picture1Digital marketing is an ever-evolving landscape. To keep up with the competition, you need to be adaptive to the latest trends that impact the industry’s direction.

Nearing the end of 2016, several marketing trends stood out and made the most difference. Although not all of them are game-changers, here are 13 of the most significant trends you need to remember for the upcoming year:

1. More Video Content

Video content’s role in online marketing has been growing for the past few years. But it isn’t until this year when it truly led the charge. From big brands like Reebok to startups like Pokémon Go, videos proved to be one of the best content types for viewer engagement.

2. Blogging is here to stay

When it comes to providing great content, blogging is still the number one distribution channel since it’s directly tied to your brand’s authority. According to Ana Maria De La Cruz, a content media specialist at 4contentmedia, blog content will become more deeply engaging in 2017 and will be a big lead/sales driver. Blog posts are proven effective traffic attractors, and they’re set to become still more effective as interactivity through video and social media continue to increase. Blogging is not only an effective way to build brand awareness, it delivers valuable content for potential customers and helps businesses establish themselves as a leader in their particular niche. Blogging offers a ton of benefits that will help small businesses for the short-term and long-term.

3. Customer Experience above All

From SEO to mobile app development, customer experience continues to be the prime focus of any strategy. It’s true that online marketing just got a lot more complex, but when it comes to your audience, you must make every interaction as convenient and seamless as possible. This goes back to finding ways to shorten the sales cycle while making more customers happy.

4. The Adoption of Live Streaming

Speaking of videos, live streaming also reached another high point this year. What would you expect if the first US presidential debate was streamed live for the very first time? Furthermore, live streaming platforms and apps continue to rise – giving marketers plenty of options for engaging the online audience in real time.

5. Augmented Reality

Although Pokémon Go is on a decline, its initial success shook the world and gave marketers a wake-up call – augmented reality is here to stay. Facebook’s Face Tips, for example, made great use of GPS data to show relevant content that captures the audience’s attention. It wouldn’t be surprising to see companies utilize more AR-enabled games, ads, and content promotions in the future.

6. Right-Time vs Real-Time Marketing

Image taken from Pixabay

Image taken from Pixabay

About augmented reality and live streaming, don’t forget that the “right time” is still far better than “right now.” There’s always a right time to launch your new ad, send your new email, or share your new post. There are also pockets of timely opportunities you can leverage as long as you’re flexible. Take Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet a few years back, for example.

7. Niches Get Smaller

As the world of online businesses grows bigger, the number of profitable niches get smaller. If you’re looking to expand or enter a new market next year, you should set your eyes on more specific niches. Unless you can invent something groundbreaking, you may need to target a smaller demographic to get noticed.

8. Marketing Technologists and Data Scientists

Every marketer knows that each decision must be backed with sufficient data. But as the business world becomes more dependent on digital touchpoints such as emails, social media, and paid advertisements, the competitive field warranted the rise of two key positions – the chief marketing technologist and data scientist.

9. Keener Analytics

In addition to hiring a marketing technologist or data scientist, companies also need to explore new dimensions for analytics for a competitive edge. Although there are plenty of analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, they often don’t tell the whole story. This is mainly because analytics are seldom customer-centered. So for next year, focus on building genuine and almost-personal connections with your target audience.

10. Even More Social Media Marketing

Let’s face it, a lot of companies are doing social media marketing wrong. Remember that it’s not a free channel where you simply churn out ads or content promotions from time to time. You need to engage and socialize with the audience to make it more meaningful.

11. Deeper Personalization

Image taken from Pixabay
Image taken from Pixabay

As stated earlier, most online niches are already saturated. Without personality, you’ll just be a droning noise that your audience won’t hesitate to brush aside. That’s why you need to let personalization permeate every single facet of your online business.

12. The Death of Thin Content

For every article you write, there are possibly thousands of similar content published by other brands. To cut through the “content noise,” you need to focus on epic, long-form content that goes deep into details. Headlines should be more specific and compelling as well. It shouldn’t be a generic title that the audience read three times before.

13. Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

Lastly, remember that the internet is just a channel and content is the message. Regardless of your industry, a content marketing strategy is an essential pillar that will support the growth of your business. It’s also something you can always improve, so be on the lookout for more ways to spice up your content for next year.

Conclusion

By understanding the trends listed above, you can be one step ahead of the competition for the following year. What’s important is for you to get creative and develop plans on how to put these lessons into action.