With the new year well and truly kicked off, it’s time to take a look into the future and see what 2017 has in store for digital marketers. Times are a-changing, companies are taking a much slicker approach and utilising online tools to their advantage in a more knowledgeable way than ever before.
So how do we think the digital landscape can shift? Here’s the top four marketing trends that we’re going to keep a beady eye on over the next year…
1 – More long-tail content
Bill Gates once penned a piece (20 years ago to be precise) that is still referenced to this day, that explained how and why “Content is King”. He even more creepily predicted that content would become the internet’s main profit driver. And how right was he? Pretty goddamn correct!
Okay, so reading an article on MaretingProfs about the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, they actually tell us that 70-73% of B2B and B2C marketers expect to produce even more content in 2017. The Washington Post for example, produces a staggering 1,200 articles daily. And this was a strategy that they implemented back in 2015 that enabled them to achieve more daily visits than the N.Y. Post over a 3 month period.
Now, get this. The average B2B marketer is said to pigeon-hole 29% of their budget for content, with top performers allocating a whopping 42%!
Although this is great, it will also make content marketing a lot more difficult and highly competitive. It will be interesting to see how companies adapt to this over the coming year, though.
2 – Social conversion
We’ve spoken a lot about social media, the immense power it can have on your brand and the trust it can build in your audience and those all-important key influencers. But we believe that in the brand new year of 2017, online communities will not only serve the purpose of creating company to consumer conversations and attracting customers. The leverage it will be able to provide is far greater than just words, allowing the provision of opportunities that will improve conversion rates.
Just as e-commerce works and landing pages create lead-generation, social media will move in and most probably become a direct contributor to sales for brands; small and large.
Social media channels such as Facebook will work as new conversion channels, offering tools to convert prospects directly into buyers. Yippee!
Business2Community said that social media users are increasing at a rate of 9% per year, with social media advertising budgets growing even faster. Citing AdvertisingAge, they also pointed out that digital advertising revenue increased by 20% in 2016, making a staggering $59.6 billion spent on social media platforms in this time alone. Why? Because the analytics you have access to give you the tangible data you need to drive future campaigns; helping you to calculate your exact ROI and how much each of your posts are worth to you.
But don’t wait, you must strike while the iron is hot!
The trend is growing at an exponential rate, which only means that Cost-Per-Click and Cost-Per-Acquisition is going to increase, making it more expensive to reach the type of customers you want to get in front of.
Specifically, the cost of Facebook advertising is only going to get more costly over the next few years, as more and more people are spending money on it, and more-importantly, seeing the immense value it has. In our opinion, at the moment, it is pretty underpriced when you see exactly how much power it can give your brand, the ability to get you seen in a super-competitive crowd, and the data it hands you to tailor future campaigns.
The longer you wait, the more difficult the barrier to entry is going to be. So if you fancy jumping on the Facebook advertising train, then give us a shout, because we’re pretty clued up on it!
3. Mobile will completely blow desktop out of the water
Okay, so mobile in 2016 was HUGE. Google pretty much phased out all websites on the internet that were not optimised for mobile. Mean, right? Well, no not really, given that 80% of internet users own a smartphone.
With the amount of hand-held devices that are being used on a daily basis, it is not totally ridiculous that the days of desktop are dwindling. But for us digital marketers, it also gives us a clear indication on where we should spend our money, and this is for sure mobile-focused internet marketing.
Ensuring that your website is completely responsive is key here, there’s no ifs or buts about it, and certainly no ways around it.
It’s a must, and a must that you need to jump on right now. Mobile search and mobile optimisation is, for sure, a massive priority for digital marketers in the next 12 months.
4. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is something that every marketer needs to be talking about; analysing, segmenting and harnessing the likes and dislikes of their audience to deliver a very personalised experience to prospects and long-standing, established customers.
As consumers are going out of their way to seek out more relevant and trusted content that is tailored to them, businesses need to be thinking more about what type of content they are sending to their subscribers via email at every moment of their buying process, and even after purchase.
We all know how annoying it is to receive an email which is totally irrelevant to you, for example, you may have been buying from a particular retailer for years and you get an email that is clearly meant for new customers. The experience is very impersonal. But then there are gems from Amazon for example, that give you recommendations based on your past purchases, or offers relevant to your buying habits. This is the space you need to be in. Nurturing a customer from prospect to hot lead, to a customer that will buy or do business with you time and again.
Marketing automation allows you to streamline content, automate and measure your marketing messages, leading to both operational efficiency and also a faster growth in revenue.
It allows any business to provide a real-time, engagement-oriented approach to maintaining customer relationships and building trust throughout their path to purchase.
In a benchmark study by eMarketer, research found that marketers who are using some sort of marketing automation platform have seen conversion rates as high as 50%! In fact, it gives you the ultimate value and return on investment when it comes to marketing efforts and it makes it simpler to follow up with prospects after events, or send a promotional offer at the exact moment your customer is ready; without you even having to worry about it. Smart, right?
So, in conclusion, there’s quite a lot to get your head around, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of us will be familiar with all of the above already, but it’s just taking these already tried and tested methods and using them to their best capabilities. Marketing automation, it’s real, and it will allow you to use the data you have at your fingertips in a smarter way to really target your content and get it in front of the right people. Yes, paid advertising on social is going to be big next year given the numbers, so tap into this; but quick. Allocate budgets in the right places and you will shine, trust us.
Join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @better_studio with #DMTrends2017. We’d love to hear if you agree with our predictions for the coming year!
Have any questions on what you’ve just read? Want to talk to us about your digital marketing? Contact us for a chat on 01642 989158 or drop us an email.