The year 2017 is approaching rapidly, so it’s perfect time to summarize and reflect on the year behind us. Let’s think about how we can do things better in 2017. This kind of thinking is typical for the business world, so we’ll focus on digital marketing trends for the upcoming year, to give you some ideas how to implement them when planning your business strategy.

Content is still important

Over the past few years we’ve seen the growing importance of content as one of the crucial aspects of positioning a website, as well as for improving user experience, and this is a trend which is going to remain essential next year as well. Websites that have a blog generally receive more links, traffic and leads, which all together adds up to better performance.

Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. (Source)
Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. (
Source)

If you have been neglecting this trend for the past few years, you’ve certainly noticed it reflects negatively on your performance. Even though creating content requires time, research, and resources, it’s necessary to stay competitive on the market. Content also provides a connection with the users. Instead of aggressive promotional activity, you’re using a subtle approach to connect with the users, get trust and gain authority, which will eventually lead to a much stronger connection and greater level of loyalty.

Create something of value

Marketers and SEO experts have stressed the significance of content and how it helps with boosting online performance, which lead to a staggering amount of data uploaded each day. Millions of blog articles and hours of videos are uploaded online every hour, turning the internet into a pretty crowded place, where one has to battle to get some attention. With such a huge amount of content, each year it becomes more and more difficult to get that honorable spot in the first page of the search engine results, and to get much desired clicks from social media.

That being said, throughout 2017 the trend of creating high quality content will continue. Never before has the quality been so important, that it will actually play a major role in digital marketing strategy. Rather than going for mass-production of content, what you need to focus on is quality content, content that matters and helps you stand out. Content of great value is favored by the search engines and it gets more shares, including both backlinks to your website and social media shares. All of this will influence your online performance and promote your business.

Types of content and what it’s going to change

Based on the Social Media Marketing Industry report for 2016, blogging has been the most important type of content, with visual aspect being close behind.

blogging

In the year 2016, we’ve witnessed a boost of video as a way to interact, especially with the live video feature enabled by Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and other platforms. With this in mind, together with the fact that the number of mobile users has surpassed the number of desktop users, we can conclude that in 2017, videos will be essential aspect of digital marketing.

In fact, according to the same report, “73% of marketers are planning to increase the use of videos”. When we add the fact that the average viewing session on YouTube is now more than 40 minutes”, it’s safe to say that we will see a huge growth of video as a major type of content in the year to come. If you haven’t been using videos in your digital marketing, now it’s time to seriously think about how you can implement it into your strategy.

video

Marketing automaton

The application of marketing automation in online business is rapidly growing over the past few years, with companies always looking for ways to make the most out of automation tools and reduce the number of daily tasks they have to handle manually. The task that is mostly automated is still email marketing, followed by social media and marketing analytics. According to surveys, “91% of the most successful users agree that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels” and “63% of companies successful in marketing automation plan to increase their marketing automation budget”. Having this in mind, it’s safe to say that one of the trends for the next year is certainly growing application of automation. Try experimenting with automation tools to handle online marketing tasks, and explore the benefits you can obtain through this approach.

For even more interesting stats about marketing automation, check out this article: Ultimate Marketing Automation statistics.

Complete domination of mobile

The year upon us has recorded a milestone in the usage of mobile devices. The number of mobile users has finally surpassed the number of desktop users, proving the significance of mobile devices and their role in our lives. According to the data for October 2016, “mobile and tablet internet usage exceeds desktop for the first time worldwide”.

internet_usage_2009_2016_ww

Google now takes “mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches”, which is another reason for thinking about mobile aspect and how this reflects on your business.

With users looking for ways to make their lives even more convenient, meaning going even more mobile, this means the trend of mobile device dominance is going to continue in the year 2017. For your business this means that mobile optimization, app development and thinking about mobile users are some things to consider when planning your strategy for the next year.

You should have one thought in mind – people use mobile devices for everything. Messaging and dialing are old news. People now want to use their phones to find information, to book hotels, to read reviews, to buy groceries, to listen to music, etc. If you want to seize this opportunity, use this as a starting point in the future business planning and make sure mobile aspect is inseparable part of that plan.

Social media saturation

Over the past few years we have witnessed introduction and astonishing growth of social media usage. Each year we’ve seen reports showing that the number of users is growing, as well as the average time users spend on social media. Consequently, the amount of content published on social media is larger than ever, and it becomes more difficult than ever to get attention from the online users. The best way to fight this massive quantity and emerge on top is to publish quality and build a great reputation.

There is just too much information being shared all the time, so many pages to follow, numerous events to keep up with, that we simply can’t devote time for everything. We’re trying to filter our profiles and focus on what really matters. Social media developers are trying to do the same. New updates are constantly being introduced in order to improve user experience and filter the content so that only quality emerges.

Video content on social media at its peak

Two major social media trends to watch in the next year are standardization of platforms and usage of video format, especially live video. With Snapchat growing massively in popularity during 2016, and Facebook rolling out its live video feature, the world of live streaming and video has never been so powerful.

For businesses, promotional activity on social media is in the focus, and with this trend in mind, some marketers will seriously have to reconsider their promotional strategy and perhaps redefine their entire approach to social media. Based on Buffer’s State of Social Media survey “Eighty-three percent of marketers also said they’d like to create more video content if they didn’t have restraints such as time and resources.” Unlike other content formats, videos demand more time, and sometimes even more skillfulness (video and sound editing). It’s no longer a DIY project, as creating videos, usually requires a lot of preparation, and hiring help, regardless if that’s for voiceovers, video editing or shooting. As a result, creating this type of content will be greater investment, which means restructuring marketing budget.

If you want to explore even more social media trends, check out the article: Where Social Media Is Headed in 2017: The Biggest Trends to Watch For

Businesses can use this trend to enhance their connection with the social media followers, to work on branding, as well as explore the world of storytelling. When you think about videos, don’t focus on promotional material, but think about the trend of quality content, and how it can be applied to video content as well. Use different kinds of videos, such as tutorials, podcasts, live chats, etc. to provide value to social media users. In return, this will help you boost trust and authority.

App indexing and what it means for you

Another digital marketing trend for 2017 we have to include is App Indexing. Google’s new feature “Firebase App Indexing gets your app into Google Search. If users have your app installed, they can launch your app and go directly to the content they searched for. App Indexing re-engages your app users by helping them find both public and personal content right on their device. App Indexing offers enhancements to public content indexing, an on-device personal content index, and logging for user actions on both public and personal content in the app.” (Source)

In this sense, creating an app is going to be one of the strategies you should consider in the year to come, in order to boost the connection with the online users through both public and personal content. Have in mind that personal content is only tied to a specific user and it’s tailored based on user’s own preferences.

The main idea is to improve user experience and offer content that is customized to each and every user. This allows Google to connect with the users on an even deeper level, by anticipating the user behavior, the content that is offered is intended to provide quick help with relevant search results.

Subscription based businesses will expand

Connecting with customers and enhancing your relationship with them is the ultimate goal for businesses nowadays. Besides quality content and personal app-based content, a subscription-based business model is a trend that will continue to grow. For customers, this model enables quick and easy access to products and services. For businesses, this means greater value, as they achieve a better connection with the customers, understand their needs and provide products and services in a more desirable format for the modern consumers.

“Businesses have become very aware of this trend and are reacting by reinventing themselves and launching new services. 51 per cent are integrating new pricing and delivery models such as subscriptions, sharing and rental goods and services.” To find out more about the topic, read Why a subscription model could be the future for all businesses.

While SaaS businesses have been using subscription-based model for a while now with great success, we’ll see even a greater expansion of this model especially with platforms and e-commerce.

When it comes to defining an approach to leverage this trend, you’ll need to understand that subscription-based model is focused on the customer-business relationship. This means that you as a business will need to make sure you nurture this relationship and keep customers happy. One of the greatest benefits of using this model is recurring revenue, so if subscription model is something that can be incorporated into your business, check out this option and how it can help you grow your business.

Wrapping it up

Most of these trends aren’t something new that is just now emerging. In fact, most of these practices have been around for a while now, but when planning for the upcoming year, think about these trends as guidelines for defining an approach that will be focused on quality, visual aspect and improved user experience. The combination of these factors is what’s going to be the dominant digital marketing trend in 2017, and your business needs to be prepared to take advantage of those and use it to position on the (global) market.