I’ve taken a look at what the experts are predicting is going to be big for the coming year. There are lots of opinions as you would imagine but here are the main ones that the experts agree on.
Video content will continue to rule and live video will be king this year. Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. With an abundance of video content out there to consume the ‘watch it live or miss out’ message seems to be working. With increased internet speeds making it easier to watch live streaming video this trend is set to continue. Facebook Live has been a huge success and with Snapchat, Periscope via Twitter, and now Instagram following this has given rise to ‘in the moment’ marketing. Expiring content with a limited time to view seems to be engaging viewers and is predicted to rise in the coming months.
For the past few years all the experts have been placing more emphasis on having websites ready for mobile and how right they were. The trend continues with Google search now almost phasing out any websites that are not optimised for mobile. People will no longer spend time on sites that don’t adapt to the screen they are using. With more and more of us accessing the internet on our smartphones or tablets any company with a website that is not mobile responsive is missing out.
There are 7.2 billion mobile devices in the world, more than the people that actually live on the planet! Apart from smartphones and tablets this number includes wearables. As the technology improves and the availability of these devices becomes more main stream we will see more people with a wearable device accessing the internet. With smaller screens to work with we must think about how we share our content. We must ensure a good user experience on all interactive screens and make it easy to navigate or purchase on any screen. Wearables will be particularly key in local marketing.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
The phenomenon of Pokémon Go took many by surprise in 2016. The popularity of this game has opened up many possibilities for using this technology for marketing purposes. More improvements in software and further technological breakthroughs will bring AR and VR into the more main stream markets.
Others to watch
While not top of the list for 2017 we will see more interest in IoT (Internet of Things). In the world today there are billions of connected devices from fitness monitors, kitchen appliances to cars and everything in between. The technology has been a little slow to get going but the easy access, low power and reliability will help expand this market in the coming years.
With the rise of apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger the Chatbots technology will expand. This is digital talking back to the user and will be highly personalised and efficient. Customer service will move more towards this technology and will enable users to speak more directly with brands in a more private way.
I’ve left it to the last but maybe SEO should be higher on the experts list. One thing is certain for 2017, the algorithms will change and it will become harder to perform well in the search engine results pages but that should be seen as a challenge. The advice remains the same as I have always preached ‘think of the user first’. Make sure your site is mobile friendly, ensure original content, make sure it is relevant and informative. Give Google search engines every chance to find your site and then once your visitor is on there give them every excuse to stay and engage with you.
Whatever the latest trends are and whatever the experts predict, digital marketing will be ever-changing and evolving and it is up to us to keep pace and ensure we adapt. As Darwin said ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change’.