2016 is coming to a close and many businesses’ marketing teams will soon receive their budget for next year. If your business is in the stressful throws of deciding your annual marketing budget and strategy for the coming year you need to know what the most important digital marketing trends for 2017 will be.
1) Facebook will take over the world
Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic but they certainly are giving it a good go. Facebook has always been the market leader among social media platforms and although others have risen up to challenge them, Facebook has hung onto its crown with a death-like grip. They have constantly pushed the boundaries by introducing new features, especially for advertisers but this year in particular has seen them bring out an arsenal of innovative functionality with:
We really could go on and on with this list but the root of the message is Facebook clearly wants to take on Google, LinkedIn and anyone else who may have a niche market to exploit. We predict this aggressive development will only continue and with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg testing drone technology to beam the internet direct to rural areas around the world, developing AI to power his home and looking towards augmented reality, it seems our prediction may not be too farfetched after all.
2) There will be a war on fake news
What is popular and what is true don’t always overlap and thanks to the way Facebook and Google algorithms work it is often easier to find fake news than real news as long as that news is written in an enthralling and antagonistic manner with clever optimisation.
Following the shocking USA presidential election results, Brexit and the increase in hate crime incidents since these events we have come to see the potential danger in fake news and its ability to sway public opinion. In response, industry giants Google and Facebook have tried to ban fake news sites from using their advertising options but there is much speculation on how this will be achieved and how fake news can be tackled in organic listings.
3) There will be a VR & AR revolution
VR stands for virtual reality and covers the likes of Oculus Rift which immerses you in a virtual environment.
AR stands for augmented reality and covers products like Google Glass which allow you to see the world around you but display virtual images to you as well.
Virtual reality is already here and it will only grow as prices for VR headsets comes down, technology improves and further applications for VR and AR are developed. Oculus Rift lets you play virtual reality PC games, there have been rumours circulating that Apple is working on VR and AR and Google and Facebook continue to work on prototypes for VR and AR. Virtual reality immersive websites are also starting to crop up and this is one trend that we will see extend far beyond digital marketing and into our everyday lives.
4) Website pop up promotions will die
Google announced that starting from 10th January 2017 they will penalise sites with intrusive interstitials in their search rankings. That means every site that is using pop ups you must dismiss or which cover the content to gain sign ups or promote a service or product will have to clean up their act fast. This is a pretty major change that will cause a ripple effect in digital marketing trends. It means user experience will be improved especially on mobile but business owners and marketing departments will have to completely rethink how they use calls to actions and eye grabbing promotions on their websites. Read more about the changes in this blog.
5) Mobile experience will be at the heart of every digital strategy
We have known for some time that mobile search has overtaken desktop and that all sites must be responsive but now mobile has taken over so much that it will truly be the first port of call for browsing, shopping, entertainment and more. Google already knows this and that is why it has moved to a mobile-first index.
This means that even though Google favoured responsive websites in search results when its algorithms actually looked at content to determine ranking position, it looked at the desktop version of your pages. That is no longer the case. Now Google looks at the content, links and structured data of the mobile version of your site if there is one available. This means if the structured data, links, mark up or content of your mobile site is different you may want to take a look at this. It also means that when you actually design your websites you should first look at how it will be experienced on mobile and what you can do to make this experience even better rather than primarily looking at the desktop display.
6) The SEO industry will get even bigger
The search engine optimisation industry is worth an astonishing $65 billion (global spend). Despite speculations that this industry would be a passing phase it has continued to grow since Panda and Penguin algorithms, and businesses, continue to invest more and more in SEO.
It is estimated that by 2020 the SEO industry could be worth $79 billion. The reason for this growth is that SEO has adapted to every change Google has thrown its way. It has absorbed digital marketing, CRO, social media marketing, content marketing and the number of searches and search terms will only grow as older technology resistant generations make way for younger generations who have grown up with search engines as a natural part of life.
7) CRO practices will become more widespread
CRO stands for conversion rate optimisation. The ultimate goal of most businesses’ digital marketing is to increase their online purchases or lead generation. This means that CRO practices such as A/B testing, heat map testing and greater experimentation and customer communication and engagement strategies are becoming more prevalent. Even small businesses need to be looking at these techniques to push conversions and beat the competition.
8) Video will rule
Video consumption online is growing, businesses are increasingly investing in video advertising online and social media channels are investing more into video content. Facebook’s introduction of Facebook live video is evidence of this and YouTube advertising is surging forwards with greater functionality for business owners. With the ease of taking videos so easily on mobile and people moving away from their TVs to online video media many industry insiders are predicting that in a few years the majority of content we absorb online will be video. So, get filming.