What will be the digital marketing trends in 2017?
2016 is coming to an end and it’s that time of the year when we start thinking about resolutions for the coming 12 months.
It’s a great time to reflect on your habits and behavioural patterns – did I really just demolish a whole bar of chocolate by myself? – and that doesn’t only apply to your private life but also to your professional self.
In a fast-changing environment such as digital marketing, staying on top of trends and re-thinking your strategy is key for success. The new year posts a great opportunity for marketers to take a step back and objectively analyse their current approaches.
Various studies, such as HubSpot’s annual State of Inbound Marketing Report, suggest that there are some central points in marketing that need to change in order to meet customer expectations and changes in consumer behaviour.
Trends for Content Marketing
According to HubSpot’s State of the Art study, companies need to diversify their content more: almost half of all consumers wish to see more social media posts, news articles and videos in the future.
These types of content are, on average, read and watched more thoroughly than blog posts which consumers tend to skim quickly.
While many companies follow a strategy strongly based on blogging, these finding suggest that social media activities and videos are most likely to resonate better with your customers.
Check your current content marketing strategy:
- What types of content have you produced during the last year?
- Is your approach covering the four main purposes content should fulfil?
- Have you met your marketing targets with your current strategy and what are the KPIs for the coming year you would like to improve?
If you’re not doing it yet, this could be the perfect time for you to approach content marketing more systematically.
Having a data-driven and well documented content marketing strategy is key for success – this is your opportunity to start over fresh and create a marketing strategy that will help you realise your business goals.
Trends for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When reading up on trends in SEO for 2017, one gets the impression that there are two major forces which might disrupt search engines:
chat bots and social media.
Social content consumption is constantly rising – within the last two years, there was a 57% increase on Facebook, 25% increase on Twitter and 21% increase on LinkedIn (source).
What does this mean for SEO?
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that SEO is losing significant importance for 2017. Statistics like the ones named above should, however, be regarded a wake-up call for those who haven’t realised the rising importance of social media and upcoming technologies yet.
With trends like AI and machine learning evolving faster than ever, there might be new opportunities for marketers as customers move away from traditional interactions towards more interactive approaches.
Another big trend to watch out for is voice search – SEO guru Rand Fishkin discusses in his Whiteboard Friday session in how far voice search will change SEO and how marketers can adapt to this new trend.
Trends for Paid Advertising
Another big discussion in 2016 was around paid ads and ad blockers. When it comes to paid advertising, more than 48% of all responses in the HubSpot Adblock Plus Research Study from 2016 strongly agree with the statement that online ads were more intrusive now than they were 2-3 years ago – and this is clearly demonstrated by the use of ad blockers.
This is not to say that paid advertising doesn’t work anymore – on the contrary, it can and should still be an important part of your multichannel campaigns.
However, it falls to us marketers to adjust the types of advertisements to our customers’ needs and preferences and to use them appropriately and intelligently. Otherwise, your content will be ignored, blocked, or even reflect badly on your brand image.
When looking at the different types of ads, there are significant differences in perception.
Telemarketing sales and pop-up advertisements are rated very negatively, while social media posts, on the other hand, seem more likely to be tolerated by consumers.
This leads me to the conclusion that, again, everything comes down to reaching out to the right target audience with content that is actually useful for them in a non-intrusive way.
You want your ad to be seen – but you don’t want to interrupt the customer at what they were doing at that very moment. It should be their choice to engage with you and your ad should offer a real value for them.
Social media seems again a big opportunity for marketers to advertise their products. Make sure your offer relates to your buyer personas’ needs and actually adds value to their lives.
2017 – the Year of Inbound?
2017 seems to be dominated by new technology evolving (such as artificial intelligence, bots or voice search) but also calls for marketers to adopt a more inbound-focused mindset.
Meeting your customers on channels they prefer to use and engaging with them in conversations rather than interrupting their online experience seems to be the way forward for 2017.
It is also worth mentioning that some political events such as Brexit or the U.S. elections will most likely cause significant changes in business environments in the UK and abroad. It is imperative for businesses to be agile in disruptive times like these to stay ahead of the game and adapt to new opportunities and challenges.
Want more data?
Download HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing report here or get in touch for a chat in case you feel like you need a little help for your fresh start into 2017.