7 Marketing trends to watch out for in 2017
We’re not going to say that 2017 is going to be the year of mobile. That was 2016. Or was it 2015? Or 2014? In reality, there is no year of mobile – it’s more like the decade of mobile.
Google’s algorithm changes mean that sites that don’t adapt to mobile devices are heavily penalised in the search results. The massive growth of the wearables market has increased the number and variety of mobile devices for businesses to work with. 4G connectivity has reached over half of all adults in the UK, with 81% of the UK population owning a smartphone in 2016.
Mobile is driving the growth of the search advertising market – predicted to grow to £5.5bn next year. Mobile ad spend is quickly growing to reach that of all online ad spend – PWC predict it will account for 50.6% of all online advertising by 2020.
If you haven’t yet incorporated mobile marketing into your digital strategy, you’re already being left behind and missing out on a lot of potential business opportunities. Talk to a member of the team to see how we can help.
The changing face of video
Video has been an important part of marketing for decades – from TV adverts to YouTube clips. Where marketers were concerned, videos tended to involve multiple takes and days of work in post-production and editing before they were shown to the public, but with the rise of live video streaming this is no longer always the case.
Live video streaming services like Twitter-owned Periscope have been around for a couple of years, but it was in 2016 that really saw them rise in popularity. With the launch of Facebook Live and Twitter making it possible to integrate Periscope streams directly into tweets, live video is making it into the mainstream.
We’re already hearing brand success stories from live video, but there’s still a lot for marketers to learn about the medium. It comes with a much higher risk to brand reputation than a pre-recorded message, as if something goes wrong there’s no taking it back. We expect we’ll see some live video fails from brands as 2017 gets underway, but once marketers get to grips with it, it could be huge.
Content marketing grows up
Content marketing has come in for a bit of a tough time in 2016. This much-hyped area of marketing, through no fault of its own, didn’t always deliver the results businesses were expected, leading to disillusionment in pockets of the industry. The issue here wasn’t that content marketing didn’t work, rather that the hype caused the internet to be flooded with a tidal wave of sub-par content created for the sake of “doing content marketing” – with no real strategy behind it, and unrealistic expectations of immediate results.
Fortunately, content marketing has started to mature. Learning from their mistakes, marketers have discovered that when it comes to content, it’s quality over quantity, and long-term results that matter – something those of us who’ve spent time and effort specialising in the discipline have known for some time.
Rather than a blog that’s updated regularly even when there’s nothing to say, marketers are producing content with real purpose – something that entertains, informs or educates its specifically targeted audience. It’s becoming more intelligent; designed and produced to fit the right market, the right platform, the right device – and importantly, developed as part of a well-considered overall content strategy.
It’s been a long time coming. If you want to get in on the new breed of content marketing, talk to us about our content marketing specialists.
All shopping, all the time
With the increasing popularity of e-commerce has come the optimisation of transactional websites across devices, and the beginnings of shoppable media from advertising platforms. With Instagram announcing its first trials of more sophistication shoppable images, we’re fast approaching the stage where users can shop for products wherever they are, without having to interrupt what they’re doing.
It’s not just image-based adverts and posts that are becoming shoppable, we anticipate that video-commerce is going to advance too. YouTube have been offering shoppable videos for a while, in the form of simple overlays with a link to an external site, but as Instagram move to increase conversions for its advertisers by reducing the number of steps in the users, it’s only a matter of time before other platforms invest in following suit.
Conversations with robots
One of the main issues with the two-way communication capabilities of social media and messaging apps is the sheer amount of time and man hours that goes into managing them. Giving customers a wide variety of ways to contact you for support is essential for keeping satisfaction high, but the more one-to-one interactions you have, the more it costs you.
The development of chatbots means that we’re now able to substitute a computer for a human in a range of everyday transactions, but at the moment the majority are still rather basic in nature. The advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are making these tools better at understanding queries and responding in a more natural fashion, so in 2017 we could see the use of chatbots becoming much more widespread.
We suspect that these more advanced AI chatbots are unlikely to filter through to the mass market for another year or two, but it will be 2017’s early adopters who deal with the early bugs and hitches, promising a smoother ride for the rest of us.
Beating the adblockers
Adblockers caused a storm in the advertising industry over the last few years as consumers downloaded them in their millions. As of January 2016, market leader AdBlock Plus reported that their product had received over half a billion downloads, but 2016 was also the year when adblocking really started to change.
In 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that adblockers would cost the publishing industry $22 billion that year, and publishers began to fight back. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) report that 64% of adblock users have been asked to turn their blocker off on certain websites – and 54% of users would be willing to do so for the right site.
With the introduction of “Acceptable Ads” schemes, ad-blocking has evolved more into filtering software, with AdBlock Plus seeing themselves more as a “Web Customiser”. With these new filters combined with reports that the major driving force behind use of adblockers reported as irrelevant, irritating ads, advertisers have had to up their game, targeting more intelligently and producing higher quality ads.
It’s something we take seriously at Clicky, which is why the digital ad campaigns that we run on behalf of our clients benefit from intelligently targeted strategies and informed creative – and in 2017, we expect that we’ll see other advertisers following suit – or risk being blocked entirely.
The three D’s of marketing: Data, data and data
This trend certainly isn’t new for 2017, but it will certainly shape the marketing landscape next year. Data-driven marketing has soared in popularity as pressure to prove ROI on marketing activities has increased, providing marketers with the insights needed to drive more effective campaigns and the opportunity for in-depth, accountable reporting.
Research from earlier this year suggests that UK marketers are less confident in their ability to use data than many other countries, a trend perhaps led by widely reported marketing skills gap. Around 40% of UK companies rely on junior staff for digital skills, with many finding that expecting generalist marketers to do analytical work was unreasonable, and not getting the results they were hoping for.
In 2017, we expect to see this trend shifting as businesses employ agencies like Clicky to conduct data-driven marketing activities like audience profiling and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), and invest in training their skill with digital skills to bridge the skills gap.
If you’d like to get ahead of the curve, speak to the Clicky team to see how we can help you upgrade your digital strategy for 2017.