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We are a society tearing through the digital landscape, and there’s no hint of us slowing down anytime soon. New stars are born every day in the digital world. Some stay burning bright, while others quickly burnout.
Take for example, the Pokémon Go craze that took the world by storm in 2016. The augmented reality game exploded onto the global app scene early last summer. And while a series of technical and safety-related missteps led to its slowdown, it quickly clued marketers into the possibility of augmented reality.
On the flipside, mobile app Snapchat has held strong in the social media realm since its release in 2012. This social media starlet has clued marketers into the power of expiring content, so much so that it was offered (and rejected) a $ 3 billion buy-out from Facebook.
But, what the rise and fall of these digital stars tell us is that new technologies are rapidly evolving, right alongside the wants and needs of consumers. And in order for your business to keep growing in the digital marketplace, you’ve got to develop a marketing strategy that keeps up with the technology. Here, we take a look at five of the biggest digital marketing trends for 2017 to help you get started.
1. Visual content
In today’s world of information overload, users are increasingly becoming all about the visuals. People need clear, concise dissemination of information, and visuals do just that. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Ergo, visuals speed up comprehension and retention. What’s more, the right visuals have the ability to enhance emotions and feelings. Enter: the importance of visuals to establish your brand’s identity in the digital marketplace. Effective logos, infographics, photographs, animations and website design are all laying new foundations for enhancing brand identity, and they aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon.
This visual infographic by NatGeo allows users to make sense of Manhattan’s quickly changing skyline in a matter of seconds.
2. Interactive content
The desire for connection and engagement is what’s driving the current demand for visual content. But, this same desire for engagement is now leading marketers to discover a new, monumental need for interactive content. Interactive content requires active participation by the user. In effect, these new forms of content — quizzes and polls, contests, voting, calculators, assessments and animated infographics — are adding a whole new layer of depth to the total user experience. But, more importantly, they are inviting the user in, to be a part of the brand. They are enhancing connectivity and effectively turning one-time visitors into brand loyalists. This growing trend is likely to lead the pack for marketing strategies in 2017.
3. Live video
As of 2015, online videos accounted for 50 percent of all mobile usage, and video content is still very much on the rise. Another form of visual content, videos have the power to connect with consumers and deliver a truckload of information, feelings, thoughts, and responses all within a matter of seconds.
But, in order to heighten the emotions and excitement for users, brands are now “going live.” This means that businesses are able to promote their content ahead of time and then interact in real-time with their consumers. This live element is adding a humanistic component to brands, helping to increase feelings of trust and honesty amongst consumers.
Take, for example, women’s magazine Grazia UK. Last summer, the magazine was working on launching a major week-long collaborative project, deemed the “community issue.” Throughout the project, the magazine livestreamed multiple behind-the-scenes events — including a live debate among contributors — making users feel like they were really a part of the whole process. Users were invited to submit and contribute to the debate, using a specific hashtag on Facebook. The live event was extremely successful, as it brought the magazine and its community of women to life.
4. Expiring content
I alluded to the influence of social platform Snapchat earlier on, but let’s delve a bit deeper into the effects of expiring content for marketers and consumers. Much like the live video element, expiring content is helping to increase excitement for consumers. With expiring content, users are given a limited window of time to view content before it quickly disappears into oblivion, never to be seen or heard from again. In effect, this creates a massive sense of urgency among consumers. And in a world where interconnectivity takes the cake, the thought of not knowing what’s going on is, well, utterly disturbing. Expiring content helps pique user interest, while also working to keep their eyes glued to the screen in anticipation of what’s to come.
5. In-store applications
This whole theme of bringing brands to life runs strong into our final digital marketing trend. Retail brands are now finding ways to interact with their customers, live and in-store — seamlessly blending physical marketing elements of the past with modern digital elements of the present.
Beacon technology is at the forefront of this new marketing strategy. The installation of more than one million beacons is forecasted for U.S. retailers this year. Basically, beacons are physical landmarks that can send signals to mobile devices. These signals are now allowing shoppers to scan in-store products to read reviews and check to see what’s in stock. Likewise, retailers are able to use beacons to send push-notifications to shoppers, allowing them to see what special deals are being offered on items throughout the store. Target is just one of many major retailers now tapping into this technology to drive it’s digital marketing campaign.
The in-store marketing trend is one of many that are now finding ways to blend the physical world with the digital world, all in an effort to enhance user interactivity. Now the dominant mode of connection in the digital world, user interactivity should now be at the core of your business’ marketing strategy.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to utilize technology to establish connections with your consumers. And these five digital marketing trends are a great jumping off point.