Online marketing is constantly evolving due to factors ranging from the evolution of search engines to the changes in customer preferences to new forms of technology. Some of the digital marketing trends mentioned in this article are continuations of what was seen in 2016 but poised to take off in 2017, while others are just beginning to hit the market. Let’s look at the five trends that will dominate online marketing and the factors driving them.
Interactive content is growing in popularity for several reasons. If you have an interactive game or infographic on your website, search engines reward your site with higher placement on subsequent rankings because visitors stayed there a long time. Customers spend more time with the interactive content and build a deeper relationship with the brand while having the brand name impressed in their minds. Interactive content as a bonus cannot be scraped and spun like standard text, hurting your site’s search engine optimization and rankings. Good interactive content is often shared, as well, on social media.
Viral videos have literally gone viral as a marketing method. Businesses large and small, non profits and fundraising campaigns are competing with viral videos to try to get the word out about their endeavors and bring in money. Viral videos have the advantages of costing a fraction of the price of a TV ad and potentially far greater reach. The nature of video viewing has also shifted from the computer to the mobile device, which is why Adobe Flash is disappearing and the length of many online videos is shrinking to merely seconds to avoid turning off mobile users who would otherwise not watch them. Snapchat is merely riding this wave, and your video content needs to be a mix of longer videos that last minutes and rich bits of video that suit devices and viewers with an eight second attention span.
Livestreaming is another video technology that is replacing television. It brings extended interviews, tours and reporting to organizations of almost any size. It lets you broadcast live at trade shows, conventions and other locations for a fraction of the cost of a television crew. Whether you integrate this with employees in uniform talking about the business with others at the event or mentions of brands and sponsors is your decision.
One way to capitalize on livestreaming is to livestream interviews that are later edited to a shorter, polished format. Livestreaming also gives you the option of capturing presentations that occur away from the public eye and giving the viewers a sense that they are being shown something behind the scenes. For example, sharing links to your livestreams with only your most engaged customers makes them feel privileged.
The classic celebrity endorsement is falling by the wayside as the era of influencer marketing dawns. Influencers are seen as a step above their audience, sharing their interests and values. This means influencer recommendations are given much more weight by their audiences than a brand name celebrity hawking a product or recommending a service. Your company must be careful to only engage with influencers that reflect well on your company and will promote the brand without seeming overly commercial.
Tai Lopez describes partnerships like these as marriages in a 2016 Fortune Magazine article. In this article, he suggests trial periods before making a full commitment. So, when engaging with influencers, start off with product demonstrations before you ask for sponsored content and full endorsements.
Another reason why influencer marketing is growing is that the data supports this decision. Your business or nonprofit can analyze the data to determine the interests, favorite websites and channels of your ideal customer demographic and then connect with an influencer that is either already widely watched by your customer base or has a large following that mirrors your target audience.
Chatbots have gained notoriety for soliciting prospects to view various adult websites. However, chatbots are becoming a growing trend in online marketing. Chatbots are appearing on websites to give the appearance of eager customer service for a fraction of the price, referring to sales literature, tech support knowledge databases and marketing information to engage visitors. Matching the expectations of customers that expect instant answers and immediate responses to questions day and night is a minimum.
Chatbots can be used to provide news updates and ever more personalized responses, such as niche content curation. And if it answers questions about a broken version 2.0 by convincing the person to buy the version 3.0, it is worth the effort to set up.
Viral videos have taken off as a common form of online marketing, while livestreaming lets you produce longer video segments suitable for those who want more than a funny ten second clip. Influencer marketing offers companies a low cost, highly trusted connection to their ideal customer base. Chatbots are becoming a standard first level interface between customers and the company. Interactive content is growing in popularity because of how well it connects visitors with the brand and the difficulty others have trying to rip it off.