Marketing trends

4 PR and Marketing Trends to Pay Attention to in 2017

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Marketing Trends to Keep Your Eye on in 2016

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At the start of a new year, three things are common. People like to set goals or resolutions for themselves to improve some aspect of their personal and/or professional life in the coming year. They also like to look back and reflect on what happened over the previous 12 months. And, they like to look forward, predicting what’s to come or what will be trending in the new year.

Predicting trends also can help companies plan for the year ahead, by giving them a sense of what will be worth investing in and what won’t be as popular. Several marketing trends are predicted to be a big deal in 2016.

Say Goodbye to Guessing and Hello to Data

In the past, a certain amount of guesswork was involved in marketing to potential customers. You could place an ad on television or in a newspaper and hope that the right people would see it, based on the audience for that medium.

Lately, actual data has become an increasingly useful tool for marketers, and it’s expected to become even more important in the coming year. In part, that is because there is more data than ever. According to Campaign Monitor, 90% of the data in the world was created over the past 12 months. Marketers in 2016 can expect to be able to sift through data to compare response rates when one message is used versus another or to see which call to action generates the greatest response from customers.

Think Mobile First

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 In 2014, the number of people using a mobile device surpassed the number of people using a desktop for the first time; and in 2015, the number of mobile-only users exceeded the number of desktop-only users for the first time, according to comScore. Instead of thinking desktop first and mobile second (or worse, ignoring mobile) marketers in 2016 should think mobile first. That means making sure everything your company puts online should be optimized for a mobile device, from your business’ website to the emails you send.

Video Will Be Big

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Hubspot dubbed 2015 the “year of video marketing.” But, it’s likely that video will continue to be as big, if not bigger, in 2016. Video made up about 57% of online traffic last year and that number is expected to climb to 69% by 2017. Watching online videos made up about 50% of all mobile online traffic in 2015.

Video allows marketers to reach audiences on an emotional level, which isn’t as easily accomplished with written stories or still images. A recent spec ad created for Johnny Walker, by two graduate students in Germany, left many who watched it in tears. The video ended up getting more than 3 million views in less than two weeks, and raised the profile of the brand. It was a win for Johnny Walker, even though the company didn’t create or purchase the ad, showing the importance of emotional resonance.

In 2016, using video as a marketing tool will mean more than simply creating ads and strategically distributing them, however. It’s also expected that live streaming video platforms, from Periscope to Facebook Live, will be a big deal this year. Live streaming gives marketers a way to directly connect with an audience. For example, a representative from a company can live stream their time at a conference, giving interested parties who can’t attend in person a chance to experience what’s going on. A company can also use a live stream to host a question and answer session or events taking place at their headquarters for customers or clients who can’t be present in person.

Email is Still Important

Don’t expect email to go anywhere in 2016. Although people keep predicting its death, email continues to be a strong marketing tool. Campaign Monitor noted that it has an incredibly high return on investment, generating $38 for every $1 spent. Marketers can continue to use new outlets and methods of reaching customers, such as whatever social media network is the most popular at the moment, but email isn’t going away. In 2016, and perhaps well beyond, they will continue to depend on email to reliably reach out to and connect with current and new customers.