As a digital marketing specialist, I often get asked by peers, clients and friends alike – “What can marketers look out for in the digital space next year?” Digital is by far the fastest growing medium and we can gear up for exciting times ahead. Here’s a peek at the top digital marketing trends (in random order) that in my opinion will reign supreme in 2017.
1. Video, the shining star: Video has come to the fore like never before, with talks of it replacing television even. Video on Demand and Over the Top content on mobile are doing well and marketers will jump on the bandwagon. With the introduction of apps like Sony LIV, Hotstar and Voot performing well, this category is poised for significant growth. Research has shown that the engagement levels of video ads through mobile are significantly higher when compared to television ads. Mobile video ads too are extremely popular and an effective form of mobile advertising today, especially in the case of in-app and native video ads. Live videos especially will see great growth.
2. My mobile strongest: With the 4G entry, increased internet speeds and the 200 million odd smartphone users in India, mobile devices have become a preferred medium to consume content. Mobile advertising is like any other exponential technology and will adorn a large part of the digital landscape in the future. Though it occupies only 4% of the advertising pie currently, it is almost doubling every year – imagine, it could be half of all advertising in about 5 years. Mobile optimization will be a top priority. Over and above the upsurge in dedicated mobile apps, mobile will also be the best medium to consume local and regional content, which most industry players are attempting to ace.
3. Intelligence goes artificial: Been reading all about Chabots lately? Yes, artificial intelligence has arrived, and will see more traction in the next couple of years. This combined with concepts like robotics and machine learning are set to revolutionize digital and disrupt most industries. It will replace the functions human beings do, not human beings altogether. The best part about machines is that once one machine makes a mistake, no other machine makes a mistake! This makes concepts like voice assistants sound last season.
4. The rise of augmented and virtual reality: The possibility of augmented and virtual reality as an advertising format is exciting, since that pretty much increases the screen size to infinity. Apart from advertising, augmented and virtual reality will go more mainstream and create a paradigm shift in all sectors as consumers seek real life immersive experiences. Pokémon Go gave us a flavor of the same, however reflected only a fraction of capabilities of the concept. Imagine falling off a cliff into a large net with the logo of a particular brand, you will never forget the brand after that experience!
5. Data, data and data: Data is the lifeline of marketers – its actionable insights and analysis form the crux of any brand campaign, not just digital. Technologies that can identify customer psychographics, demographics, behavioral patterns, preferences more and more minutely, will rise rapidly. Visualization and interpretation of the data will be an increasing need. If companies tried hard to crack the consumer code last year, they will try much harder this year. Automation will drive digital – as they say, there is nothing like too much data.
6. About the Internet of Things: Wearable technology will keep looking at reinventing itself to solve more problems, change the way we interact with each other and redefine how businesses target its customers. Smart devices will get smarter as consolidation will be the answer to most services. Product experiences will take centre-stage rather than pushing mere features and capabilities. Innovation will be at its best as marketing attempts to get more real.
7. Social media under the limelight: Research shows that a majority of the millions of Internet users in urban India regularly access social media platforms. Personalized content will gain popularity and users will demand real-time information. Brands will be compelled to shell out more monies in a bid to gain increased visibility in the cluttered space given most have turned to social media for their marketing solutions. Also, social media platforms will eventually provide end-to-end services making it more user-friendly.
The biggest trend however, is that we are moving from digital advertising to digital age – where digital will play the role of a catalyst and multiplier for every facet of an organization rather than being limited to advertising and communication.
Written by Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group