Industry insiders are expecting advancements and initiatives that will push the fields of web design, digital marketing and online branding to exciting new places. How will these developments impact small business owners and creative professionals? We asked our seasoned experts to share their insights on this question.
One thing that everyone agrees on is that content marketing will continue to be a powerful strategy for promoting brands and companies online. Unique, relevant, high-quality content should remain the number one priority of online marketing projects. When you create a website, when you post images on Instagram, or when you distribute email newsletters to your followers, always put the content first.
Augmented reality marketing
Virtual Reality has long passed the stage of pixelated flight simulations. VR, or in its more sophisticated incarnation of Augmented Reality, is now penetrating the business and marketing fields and slowly reshaping consumer experience altogether. Like many other recent developments in the industry, the proliferation of smartphones was crucial to the spread of AR as a household experience. Pokemon Go is the most famous example of how Augmented Reality apps have integrated into phone users’ lives, but that was just the beginning.
Brands like Ikea are eagerly tapping into the hype, and for-price apps are being created that offer services like finding your car in a parking lot. Not to mention the accessory sales that AR is generating. We can’t wait to see how this evolves further.
Live video streaming
Facebook is responsible for many pathbreaking developments in online branding and marketing, and while it was not the first to work with live video it definitely is behind the current expansion of video streaming in content marketing. The combination of live videos and social media is especially appealing to brands because it invites viewers and clients to participate in the event more actively.
We can attest to the power of this medium from first-hand experience. When Wix launched the ADI Platform, we chose the use live streaming to announce and demonstrate the powerful capabilities of this tool. With this broadcast, we were able to generate real buzz, engage our followers and expand our reach to new audiences. Since then, we have used live video on various occasions and we’re planning many more fun broadcasts for our followers.
Forget about mass marketing. It’s time to get to know your audience better. Like, really know them. Behavior-based marketing begins with the collection and analysis of data. Based on this data, marketers and branding experts devise customized promotion strategies that appeal to potential customer on a personal level.
While the idea itself is not necessarily new, it is the advancement of technological means that continues to push this trend forward. The ability to aggregate extensive knowledge based on social media use, online purchases or app downloads is getting more nuanced. It is this mechanism that allows advertisers to target very specific audiences through Facebook promoted posts, or that helps site owners to enhance their visitors’ user experience and offer them more relevant information.
Social beyond Facebook
Facebook is so Gen Y. Now that Gen Z is leading the way, new platforms are rising up and shaping online consumption habits. Snapchat is now a top choice for teens and young millennials, making it a particularly interesting scene for companies and celebrities. Without a doubt, Snapchat’s format of expiring content is going to push branding and marketing methods to new areas. BTW – Are you already following Wix on Snapchat?
In addition to Snapchat, more social platforms are emerging and appealing not only to youngsters. Live streaming tool Periscope (now owned by Twitter) is also gaining great traction, by utilizing the hype around live video content. Whatsapp has been around for a while, but only recently did the chat app become appealing to marketers. Other platforms will surely break through, but will they be able to challenge Facebook the way Snapchat has?
With Fitbit successfully positioned as the soulmate of millions and Snapchat’s own Spectacles predicted to be a Holiday Season bestselling gadget, the market of wearables opens up great opportunities for startups. Smart textiles, connected shoes, monitoring headbands are captivating consumers’ imagination and challenging marketers to find new ways to utilize these technologies. How will this come to play in 2017? Our analysts recommend to keep an eye on the meeting point between wearables, Augmented Reality and inner-app purchases.
Localized mobile marketing
When mobile marketing was making its first steps, simply having a mobile presence was enough for brands and businesses to reach the public on the go. Now, with the market becoming even more competitive, creative refining is key to standing out on the mobile web. One aspect where this creativity can really make a difference is localized mobile marketing.
Take, for example, coffee app Cups, which is currently active in several cities across the US. Knowing that coffee culture and consumer culture in NYC, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Nashville differ significantly, they approach each location with a customized marketing vision. Or consider how Sephora used geo-fencing to target the author of this blog post and remind her that she has an unused gift card just as she was walking near one of their locations.
Vertical display videos
They are finally here! Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube have all recognized that vertical video displays on mobile phones is more popular with users so our social feeds are increasingly becoming more friendly for the vertical scroll.
Why does this matter for online marketing? First and foremost, data shows that users play videos longer and more choose to play them with sound when they can play them vertically. Additionally, a larger, non-cropped vertical display will simply help videos look much better. These videos will be able to tell a better story, and therefore be more effective in branding.
Lead follow-up, customer retention and personal interactions are essential marketing methods that yield definite results. But they require attention to details and can be very time-consuming, especially for a small business with a tiny staff and full to-do list. Marketing automation emerged to address that problem directly and to streamline daily marketing tasks by activating a pre-designed set of actions.
Wix users are already familiar with marketing automation from our ShoutOut platform for email marketing. The smart actions available through ShoutOut send automated emails in response to a set of triggers. For example, a user just subscribed to your newsletter? An automated email will greet them on your behalf. A new member account was created on your site? A welcome email will be sent automatically.
An excellent example of automated marketing that is expected to have a huge impact in 2017 is the use of chatbots. Chatbots engage with your user and client base on your behalf to provide service, information and guidance. Having your users converse with Artificial Intelligence may sound strange, but the fact is that chatbot technology is advancing so rapidly that users have much to gain from the implementation of these services.
While human reactions cannot and should not be replaced entirely, chatbots can save both businesses and their clients precious time and efforts. The future is now, folks.