The year that we most recently archived to the history books happened to be a very turbulent, exciting and unpredictable one. All across the globe, the constant shifts were happening at breakneck speeds, whether we are talking about the views the majority had on a certain topic during the year or about the huge changes we never expected. A lot has happened in the world of politics and world economy as well, but we are not talking about that now.
The shifts I am talking about are the ones that happened in the sphere of online marketing. While most of the changes that happened were something that the trend analysis was showing, nobody expected them to come about so quickly and be adopted so thoroughly as it was the case in the last 18 months.
These are some of the 2017. marketing trends that are expected to flourish throughout the year:
Live video adoption and creative use
The rise of the live video could be seen back during 2015. and it showed no signs of stopping in 2016. with Youtube live streams gaining in popularity, the rise of Facebook Live and with Periscope getting more integrated into Twitter in the last couple of months.
The marketing venues that are available through the live streaming services are immensely powerful and exciting. The immediate, spontaneous aspect of the live video gives you the option to represent your brand or company through behind-the-scenes streams and quick live updates that engage your social network followers to interact with your company on a more direct level and make your custumers feel more involved. This type of live video requires very little in terms of cost and set-up time and gives you a more natural way of communicating with your audience.
On the other hand, it also allows for a more polished type of broadcast, with multiple camera setups, scripted and staged event streaming that give you a platform to offer your audience to attend conferences that would be unavailable to them otherwise. The Live events can be scheduled on all platforms, you can track the number of people watching, audience can participate through comments and, once the stream is finished, the video is stored and you are able to edit the video title, add descriptions and add other features (like a Call to Action button for Facebook Live videos).
Native advertising and content marketing integration
The traditional advertising models are showing less and less effectiveness with each passing year, and 2016. didn’t give us a reason to believe that they are likely to get better. In contrast, native marketing grew both in popularity and in company investments during the last couple of years, and is expanding over to multiple online platforms.
People generally like the idea of getting their advertisement in a more organic and interesting way, without distrupting their experience and being hardly distinguishable from non-advertising content of the site. The users are also more likely to engage with the advertized content, especially if they find it useful and it is well targeted so it reaches the right demographic in the right way.
The other way of personalized targeting and audience reach is found in content marketing, which is a gaining more relevancy over time. It alows your company to build audience interaction and trust by offering them relevant and useful information on a regular basis. Content marketing is a viable technique for every company or brand, as it can cover almost any topic and can be used in a myriad of different ways.
The main key of successful content marketing is consistency in brand representation, voice and character and a good level of presentation on a regular basis, with a good focus on the right purpose of your content. If you are able to make your visitors feel interested and well informed, they will keep returning to you and be engaged.
Promotion through influencer marketing
We have seen the rise of popular online personalities with numerous people gaining a wide audience through blogs and social network interactions, and they are a great way to directly market to more concentrated groups of interest. The last year was especially big for this type of marketing, as influencers were used by most of the big companies regularily.
Marketing through influencers is gaining in relevance rapidly, as their natural, word-of-mouth style of delivery gives you an opportunity to create a large interest in your potential clients. Choice of a relevant influencer for your focus audience can make a big difference in how successful your marketing campaign will be, and how much positive buzz you are able to generate.
Mobile integration, augmented reality and temporary content
I have lumped these trends together, as I find both augmented reality and temporary content apps (like Snapchat) to be parts of the overall mobile integration that are deserving of a separate mention.
Augmented reality is a very potent facet of the tech currently available to almost everyone, as there are many wearable products on the market that offer seamless advertizing options for companies, such as smart watches, rings and headwear. It is still a bit vague what should be considered augmented reality, but there are apps available to give you a good way to advertize based on your current location or through use of phone camera with recognition software.
Temporary content can be viewed as a similar concept in terms of online marketing, as Snapchat is making great strides upwards in terms of popularity and the number of users. It can be used in a similar way like other live video services, but should be viewed as more mobile-centric platform. Marketing through Snapchat, in addition to live video ideas, can also be done through influencers, promotions and competitions.
The mobile integration itself makes the whole marketing plan to shift to focus on speed (with Google changing their search engine preferences) and immediacy (with global rise of primarily live video content consumption). 2017. will see a further rise in popularity of the mobile media use, so it should be in your marketing agendas from the get-go.
Online video is the new television
By this time you can see in this article that there is a constant mention of various forms of online video. The simple fact is that online video content is rapidly becoming the overwhelmingly biggest way that people consume their entertainment and recieve information. Twitch is expanding its gaming streaming platform to include non-gaming related content. Youtube is forcing its content creators to offer longer forms of video content by making view durations and viewer retention more weight than view counts.
All platforms that offer online video content are trying to become more like traditional TV in the sense that they integrate into the lifestyle of their users on a regular basis. The stats show that average view times have almost doubled in 2016. and that 85% of people aged 19-49 tend to watch online videos on multiple devices, oftenly by playing videos on a tablet or phone while working on a computer or doing other work.
All of this gives us a strong idea that online video is the biggest marketing platform and that it should be embraced by making appropriate strategies. Depending on platform and what you are trying to offer, you can increase customer engagement by creating interesting videos like product reviews, documentary style videos with your product or service in focus, tutorials and other videos connected to your offering. The possibilities are wide in range and being creative is key.