We’ve embarked on a new era of digital marketing. One that’s built around creating more customized and immersive experiences. With new technologies like virtual reality gaining popularity and social media use growing at an unstoppable rate, marketers are reaching and engaging audiences in new ways.
Edelman released its 2017 report on digital trends spotlighting some of the biggest things we can expect in 2017. Let’s take a closer look at what this means for brands and what they should do to prepare.
Brands are looking for new ways to interact with consumers. Immersive content, wether it’s 360-degree-video or a VR experience, enables brands to forge a deeper connection with new and existing customers. Twenty-sixteen paved the way, with the release of PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and, who can forget, the augmented reality sensation Pokemon GO.
Digital marketers should prepare themselves for the “immersive landgrab” that is inevitably coming by getting educated on virtual reality and experimenting with it at industry events and trade shows.
Mobile video content
VR experiences help build an emotional connection with customers, however, video content shouldn’t be overlooked as another dynamic content type.
If you’re a brand, it’s likely that you already have a video strategy in place. Edelman reports that in 2017 audiences will begin consuming the majority of their content on mobile devices. This opens up a huge opportunity to reach new audiences in a very personal space. After all, who knows more about you than your phone?
With mobile in mind, video content will need to be more concise. On-the-go viewers will prefer to watch short-form content. In addition, through the use of 360-degree video, brands can set themselves apart from the pack. Don’t be afraid to experiment with Facebook live and other tools that help showcase the personality of your brand and reach new audiences.
Influencer marketing is gaining popularity with many brands just now beginning to understand its affect on reach and impact. In 2017, we can expect this channel to continue to evolve, which means that it’s time to reassess your influencer strategy.
Micro-influencers, defined as social personalities with 1,000 to 10,000, who tend to have a more engaged audience than mass influencers will also be key in 2017. Edelman predicts an increase in the quantity of micro-influencers making it important for brands to thoroughly vet each influencer and invest in other technology to support oversight of the influencer program.
By taking into account deliverables like engagement, conversation, and conversion, brands can determine with influencer partnerships are worth the investment.
The year of the Chatbot
Fueled by an influx of new apps, like Slack, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Kik, Edelman points to messaging applications as the new “2nd home” screen. These apps help connect customers and brands directly and create more conversational experiences. This fits comfortably in the new marketing era of personalization.
Chatbots play a key role in this evolution, with more than 30,000 already on the FB Messenger platform alone. While we can expect the technology and conversational experiences to improve significantly over the next few years, it’s important for brands to start experimenting. Brands should start to develop and test a chatbot strategy by identifying which platforms make the most sense for your audience and how this fits into your larger customer acquisition strategy. Remember, testing is key.