7 Digital Marketing Trends of 2016 (That You Should Use in 2017)
The new year always marks that time when we look back on the wins and the failures of the past year.
For us, that means taking a look at the top digital marketing trends of 2016 and using them in our digital marketing strategies in the upcoming new year.
It’s always important to see what was on the rise in the last year, and how we can go up from there. Digital marketers should never just stay comfortable with what they have. We work in an exciting, fast-paced world where everything changes daily, so embrace it!
Let’s take a look at the year in review and see what digital marketing trends worked in 2016, and which ones are on the rise for 2017.
1. Content Marketing
Every year, content marketing always takes the top spot on any list and report. That’s because content marketing will always be important to any digital marketing strategy.
You always need something for your audience to engage with, and to drive traffic to your website.
But you need to make sure that your content is up to date and relevant to the trends that emerge every year. You can’t just keep blogging the same way over and over without paying attention to your audience and their online activity.
So, for 2017, keep up with your content marketing and keep producing trending content. Take advantage of the virality of your audience and the world you live in.
Some of these other digital marketing trends of 2016 will give you some great ideas for new content to work with.
2. The Rise of Interactive Marketing Apps
Scott Brinker, marketing expert, calls the rise of marketing apps the “4th wave of content marketing.”
Marketing apps are the newest way for digital specialists to create bite-sized content that’s easy for audiences to consume. Since we’re all aware that today’s attention spans are shrinking, it’s important to figure out new ways to target those qualified users.
So, how can you use this in 2017?
Well, it’s not as easy to throw together an app, but with the right web support team, you can get a basic mobile platform up and running. It might cost a bit up front, but in the long run you’ll be able to stay on top of the game as we enter a new era of marketing.
3. The Importance of Big Data
Big Data, and data from your own analytics, are more important than ever for building the right digital marketing strategy. The number of consumers with an online presence is growing exponentially, and it’s getting more unaffordable to make mistakes.
Today’s digital marketers are sifting through Big Data and studying consumer trends in order to build strategic content for hyper-targeting.
Creating hyper-targeted audiences is the key to getting conversions and results, because you’re reaching those audiences in the bottom of the sales funnel. They know what they want and they’re ready to convert, so don’t miss out on them.
You may think you know your audience, but there’s always something surprising revealed in the data. Today’s consumers are more savvy than they’ve ever been, so you need to be sure that what you’re doing will work.
In 2017, everything you do should be data-driven and geared toward proven results. Don’t ever rely on assumptions because today’s digital advertising trends are based on metrics and results.
4. Live Video Streaming
Live video streaming has been more popular than ever in 2016, and it’s steadily increasing into the new year.
Think about it: everyone has a smartphone, and the majority of users access your content from their phone. That means more people are watching your videos, and the chances of it going viral are high.
Remember Chewbacca Mom from the Spring of 2016? She went viral for making a Facebook live video of herself laughing as she tries on a brand new mask modeled after the Star Wars character Chewbacca.
Other viral videos of 2016 included “Damn, Daniel,” the “Apple Pen” guy, the poor girl who woke up from wisdom teeth surgery to a zombie apocalypse, and many more. Even the United States presidential debate was streamed live online, as were the post-election speeches.
Not all of these videos were made with Facebook live, but Facebook certainly propelled their popularity.
As you evolve your digital marketing strategy into 2017, make sure you get involved with live video streaming, especially on Facebook. There are so many opportunities to use the feature you’ll be kicking yourself for not using it before.
There are tons of ways you can incorporate this into your plan, but make sure you understand how to make sense of video streaming so you can track and use measurable results. Remember, it’s all about proven, trackable results.
5. Native Advertising
Of course, native advertising isn’t a new concept. But in 2016, we saw a demand in the marketing industry to focus on adapting to the variety of platforms our audiences are using.
This year, we saw a rise in consumer awareness. As marketers, we need to find new ways to reach audiences without being interruptive. And these ways are always evolving, just like our business.
When you build your digital marketing strategy in 2017, make sure you’re being native to each platform you’re using.
For example, know that what you put on Instagram needs to blend in with what users are seeing in their feeds, and that you can’t expect the same things you do with Facebook advertising.
6. Snapchat’s Domination
Here’s something we didn’t really predict this year: the rise of Snapchat for business and marketing. If you don’t believe us, check out our Snapchat case study.
Snapchat is becoming more popular than ever, and digital marketers are getting in on this platform. In fact, Snapchat users have increased within the last year by 400%, and Snapchat ads are viewed up to a million times per day!
For 2017, your digital marketing strategy should definitely include Snapchat, especially if your target audience includes millennials or generation Z.
Snapchat stories offer a more personal and intimate view of your company. Behind-the-scenes looks are super engaging and popular because they give your audience that personal element.
With Snapchat, you won’t get ROI-focused results, but you will gain engagement that can translate to other platforms. The point is to get potential customers to see your name every time they update their Snapchat story.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to engage your audience in a fun way. And don’t forget to use your favourite filers, too.
7. Immersive Experiences
2-Photos and videos just aren’t cutting it anymore, because immersive experience marketing has been on the rise in 2016.
Have you noticed that you’re seeing more of those interactive panorama images that users can tip their phone screen to scroll? Those are called 360 degree photos, and they are super engaging right now.
People love new and trending things, and the more you stay on top of those trends as a digital marketer, the more you’ll stay ahead of the game.
Wondering how to use immersive experiences in 2017? It’s super easy, especially if you have clients whose industries are visual in nature.
Our suggestion is to find a way to work this in for your clients, however you can. Even if it’s a 360 photo of their office, or a behind the scenes look at a project.
So, now that you’ve seen what’s worked in 2016, it’s time to reinvent your strategy in 2017.
Always go with what the data shows, not with what you think will work. Any professional digital marketer knows that data is king. Take what’s been proven to work this year and apply it, and you’ll see a difference.
If you need help with your own digital marketing plan, VPDM can help you get your game going strong.
Our team of expert digital marketers, content creators, and analytics specialists will help you get your strategy where you want it to be. We build results-driven, successful strategies that work.
Ready to get started? Contact us now. We’re excited to get started.
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