If you want to improve your digital marketing results in the new year, it’s time to get organized. Even with your budget and strategy in place, it’s never too late to refine your digital approach. And in an industry that moves at hyper-speed, that means drawing lessons from 2016 while anticipating what will happen to marketing trends in 2017.
We’ve pulled together the marketing trends that had the greatest impact on digital marketing this year and outlined the top 5 digital marketing predictions for 2017 – all to help you create resolutions that will drive results.
Learn from this year’s marketing trends…
1. Social media platforms are adding more features in the fight for daily active users.
Although Facebook remains the top social networking site in the world, Instagram and Snapchat have been battling it out for second place all year.
Instagram introduced Stories in early August, the same feature Snapchat first introduced in 2013. Since then, these two social media platforms have been pushing to create unique features that attract more users.
But, their efforts to stand out have had the odd effect of making their offerings increasingly similar. Now, other social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter have joined the features race. Now that the momentum to consolidation has started, it’s likely to continue.
2. Brands turn to people-based advertising for cross-device results.
As brands realize that traditional marketing tactics aren’t as effective in the mobile era, they’re seeking new solutions. People-based advertising uses data on customers and users to target real people as they move through the customer journey.
This ability to reach individual across devices, platforms and publishers, has made people-based advertising increasingly attractive to brands. In fact, According to eMarketer, spending on display ads in the U.S. was expected to reach $32.17 billion this year. And with that, 92% of media buyers and their clients said they planned to increase their people-based media buying.
3. Social media is becoming more business-friendly.
Starting with profiles, Instagram released a series of features geared towards businesses. The push continued with the addition of business contact information, promotional tools and expanded analytics to help brands track their social media performance.
Across other social media channels, business features included expanded ad formats and tools. Facebook debuted several new ad tools and targeting options to help marketers in their personalization efforts.
Another significant development was Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. The deal expanded LinkedIn’s reach significantly by adding Microsoft’s social identity data. The company also moved into native video and later launched conversion tracking for sponsored content.
…But prepare for marketing trends in 2017
1. Social Selling
People are no longer just browsing on social media, they’re shopping . Social selling has opened lots of opportunities for online retailers. Given that people spend the majority of their online time within apps, social media channels have made it easier for users to buy without ever leaving the platform they’re used to browsing.
Pinterest was the first to introduce social selling with buyable pins and now the platform drives more in-channel purchases than any other social network. Facebook also recently launched online marketplace buying where people can buy and sell locally. And Instagram’s shopping feature is currently in testing mode. As e-retailers shift to mobile-first, the next step to take in the new year will be to drive the entire omnichannel experience from social media.
2. Vertical Video
Movies and television have made widescreen video ad formats the norm. However, changing consumption habits reveal that people no longer want to be bothered to turn their phones sideways. Vertical video started gaining buzz last year when Snapchat began building its advertising business in the format.
Now vertical video is finding wider acceptance as social platforms, brands, and advertisers seek to deliver upright-oriented ads. Many companies have embraced vertical video on Snapchat and most recently on Facebook. In fact, Snapchat initially reported that vertical video ads have up to nine times more completed views than horizontal video ads. As the media industry becomes more mindful of the online experience, it too will need to adapt to new consumer expectations.
3. Location Data
A recent Mobile Marketing Association report found that 46% of marketers and 47% of agencies believe location data is critical. Marketers say location data not only improves targeting, but is also useful for developing quality insights and understanding the path to purchase.
This year, Google added in-store attribution by using location extension to tie store visits to display ads. Google Maps technology further enabled marketers to identify determine whether those ads led to foot traffic. Also, location technologies such as beacons, Wi-Fi and geofencing have continued to gain popularity this year.
As more marketers realize that location data can be the key to a successful campaign, the focus will shift to how it can be optimized with greater contextual information. In the coming year we’ll see marketers unlock even deeper insights as they continue to integrate behavioral data and start to consider variables such as user speed.
4. Live Video Streaming
The first look at live video streaming on social media was Periscope, the live video startup now owned by Twitter. Facebook Live became accessible to the public in early 2016 and later updated its features to include, two-person broadcasting, waiting rooms, and video filters.
Facebook Live promoted itself as a huge opportunity for brands in all industries. And initial Facebook data revealed people comment ten times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos. Recently, Facebook-owned Instagram and Twitter have rolled out their own versions of live video.
Yet despite these advances in 2016, marketers and advertisers are still in the initial phases of exploring the potential of live video. Research from Focus Vision and Zanthus forecasts that 41% of cable TV subscribers will reduce or drop their subscriptions in 2017. With live streaming accessible across the biggest social media platforms, brands will have to plan how they can integrate it into their marketing mix to take advantage of the growing number of digital eyeballs.
5. Native Advertising
Native advertising is paid content that follows the natural form and function of the user experience. And because it’s less intrusive, it’s become a fast growing form of advertising.
Native advertising accounted for the majority of all U.S. display ad revenue last year, and Business Insider has predicted that native advertising will generate 74% of U.S. display ad revenue by 2021. Now brands are pushing native into the video space to add extra value to the user experience. All in all, native ads help nurture customer relationships, and in the new year advertisers will no longer be testing these waters – they’ll be diving in.