By Natalia Selby, marketing co-ordinator at Mediahawk
Marketing, particularly digital marketing, is a fast-paced, forever changing, industry so it is difficult to plan for every update and new trend that comes as the year progresses.
Businesses are now planning their marketing for the year ahead, but what can they expect? It is not impossible to predict where marketers and business owners are likely to focus their attention this year.
Here are five credible marketing predictions for 2017:
1. BYE, BYE, BIRDIE
Each year marketers hear of the rise in social, but not all social platforms are sharing the success. Micro-blogging platform, Twitter, has been declining in popularity over the past few years and, unfortunately for fans of the network, this decline will likely continue in 2017.
In July 2016, Twitter reported a second-quarter loss of £81m with the platform reporting less advertiser demand than expected.
The once popular bite-sized update is no longer something the general public want; many updates getting lost in a sea of incoming and outgoing tweets from millions of users. Many social fans now prefer either the insightful, visually appealing updates as seen on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, or the fun, ‘short-lived’ content shared on Snapchat.
This isn’t to say that 2017 will see the death of Twitter altogether, but without some changes to the current format it could quickly get buried under the other popular and emerging platforms.
Micro-blogging platform, Twitter, has been declining in popularity over the past few years
2. THE RISE OF LIVE
We have already seen a rise in popularity of live broadcasts on social media in 2016, but its use and implementation on other platforms is expected to spread even further in 2017.
Facebook Live is leading the way in social broadcasting with many businesses and people getting on board and streaming live videos since its launch in 2015, eclipsing the once popular, Twitter-owned, Periscope app and Meerkat, other live broadcasting platforms.
Although businesses are on board with live streaming, it is predicted that even more, including smaller businesses, will start using the technology as part of their marketing strategy in 2017.
Live videos give an sense of urgency: many consumers will not want to miss out so, when they receive a notification that a brand is going live, or have read a post about a future live broadcast, they are likely to tune in to ensure they do not miss anything – such as a limited time offer or the unveiling of a new product.
An issue that marketers and businesses owners could face with live streaming is the lack of censorship or the ability to edit. This will mean that every video will require careful planning and close adherence to brand guidelines.
3. MOBILE DOMINATION
In 2016 we saw mobile web users over-take desktop usage for the first time. According to research by Statcounter, 51.3% of web pages were loaded on mobile devices in October 2016, surpassing desktop and laptop for the first time.
The growth of mobile will only continue and across more areas, such as ecommerce. This is a great incentive for businesses to ensure that they focus on their mobile offering in 2017.
With rise in mobile shopping also comes a rise in easier payment methods. Previously consumers would have to enter their bank details into forms in order to complete purchases, this method being too long winded for some. Easy, immediate payment methods, such as PayPal and Apple Pay (when using Safari), allow the user to log into these services and pay with the touch of a button.
Businesses that wish to grow their mobile shopping offering should consider two main things in 2017, making sure that their website is mobile-friendly (Google will now be penalising any website that isn’t friendly so this will also affect your rankings), and also implementing these easy payment methods into their checkout to increase conversions.
With rise in mobile shopping also comes a rise in easier payment methods
4. ‘SOCIAL’ SHOPPING
Gone are the days where social media was a platform for uploading pictures of your food and commenting on the weather. The biggest thing for social in 2017 will be shopping.
Some social networks have been trialling their commerce offering for a couple of years but only now is it becoming a credible venture for retail businesses online.
YouGov and Bronto discovered that one in three UK consumers are eager to make purchases directly through social networks, with the average buyer prepared to spend £55.68 on a single item.
Platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest offer call to action buttons such as ‘shop now’, which inspires users to take immediate action and convert. However, social dominators Facebook ‘generate almost two-thirds of social media visits to Shopify stores, with an average of 85% of all social orders coming from the site.’
Those businesses that wish to advertise services rather than products on these platforms can do so by swapping the ‘shop now/book now’ buttons for a ‘call now’ button.
It is important that businesses accurately track the calls from these networks to determine if social is worth the investment, this is particularly true for B2B businesses.
Companies, such as Mediahawk, offer call tracking services that will be able to give business owners and marketers a better idea of where conversions are coming from and whether these are coming from social, online or offline sources, allowing budget to be spent accordingly.
5. THE YEAR OF THE INFLUENCER
Influencer marketing will become an integrated part of marketing strategies in 2017. Influencer marketing involves brands choosing key influencers in their industry such as those that are popular on social media or have successful YouTube channels.
These influencers are then paid and/or given free products/services from the brand to promote on their chosen platforms. Influencer marketing brings authenticity to marketing efforts, allowing potential consumes to see real people using and experiencing products, instead of them being pushed sales jargon through more traditional methods such as advertising.
Linqia’s ‘The State of Influencer Marketing 2017’ survey found that ‘influencer marketing program budgets are set to double in 2017’ and ‘94% of marketers who used influencer marketing in 2016 found the channel to be effective.’
Even though influencer marketing is already happening, with the growth of mobile and social shopping this trend is likely to spread, with more and more brands looking for influencer to help market their products.
About the blogger
Natalia Selby has over 10 years’ experience in marketing, analytics, content management and ecommerce.
She is now the marketing coordinator at Mediahawk, a leading call tracking software company.