Marketing trends

5 Website Design Trends to Look out for in 2017

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As the internet has evolved and as the way people use the internet has changed, so has web design. Just as an avocado green refrigerator tells you that a home kitchen hasn’t been updated since the 1970s, a few design elements on a website give you an idea of when it was last updated.

If you want to keep your site fresh and up-to-the-minute, here are some design trends to pay attention to this year.

Vertical Flow

As of 2015, more Google searches took place on mobile devices than on desktops. By the end of 2016, 77 percent of Americans owned a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center.

The switch from primarily using desktop devices to using mobile devices has influenced the way websites look and function. One of the biggest changes is in the way sites flow. Instead of placing images and information side by side or horizontally on the page, designers now focus on the vertical flow of information.

When a site is laid out vertically, it’s easier for a smartphone user to scroll through it on his or her device.

More Hamburgers

Few design choices have caused quite as much debate as the hamburger icon — the little button at the top of some mobile pages (and increasingly, desktop pages) that reveals the menu when you click on it.

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But as mobile device use continues to rise in popularity and designers continue to look for ways to streamline the navigation options on a page, it seems the little hamburger is here to stay. You can expect to find it on more and more websites as the year goes on.

Colorful Gradients

Visit the homepage of a number of brands and you’ll be greeted by a colorful, usually two-tone background.

Color gradients aren’t new — they were big in magazine design in the 1980s and were a big hit with DIY website companies in the 1990s. People like them because they are eye-catching without being too distracting. You can choose a subtle gradient, like light blue fading into a deeper blue or a bolder color pair, such as magenta fading into a darker purple, depending on the type of impact you want the background to have.

More Movement

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Websites aren’t just becoming more mobile-friendly, they are also becoming more mobile. Designers are more and more likely to use animated images (like gifs and cinemagraphs) as well as video as part of a site’s layout and design.

The human brain is pretty good at processing images. A study from MIT found that it takes just 13 milliseconds for the brain to process an entire image. Moving images, such as video, are also processed by the brain much more quickly than text.

Aside from being more engaging than a few static blocks of text, moving images and videos also look cool. A visitor is likely to stare at a cinemagraph to see what happens next or at least pay a bit of attention to a video that autoplays as soon as a person scrolls to it.

If you are going to incorporate video into your website’s design, here’s one thing to remember: Most people watch video without sound. On Facebook, for example, 85 percent of videos play without any sound. It’s essential that the video’s meaning be clear even if it plays in silence.

Back to Basics

Sometimes, offering visitors to a website as few choices as possible and stripping the design of the site down to the bare bones is the way to go. Minimalist web design isn’t a new thing, but designers in 2017 might take things to the extreme.

While some sites will turn to more bells and whistles, such as moving images and lots of color, you can expect a small backlash to occur and for ultra-minimal sites to become popular, at least with a few brands.

Ultra-minimalist websites might not be much to look at. But they make it super easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and are appealing to many for that reason.

Trends in website design aren’t just about looks. They also help to make sites easier to use and more engaging for those who use them. Keep these trends in mind if you’re going to revamp your company’s website this year.

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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.