The landscape of digital marketing is always evolving to keep up with the constantly shifting trends and fashions of the online world. As a business, or a digital marketing agency, it can pay to stay on top of the newest trends in order to maintain an edge in an increasingly competitive online market. Here’s a quick guide on some of the biggest digital marketing trends that are emerging in 2017.
Automation & Artificial Intelligence
One of the biggest problems for digital marketing efforts isn’t a lack of technology or tools, but simply the lack of time and manpower to do the work necessary for them to be effective. What you are now seeing is the rise of automated digital marketing solutions and artificial intelligence development that can do the heavy lifting for you. In the past, for example, you might have already used an automated or AI bot to handle online customer chat inquiries. Here are some examples of new automated and AI platforms trends starting to emerge:
- Big Data — collect, analyze, segment, and report on analytics automatically rather than doing it all yourself
- Consumer behavior — use AI to better predict what consumers want, think, need, and behave ahead of time
- Advanced targeting — AI and automation together can predict user behavior and desires and figure out the best ads to show different consumer segments
All of the three trends mentioned above have been very time consuming practices in the past, as a good deal of trial-and-error and human analysis would be required. Now, you can let your automated and/or artificial intelligence solutions tell you what you need to do for your advertising or website design and free up the human work to make those fixes even faster.
Social Media Evolution
Social media has now been around in some form or another long enough that there are people becoming adults who were raised with it always in their lives. That is going to cause a big shift both in the user behavior of younger demographics and in how social media evolves to accommodate them. Everything is going to need to be a faster, more creative, and better experience. Here are some trends you are already seeing:
- Changing of the guard — older platforms like Twitter and Facebook are declining while newer ones like Snapchat and Instagram continue to grow in popularity
- New platforms — we’re starting to see completely new social media platforms emerge to cater to new trends and demands
- Immersive social media marketing — all the major platforms offer 360-degree and live streams of videos that brands and influencers use to better engage with followers through video marketing
The trends are clear, and as a digital marketer, you’ll want to make sure you pick your spots properly. Facebook and Twitter might be declining but still have massive audiences for you to target, especially among older demographics. You can still use them, or the newer and growing platforms for your marketing efforts, but keep a close eye on your return on investments. Be ready to experiment and switch to other platforms when necessary.
User-Controlled Consumer Experience
More and more, consumers are finding ways to resist and avoid the more ‘disruptive’ types of online marketing and advertisements: banner ads, pop-ups, promoted posts, and other forms of targeted and retargeted marketing are seeing increasingly low rates of success. More and more, online consumers want to be able to dictate their own online shopping and engagement experiences. Here’s how digital marketing trends are adjusting:
- Native advertising — making sponsored content naturally fit in with the advertising platform to seem less intrusive to a user’s online experience
- Influencer marketing —younger people look up to individuals online who are independent but will speak on brands and products on their own, and will accept sponsors
- Toys for consumers — having sophisticated and accurate tools to make recommendations, or allow consumers to build and customize the products they’re shopping for
All of these trends are about catering to the consumer’s desired online experience. Native marketing is an older practice that works even better now as they do not disrupt the user; influencers are viewed as more independent whose opinions and reviews are trusted by those who follow them; and the new online shopping tools act as toys that allow users to play with and shop the way they want.