With every new year brings new innovations, technologies, and trends.
Marketing is no different.
In 2016, we saw mobile marketing, marketing automation, social media advertising, and search engine marketing take center stage in the marketing world. And while there’s plenty of companies that are still yet to adopt these growing strategies, for savvy marketers, these tactics are commonplace.
So what marketing trends will 2017 bring with it? Let’s look at three of the trends you should keep an eye out for:
1. Instagram Business Growth
Instagram now has more than 600 million users. Its user growth is also accelerating over time. According to Business Insider, “Between 2014 and June 2016, Instagram’s user base grew at a rate of 100 million new users every 9 months. Since June, user growth has accelerated by 33% as the platform has welcomed an additional 100 million users in just six months.”
This is great news for businesses in 2017. Not only can companies take advantage of this massive user growth by advertising their products and services on Instagram, but as of 5 months ago, businesses can now create business profiles on Instagram. These Instagram Business Tools include business profiles, promoted posts, analytical insights, and campaign targeting and delivery tools.
Additionally, this year Instagram added two more key features to the platform that businesses and individual can take advantage of. In August, Instagram unveiled their Instagram Stories feature, which, similar to Snapchat, allows users to post still images and videos into a story that disappears after 24 hours. In November, Instagram announced that it was launching a new feature that lets users send disappearing photos and videos, a core feature of Snapchat. They also now allow users to live stream videos within the Instagram app.
While most of these features aren’t brand new, Instagram’s innovation and rapid user growth have now proven to businesses that it’s a platform worthy of their ad dollars and social media effort. Look for businesses to shift their focus away from social media platforms that are showing stagnant growth, and invest more of their money and time into Instagram.
2. Live Streaming
Speaking of Instagram’s new live streaming feature, in 2017, live streaming will continue its rapid growth. A recent report by Markets and Markets predicted that the video streaming market will be worth 70 billion by 2021.
In a way, many businesses were already live streaming their content offerings with webinars, but now companies can live stream on all sorts of platforms, including Facebook, Youtube, Periscope, and now Instagram. Just a few days ago, Twitter announced that it was introducing a live 360 interactive video streaming option; a feature businesses will surely take advantage of in the new year.
Live streaming allows companies to show their current and future customers inside looks at their businesses, by streaming events, behind-the-scenes areas, interviews with employees or clients, Q&A’s, new products, training seminars, and content offerings similar to webinars. Look for more social media platforms and businesses to focus on live streaming in 2017.
3. Virtual and Augmented Reality
2016 brought us our first popular example of augmented reality – Pokémon Go. In July of 2016, Pokémon Go took over popular culture and has since been downloaded more than 500 million times. While it’s tech received mixed reviews upon release, it was immediately praised for promoting physical activity and increased foot traffic for local businesses.
In September of 2016, Pokémon Go started rolling out sponsored Pokéstops, allowing local businesses to highlight their physical location and directly advertise their businesses to Pokémon Go users. In 2017, look for augmented reality products to continue to grow alongside business integration.
While the concept and limited technology of virtual reality have been around for a few years, similar to augmented reality, VR broke into the commercial space in 2016 when high-end VR headsets were produced by Sony, Oculus, and HTC among others.
Unfortunately for VR, its growth hasn’t quite exploded yet. According to research firm Canalys, by the end of 2016, 800,000 PlayStation VR units were expected to have sold, along with about 500,000 HTC Vive and 400,000 Oculus Rift headsets. To put those numbers in perspective, Apple sold 3.3 million iPhones during the first six months of its availability, and 11.4 million the following year. While the iPhone clearly had more everyday use potential and cast a wider user net, those in the VR space are hoping headsets will be much more commonplace than they currently are.
There are multiple reasons for the slow adoption of VR headsets. The first is pricing. Headsets run from $400 to $800 and generally require a powerful computer to operate (generally upwards of an additional $1000). The second is that the technology isn’t mature enough for the masses yet. The general public is usually slow to adopt most new technologies, and VR is no exception.
As VR tech becomes more advanced and accessible to the public, businesses will be more intrigued to take on advertising and content opportunities. Expect virtual reality to achieve stronger user growth adoption in 2017, leading businesses to focus more of their marketing efforts on this still adolescent space.
So what should my business’s marketing focus be in 2017?
There will certainly be more marketing trends in 2017 than those mentioned above, and many businesses will be stretched one way or another in different marketing directions either by money, interest or both.
For most businesses, including likely your own, it will be important to analyze what marketing channels your business is already participating in, what’s working and what’s not working, and what strategies have a high potential of getting you more leads and turning those leads into customers.
At Kaufer DMC, depending on your business model, our advice would be to either stick with or get involved with proven marketing tactics such as marketing automation, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and content creation. If you’re interested in any of these services, get in touch with us today.
Happy new year!
Written by Luke Severn
Luke is the marketing program manager at Kaufer DMC. He loves the Arctic Monkeys, David Fincher movies, and the Portland Trail Blazers.