Ring Out the Old Ring In the New!

As 2017 rapidly approaches let’s take a look at some of the major impacts on digital marketing during 2016 and predict how things will develop during 2017.

2016 has been the year where the benefits of using multichannel marketing have emerged in a number of different ways. There is a constantly growing range of different marketing channels available to marketers today, and it is essential to have a digital marketing strategy that includes a variety of different channels that you expect your customers to use.

According to a survey conducted by Lewis PR back in June 2015, 84% of senior marketers are either using or planning to develop a multichannel strategy, perhaps in the recognition of the fact that multichannel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers!

Fundamentally, the benefits of using multichannel marketing are that you must be where your customers are and they are everywhere! The chart below – from Global Web Index – shows that an increasing number of customers regularly use more than one social media account and that this trend continues to grow.

In addition to social media, the two other main potential touch points that customers will interact with you are search engines and mobile. Here are six of the ways these three touch points have developed in 2016 and that as marketers we need to be aware of as we move into 2017:

  1. Search results display ads

    This year Google removed the right-hand bar from the SERP and now only displays paid ads at the top and bottom, giving better focus to the displayed ads and making the layout more adaptive to mobile.
  2. Mobilegeddon

    First introduced back in 2015 – see our blog MOBILEGEDDON: WHAT THE FU*K HAS GOOGLE DONE TO MY WEBSITE?! – Google’s mobile-friendly ranking system has been further strengthened during 2016. It enables SERPs to differentiate between sites that are and are not optimised for mobile and penalises sites for being unfriendly.
  3. Split Search Indexes

    In October, Google announced it would be splitting off desktop and mobile into separate search indexes and mobile would be its primary index. This gives additional impetus to the need for marketers to make mobile a priority in their digital marketing strategy and to increase their spending on mobile marketing in 2016.
  4. Increasingly Visual Social Media

    Across all the major social media platforms there is a rapidly growing trend for more multimedia content. Not only are the visual social media platforms – such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat – growing in popularity and usage, but the more text-based platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are increasingly integrating visual elements such as video, GIFs, images and even live streaming.

    To optimise the benefits of using multichannel marketing in 2017, the skilled use of visual social media is essential.

  5. Use of Social Media for Marketing

    In the 2016 Marketing Trends Survey the top five performing networks for social media marketing efforts were listed by respondents as:

    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    3. LinkedIn
    4. YouTube
    5. Instagram

    Again, the sites with visual elements are gaining ground in terms of marketing. It is interesting that in terms of growing a following, according to the 2016 Social Media Inflation Index Instagram is winning the race as a social platform for brands to grow their following, with a median average of 6-8% follower growth month on month.
  6. Increasing integration of ecommerce and social media

    This is important. To date, social media has been viewed as a channel for building up brand awareness and interest rather than making direct conversions. But all this is changing! There has been an increasing overlap between social media and ecommerce, leading social networks to start driving more revenue by integrating ecommerce features into their platform.

    Take, for example, new developments such as Facebook Marketplace, the acquisition of Famebit by Google/YouTube and the incorporation of Buyable pins into Pinterest’s business profiles to see some examples of this trend. Not only does this lead to more direct conversions but also heralds a subtle mind shift in consumers, which could move the goalposts of social marketing strategy as consumers are increasingly open to purchasing when using social media.

So as we approach 2017 do bear in mind the above factors and incorporate them into your digital marketing strategy. The one to watch in particular is the closer integration of ecommerce and social, which is a significant shift with the potential for huge impact over the coming year. Make sure your strategies are positioned to maximise the benefits of using multichannel marketing in 2017, and may it be a good year for us all!

Author: Robert Walker