Gearing Up for 2017

As 2016 finally comes to a close, many businesses are taking a look back at their marketing efforts from the year and hopefully, planning for 2017. Reflecting on what did and didn’t work in your marketing is one of the best ways to improve your efforts. However, marketing is constantly evolving. If you aren’t reading up on the latest trends and reports, it can be hard to discern if some tactics are just another fad or here to stay.

Luckily, at 10twelve, we’ve analyzed the top marketing highlights of 2016 for you. These are our predictions for the biggest trends to watch out and prepare for in 2017.

1. Video is King - Again

For the past few years, video has been considered marketing gold. This year, it hasn’t lost its value as one the fastest growing and most engaging types of content. In fact, the value of video is expected to grow in 2017. As the demand for real-time content and updates grows, live videos on social media platforms are becoming more popular. Simply take a look at Twitter’s Periscope, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live.

The Facebook Live feature has been around since 2015, but they have really been pushing the feature in the past few months. According to the latest reports, it’s paying off. The view time for Facebook Live videos is 3 times longer than regular videos posted on the social media site. They also garner 10 times the comments. With viral hits like Chewbacca Mom, you can expect to see a lot more Live videos popping up in your news feeds.

2. Rise in Native Advertising

If you haven’t heard of native advertising, you will very soon. Native advertising is often in the form of pay-per-click ads that show up on news and other media sites and blend into the overall design. If you have ever used sites like Outbrain, Taboola, Zemanta or other content discovery platforms, then you were tapping into native advertising.

More companies are exploring the use of native ads, especially on mobile. Business Insider reported that 63% of mobile display ad revenue by 2020 will be from native ads. because they are subtle and almost seamless with a site’s content. The ads appear alongside content on reputable media sites like CNN, Business Insider, ESPN and many others. Showing up as “Recommended Articles” or “You May Like” sections, they don’t give the impression of advertising.

3. The Snapchat Bandwagon

Snapchat for businesses blew up this year. With over 150 million active daily users (more active users than Twitter), you can expect the same for 2017. There were a lot of early experimenters in 2016. Now, more businesses of all sizes are going to experiment with the channel. But, it will be completely different from content on other platforms.

Since snaps have a short length and are only available for a finite amount of time, there is an urgency that isn’t present with other channels. Content that tends to perform well on Snapchat includes: limited time discounts, sneak peeks to new products, and real-time event coverage.

4. Interactive and Personalized Content

Personalization isn’t new, but the data and tools used to tailor content are becoming even more sophisticated. In a PwC survey of top executives, 94% of respondents think that personalization is critical to reaching customers.

Others are focusing on converting audiences by adding an interactive component to personal content. CMI says that 53% of marketers are incorporating interactive content into the customer experience. The reason behind it may be surprising as well. An overwhelming 75% use interactive content to educate their audiences.

However, be careful how you approach personalization in 2017. Content bubbles have been criticized lately and you don’t want your content to come off so hyper-personalized that it creeps out your audiences. Gauge your audience’s tolerance for personalization.

5. Augmented Reality

More business, especially big retailers like IKEA and Lego, experimented with augmented reality in 2016. The trend will continue on in 2017. However, AR still seems too much like uncharted or unsure territory for smaller businesses with tight budgets. We’ll see more big brands using both AR and VR in their marketing campaigns. Perhaps in a few years, when the costs decrease, more mid to small businesses will incorporate it.

6. Video and Email

A few years ago, some were predicting that email was dead. However, recent reports suggest quite the opposite. Email is alive and better than ever. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 93% of marketers are using email to share content and think it is an important channel. Email marketing has become more popular as brands have made it more personal and engaging.

One of the top ways that brands are crafting engaging emails is by incorporating video. Video in email can increase click-through rate by 200-300%. Another tactic that has made email more effective is the use of behavioral triggered automation. In fact, 39% of marketers say that automatically sending emails based on customer behavior triggers is the most effective way to increase engagement.

7. More Content, More Variety

In 2017, businesses will be creating more content than ever. This is because we are consuming content at record numbers. The amount of media consumed on social networks continues to grow. On Facebook, it has increased by over 57% and on Twitter, by 25%. To keep up with the growing demand for fresh content, 70% of B2B marketers plan to churn out more content in 2017 than they did in 2016.

But, you won’t stay ahead of your competitors by simply pumping out more. The content still needs to maintain a high level of quality. One way to curb content creation costs is to repurpose it. For instance, well-written blogs can be repurposed as videos, infographics or other media and get just as much if not more engagement than the original version.

8. Content On the Go

The prevalence of mobile devices has forever changed how we consume content. Mobile now accounts for 65 percent of the time that individuals spend on digital media, which makes it the top way that people prefer to consume media. Therefore, it is crucial that all your media is optimized for mobile. You should also incorporate mobile marketing into your overall content strategy.

Businesses are getting more creative with how they use mobile too. Interestingly, more businesses could look to mobile and SMS text messages to help with customer service needs. Based on a recent report, 64% of customers would prefer a text to a phone call to get support. However, what will more likely be seen in 2017 are larger budgets towards mobile advertising, app development and cross-device marketing.

How will all these trends and predictions affect your strategy in 2017?

First, if you don’t have a documented strategy, now is the time to check that off your to-do list for 2017. Your marketing will be much more effective when it is documented. Next, video and mobile, like years before, are still top content priorities. However, email, Snapchat and content promotion tactics like native advertising shouldn’t be underestimated. Producing high-quality, engaging and shareable content is the key to staying ahead of your competitors next year. For advice and help powering your content marketing efforts through 2017, chat with us.