Heather Cisz on Digital Marketing Trends

If you’re not on top of these 2016 trends in digital marketing, you won’t be prepped for a successful 2017.

As the trends for attracting clients and customers are constantly changing, we saw that 2016 was the year that redefined the marketing approach taken to engage with consumers. 2016 opened many doors for new concepts and strategies, especially with the rapid shift of technology. The year was just a foundation of opportunities that will deeper reinvent digital marketing strategies in order to attract and engage with consumers. Here’s a look at the foundations that every marketer should keep in mind as we head into a new year of marketing concepts.

Mobile Marketing Optimization

One of the biggest trends we found critical to marketing strategies over the past year is mobile optimization. In 2015, mobile-only internet users in the United States surpassed desktop computer users. Mobile usability is at it’s highest peak, just surpassing computer ownership. As more people become inclined to smartphone and tablet use each year, they expect a smooth branding experience.Therefore, the same message must come across all marketing platforms. The idea is that no individual is going to go out of their way to receive a marketing experience, therefore marketing must come to the consumer. It is crucial that websites, applications, and content should be user friendly. Consumers spend close to 3 hours per day on mobile phones and over 7 hours staring at a screen. Website content that is not optimized to be user-friendly on their cell phones, are putting their businesses at high risk for competition.

It’s also crucial that your mobile webpage has a fast loading speed as part of your optimization process. A mobile webpage that takes long to load, leads to a high risk of losing the user.

As mobile marketing optimization is becoming more critical, it’s important to understand what is behind this rapid growth: Big Data. The big data discovery has led to a hot trend over the past few years, but continues to grow bigger each year. The trend allows consumers to experience a personalized marketing experience. Data is surrounded all around us and tends to follow not only the movement of cell phone users, but also the habits through web services and apps downloaded on mobile devices. For example, the smartphone’s GPS system is the most popular form of navigation. Therefore, the location service is constantly tracking where you are. This example, allows the map to show consumers nearby places as well. Compared to a desktop computer, that doesn’t move around with the consumer from place to place, mobile data allows consumers a personalized form of marketing experience based on the applications and services that are used, and the places the consumer visits.

The internet of things (IOT) is a continuously rising concept that also expands off big data. IOT provides a fast tracking ability that delivers “fast data” through the connection of things. An example would be anything connected through bluetooth or wifi and monitor your movements, such as a fitbit, health tracking mobile apps, or wireless headphones. This new trend allows marketers to send out improved and personalized messages at the best time of day for consumers, based on their behavior and schedules. Throughout the year, this concept has rapidly been increasing, especially in online retail shopping. Amazon, for example, already plays a big part in this, but sending you e-mails on things to you need based on your activity through the internet. Fuhriman, of digital marketing blog, explains this concept can even lead up to the point where your refrigerator will send you a text when you’re out of a certain item, such as milk or orange juice.

Content personalization

First and foremost, marketers must understand their target audience in order to convey a message. We heard many talks of content personalization in the past, but 2016 was the year that the importance of content personalization was finally realized. Personalised content marketing is based on understanding and being able to appeal to the consumer’s wants, needs, and behaviors.Content personalization also focuses deeper into understanding the consumer and convey a valuable message on a personal level to him or her based on their needs, rather than just an email or banner ad. This goes back to the concept of big data and appealing to the customer. According to an Accenture study, consumers report 56% would be more interested in retailers or services if it focused more on their personalized experience. Through the new trend of content personalization, marketing has shifted to focus on establishing relationships with consumers. It is therefore important to give consumers various content to measure consumers engagement online (the concept of big data) and attract new consumers. As consumers use keywords for their online experience, algorithms pick up the pieces and expose more visibility. Personalization allows marketers to find their targets and improve ways of sending out messages through various digital platforms. The importance of variation for personalization has increased greatly this year. Marketers saw that consumers aren’t limited to only one digital platform, but rather many. For example, a consumer is more likely to click an ad on Facebook, to research a product, and later move to an application or desktop computer to purchase it. This creates multi-channel platforms that are consumer through big data, allowing to better improve the marketing experience.

Visual Content Marketing

Research shows that more than 62% of consumers prefer visuals rather than text when it comes to receiving a message. 2016 allowed marketers to realize this new trend. Infographics and tool kits became popular this year showing off visualization strategies that come across and are attractive to the consumer. PIctures are able to be processed by the brain 60,00 times faster than text. Visualization concepts also allow individuals to remember the marketing material, and spend more time interacting with the material. Infographics are more likely to more processed and shared with others because they are more attractive to the consumer. Visual marketing such as infographics and videos also allow users to spread it virally and and engage with the content, allowing for more website traffic through SEO engagement. Visuals also allow to set brand identity to online communities. Instead of trying to establish a brand identity through words, consumers are able to visualize and remember the brand. As we already know, a picture is worth a thousand words, and plays a vital role in communicating a message. Visualization allows the consumer to understand and process the information being conveyed and has a higher chance of making it go viral.

Relationship Marketing through Visualization

As we saw in 2016, the start of livestreaming and video marketing topped the marketing trends of the year, because of communication involved. Livestreaming allowed people to connect through virtual, live videos and interact. Anyone in the interested platforms could join into conversations and establish networking connections with one another. This new, but important platform, opened up a door to marketers who focus on establishing virtual social connections. The goal is to have consumers committed to your brand, and to keep coming back for more. Establishing a relationship is the first step to grasp a customer. Consumers want to feel a part of a community, rather than a quick target from the sales team. The virtual communities allow consumers to trust brands through the connection of various platforms. Through livestreaming, companies are able to ensure trust with their consumers by showing them what goes on to establish a brand/.As Hubspot likes to think of it, customers that have a committed relationship with a company are able to contribute to spreading the word through social media, word of mouth engagement, and even creating brand ambassadors. Overall, livestreaming bring back the relationship establishment concept that marketers will heavily focus on in 2017.