The 2017 digital trends you should know

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As we enter December and 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead at what the year 2017 may bring to the world of digital. 2016 was a strong year for the world of marketing, and while you could argue that not a lot actually changed, the year saw us become smarter in the way we work and the tech we use to reach audiences.

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So, what does the year ahead hold for marketers? Let’s find out.

Augmented reality

Wondered why everyone was wondering the streets back in the summer, phone glued to their hand while they furiously swiped the screen outside random local landmarks? You can blame Pokémon Go for that! Not many could have predicted the popularity peaks the game would reach, but it seems people couldn’t get enough of the augmented reality game.

In laymen’s terms, augmented reality enhances the real-world scene users can see themselves, and adds in elements that have been created by a computer. Thus, allowing the offline and online worlds to interact. With Pokémon Go earning an estimated $10 million per day during its peak, it’s a trend that bigger brands can’t afford to ignore.

Chris Burgess provides advice in this post on how to ensure consumers engage with augmented reality, “despite the rise of augmented reality apps and recent media hype, holding up your smartphone to view an AR experience is far from routine consumer behaviour. For companies and organisations launching programs with AR, consumer education is therefore key”.

Native advertising

Native advertising is nothing new, but with consumers becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to ads and aware of when they are being sold to, brands need to take note and up their game to ensure consumers don’t become bored and switch off from advertising altogether.

Businesses should be looking at subtle ways in which they can reach their audience through advertising – it’s less about the hard sell, and more a gentle nudge in the purchasing direction. Instagram ads have overtaken Twitter in the popularity stakes according to one survey, and it’s easy to understand why; with ads which integrate almost seamlessly into a user’s feed, people are interacting with the brand before they even realise it’s an advert.

Live content

Noticed how videos automatically play when you scroll down your Facebook or Twitter feed? There’s a reason for that – it’s becoming increasingly in demand. Live content provides in-the-moment action and allows an insight into current events or information which is so important it simply cannot be missed.

Faster internet connections and the rise in popularity of mobile device viewing has meant that live streaming is often in demand by consumers. Ultimately, it gives quicker access to what’s happening on the front line in the world; increasing brand awareness in an instant.

“The language we communicate in is changing from words to images, and now to video. No longer can a word necessarily describe how we feel. A visual alongside a message can help to reinforce what we’re trying to communicate. Or, when presented on its own, be even more powerful than words themselves.” Comments Richard LeCount from USB4Photographers.

More niches

In an industry which is becoming increasingly crowded, businesses are becoming ever more targeted in their approach to the publications they gain placements on. When multiple businesses are vying for space, targeting a specific niche with content helps to get the message out to customers who are actively seeking that information.

With a rise in niche targeting expected, it means we’re bound to see campaigns which focus on content which connects with audiences on a personal level. If it doesn’t add value to the subject, broaden the audience’s mindset or educate, then it’s not worth doing!

Community managers

Social media no longer requires someone to schedule a few tweets per day; it requires someone to manage a community rather than a digital feed. A community manager gives the business a human face and adds personality to the brand.

Social media has – and continues – to break down corporate business images for the better and allow consumers to foster more personal relationships with those they do business with. You only need to look at brands such as Innocent Drinks, ASOS and Tesco for inspiration.

Jade Beckett Social Media Coordinator for the University of Surrey comments, “to build and maintain a successful, engaged social media community, you need to do your research. Look at the analytics, carry out some audience analysis, listen to the social conversations and really find out who your community are – as well as what you can do for them. This will help you to add value to the social media experiences of your community, rather than simply knowing what you’d like them to do for you (i.e. share and amplify your content). By providing insight-led content that adds value, members will be more likely to engage with and speak positively about your brand.”

Author: Emily Jarvis

Emily Jarvis is a former business consultant, she is currently working as a freelance writer sharing her expert advice and tips within the business industry.