Believe it or not, it's right down the road. Like any good marketing department, forecasting your budget for next year is probably underway and you're spending time looking into how and where your spending should go.
As a digital marketing agency, we see just how flexible digital spending can and should be, but there are a few key areas that we expect to continue to grow. Implement these methods into your marketing now and stay ahead of the curve.
If you keep up with our blog, you know that we've recently added video production to our roster of digital marketing services - and for good reason! Video gives you an immediate connection with your client and allows them to interact with you before stepping foot inside your business.
Relationship building is a key component of customer loyalty. It helps customers feel connected and wards off any anxiety they feel about shopping somewhere new, or walking into a business for a first time. Videos from your business can close the gap between cold calls and new business and allows you to share your services or products from your perspective.
We look for video to continue its massive growth and for other avenues to integrate video components. Websites and apps, social media, testimonials and training documentation will all benefit from video, as well as traditional marketing like digital billboards, product guides, brochures and traditional online ad space.
2. Immersive Technology
On average, it's said that you have about 8 seconds to catch the attention of someone with your marketing message. Likely, it's when they’re scrolling along a newsfeed or timeline, hopping onto a site to search for a specific item or while they're multitasking their day. Even more likely, you have less than 8 seconds (Or 5 if we’re talking YouTube ads) to capture attention and keep it.
Powerful storytelling that captures audiences can be done in several ways. While long format videos are great on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, short attention-grabbing clips are more in style with popular networks like Instagram and Snapchat. In 2014, when Instagram flooded the market, capturing moments in one still frame was powerful and immersive. When the network started allowing other forms of media to post is when we really began to see just how important immersion is. Apps like Boomerang, Giphy, or Hyperlapse allow you to create small snippets of video that tell just a bit more story than a still picture, but allow users to consume content without disrupting their day.
For your business, don't be afraid to try new tactics with immersive media. Tell your story in a series of small videos via Instagram Stories, or have fun using a Boomerang of a customer experience inside your store. Gifs are a great way to connect emotionally with clients and help share excitement, sarcasm and fun. Put in some planning efforts to think about how to best use these apps and how they can strategically help your business. Think about how you can produce content that brings your customers in and lets them be a part of the experience.
We see immersive technology taking on a bigger role in marketing, with short, digestible pieces of content that do more to connect with the audience.
In 2016, there was a big push for retargeting. Facebook began allowing their Facebook pixel to capture the attention of people who have been on your site, or added to an email list, and Google became more intuitive in retargeting as well.
Lately though, there's one term that we keep hearing about: RLSA. Short for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, RLSA is helping businesses with small budget get more results. Remarketing only to people who are familiar with your brand or have recently been on your site cuts out the “cold call” marketing, and serves as a good way to reach people who left your site without converting. Applied to broad terms, it can help a business save money and get more qualified leads during a Google search.
For example, say you’re a retailer that sells a specific type of high-end product. Typically, buying AdWords to reach searchers who are looking for that specific item would cost a lot of money, because there’s branded competition as well as competition from all of the other retail stores trying to reach those searchers. With RLSA, you can target customers who are searching for the product, but who’ve already been on your site. This means they’ll see a brand they know and trust offering the product they’re searching for - and that could translate into BIG conversions!
Among its benefits, RLSA reduces ad spend, and is helpful in bringing cost down on super competitive terms, especially if your site has high traffic and low conversions or a long sales funnel. Look at the terms that aren’t converting, but receive high traffic and test those keywords with RLSA. This will allow your marketing dollars to go further with more qualified leads.
4. Instant Articles
If your brand regularly publishes content, you’ll want to spend a bit of effort in 2017 to become an Instant Article provider in Facebook. Instant articles require a bit of technical setup, but allow your blog or newsroom's RSS feed to be hosted directly on Facebook.
For your business, this means that when you share an article on Facebook, an HTML5 based document will pop up, loading in that page immediately - no worries on load time or improper rendering on the user’s device. A pre-designed template will pull in all of the photos and content from your blog.
The analytics component of Instant Articles is also well thought-out. Facebook provides their own set of analytics on views, reads, etc. but allows you to install codes or tags, like Google Analytics, that keep the analytics tidy with your current site, so we can see all traffic in one place. Anyone can sign up for an Instant Articles account and we think it will be a better way for businesses to share their content.
5. Smart Design and IoT
One of the biggest (and maybe our favorite) trend of the new year will be advancing marketing through smart design, which includes beacons, augmented reality and new levels of the Internet of Things, including Physical Web.
The common factor to all of these things is a smartphone. It’s amazing to think back to the first smartphone, and how revolutionary it was to our internet usage. Fast forward to today and we’re doing things like Apple Pay that allow us to leave our wallets behind and tap the card reader to execute a transaction. Like I mentioned in the second item on this list, we believe it's the immersion and experience that a customer received that make components like the Internet of Things and Physical Web so desirable; it enables us to do more in less time and in a more convenient way.
Beacons and augmented reality are an innovative way to bring a business or retail experience to a one-on-one, personal level. While many stores rely on big store signage to reveal a sale, businesses, attractions and public facing organizations can use their apps to push notifications directly to a customer as they enter their location. This not only provides a feeling of exclusivity and excitement, but gives a level of personalization that can’t be found anywhere other than through their smartphone - an object a person typically uses more than 70 times in any given day.
How Speak is using these trends in 2017
This list isn’t written just as an article to fill a blog post; these are actionable trends that we’re including in our own marketing for 2017, both for the Speak brand as well as clients.
In addition to standard marketing objectives, we’re looking at how we can push the needle further for our clients, and are always looking at what’s ahead and how we can get there. We look forward to implementing Instant Articles into our own branding, as well as for our clients that are producing great content for the masses, and we’re testing RLSA ads out with some of our PPC customers currently. As we’ve mentioned before, videos, beacon management and augmented reality are all levels of service we are currently providing to clients, ranging from local attractions to national-scale tourism organizations.
If you think that your marketing could benefit from one of these trends, we’re happy to help explain them in detail, and partner with you to bring these ideas to life.
Let's Talk 2017