Now that 2016 is coming to the end, we’re looking forward to what wonderful things are awaiting in the new year. While most people are focused on an impending Donald Trump presidency, we’re focused on what new marketing trends are going to take hold in 2017. What strategies should we implement to stay ahead in this constantly changing environment?
Here’s a look at 4 new trends we think will become increasing important in 2016.
1. Shared user data & content personalization
We all know this has been coming for years, and is already here to a certain extend. We only see stories that we frequently engage with on news sites already, and the next logical step is applying that in much more meaningful ways to online marketing strategies.
Rather than using it for their own pursuits, companies that are acquiring this data can sell it and apply it to other traffic sources. The sale of custom user lists and cookies could be a growing market in 2017. No longer is it going to be simply targeting “single males from 22-28”. It can be targeting “single males from 22-28 that read science articles but not politics articles, have purchased protein powder in the past but don’t like cardio, and are likely to click on celebrity relationship news and fantasy football but has no interest in movies”. The kind of data that is becoming increasingly available will allow marketers to target users extremely well, personalizing content, advertising, and incentives to individual users.
Sooner rather than later, cookie data might contain information like the kind of incentives users are most likely to make a purchase after seeing. Is she a “buy 2 get 1 free” girl, or does she prefer “free shipping”. Different people have different preferences, but in the future marketers will know the preference and not bother with the other ones.
2. Endorsements and sponsored placements
Celebrities have been doing things like this for decades, and now celebrities are taking it online and getting paid millions to tweet or Instagram a product. Years ago, celebrities were the only ones with the following to do this. But now, lots of people have a bit of a following. The larger the follower base (of actual, real, engaged followers), the larger the influence. Influence has been an online metric for a few years, but as SEO continues to get more difficult and social media expands, opportunities to advertise directly with people of varying popularity should increase.
3. Supercharged Analytics
We love data. Have forever. It helps us create great campaigns, measure results, and make better decisions. BUT – its always been limiting. In some cases, it’s possible to get too tied to cost/conversion or cost/lead data and lose sight of the other positive benefits from such advertising. We’re missing that branding value, the reinforced marketing message of an impression, and even the long-term value of a customer. With session-based data, we focus on the short-term and what we can measure.
As data collection improves, our ability to take a bigger picture look at things improves. Cross-device conversions are coming along, better CRM systems that help us better understand the power of a brand advocate, measuring the long-term value of a customer, or even the value of someone engaged via social media. With so many online touchpoints, value and funnels can get very confusing. The next generation of analytics should help us start to incorproate this data into our decision-making and better understand the true value of our marketing efforts.
4. Data Science and Automation
Speaking of the mistakes mere humans are susceptible to in our short-sighted pursuit of ROI, better data models and automation will continue to take over. The better the data coming into these models, the more accurate it’s going to be. The more accurate it is, the better chance it’s going to outperform someone sitting behind a desk looking at a few numbers trying to interpret them and make good decisions. Those decisions are going to be made at a higher, strategic level, and then the computers will test the legitimacy of the ideas and optimize from there.
It’s a bit terrifying of course, but we’re getting to the point that there’s too much useful data for us to be able to take it all into account. The magic of information and statistics will allow us to loosen the reigns as they take into account a more complete picture of performance, self-optimize, and automate a lot of marketing tasks in effective ways.
Welcome to the Future!
Agree? Disagree? What do you think is going to gain importance in 2017?