Digital Marketing Trends to watch out for in 2017

By Jaya Sathaye in Beauty, Fashion & Trends » Trends
Updated 11:42 IST May 20, 2017

Views » 1030 | 8 min read

Digital marketing was and continues to be a very important means of business promotion and advertisement for businesses, as smartphones and tablets have become more of a necessity than a means of entertainment in this digital age.

According to statista.com, “By 2014, around 38 percent of all mobile users were smartphone users. By 2018, this number is expected to reach over 50 percent. The number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to grow by one billion in a time span of five years, which means the number of smartphone users in the world is expected to reach 2.7 billion by 2019.”

Here are a few digital marketing trends that have gained widespread popularity in 2016, and are likely to prove to be effective tools to market businesses and services in 2017 as well.

Native advertising:

Native advertising offers advertisers an opportunity to incorporate their advertising content into articles, online quizzes, surveys, infographics, videos and the like that provide useful information to users, thus engaging them more effectively. In addition to personalization, the beauty of this form of advertising is that it offers information, entertainment and solutions to potential customers while blending into the background and not appearing like an advertisement per se. Since they don’t appear as spam or promotional in any way, they successfully engage users for a longer period of time.

The popularity of native ads is on the rise. Business Insider reports spending on native ads will reach $7.9 billion in 2016 and $21 billion by 2018.

Two-sided business ratings

The era of a two-way feedback has emerged. Now, in addition to customers, businesses/service providers have the opportunity to rate their customers, which they do on a regular basis on their websites and apps. Uber and AirBnB are classic examples of these. In fact, both these apps have made it mandatory for both parties – users and providers - to rate each other on different counts. This not only promotes a level playing field for both, but also promotes better interaction between the two as well as regular use of the said service. Moreover, it increases accountability on both sides.

Mobile platforms

As mentioned earlier, one cannot over-emphasize the role of mobile platforms in digital marketing today.

In his article titled “2017 Digital Marketing Trends” for B2C, Justin Wilson states, “2016 was a big year for mobile: as ever Google was leading the way. Google has started to not only drive the speed or mobile websites through its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, but is starting to really look at mobile SEO and allow it to lead the agenda over desktop.”

Another concept gaining popularity on these grounds is the designing of a mobile app, as it is far more accessible to users as compared to mobile websites. However, businesses must provide value-added services such as discounts, easy ordering and delivery etc. for customers to be motivated to download the app and have it occupy visual space and memory on their mobile devices.

According to techcrunch.com, worldwide app downloads were up 15 percent year-over-year, the time spent in apps was up 25 percent, and the revenue paid to developers increased by 40 percent in 2016.

Live video streaming

Facebook introduced Facebook Live in April 2016, a feature which enables users to record and upload live videos recorded from their mobile devices. This has proven to be a more direct and hence more effective means of communication as compared to print or any other media as it emotionally appeals to users. According to Facebook statistics, users watch live videos three times longer than the same videos when they aren’t live. Now, the common man has the ability to broadcast any content he wishes to the world at large at his fingertips. All he has to have is a Facebook account to be able to do so.

With the ever-increasing popularity of YouTube which has 30 million visitors per day, (https://fortunelords.com/youtube-statistics/), the outreach of live streamed videos has widened further and will continue to rise. According to the ‘statistics’ section of the YouTube website, “YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.”


Imagine a world in which interacting with a business is the same as interacting with a friend or family member online? Chatbots provide the opportunity to engage in real-time 24-hour interaction with customers to answer queries as well as receive feedback. Apple’s ‘Siri’, Facebook’s ‘Facebook M’ and Mattel’s ‘Hello, Barbie’ are a few examples of this new technology that creates an interactive interface that actually converses with users through text or auditory methods.

Typically, chatbots are used to acquire customer information and to provide customer care. In his article titled “Chatbots and the future of conversation-based interfaces” in Forbes.com, Daniel Newman says, “Ultimately, chatbot development will pave the way for other AI developments. They could optimize the autonomous vehicle experience, change the way individuals apply for jobs, and become part of a new, more connected and human-like digital ecosystem.”

Gartner projects that more than 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020. Chatbots are also expected to be the No. 1 consumer applications of AI over the next five years according to TechEmergence.

Expiring social content

This is one of the biggest emerging trends with mobile users. Snapchat introduced the concept of disappearing social content in 2012 and has become the most famous app to do so.

The probability of missing out on a popular piece of information is likely to increase the number of views of a site throughout the day, as well as the time a user spends on that particular site. Both these factors are important metrics to generate ad revenue. In addition, this type of content management can increase the volume and variety of posts. Since the life of such posts is limited, new content will have to be generated on a daily basis, thus increasing user engagement and SEO.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, after just 5 years, Snapchat has an estimated 100 million daily active users that view almost 10 billion videos each day and spend 25-30 minutes a day on the app. 41 percent of all individuals aged between 18 and 34 years in the U.S use Snapchat on a daily basis.

Facebook also offers disappearing content with a feature called Messenger Day. Other sites that offer disappearing content are Wickr, Clipchat, Slingshot and Yovo to name a few.

The concept of expiring content will solve the negative impact on brands that viral content sharing has sometimes.  It provides a chance to rectify mistakes in the content or in cases where the content is poor or inappropriate, as it won’t be around for long.

Voice search: the future of SEO

As the necessity of possessing and using mobile phones and handheld devices continues to increase, so do challenges of typing on a small screen, especially while one is on the move. This has resulted in the popularity of voice search features.

Google launched voice search in 2011. However, its popularity started to grow in 2016 and this is likely to continue into 2017. Off late, Google has done a lot work on its voice recognition system and its word recognition is much sharper than before. Today, the error rate of Google’s voice recognition is only 8% as compared to 25% last year; thus making it an even more favorable choice.

As voice search grows, digital marketers, SEOs and website owners will need to change their approach towards content promotion. They will have to update themselves regarding frequently-used phrases, local terms, question phrases and the like.

The power of personalization

Personalization of content for advertising is an age-old way of showing target audience that they are special. The ‘one size fits all’ strategy is a thing of the past as people have become immune to obvious sales pitches in this age where there is an onslaught of information everywhere on the internet, be it social media, social engines, apps and the like. However, advertisers have realized that by targeting consumers on an individual level, they will be able to cut through the rest of the clamor and draw attention towards themselves and their products and services. This can be done by tracking people’s likes, interests, needs etc. via their browsing history. An IPG Media Labs study found that contextually relevant ads raised purchase intent by 13%.

In addition, emotions are an important aspect in our decision-making ability and marketers have used this aspect to their benefit too. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, emotionally connected consumers are 52% more valuable than highly satisfied consumers. Apple has already filed a patent for an ad service that targets users based on emotions. According to the filing, the system generates a “baseline mood profile” for a user. It can then infer how a user is feeling at a given moment and serve up an appropriate ad.

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