Ask 20 experts to predict the biggest trend in advertising for the upcoming year, and you’ll get 20 different answers. There are, however, three trends appearing on almost everyone’s list, and businesses who want to stay ahead of the competition should integrate them into their marketing strategy in 2017.
The last big trend was the proliferation of messaging apps, which surpassed social networks in active users and popularity in 2016. If you think that your company is on the cutting edge because you’re on a few social networking sites, you’re a few steps behind; your customers are messaging. Chatbots piggyback on messaging platforms and are becoming a necessity to stay competitive.
Sophisticated artificial intelligence chatbots like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Echo, are conversational and can respond to, and carry out, a wide variety of requests. Companies can employ the same technology through messaging apps. If you’re shopping for a specific item, which would you rather do: spend time searching a store’s website, or message the store, tell an interactive chatbot what you want, and in seconds be shown the exact item you seek? The overwhelming majority of consumers prefer the chatbot.
We live in an immediate gratification society, and chatbots, which can be inexpensive and fairly easy to employ, are an attractive feature which will give customers the type of personalized service and instant response they want.
According to Cisco, video traffic will be 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. Daily video views on Facebook have increased by 7 billion in the past year, while text posts are declining every day. The trend is being driven by Generation Z’s 13-24-year-olds, whose motto seems to be, “Why read when you can watch?” If you consider that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and Snapchat users collectively watch 10 billion videos each day, video is already a big thing, and it’s going to get bigger.
Businesses are going to have to be innovative in how they use video in the year ahead. Integrating video into web design, as on the McFadden/Gavender home page, will continue, because it gets a viewer’s attention, as this odd, yet mesmerizing, example from Answer the Public shows. Videos are also useful on social media, in emails, blogs, and on product pages. Nearly half of internet users say that watching a video is their preferred way of learning about new products.
In 2017, you’ll need video to grab a customer’s attention, keep them interested, teach them about your product, and make them want to return to your site.
Consumers are torn between feeling like companies have too much of their personal information, and wanting their online experiences tailored specifically to them. In the end, the latter seems to outweigh the former.
Information about you is compiled from various sources, including cookies, search data, purchase history data, and profile data. With about 80% of the population using smart phones, data is used to customize ads, send online coupons, and create customer loyalty programs which are all directed to your mobile device. Last year, Taco Bell was able to recognize which apps customers used first thing in the morning, allowing them to improve the placement of their mobile ads for a new $1 breakfast menu.
Personalization doesn’t only apply to online retailers. For brick-and-mortar stores, beacons will connect with your phone while you’re shopping and offer you coupons or other enticements, tailored specifically to your needs.
To stay on-trend, you may want to implement one or more of the above to attract customers, but only if you see a clear benefit. For example, don’t increase your video usage just because it’s trendy. Employ only those strategies which will increase traffic, enhance a customer’s experience, promote customer loyalty, and boost your sales.