With the new year upon, we’re likely to see a myriad of changes that will affect both B2B and B2C players online. Below we’ve selected what we consider to be the top 2 trends. For each one, we’ve listed what we consider the main takeaways for marketers and businesses who aim to stay ahead of the game.
1. Content Marketing.
Content has been digital marketing champion for a while. As such, we’re quickly reaching a point of attentional saturation. Customers are bombarded with so much content, that it’s often difficult to find a diamond in the rough. For this reason, we are likely to see different mechanisms that separate signal from noise in the content we encounter.
Initially, there was so little information online that any published text was valuable. Soon thereafter, a great deal of information became readily available. Thus, the formating (images, colors, fonts, etc.) and the organization of the content became increasingly important. This gave rise to search engines and the field of User Experience. Going forward, as the content evolved with richness by virtue of infographics, HTML5, videos, responsiveness, etc., the clutter also began to obstruct more and more. Current trends in content marketing involve removing this clutter. There are two ways to accomplish this. Both methods will continue to grow in popularity through the duration of this year.
First, Content Personalization – content should be perfectly tailored to users’ profile and past behaviours. With tracking advancements, websites have access to users’ data on an unparalleled level. Combining this data with complex algorithms (e.g. a Netflix-type of recommendation engine) or simple heuristics (if you clicked on ‘donuts’ once, I’ll show you lots of donuts everywhere) allows marketers to target users with content that is much more relevant to their interests. Not only do these efforts boosts engagement, but they also create a better experience for users that have grown tired of distracting content with click-baity titles. We’re likely to see a lot more content personalization even for smaller digital players. Technological availability means that tools that were once only used by companies like Amazon can now be used by smaller websites.
Second, Marketing Apps – instead of injecting a heap of content on a website, an increasing number of companies opt to provide a much more personal experience by creating content-focused applications for their users. This not only provides better user experience and allows for deeper engagement, but it can also feed much more precise data to the personalization algorithms we mentioned before. So, rather than just knowing that a website visitor spent X amount of time on a certain page or scrolled over a button, an app can tell marketers the user’s location, connection to various WIFI hotspots, etc. This data can be used for more personalized and immersive user experience. This can be taken to an even higher point using technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, which immerse the user completely and blur the lines between your online and offline reality.
2. Big Data.
This buzz-word has been around for a while. It is quickly becoming a hinderance. Although people use the term ‘big data’ to mean ‘lots of knowledge’. In most cases, the term more closely resembles ‘a chaotic mess of data’. The upcoming trend will involve using big data to the extract actionable knowledge from the data. Given marketers’ frustration, we’re likely to see a lot of people begin to delve into data analysis using automation tools. Hopefully, this will provide consumers with more relevant choices and less annoyance.
The main factor that will affect the evolution of Big Data during 2017 is likely to be the ease of use of analysis tools. Although we’re already seeing some tools which allow for automated analysis, they’re still largely limited to those with at least rudimentary technical skills. As solutions become more and more user friendly, marketers will jump on the opportunity to translate data points into empathy for their customers.