As one year draws to a close and another one gets set to begin, it’s only natural to reflect on what has happened and to guess about what’s in store. While no one has a crystal ball when it comes to marketing and PR, a number of trends seems likely to continue, while others will become increasingly popular.
Knowing which of these trends to focus on in 2017 will help you better connect with your customers and put together a more effective marketing and PR strategy.
The Increasing Influence of Influencers
Using influencers to promote a product or service isn’t a new thing. But it’s expected that influencers will become even more influential in 2017. Influencer marketing is effective because when a well-liked or respected figure on Instagram, for example, recommends using a product, people are more likely to be receptive to that recommendation than they would be to traditional advertising.
A survey conducted by eMarketer found that 48% of people who responded plan on raising their budget for influencer marketing in the New Year. Another survey found that 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016, spending between $25,000 and $50,000. Most marketers intend to double their influencer marketing budget in 2017.
Content Becomes More Immersive and Interactive
The days of producing static content are over. In 2017, content will continue to become ever more interactive and immersive.
Interactive content can range from simple quizzes on a website to clickable infographics and from live streaming video feeds to fully immersive, augmented reality programs, such as Pokemon Go. The more engaging the content, the more likely it is to create tangible, real results with audiences and customers.
Native Ads Increase
Although many people dislike traditional ads and will go out of their way to avoid them by installing ad blockers or skipping TV commercials, native advertising is generally much more accepted.
Native ads blend into their surroundings a lot better than traditional ads and look as though they are meant to be there. Over the next five years, native ads are expected to increase from 56% of display ad revenue to 74%, according to a report from Business Insider.
The format for native advertising is also evolving. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, new ad forms are continually being invented while certain types of formats, particularly visual or video-based native ads, are gaining in popularity.
As native ads become more common and popular, one of the challenges IAB anticipates is having those ads continue to focus on storytelling, rather than on simply selling a product or service.
The Shrinking Lifespan of Content
People’s attention spans have shrunk so much that a recent opinion piece argued that members of “Generation z” (those born after 1995) have an attention span of just 8 seconds.
Since no one’s going to pay attention to it anyway after a few seconds, it makes sense that the shelf life of content is going to continue to shrink in 2017. Snapchat, the social sharing site where content vanishes a few seconds after it’s viewed, is expected to grow in popularity this coming year.
TechCrunch reports that the company expects its ad revenue to reach $1 billion in 2017. Although the site is thought to be a hit with younger users, its popularity with older people is growing. In 2016, the number of Snapchat users over the age of 35 grew by 86%, according to the LA Times, and the number of users between the ages of 25 and 34 grew by 103%.
Short-lived content is appealing to marketers for one big reason: There’s a sense of urgency to it. If a person doesn’t check out the image or story your company posted right away, they’ll miss it forever. That can spur customers or viewers to action much more effectively than a long-lived post on other social networks.
Of course, it’s difficult to predict the future with any real sense of certainty. But, having a general idea of where marketing and PR are headed in 2017 can help your company better prepare for what’s to come.