken a year’s worth of reading about marketing every day, looked at the developments that seem to be gaining traction, and extrapolated some predictions for 2017.

The 11 trends are:
1. Immersive Marketing
2. More Live Video
3. Using all the Big Data
4. Increased Personalization (sic)
5. Native Advertising
6. Mobile First
7. AR & VR (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality)
8. The Internet of Things
9. Wearables
10. Chatbots
11. Penalization (sic) of Popups & auto-play videos

What exactly does he mean? Well, you can visit the Brandwatch page and read the article in full, as we haven’t got the time and space to reproduce it in full here, but carry on reading for the highlights.

 

Immersive Marketing
Wikipedia defines Immersive Marketing as:

The term immersion marketing or immersive marketing includes traditional advertising, public relations, word-of-mouth advertising, digital marketing, samples, coupons, retail partnerships and other ways of surrounding the consumer with a consistent message about a brand.

Kit Smith says:

The success of content marketing has been a mixed bag. It has given consumers entertaining, informative content. It has also seen a lot of rushed content published in the race to expand content volumes.
This increased competition has seen market leaders and innovators look for new ways to engage their audience, and developments in various technologies are helping to drive this phenomenon.
Both Facebook and YouTube have introduced 360-degree video, and some brands have already begun experimenting with the format for an interesting and innovative experience.
…Marketing campaigns that push the boundaries like this cannot be universal, but it will be interesting to see how marketers continue to experiment in 2017. Live video can play a part in creating an immersive video too…

 

More Live Video
Facebook defines Live Video as a “fun, engaging way to connect with your followers and grow your audience”.
Kit Smith says:

Live video has suddenly become the internet’s favorite (sic) shiny new toy. When Meerkat entered the market it was an entertaining novelty. Now, Twitter (via Periscope), Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have all released live video offerings as well.
Many of these networks are promoting their live video quite heavily, and it’s something that will stand out in the saturated world of content, so I can see plenty of reasons why brands would want to get involved.
An early example was BuzzFeed’s live stream of two employees trying to explode a watermelon using rubber bands. The video has had a total of 11 million views.
I also expect the two worlds of live video and influencers to collide in 2017, with product placement and sponsorships becoming a regular feature of influencer videos.

Two employees trying to explode a watermelon using rubber bands?!? 11 million views?!? As the saying goes, 11 million people can’t be wrong, but really? Is this what the world is coming to? The issue of product placement and sponsorship is also pernicious, with children and adults already being educated about subliminal and covert marketing messages placed in vlogs from apparently unaffiliated Vloggers.

 

Native advertising
Native advertising – “material in an online publication which resembles the publication’s editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the advertiser’s product: “even when it comes to native advertising, savvy Internet users can tell ads from stories””.
Kit Smith says:

While native advertising may be an old method, market forces should increase its prominence in 2017. The diminishing penetration of many ads – through ad blockers, reduced social media organic reach, and the decline of banner ads – will see an increase of native advertising.
The Guardian newspaper has recently updated its native advertising platform to help brands find a home for their content.

The Guardian says:

In the new world of content – the world where all organisations get to produce it – jargon is plentiful. Phrases such as corporate journalism, vendor content, brand publishing and custom content are everywhere.
But where does native advertising play in this mix?
Put simply, native advertising is a sub-set of the catch-all content marketing, meaning the practice of using content to build trust and engagement with would-be customers.
Native advertising can be a promoted tweet on Twitter, suggested post on Facebook or one of those full-page ads between Flipboard pages, but more commonly it is about how brands now work with online publications to reach people.

(See https://www.theguardian.com/media-network-outbrain-partner-zone/native-advertising-quality-scalability for the full Guardian article.)
Jay Baer, President of Convince and Convert, Author of Hug Your Haters, agrees with Kit Smith:

As more and more brands embrace storytelling, they will shift the nature of those stories from fiction to non-fiction. The rise of live video, behind-the-scenes content, and true brand journalism will begin to tip the storytelling balance from glossy “best foot forward” to documentary-style realism.

(See http://www.branddrivendigital.com/2017-digital-marketing-trends/)

 

Mobile first
Google “mobile first” and its defined as:

The mobile-first approach is exactly as it sounds: designing for the smallest screen and working your way up. It is one of the best strategies to create either a responsive or adaptive design. Source: UXPin. The mobile-first approach is a tenet of progressive enhancement.

Kit Smith says:

Probably on every digital marketing trends list since cell phones (sic) first had internet capabilities, the relentless increase of users accessing the web through mobile means its importance continues.
In fact, this year (2016) there were two important markers for mobile: Google announcing a mobile-first web index, and the fact that mobile traffic has overtaken desktop for internet usage.

So, don’t ignore mobile or assume that all your users are on laptops or desktop PCs. Companies who may, begrudgingly, have entered the 21st century and have a website (albeit one that is now showing its age and is not at all mobile-friendly) may also still believe that their customers are not using tablets or mobile phones to view it. These days, when Google penalises you for not being mobile-friendly, there really is no excuse for having a website that isn’t. Invest in one that is.

 

AR & VR
Anyone remember the 1992 film ‘Lawnmower Man’? It’s the film everyone used to think of when virtual reality was mentioned. 25 years later, and AR and VR (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) are still being talked up.
Kit Smith says:

The progress is probably slower than people would like, as this is another trend that’s been on many a list. I’ve even talked about it in this post, and I do believe its use will increase, but it is unlikely to develop beyond a niche market in 2017.

The same applies to The Internet of Things (IoT).
Kit Smith says:

The Internet of Things has some exciting early uses. There are industries that are seeing a lot of value from IoT, but for most people it’s a slow crawl. Developments will continue to creep into our lives, but it feels like people are expecting too much too soon.

 

5 digital marketing trends that will die in 2017

By way of contrast, and to give you a fuller picture, Josh Steimle and Mashable have put together a list of the 5 digital marketing trends that will die in 2017.
Again, you can read their article in full, but the list consists of:
1. Twitter
2. Big Banner Ads
3. Stock Images
4. Fake Reviews
5. Popup Ads
Josh Steimle and Kit Smith both agree on the Popup Ad issue, and with Google already having announced in August 2016 that it would look to penalise sites with popups it seems highly likely to come to pass. RIP Popup Ads.
Here are some of the other highlights from the Josh Steimle article, with my own comments.

Twitter
Whilst Twitter undoubtedly remains a useful social media tool for some, for me, its showing its age and has not paid dividends on the time and effort I’ve previously invested in it.
Josh Steimle says:

While it may be too early to say goodbye to Twitter, we all know it’s struggling while Facebook and Snapchat continue to grow. Twitter’s share is 27.3% among all social media users, a decline compared to previous numbers.
…Just as Twitter seems to be losing its hold on social media, other networks like Instagram and Pinterest are growing rapidly.

Dorie Clark, Author of Stand Out and Rebranding You, also supports this view:

Twitter will die, and Donald Trump will be the only person still left who is using it.

(See http://www.branddrivendigital.com/2017-digital-marketing-trends/)

I’m an avid user of Instagram for personal rather than business purposes – I’m a keen amateur photographer – and I can also see the platform’s attractiveness to potential advertisers. Pinterest less so, but that’s just my own opinion.

Big banner ads
Josh Steimle says:

There was a time when there were big banner ads on every site, distracting you from concentrating on your purpose. However, this trend is fading away as marketers concentrate on other tools such as native advertising, which have been shown to be 53% more likely to generate leads. Much of this trends appears to be related to higher mobile usage, where click rates on banners are notoriously low.

Stock images
Josh Steimle says:

The use of stock images is decreasing as businesses turn to personalized images and videos. Generic stock images don’t support an authentic identity and inhibit users from connecting with brands that use them. On the other hand, personalized images improve content performance by increasing likes, shares, and click through rates.

The wisdom of this can’t be disputed. Stock images, especially obviously American ones used on British websites, can make me cringe when I see them, and depersonalise a website. Invest in some decent professional photography. It will benefit your business and keeps photographers in work!
So, there you go. Some predicted increasing and decreasing digital marketing trends for 2017. Let’s see how the year pans out.

 

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