Marketing is a field dominated by those with the foresight to plan ahead, anticipate changes, and jump on trends before your competitors do, so take note of these trends to come and prepare for them. You don’t have to use all of them, but you should be aware of their existence if you want to continue being competitive in your industry.
Few people would have predicted that Pokémon Go would have taken off as radically as it did, earning $10 million a day in new revenue during its peak. Enthusiasm for it has largely died down, but the app has had two main effects on the online marketing community; one, it’s shown that users are ready for augmented reality (AR) experiences, and two, it’s given marketers a taste of the earning potential here. You can expect to see more brands coming out with AR games, AR ads, and attempts to capitalize on AR apps that already exist.
Social media users are beginning to demand more in-the-moment content, giving them a vicarious view into a world (or event) they’d previously been unable to access. Thanks to faster Internet and the ubiquity of mobile devices, live video has become something of a trend on its own, with more and more apps and platforms giving some kind of “live streaming” functionality; even this year’s first Presidential debate was streamed live, drawing millions of viewers in. Live video has been on an upward streak for the last few years, but I believe 2017 will be the year when it fully takes off, utilized by more brands and more individuals than ever.
As marketers, data is our lifeblood. We need quantitative information to tell us who’s buying what, when, why, and what messaging is most effective for them. But even data analysts frequently have problems understanding exactly what the data is saying; our brains weren’t made to process vast amounts of raw numerical data this way. Now, technology is finally catching up to the “interpretation” part of data analysis; there are dozens of data visualization tools on the market already, but in 2017, every business is going to want to start using them – the ones who don’t will be left at a significant disadvantage. The technology will be more sophisticated, and data analysis needs will be greater than ever.
Yes, native advertising is one of the oldest trends on this list. It’s been used for years by brands looking for an easy way to get natural-looking visibility. But native advertising is on an upward swing; as consumers continue to condemn or ignore most forms of conventional advertising, native advertising becomes a sneakier (yet effective) way to get those consumers’ attentions. We may also see newer, more improved forms of native advertising offered by major publishers, or brands who have previously opted not to offer this method of advertising.
Online marketing is becoming more crowded; though the number of available consumers has remained more or less steady, millions of new businesses have flooded into the space for a piece of the pie. This is especially true in the content and social media marketing spaces. One of the best solutions for this is to target a more specific niche, appealing to a narrower range of demographics with a more specific topic. As a result, we’re bound to see more companies opting for more targeted, almost personal-level content and campaigns.
Users are also craving more immersive experiences, giving them the feeling that they’re doing more than staring at a phone or laptop screen. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two technologies driving this mentality forward (and I’ve already mentioned AR), but don’t forget other ways of providing this immersive experience. You can offer 360 videos to make your users feel like they’re living in a moment, or host live webinars and workshops to get people to engage with you. The key is to provide some level of interaction in a way that makes people feel like they’re a part of something bigger.
Attention spans have fallen to goldfish-like levels, and we’re only going to grow more impatient and demanding as technology progresses. The potentially infinite scrolls of social media news feeds and endless streams of content from almost every brand and individual we follow have forced us to filter out the majority of messages we see as white noise. We skip articles. We skip posts. We share articles after only reading the headline. In response, more marketers are going to learn that dense content is key, making every line and every word count.
I project these trends based on the current information I have, including last year’s trends, the introduction of new technologies, and how I see and hear marketers talking about the year to come. Instead of diving headlong into them, research them carefully, and either strategist how to include them in your marketing campaigns—or compensate for them once they start circulating.