10 Digital Marketing Trends You Should Be Following

Online marketing is one of the most important parts of a company's advertising plan.  For many, the difference between success and failure is in the strength of their online plan.

Though once a trait of only large businesses, now even the smallest are able to create an online presence.  This allows many organizations to access markets they may not have been able to reach before.  Online marketing lets businesses -- both small and large -- expand into a global community.

The key to making your marketing plan work for you is knowing the digital marketing trends that matter most in 2017.  At Sprague Media, we have compiled a list of the ten digital marketing trends you should be following!

1.  Content Marketing:  The King of Digital Marketing Trends

It would seem almost foolish to begin a list of this type with any topic other than content marketing.  Referred to as "the King of Digital Marketing," we expect content marketing to reign supreme once more in 2017.  However, despite being 'the King,' most companies admit that they don't have a dedicated content marketing strategy in place.

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Referred to as "the King of Digital Marketing," we expect content marketing to reign supreme once more in 2017.  

However, despite being 'the King,' most companies admit that they don't have a dedicated content marketing strategy in place... in fact, only 32% of brands report using one!

'Content marketing' is the act of sharing material that drums up interest in your product.  But it's important you try to keep that content brief and concise.

The old rule of thumb was to share no more than five minutes of content, but these days, most experts say to keep it under 3!  These days, there is so much going on, and many consumers attention spans are shrinking as a result.  Often, they're skimming through your content at best, or they're skipping it altogether!

If you don't get to the point -- and fast! -- you can run the risk of your audience getting lost somewhere in the fluff!

Remember to keep your content unique and of high-quality if you want to stay competitive with one of the key digital marketing trends.

2. Video Advertisements

In today's digital era, marketing is no longer restricted only to print.

YouTube and Facebook have been using video ads for years, and now Google has introduced them as well. Over the years, this has led to increasing acceptance of the format among common users.

In other words, online users now love to watch video content!

When using this method, try delivering content in entertaining, engaging videos. If you don't do this, you run the risk of not attracting viewers. 

Another good idea is to use professional writers and producers to increase quality. This delivers a higher quality product, which attracts more customers!

3. Influencer Marketing

When it comes to hiring outside professionals, you don't have to stop at writers and producers. One of the growing digital marketing trends has been to hire influential people to promote your brand. 

In fact, 84% of marketers say they plan to use an "influencer marketing plan" this year alone! This is a strategy that we know is about to take off!

To use "influencer marketing," you first identify individuals with influence over your market. Generally, these individuals are celebrities with large followings. Partnering with these celebrities, they use their following to access a group you may not have been able to reach before.

This is a surefire way to increase brand reputation among desired audiences! The only downside is that, often, it requires revenue that small businesses do not have.

4.  "In the Moment" Content

While "Influencer Market" is set to take off, "In the Moment" Content is already big and getting bigger! Live streaming has been possible for over a decade but has only become huge in the last few years.

Periscope, Snapchat, Twitch, Instagram, YouTube Live, Facebook Live... these are all popular live stream services with dedicated viewership. Millions of users are accessing these services every month. This is where the people are, and this is where you should be marketing now!

A recent study shows users watch live videos for three times longer than recorded videos. This shows that "in the moment" content is a viable way to grab an audience's attention, and hold onto it! But be sure your videos feel organic and not forced, or you're unlikely to engage the audience at all!

We predict that, through 2017 and in the coming years, "in the moment" content will continue to grow to new heights.  Will your brand be one to grow from it?

5.  Social Media Advertising

"In the moment" content is just one of the digital marketing trends that social media offers marketers. With $35-billion directed at ad space in these markets, social media is where the audience is.

79% of internet-active Americans are on Facebook, and that number is rising yearly. By broadcasting to them, you can advertise your product to large audiences in their own homes!

There are so many good reasons to use social media advertising, we could write a whole article about it -- in fact, we have!  But let's break it down for you here.

This technique even allows you to specify groups of users to broadcast your service to. If you feel one group may be more likely to respond to your product, you only need to select them and go!

Another benefit of social media advertising is its ease of entry. Other trends need certain revenue or reputation to use to their full potential.  Social media advertising is accessible to even the smallest companies, providing heightened visibility.

6.  Purpose-Driven Marketing

In business, many brands are only concerned with the dollars and cents of their success. But many surveys are showing greater success for companies that have a cause.

It seems modern customers focus more on the 'why' than the 'what' when it comes to what you do. Because of this, more companies are now focusing on what customers care about to appeal to them.

Because of this, think about the 'why' that drives your brand and direction, and use that to appeal to new markets.

Studies show that over 90% of 'millennials' concern themselves with a company's purpose. This is why, often, customers will pay more for a product if they know their money is benefiting a cause. For example, consider the 'Toms Shoe' policy of donating shoes to impoverished children.

If your brand can commit to a purpose and a cause, you may be able to bring in more customers and revenue than before!

When done right, these next three digital marketing trends can combine to create a positive customer experience. Blend them together to increase customer satisfaction and retention!

7.  Personalization & Automation

An easy way to increase customer satisfaction is to make customers feel important. By focusing on automated marketing, it is easy to advertise to individual customers.

You can access historical data, providing customers with product individualized suggestions and information. An automated 'thank you' email can provide a personalized message with no extra effort.

This also provides a greater understanding of your customers, which improves your future marketing.Personalization was one of the most successful techniques in 2016, and we expect it will be again in 2017.

Personalization was one of the most successful techniques in 2016, and we expect it will be again in 2017.

8.  Analytics

You can put in place all the various techniques you want, but a good marketer knows you need a way to gauge results. That's where analytics comes into play.

If you want to see how your strategy is doing, focus on the numbers. A lot of novice marketers think likes and follows are enough data to review. But with Analytics, you can track even more. This will show you how many new customers you're getting, and how many old customers you're keeping.

More than that, analytics gives you a chance to solidify your strategy or make adjustments if you have to.

9.  Mobile Optimization

Ten years ago, it was fine for your website to only be accessible on a desktop computer. But as times change, so do technological standards, and what was fine before is sub par today.  

A recent study shows that 67% of American adults have smartphones. Furthermore, 90% of those people have their smartphones with them most of the time.

It's no longer good enough for your website to only be accessible by a desktop computer.

As of 2015, Google's search algorithms give precedence to websites that mobile friendly. The message is clear... in today's digital world, websites need to be accessible by smartphone and tablet.

Investing in mobile optimization can keep your brand's site from getting phased out.

10.  Wearable Technology:  The future of Digital Marketing

In what may be a unique update to the marketing scene, a new platform has been coming into the market... wearable technology! From the Apple Watch to the Google Glass to the Fit Bit, it seems wearable technology is here to stay.

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Even Pokemon Go has a wearable device which can connect you to their app without using your phone.

How does this apply to marketing trends? Well, as new devices come out, we need to find new ways to market to those devices!

These products are some of the hottest today, so they come with a large group of consumers you can market to.  In fact, experts predict that the advent of wearable technology could completely revolutionize the way marketing approached personal devices, in the same way the iPhone did in 2008.

The Bottom Line on Digital Marketing Trends

These were only some of the many trends you can use to make your digital marketing plan work for you. If you make use of all (or even a few) of these, you'll likely see an increase in your plan's success in 2017!

But remember... digital marketing trends change fast, and what works today may not work tomorrow. But for today, these trends are still working, so it's best to start now!

Schedule a time with us today to learn more about digital marketing trends that can help your business.