A new year brings new opportunities for marketers to drive demand and increase conversions. Advancements in marketing technology are paving the way for better, more engaging digital experiences in 2017 — and marketers that can capitalize on these trends will reap the ROI benefits. Below we have summarized, in no particular order, the top eight 2017 digital marketing trends from our team at TPM.
1. Facebook will become more and more relevant for businesses (and B2B marketing).
Facebook, the world’s most popular social media platform — with over 1.79 billion monthly users — will continue to create more and more opportunities for businesses to profit from their platform. Facebook Ads currently surpass Google Ads in value, mainly due to Facebook’s powerful ad targeting features that Adwords just can’t match. What’s more? Marketers can look forward to even more ways to reach potential customers through Facebook Messenger Chat Bots which allow you to automate your customer conversations. Additionally, Facebook will continue to expand their Shop section to enable brands to list their products on their Facebook page and allow purchases directly within their platform.
2. Twitter will become less and less relevant for businesses.
Since Twitter’s inception, the micro-blogging tool has always felt like it was a bit of an uphill climb to find its place as a social network. Which is why this past year, Twitter announced their repositioning: Twitter is no longer a social network — Twitter is a news product. A great content aggregation tool, Twitter is now solely focused on being the world’s go-to source for breaking news. Which means, less emphasis on marketing features and reduced opportunities to leverage Twitter for lead generation. Next year, save your marketing spend for other more lucrative social platforms.
3. Social and (real) third party validation will become more and more important.
The digital world has opened the floodgates for content creation, and since so much content is being created daily, anybody can say anything they want. From fake news to fake reviews, buyers are more aware of being conned than ever. Shoppers want authentic and objective viewpoints, which means reviews by credible third party sources will be increasingly beneficial to businesses. Influencer marketing picked up a lot of momentum this past year and will only continue to grow in value in 2017. Partnering with key leaders who can drive your brand’s message to their networks will be one of the most rewarding 2017 digital marketing trends for businesses to latch on to.
4. Advertisers will move their budgets more and more to social platforms.
Today, people ‘live’ in social platforms. When cruising Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, users don’t just pick it up and put it down. They pick it up, and stay there — so the money will follow. Smart marketers know they need to get in front of their audience and finding a way to capture their attention on social platforms will be key. One of the hottest 2017 digital marketing trends, focus on investing in creative content to distribute via social channels.
5. Video content will increase — both in organic and paid search.
Video was all the rage in 2016, and it is just the beginning of what’s to come this year. Historically, video has been known to come with a large price tag — but video content doesn’t have to be expensive. Think short, snappy, and subtitled (since most video content is consumed with no audio) and include a targeted CTA. Plus, video platforms like Wistia have enabled detailed analytics for video content to help marketers measure their ROI. If you haven’t already experimented with video, make sure you find a way to weave it in your digital marketing strategy for 2017.
6. More and more awareness of the limits of A/B testing.
People are beginning to understand that you can’t A/B test when there is not enough of a sample size. Sometimes you just have to go with your intuition, then measure and allow yourself to say: “it’s the direction you are going for now, but that can change.” Small to medium sized businesses don’t always have big data at their disposal, and that means marketers need to be comfortable executing in ambiguity.
7. Make sure your marketing is mobile friendly.
Today more than 50 percent of searches on Google are placed using a mobile device — making mobile the leading medium for online discovery. To accommodate this shift, Google is launching a new mobile-first index to prioritize mobile websites. Google’s current algorithm ranks web pages using a desktop crawl for search queries, regardless of whether the search was placed on desktop or mobile. The mobile-first index will bump mobile-friendly sites up in search results and demote websites that have limited mobile content in comparison to the content offered on their desktop version. Which means, if you have an optimized and well-ranking desktop site but do not have the same keywords and content on your mobile site, you will be at risk of losing your place on Google’s SERP. Google hasn’t announced the exact date this change will take place but marketers should invest in spending the time building out their mobile sites as the change will likely come sometime early this year.
8. Content needs to be long form — blog posts under 350 words will no longer cut it.
Content marketing is here to stay, but the rules are changing. Blog posts need to be 1000 words and above — short 350-word blogs are no longer good enough. Blogs under 500 words aren’t SEO friendly and don’t provide readers with enough meat to be worthwhile. People want long form content that is easy to digest. What’s more, educational content that provides an in-depth look at subject matter will help you to build trust with your audience, demonstrate your authority and expertise, and increase the likelihood of social shares.
Drive Demand in 2017