Digital Forecasting: Internet Marketing Trends in 2017
In the ever-changing world of internet marketing, there are a few constants. We pay homage to the gods of Google and Facebook because those channels work – we know how to make them work. In terms of ROI, few things can compete with an expertly designed Facebook ad campaign or a high-quality SEO strategy, but there are a few trends on deck for the rest of this year that could prove interesting.
Clique-y Social Media Networks
People have always been attracted to exclusivity, and that same club-like atmosphere is being recreated in cyberspace with niche social media networks that promise privacy while catering to very narrow demographics. From Catster and Dogster to the beer-soaked virtual pages of the Untappd app, marketers are investigating new advertising avenues. Be careful dismissing a wider audience, though – not everyone is on board with niche sites and they don’t offer the algorithms or targeting abilities mega-networks like Facebook already have up and running.
You can blame the rise of Pokémon Go for this one. Last year, Pikachu and friends got so universally popular so incredibly fast that marketers couldn’t help but take note. Consumers are clamoring for more AR experience and there are ways to monetize AR apps and create AR ads, but they’re a) expensive and b) not for everyone. Explore your audience fully and test out AR campaigns thoroughly before going whole-hog.
Snapchat is giving Facebook a serious challenge these days and much of that is thanks to Snap’s impressive video capabilities. Facebook has taken note and responded with an aggressive push of Facebook Live. The hope is that brands using Snapchat will bring their behind-the-scenes videos and impromptu shots of product launches and influencer interviews to Facebook, but there’s already been a backlash with people feeling inundated by live videos they have little interest in. Video can be a powerful tool, but use the live feature sparingly and make sure whatever you’re filming has real value.
One reason brands on Snapchat have done so well with both photos and video (Snapchat video views caught up with Facebook’s numbers in March and surpassed them soon after) is because the app gives visual advertising a decidedly non-advertising look. It’s not that people are fooled so much as the lack of glossy editing and multi-million dollar television campaigns makes the brands and the products they’re pushing seem more approachable. That’s what native advertising is all about – emphasizing the user experience instead of the business’s agenda. In 2017, we can expect more big brands to give native advertising a look. It’s not that brands will care less about content marketing, it’s just that they’ll start promoting that content in ways that consumers don’t feel hounded and threatened by.
A recent study found that a whopping 70 percent of Facebook users commented on science stories without even reading them. Actually, that’s a lie posted by a satirical site that filled the rest of the article with ipsum lorem before getting a massive 46,000+ shares, but the point is made. People won’t necessarily click through to your post so you need to make whatever you share on Facebook count. Expect less fluff and more interesting, informative, and intriguing lead-ins.
At the end of the day, marketing trends are fun to play with and they may even help you create a small spike in traffic or attract a few new “likes,” but the best bang for your buck will always be investing in long-term plays with proven results.