In the ever-evolving, fast-paced and busy digital space it can be overwhelming for businesses to understand what they need to focus on in the New Year. The following 7 digital predictions for 2017 will be key for any size of business in any stage, from new start-ups to small businesses developing their online presence, and it also makes for an interesting read!
1. Content Remains King
Content will retain its reign as king in digital marketing for 2017 and will continue to be the go to market activity over advertising and direct marketing. By creating a blog and uploading relevant and helpful content regularly alongside brand storytelling customers can visualise ideas and stories businesses are trying to get across. Created with SEO (search engine optimisation) in mind these blog posts can improve business visibility, grow brand awareness, engage customers and improve customer loyalty. Some content trends to look out for in 2017 include:
- Influencer marketing where key leaders are used to drive brand messages to target audiences, for example posting interviews with leaders or featured posts written by influencers.
- Increased volume of content focusing now on both quantity and quality.
- Supporting written content with visuals such as social media graphics, infographics, videos and custom illustrations.
- Using native advertising to share content to highly targeted audiences. Native advertising referring to paid media where the advert format and experience follows the natural form and function of where it is being displayed.
2. Being Mobile Friendly is not Optional
Mobile is predicted to continue rapidly growing in 2017 and goes hand in hand with cross device marketing and optimisation. The key areas for businesses to think about in 2017 is mobile responsive design to make sure websites are optimised, formatted and designed for mobile devices as well as desktops. Businesses should keep an eye on mobile search and optimisation with Google launching an accelerated mobile pages project (AMP) late in 2015 set to improve and quicken the mobile web experience for everyone in 2016/2017. When looking at mobile optimisation businesses should check that their website and online brand looks and feels consistent across multiple devices, resolutions and screen sizes.
3. Customers Expect Personalisation
Customers will be looking for a personalised experience in 2017 and will be expecting a personal touch and recognition throughout the whole customer journey. Making sure website names, content and blogs are created with audiences and industries in mind and services/products are tailored to individual customers’ needs can see increases in loyalty, retention and revenue. Personalised digital content will play a key part in improving and optimising the in-store shopping experience, particularly in the retail sector.
4. Content Should be More Interactive
Working alongside content and personalisation predictions for 2017, getting customers to interact with content will be a key trend. Engagement should be a key focus with businesses looking to create content that customers will not only enjoy but will act upon and engage with, for example visiting a webpage. Interactive content can come in many forms such as quizzes, polls and competitions whilst websites featuring more interactive designs such as scrolling banners, videos and custom illustrations and imagery will continue to become more popular.
5. Video is the Medium of Choice
Video content and live streaming, where content is delivered live over the internet is predicted to be another big trend in 2017. Incorporating video into online content on websites and blogs as well as social media creates a visual way to tell customers about products and services in a simple format that can be digested easily. YouTube recently released a new app to help small to medium sized businesses make and edit video content and create adverts. Live streaming, such as Facebook Live, started to rise up late in 2016 so 2017 looks to be a big one for communicating and interacting with existing and potential customers in real time. There are also predictions that 2017 will be the era of “Infotainment” where videos are designed to both inform and be entertaining.
6. Online Shopping is not Slowing Down
Online sales and e-commerce are expected to continue increasing in 2017 so businesses should consider if their website can support their online needs. If businesses can set up and support an e-commerce platform it could be a great way to start the New Year and it’s not as complicated as first seems. Online reviews and testimonials are also going to rise in 2017, and are great to showcase across websites, as well as installing confidence and creditability to potential customers and increasing SEO rankings.
7. Data Needs to be Utilised
One of the predicted trends for 2017 will involve using data more than ever. There are many ways to collect data from websites and blogs which can be used to provide customers with useful, helpful content whilst raising brand awareness. This digital trend sits nicely next to personalisation and 2017 will see more businesses effectively segmenting their data to provide customers with tailored content. Free tools such as Google Analytics can be used by all businesses with a website and should also be a key area to plan for New Year start-ups. The power of data has been proven and 2017 looks set to be a year of businesses monitoring and analysing data to better understand their target audiences.