2016 was the year of mobile experiences. It was the year when the visual experience online went video. Social platforms, brands and consumers evolved this year and completely changed the approach and methodology of human-bot interaction. The audiences were awestruck by every platform innovation and a large percentage of us took the lead to be the early adopters. From Facebook live videos to Instagram stories to massive mobile optimization to social commerce, 2016 saw the digital world turn a year wiser.
While platforms will continue to evolve in the coming year and mobile first will no more be a choice, here are the trends that we foresee for 2017.
Digital First – The Norm
The consumers today are a different breed all together. Their choices, actions and behaviours are governed by the digital world. Yes, they are distracted but they are also perceptive, mysterious, indefinable and proudly self-absorbed. And the reason why most of the brands fail to strike a chord with them is because the brands are still mainline driven. 2017 will change this. CMOs will have to pull up their socks and start thinking the digital manifestations of their marketing activities (even if the CMO himself comes from a 25 year mainline experience). And in doing so, they will start adopting ‘Digital First’ strategy. Brands will start sparing a thought or two about the digital manifestations of their TV ads and outdoor advertisements before conceptualising and producing them. ‘What reaction will this ad garner on social media?’ – this will become the fulcrum of every decision taken in the war room.
Collaboration with competitors is an absolute No-No in the mainline advertising industry and hence the same extended itself to digital when it all started. But digital is changing. 2016 saw minor glimpses of it, but 2017 will put an end to closed competitive economies. The coming year, we foresee brands going bold and fresh in their approach and embracing the concept of collaborative ecosystem. This will allow them to package their overall content marketing initiatives in a new light. “It is all about creating collaborative ecosystems. Win-win for all involved!”– this will become the mantra for 2017. The one space that has leveraged this concept well is the big old, Television. From celebrity integration to cameos, this space looks like a pretty happy frame of Modern Family! The latest example of this would be the coming together of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to help curb the spread of extremist content online. The companies will create a shared industry database that will be used to identify such content. Come 2017 and brands and businesses across will move towards this.
Stealth Marketing vs Direct Promotion
Brands will move from ‘generate immediate sales’ strategy and focus on generating interest and excitement first amongst the target audiences. This will help them make their consumers more receptive to direct advertising in the later stages. 2017 is going to be all about ‘non-obvious’ ways of marketing. Advertisements won’t be advertisements anymore. They will become more about integrated campaigns and the whole process of a simple article linking to a contest, further linking to the brand ambassador, leading to the product. Sounds complicated? Well, this web of integration will become the norm for businesses in 2017. And it would be the epitome of seamlessness because the core of this would be experiences and stories instead of frivolous engagement. A brilliant example of stealth marketing would be Sony Ericsson placing 60 actors in 10 major cities posing as tourists and asking people to click their photos using T68i and not a camera. It was one of the first companies to produce a cellular phone with a digital peripheral camera. This was in year 2002. 2017 will force brands to take such different routes and be innovatively disruptive.
Influencer Marketing With Attached ROI
“True influence drives action, not just awareness.” 2017 will stand true to this statement and it will turn out to be the year of influencers. Word of mouth marketing will move on from the realms of recommendations from friends and family and join the influencer marketing circuit. The focus will shift from celebrity endorsements to ‘aamaadmi’ who has decent social followership in niche market segments. Brands will leverage them to spark organic conversations. Within this, return on investment would be measured and analysed. Influencer marketing in 2016 is a buzz word and is being done by brands to ensure they don’t look dated. 2017 will change this as brands will be able to quantify the influencer engagement activities.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” The world of social media is at the threshold of substantial revolutions and the coming year is going to be a fun-filled ride for brands, businesses, consumers and agencies. Well, one thing is for sure, social media isn’t going anywhere. This is just a sweet beginning. Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.