Digital marketing and advertising are important tools for reaching customers in the modern age. However, finding success can prove to be a real challenge thanks to the shifting landscape and changes in the way consumers interact online.

It is important that you understand the challenges before you create your strategy so that you have a plan for overcoming them. Otherwise, you may flail for months or years without understanding why you aren’t getting the results you want with your campaigns.

Here are some of the biggest challenges your campaigns are likely to face in 2017:

Cyber Security

Hackers and spammers are becoming savvier every day. As soon as we figure out a way to block the latest attack, they figure out a new way to get in.

Not only are hackers and spammers a threat to your own site, but they also make users more wary of your marketing. Many hackers have used ads and other marketing to target people. They get users to click on the ad and download a virus, or they offer a seemingly legitimate service that turns out to be a scam.

It is important that you use software that keeps your site and your ads free of spam and malware, and it is important that you create ads that look trustworthy. Strong brand marketing can help since customers will recognize your name and feel confident in interacting with your content. However, you also need to create ads that have relevant and authoritative content.

The Internet of Things

For consumers, it’s great that we are moving toward the Internet of Things. It allows people to keep all their information in one place and to make shopping and conducting business easier.

Some of the latest developments include smart watches, home robots, virtual reality headsets, and virtual assistants.

These technologies are emerging quickly, and marketers barely have time to keep up. Brands have not taken full advantage of these technologies for marketing or advertising because they are so new.

How do you advertise in virtual reality? What does marketing look like on a smart watch?

These are the kinds of questions that need to be answered – and quickly – in order to stay relevant in the quickly changing internet landscape. Brands must not only stay aware of the latest technologies and changes, but they must also be prepared to adapt to them and use them for their gain.

Multiple Channels

Even if you stick to just the Internet, there are so many new channels being introduced that it’s hard for marketers to keep up.

Just look at Snapchat. It started as a novelty for young people, and brands largely ignored it. Now it’s being used by everyone from small businesses to the president to try to reach consumers.

Brands will need to have a system in place to identify new channels immediately and to quickly evaluate them to determine if a strategy needs to be put in place. You can’t be on every channel, but you also shouldn’t be that business that waited too long to get on Twitter.

This means having a team in place whose responsibility it is to conduct ongoing research and to identify new channels and trends. If you don’t have this in place, you need to do so this year.

Focus on the Customer

Marketing and advertising efforts have always been focused on the customer, but with the proliferation of data available, there has been an increased need to personalize these experiences as much as possible.

It’s not enough to create material for an audience profile – you need to create it for the specific person who is looking at your blog post or ad.

You’re not a psychic, so how on earth do you do that?

Fortunately, there are many tools that make this challenge less difficult. For example, CodeFuel offers In-tag to help you put the right content in front of the right reader at the right time. The software relies on user-intent signals that get at what the user is really looking for, based on things like sites visited and behavior on those sites.

You may not be able to ask each person who visits your site what they really want, but In-tag can discern the answer for you and deliver the appropriate content. You end up getting more engagement for that content because it is being shown to only the users who are most interested in its message.

Eventually, more tools will be available that will help you get those kinds of results for all your marketing and advertising efforts by making them more personal to the individual user.

It is important that you stay aware of your challenges as a marketer so you can develop a strategy to overcome them. While the online landscape changes so quickly that we may have new challenges in just a few months, these are some challenges we know are important right now, and developing a strategy for them will get 2017 off to the right start.