As 2016 draws to a close (and about time too, some might say) here’s a look at 3 ways digital marketing will change in 2017.
Digital marketing, and social media work in particular, is constantly changing. Predicting what comes next is a very hard thing to do with any certainty. But based on my experience, here are three trends that mean digital marketing will change in 2017; trends that that should not be avoided.
1. Video content
This is without doubt the obvious candidate. Here are some fact (which come from a recent Buffer survey of people who work in social media):
- More than 60% of marketers already use video as part of their work
- More significantly, 73% wish increase their video content
- 50% plan to use live video on platforms like Facebook live
This is understandable. A platform like Facebook gives more attention to video content, and will put it in front of a larger audience than they will more ‘traditional’ content such as text, photos or links. But neither will this last forever. Strike while the irons hot; now is the time to join the fun.
Having said this, for most people who create digital content video content is difficult to create consistently to a high standard.
In the survey I refer to above, 83% of marketers said that they would create more video if there weren’t so many limitations on their time and resources.
The answer to this is to decide now what your priorities for video content will be in 2017. Stick to one thing and do it well. Choose one platform (YouTube or Facebook Live for example); it makes it easier to focus your energies in one place. Do not try to be everywhere and spread your efforts to thinly.
2. The Evolution of the algorithm
This will be much more subtle change for social media users, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in particular. But it will have a profound effect on what people will see it in their news feeds and social streams. Content creators will have to think carefully about the value of the content they offer to consumers.
The Facebook algorithm has changed a while ago – and the owners of Facebook pages have already seen their content reach less and less of their audience organically. This is what is starting to happen with Instagram and Twitter too.
What does all this mean? In essence, an increase in the power of Facebook, Twitter and Google to determine what is displayed to users. And an increase in their ability to charge money to put your content in front of users. This is often dubbed ‘decluttering’, or ‘showing only the most relevant content’.
This, I think will have the most far-reaching impact in how digital marketing will change in 2017. It will be quite a challenge to respond to this, and you must be ready to respond in your digital content strategies.
We’ll need to create more unique content, hosted the servers of the big tollkeepers. They will therefore become more influential…
3. Each platform will need to be treated as a unique website
Social media is commonly used to drive traffic to your own website. And it is often felt that your website must host everything independently. So social media is in a way an appendix to your own independent website.
But because of the ‘toll gates’ that are raised between content and audiences, this is not going to be enough in 2017.
You will have to treat your Facebook page, your Twitter or Instagram profiles as individual destinations in their own right. You will need to think of these as just as important as your website. Consider what unique you can offer on each platform.
It is very likely that fewer and fewer people will come to your website in 2017. When they come, it will be to do a task which they cannot do elsewhere. Google and Facebook will pay more attention to the content on their platforms instead of links to other websites. Think about the things that have to be on your website, and what things are better being offered on social media or blogs or elsewhere online. Unless each platform has its own unique and valuable content, and lives independently of each other, a lot of your efforts will be in vain.
Embrace how digital marketing will change in 2017
That’s my opinion on what challenges we, who work in digital marketing in 2017, will face.
2017 will be the year in which we will have to create less content in general, but to create more unique and well-crafted content, whilst focussing your efforts on the important platforms for you.
Are you ready?