We’re in the downward stretch of another calendar year. For many of us, 2017 planning is well underway. The landscape today requires Digital Marketing to be the heartbeat of a strategic marketing plan, with more traditional methods flowing to and from it. We’ve put together a list of key digital marketing trends to help you shape your digital marketing strategy and plan for 2017 and beyond.
Go Mobile or Go Home
Mobile should be a leading consideration for many components of your marketing plan. Mobile website traffic is exceeding 50% of total web traffic in many cases and that number will only continue to grow. Mobile is no longer just a consideration for website development and web user experience. Instead, mobile should be considered for all digital marketing initiatives, including content development, digital ad strategy, email, and social engagement. Without a mobile strategy, you could miss the target in 2017. To learn more about developing content optimized for mobile, check out our recent blog 8 Tips for Creating Killer Mobile Content.
“Content is King”
Bill Gates said this 20 years ago in his famous 1996 essay predicting the future of the Internet revolution. He was right. Today “Content is King” is a popular and commonly used phrase because of the success companies are finding executing strategic Content Marketing programs. Not only does a strategic Content Marketing program provide valuable SEO benefits, but it positions your brand as an industry leader and provides a platform for extended conversations with prospective customers.
With more companies implementing content marketing programs, and more bloggers and YouTubers than ever, there is a plethora of content out there. This creates a more competitive environment on search results pages. It sounds somewhat counter-intuitive, but for 2017 and beyond, those that win with Content Marketing will likely be those creating less content – less, but better, and more strategic content. Good content will be King in 2017.
An SEO strategy and plan should be a focus for your company heading into the new year, and should serve as the foundation of your Content Marketing program. Establishing a list of keywords to target with your content and working towards sharing content regularly and with a purpose can help your content be “King” in 2017. For an easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement infographic guide to Content Marketing, read our recent blog A Map to Success with Content Marketing.
The “Year of Video”
2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 were all referred to as the “Year of Video” at some point. That tradition will carry forward in 2017. Video will continue to grow in importance for marketers in the outdoor and agriculture industries in 2017. Here’s some quick and powerful stats solidifying the idea that video should be a significant part of the discussion as you plan your digital marketing strategy for 2017.
- YouTube reports that mobile video consumption rises 100% every year.
- 90% of users report videos about products help them make purchase decisions.
- 9 out of 10 mobile video viewers share videos with others.
- Almost 50% of users take some form of action after seeing a video ad.
- Average users spend almost 90% more time on websites with video, than on sites with no video.
- 1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video.
- YouTube reports users watch more than 3 billion hours of video each month.
Video content continues to deliver valuable SEO benefits to websites and social channels. Video engages prospects and customers and builds awareness and recognition for brands. 2017 will be yet another “Year of Video.”
Big Data and Behavioral Targeted Programmatic
It’s just as cool as it sounds. Big Data continues to open many doors of possibilities for marketers. Big Data is essentially all the data collected about people from their devices, websites they visit, and social platforms. This data can be mined for information and used strategically to help marketers target their advertising spend.
Digital media buys placed programmatically make digital ad buying more efficient and effective. The most exciting part of programmatic is that we can super-target new customers based on their buying behaviors from information available through Big Data. This means your ads are served to new prospective customers who you know will be interested in your products because they have shopped for or purchased products in your category or products in a related category.
Programmatic “super-targeting” allows you to maximize your digital ad spend in 2017 and create more conversions, leading to increased sales and revenue. To get the low down on programmatic digital media, check out our recent blog Making Sense of Programmatic Digital Media.
Somewhat of an undervalued marketing trend to date that we see growing in 2017 is A/B testing. As marketers, we do our research, we develop a strategy and then a plan, and then we execute that plan. There’s lots of details in the plan, and through its execution, we make decisions to optimize the plan based on what we know and think.
Here’s an example: You are running a programmatic digital ad campaign. You think a certain call to action will perform better than another, but you’re not sure. A/B testing allows us to remove the guesswork. With A/B Testing, you can run both for a period of time and see which one performs best. You can then set the other aside and run the ad with the best performing call to action. Now you have the best performing call to action, but wonder if it would be even stronger if it was orange instead of red. You guessed it, do another A/B test.
Optimizations can continually be made through A/B testing to maximize your investment and the results. A/B testing can be performed on digital ads, landing pages, website user experience, content, and much more. There are many plug-ins and tools available to apply A/B testing to your digital marketing initiatives to help you optimize your 2017 campaigns. Ask yourself, why not?
What’s next on Social?
Facebook continues to grow and maintain its position as the top social platform for business. That will not change anytime soon. Instagram is continuing to quickly grow and now boasts 500,000 advertisers in a recent report (and is owned by Facebook). With Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest and new platforms popping up all the time – it can be easy to get lost trying to keep up with all of them and maintain a strategic and professional image and message.
So instead of asking what’s next – ask yourself what’s next for you and your business on social? Is your Facebook presence where it needs to be – sharing regular, valuable content, engaging customers, building your fan base and your brand? If the answer is no, make Facebook a priority for 2017 and focus on conquering that platform in the upcoming year. If the answer is yes – move on down the line. Ask yourself the same question about Instagram, YouTube, and so forth. Your company will reap much more benefit from being good at the social platforms you’re on, than from being on all social platforms.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful in your planning for 2017 and beyond. If you have any questions, if you would like to learn more about these digital marketing trends, or if you would like to visit with us about your 2017 marketing strategy and plan, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 660-826-2822.