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THINK Contributor

5 Digital marketing trends in 2017 you need to prepare for now

By , August 31, 2016
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We’re already in the third quarter of the year, which means it’s time to start making marketing plans for 2017. But before you start on your next digital marketing campaign, you need to make sure you’re keeping up with the 2017 business trends. You can start by finding out about five predictions for the digital marketing world in 2017.

Live Video Streams

Video has been immensely popular for the past few years, but now marketers aren’t using just any type of video. It should be a live stream in order to get the most views and engagement from the target market. Live streaming started to gain traction with the release of tools like Periscope and Meerkat in 2015, followed by Facebook Live and eventually live streaming capabilities on the YouTube app in 2016. Clearly, one of the 2017 business trends will involve a continuation of the live streaming movement.

You can use live video streams for marketing in various ways. For example, you can provide a behind-the-scenes look at a process or location your audience is interested in. You can also live stream an event, such as a grand opening or the unveiling of a new product. One of the reasons this will be among the 2017 business trends is that live streams, including 360 video, are no more expensive than pre-recorded videos, making this a cost-effective marketing tactic to try.

[Stay ahead of shifts in our rapidly transforming marketing industry with IBM’s Key Marketing Trends 2017 report.] 

Social Media “Buy” Buttons

Thanks to the 2017 business trends, you might start noticing more “buy” buttons on social media, allowing shoppers to buy directly from social networks rather than going to a separate e-commerce site. These buttons already exist on many social platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube, but they’re rarely used, likely due to a lack of awareness among online shoppers.

This could change in 2017, as more platforms have been testing out the buttons and trying to get shoppers to become more familiar with them. Despite the low amount of sales attributed to these buttons right now, the social platforms that use them have not taken them down, showing that there’s hope for this e-commerce tool. Social platforms are also working on solving another problem with “buy” buttons, which is that the number of products available to those who click on them is limited for now. But as retailers increase their confidence in the “buy” button and add more product availability, their customers should find it easier to use this tool for online shopping, making 2017 the year this tool finally finds success.

Increased Reliance on Data

Thanks to advances in technology, we now have several ways to collect and use data. One of the 2017 business trends will involve using that data more than ever. For example, most websites and social media platforms have the ability to capture data from visitors, including their age, the region they’re in, their education level, their job position, and the device they’re using.

Savvy marketers can study that information and use it to create customer profiles, which they should refer to when writing content, coming up with slogans, determining which social network to market on, and figuring out how to promote their products in general. And of course, data usage benefits customers just as much as it helps businesses. For example, predictive analytics — which can determine which ads to show based on what customers have been searching for online — can speed up the shopping process and ensure customers get the products they need. That’s probably why increased data usage is one of the most valuable 2017 business trends you can expect to see.

More Personalized Content

According to dozens of digital marketing experts, personalization is an ongoing trend to look for in 2017. After all, there is already so much content out there that it is hard to differentiate your content from that of other brands, especially if you are targeting a broad audience and writing about popular subjects that other businesses are also discussing. Essentially, if you’re trying to appeal to everyone, your content is not going to be as valuable as it could be for your target audience. 

Instead, you should focus on creating helpful content for a more specific audience. This way, when people read your content, they will get the feeling that you actually know what they need and they will eagerly consume the content you put out. Fortunately, one of the other 2017 business trends to look forward to — increased use of data — can help you out with personalization. Not only can collecting customer data shape your content by telling you what your customers want to know more about, but it can also guide their e-commerce purchases with features like “related to products you’ve viewed” or “recommended for you” on your website.

Even More Focus on Mobile

After “Mobilegeddon” occurred in 2015, it was clear that mobile first would be the mantra for the rest of the year and beyond. Apparently, it’s truer than ever for 2017. After all, 4 out of 5 Americans use their smartphone daily, and experts predict that 1 out of 4 will even be using a wearable device by next year.

This suggests that having a mobile-friendly website or app is just the beginning if you want to reach a wide audience. In general, you need to be ready to create content that looks good and works well on any device regardless of screen size, whether it’s an iPhone or an Apple Watch.

Do you have any of your own predictions for digital marketing in 2017?

 

Martin Jones (@martinjonesaz) is a Sr. Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he leads the social media, content marketing, and employee advocacy strategy for Cox Business. He is the editor of the Cox Business blog CoxBLUE.com and his writing/articles have appeared onForbesInc., Yahoo Small Business Advisor, The New York Times, and other leading business and marketing websites. Recent Awards and Recognition Include: Top 50 Content Marketers – Onalytica, Top 100 Social Media Influencers – Onalytica, and Likeable’s 150 Marketers to follow. Martin is a paid contributor to THINK Marketing.  

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