Internet marketing is an ever-changing game. What works one month may not work the next, and certainly what worked one year will likely not work the next.
There are some exceptions, some mainstays that continue to produce results. For example, content is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it only seems to become more important to marketers as time goes by.
Looking back at the Internet marketing summary for 2016 can help you understand how digital marketing has changed, as well as where it is going. Here’s our look at the past year in digital marketing:
Everybody from big brands to your college roommate started using Facebook Live more this year.
Marketers explored ways to use Facebook Live to connect with more of the social giant’s huge audience base. Some of the most popular options included coverage of industry events like conferences and conventions, interviewing experts and industry leaders, showing a behind-the-scenes look at the company, and demonstrating how to use a product.
Tutorials were also popular options.
Since video is only growing in importance for digital marketing, we can expect to see even more live video in 2017. Live video will help brands stand out from those using traditional video in their marketing, and it gives them new ways to engage users.
Facebook and Periscope are the popular services for live video, but we wouldn’t be surprised if new services were introduced in 2017.
Ad blockers cost brands billions of dollars in 2016, and marketers scrambled to find ways to get around this popular software to reach audiences.
Native advertising became a popular solution for beating these tools. Native ads show up like editorial content, so they were able to elude detection in many cases, while also providing a higher-quality user experience for site visitors.
Tools like In-feed from CodeFuel were introduced to help brands get better placements for those native ads to get more leads and sales. In-feed’s algorithm looks at user intent signals to go beyond simply what people are searching for to try to determine what they really want and need. The platform then automatically inserts ads that are specifically selected for individual users.
Native advertising will continue to be a successful strategy for 2017, and both advertisers and publishers can use In-feed and similar tools to drive more revenue.
Mobile search users now outpace desktop search users, and the numbers are only expected to go up. Eventually, desktop users may become as hard to find as flip-phone users.
Brands made a big shift to mobile marketing. They signed up for Google’s accelerated mobile pages. They started overhauling their SEO efforts to rank in the new mobile-first index. They started investing more in mobile advertising.
Those who were behind the curve started actually creating their mobile only websites.
Mobile will continue to be big in 2017 and beyond. If you did not keep up with the trends in 2016, you will need to work hard to catch up in 2017.
Messaging has always been an option for brands to connect with users on social media, but chatbots were introduced in 2016 to give brands a new and improved way to engage users.
Chatbots were introduced specifically on social media, and they allowed brands to create miniature digital assistants for users to engage with companies in a limited way. For example, chatbots could be created to answer some of the frequently asked questions about a service. Or they could be created to guide people through the ordering process.
We expect to see chatbots grow in use in 2017 and to expand their offerings. They are just the tip of the iceberg for artificial intelligence and customized marketing.
Everything from virtual reality headsets to personal home devices were introduced in 2016, and they presented new options for digital marketers to reach consumers or to harvest data.
These new devices sent marketers scrambling to brainstorm ways to advertise and connect in these new spaces. Though no trends emerged as far as marketing with these devices, work was begun and should start to produce industry standards in the coming year.
Brands also looked at ways to collect more of the data retrieved by these devices to create more effective online marketing strategies for these users.
2017 will continue the work accomplished in the last year, and it will see the evolution of the new technology and marketing strategies introduced in the last year. Now is the perfect time to study the past year in marketing and to start developing your 2017 strategy based on the lessons we learned and the priorities we identified.
You should also review your own marketing efforts and the lessons learned from them to inform your strategy for the coming year.