Digital marketing has become a lightning fast world where changes and innovation happen at the speed of light. It’s exhilarating and a little overwhelming. Iris Daly, Head of Digital at eir Business gives you the lowdown on the trends brands can expect to see in 2017, plus an old favourite that isn’t going anywhere soon.
Targeted, Niche Content
Using content to connect with customers has been used successfully by brands over the past decade. In fact, so much content has been created that there is now the danger that any new content that brands create gets lost in the crush. With that in mind we’re going to see brands developing content marketing strategies that are increasingly targeted and increasingly niche. Content marketing expert Andrew Davis sums it up: “paradoxically, the more information sources available to the consumer, the more niche-focused content creators must become and the more successful they’ll be.” Expect to see brands identifying niche areas that they can create dedicated and relevant content for. By targeting underserved areas brands can elevate themselves in the conversation, gain more visibility, and build a better loyal customer base.
The impact live video has had on the world of content is undeniable. In an era of fake news, live video is seen as an authentic. Live video came to the mainstream through Periscope. While Periscope wasn’t the success Twitter anticipated, it ignited a massive interest in live video streaming. This goes hand in hand with social media as industry heavy-hitters have wasted no time in rolling out live streaming capabilities, for example, YouTube Live, Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Last year events, such as the US Presidential debates, were live streamed and made accessible to millions across the globe through various social media platforms. These developments set the scene for significant adoption of live video by brands in 2017.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
In the congested digital world where brands are vying for consumer attention, brands who create highly immersive marketing will come first. Ushered by the massive success of Pokemon Go, global brands have utilised augmented reality to tell their stories to consumers: Pepsi’s reality bus stop in London transformed a bus stop into a fake window through which people could see anything from aliens landing to a roaming tiger on the street. On a smaller scale we’ve seen Facebook and YouTube introduce 360 degree video; A technology that is already being used successfully by companies in the travel and real estate industries to give consumers virtual tours of places or houses. We’re also seeing brands making use of VR technology. It’s no wonder, 73% of millennials said they are interested in VR, 70% of Gen Xers and 64% of baby boomers according to eMarketer. VR is not just being used to market consumer goods, brands are utilising the developments to improve all aspects of their businesses. For example, General Mills used VR to give prospective recruits a virtual tour of its main campus. We can expect to see a shift towards immersive marketing this year where more of our senses are being engaged.
Adblocking was the topic of discussion in marketing strategy meetings across the globe. Globally, adblocking use has jumped 700% since 2010 and a Business Insider Intelligence Report showed that around 200 million people use adblocking software. Naturally this is having a major impact on digital ads and their effectiveness. As adblocking usage continues to grow, brands will increasingly turn to native advertising or sponsored content as they try to get their message under the radar and appear more ‘naturally’ in online content. This means that we’re likely to see the development of cleverer and more creative forms of advertising.
This trend might seem out of place, but hear me out. In a recent article by Brand Driven Digital, Justine Jordan VP of Marketing at Litmus asserted email marketing is poised for “a comeback of epic proportions.” Similarly Michael Smith, Art Director at AWeber predicts that “email marketing is going to have an ’email origins resurgence’.” While industry commentators have long said email is dead, its effectiveness at reaching the right people with the right message at the right time makes it an invaluable tool. In the same article, Smith suggests that in 2017 we will see mass email communications becoming more and more personalised to the point where it feels less like mass communication and more like a personal message. According to Jordan, because email marketing and marketing automation platforms now integrate with most other marketing platforms, brands now have access to social, content, and behavioural insights that can be utilised to create even more personalised messages.
Mobile has been on our trends to watch list for several years now, but it’s worth reiterating its power and influence. We expect its pervasiveness to continue as we will see more and more brands creating mobile-first strategies. From local search to ‘showrooming’ to connecting with customers at a time and place that’s convenient to them, there is every reason for brands to develop a mobile strategy and no reason not to.
DTS has a host of speakers such as Till Faida, CEO of Adblock Plus and Bessie Lee, CEO of WPP China that will be providing valuable insights on the latest marketing trends.