With the customer in mind, and the end of 2016 fast approaching, what should marketers focus on to improve their digital marketing expertise in 2017? What will be the biggest drivers of digital transformation?
Here’s what you need to know for the coming year:
1) Snapchat’s evolution has put forth a truckload of opportunities
Snapchat has succeeded in transforming user expectations and major trends in the social marketing world. It is a form of instant communication, leading to an increase in more in-the-moment and live content, helping users capture first-person visual information.
Snapchat has over 10 billion daily views on its video content. This exceeds even YouTube, a website that is built on showcasing video content. Brands have now started embracing its power, and will definitely seek new creative ways to reach an increasing and highly engaged audience in 2017
2) Visual Content will be king
Consumers want more than just text only content and search engines are also finding better ways of indexing visual content, which means it can also help with search engine optimization. It’s no longer enough to post sentiments about an event, users want to see what it’s like to be there. Tools like live video, 360 images and video, and even real-time posting play a major role here. The idea is to make users feel like they’re a genuine part of the experience, as it’s unfolding. Images, infographics, slide presentations, are all still very popular and can help to drive more engagement and conversions.
3) Emergence of new areas of communication
Social media existed as a way for individual people to communicate online. When brands caught on, it also became a way for brands to speak to and advertise to consumers. But now, social media is evolving in new communicative areas. Some platforms are offering means of customer service, increasing the significance and interactivity of exchanges between brands and consumers. This plays a major role in building relationships with customers. Others, like Facebook, are delving into more professional communication. Facebook is introducing ‘Messenger for Business’, which gives brands a way of communicating one-on-one with their customers to provide them with good services. Expect to see more diversity here as more brands catch onto the potential.
4) Pay-to-Play continues on Social Media
How do you best reach your audience? This has always remained a vital question for marketers, and one where the answer is always changing. Organic visibility has been declining for a while now, as platforms try catering to individual users over companies and organizations. Though brands like Facebook have spun this as a way to make the news feed better for the average user, one of the biggest peripheral effects here is that brands will have to pay more if they want to continue achieving the same level of social reach.
5) Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
A few months back, you could barely walk down the street without someone bumping into you while they tried to catch a Blastoise. Pokémon Go introduced a lot of people to AR, and it showed that there is mass appeal for it when it is executed well.
The practical application of these technologies is yet to be worked out beyond gaming. Brands with physical stores are likely to be interested in AR development, as it makes engagement possible.
We are still at the beginning of the VR/AR journey. While we cannot expect AR or VR to be a dominant social media trend in 2017, a few brands will surely experiment over the coming twelve months with these new technologies.
6) Rise of chatbots
Artificial intelligence is now reaching a level where it is useful to many people’s daily lives. The rise of digital assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant have got people used to talking to their phone rather than exercising their fingers. With Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google all introducing integrated bots to help with bookings and customer service, prepare to start talking to machines much more often.
Chatbots will be a boon for brands, allowing common questions to be answered and simple bookings to be managed. This can free up customer service representatives to answer more in-depth queries.
7) Increase in Personalization
Nowadays The huge increase in the amount of content published online means it is very important for ads to be shown to the right people at the right time, both across the web and specifically on social networks. There is so much choice for the reader that if you don’t personalize and focus on a specific target, your content is much less likely to resonate with consumers.
Niche, interactive & innovative content is what is required to win limited attention in a very busy space.
8) Mobile optimization
‘Optimize for mobile’ could have been on every social media trends post written in the last five years. That doesn’t make any of those predictions wrong, nor does it devalue it’s entry this year. Its importance has increased every year, and this year is no different.
Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop on the web this year. This means that it is more important than ever to make the mobile experience as good as possible. Increasingly that means putting mobile first, rather than simply optimizing for mobile.
Facebook is already starting to integrate features like Instant Articles, digital assistants, and even search into its app to prevent users from leaving and using other apps on their mobile devices.
Eventually, more social media apps will diversify the features and services they offer, becoming one-stop shops for everything you’d want on the internet. This change would be insanely valuable for the platforms themselves.
Influencer marketing is another area that will continue to grow in the coming year. Through influencers, content marketers can reach a much larger audience, while it also helps increase the value of each influencer, as well as their credibility. They have great power over their audience and making them a part of content marketing campaigns can really help boost a campaign’s performance, particularly in regards to engagement, traffic to the website and conversions.
So to sum it all up..
You don’t need to be a prophet to see where social media is going to end up next year. Right now, it has been a revelation on many fronts, news, content, and marketing to name a few. As people come up with more innovative content and methods of sharing them, social media will only get bigger.
Unlike other forms of media, social media is riding the evolution super-wave into the future. As people are becoming smarter and more aware, so has social media.
From being just a tool to share memes, to leading the charge when it comes to customer-centric engagements for big-brands. We’ve come a long, long way and still, the road ahead looks promising!