As all forms of marketing continue to capture the attention of consumers globally, digital marketing has proved to be quite the frontrunner thus far. In this article, we take a look at 10 trends that will revolutionise digital marketing in 2017, as technological innovations continue to bring vast improvements to the lives of people everywhere.
A brand revolution is well on its way
A brand represents the emotional and psychological connection a consumer has with a business and its offerings and therefore, it can only be considered a success if consumers consistently seek out its products and services. It’s safe to say that marketers are not the ones who create brands but rather, it’s the customers who do so. Social media platforms allow consumers to share information about their lifestyles, thoughts and purchasing choices, which marketers take as valuable information for digital marketing purposes. As influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity, companies everywhere will pay even more attention to the priorities and needs of the consumer, and increasingly offer products and services that are designed to fit in with the latest lifestyle trends.
Artificial intelligence to lend a helping hand
This year will see a rise in the use of artificial intelligence in digital and influencer marketing efforts all around. Through artificial Intelligence and machine learning, big data sets on retail purchases can be analysed, segmented and filtered to extract more information on consumer behaviour and preferences. This allows businesses to innovate and create products and services that are in demand, and design marketing campaigns that appeal to the target market, thereby bolstering their digital and influencer marketing efforts and growing their brands.
Expectations for instantaneous responses grow
Younger consumers are used to instant gratification, having grown up in the age of social media and fast-evolving technology. As a result, they demand and expect instant communication and entertainment, gravitating towards instantaneous social media platforms such as Snapchat, Whatsapp and Instagram. Time and speed of service are of the essence, and businesses today are already changing their digital marketing methods to reflect customer demand for fast and efficient service. File downloads are capped at 15 seconds at most, while businesses target same-day deliveries for their products. And this practice of regarding time as a critical resource is not expected to stop anytime soon.
Niche curation prevents information overload
The rise of influencer marketing tells us that more and more marketers are looking towards niche curation as the digital marketing method of choice. Although the age of the internet has put information at our fingertips, there is such a thing as information overload, hence the rise in the popularity of influencer marketing through niche content. Astute marketers engage with their audiences by sharing information from other authority figures who offer content that is within their niche area, and partner with relevant brands to grow outreach and heighten publicity for their products and services. Having niche influencers blog about your offerings and share them on their social feed will become the new digital marketing norm from this point forward.
Mobile devices enable mobile consumerism
According to Internet Retailer, mobile commerce constituted 30% of all US ecommerce transactions in 2015 and this number is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, considering the fact that there are currently 2.6 billion smartphone users globally, a number that will rise to 6.1 billion by 2020. This ‘electronics evolution’ has galvanised marketers everywhere to up the ante on digital marketing efforts by ensuring that every company website comes with its mobile equivalent, as well as a mobile app. Social media platforms have been ahead of the game for some time now, constantly improving their app features to better engage with its users. For example, Facebook and Instagram now come with video features that allow its users to upload and share videos among their social circles. As mobile devices become must-have items in our daily lives, they will continue to influence consumers at the point of purchase.
Social influencers affect consumer decisions
Bloggers, YouTube celebrities and Instagram personalities are held in high regard by the younger generation and have the power to strongly influence their preferences, values and lifestyle choices. Many businesses are now either teaming up with these public figures to boost their digital marketing efforts, or getting them to endorse the company’s product or service offerings. Businesses understand that these personalities have a wide social network and millions of followers, which means vast outreach and publicity for the company’s product and services.
Influencer marketing as a fundamental brand strategy
In 2017 and beyond, influencers will become the defining voices in digital marketing efforts as businesses leave behind traditional advertising methods in favour of influencer marketing to grow their brands. The use of converted consumers and brand advocates speaks volumes of the quality of a product or service, and is an effective way to raise conversion rates and grow customer bases. Influencer marketing is definitely not to be ignored in this day and age as the endorsement of influencers has become the benchmark for consumers when making purchasing decisions.
Consumer resentment of intrusive marketing deepens
According to HubSpot , 64% of ad blocker users do so because they believe ads are annoying or intrusive. This tells marketers everywhere that they should probably lay off pop-ups, banner ads, and disruptive brand messages as a digital marketing tool, whether on websites, mobile apps or social media platforms. Consumers today are partial to content marketing – which offers educational content that doesn’t insult their intelligence – as opposed to push marketing methods, which are considered annoying and aggressive. “Consumers will continue to vote with their feet … ‘walking’ away from social platforms that inundate them with brand marketing,” says Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Influence-Central.
Consumer tethering to mobile devices tightens
Mobile dependency rates will continue to rise this year and in the near future. Google tells us that 80% of millennials have their smartphones at their sides day and night, while consumers spend 85% of time on their smartphones in apps, according to TechCrunch. Mobile devices play such a big role in our daily lives today that businesses are increasingly designing their digital marketing efforts to cater to these devices. Most ecommerce businesses now offer mobile-friendly websites, and are progressively updating and improving their webpages to include mobile-friendly elements, making use of ‘Buy now’ buttons to offer instantaneous purchasing.
Videos and images take centerstage
The rise of video marketing has been truly phenomenal, so much so that every online platform – from social media to business websites – now offers video viewing, uploading and sharing functions. Digital marketing has also been largely transformed by the pervasiveness of video as a marketing tool, with products and services now being marketed through short video clips and eye-catching infographics and images, in addition to text. More video platforms are expected to debut in 2017 and beyond to meet the strong demand for videos as a tool for gathering and sharing information.
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