4 Hot Digital Marketing Trends To Pay Attention To This Year

You’ll want to pay attention to these key trends if you’re thinking about becoming a digital marketer in 2017.

Marketing centers around anticipating and addressing consumer needs. In the tech industry, marketers must be agile, innovative and hardworking to effectively create growth with limited resources and consistently evolving customer desires. To keep up with this balancing act, today's marketing professionals must always be on the lookout for the latest trends and developments in their field.

Some industry analysts have predicted marketers will see a substantial rise in the influence of Internet of Things and virtual reality this year. Contrary to this suggestion, Brand Watch revealed these trends might not move as fast most people expect. These technologies will continue to develop within niche sectors, but likely won't gain monumental traction on a nationwide digital marketing scale. Instead, here are a few digital marketing trends forward-thinking marketers should start paying attention to this year:

1. Content marketing is still king

Year after year, content marketing has been at the top of industry trends lists. Smart Insights said that more and more businesses are using a strategic approach with their content marketing efforts to increase brand awareness, gain leads and increase conversion rates. According to Smart Insight research, 67 percent of the surveyed companies created more content in 2016 in comparison to the previous calendar year.

Despite this push for content, 58 percent of respondents stated consistent quality was still a challenge. As there is still room for improvement, marketers need to develop comprehensive content strategies, better understand consumer and brand needs, make smart content marketing investments and leverage the power of ROI and analytics to measure tangible results. Speaking of content, here are three strategies from Moz about how to run a successful blog:

  • Be an authority: Thought leadership is the main goal of most content strategies these days. It's not enough to cram SEO buzzwords into short posts and expect to rank higher on various engines. Instead, use your blog to establish your company as an authority in its industry. Your users don't want to solely read promotional blog posts. They want to see that you understand your industry and are doing something unique or better than your competitors.
  • Be intentional with style and tone: Depending on your industry or company, you might get to have a little fun with the style and tone of your blogs. Consider creating a collection of profiles for people in your targeted consumer bases, such as a young millennial in the northeast or a middle-aged mother from the Midwest. Then, write each post tailored as if you were speaking to these specific individuals. Don't be afraid to be funny, snarky, professional or witty.
  • Be aware of post frequency: If you post too little, your blog will become a ghost town and likely won't gain any traction from potential consumers. On the other hand, if you post something new every hour, you might push your users into content overload. Strike the right balance for what works best for your organization. Whether this means posting once a week, twice a month or every other day, keep trying until you find the strategy you and your audience prefer.

2. Mobile needs to get even friendlier

Entrepreneur recently stated that mobile marketing is not a fad, nor is it the future. Rather, mobile marketing is taking the world by storm right at this very moment. This should not come as a surprise, considering average Americans depend on their smartphone for everything from social media to connecting with loved ones to e-commerce. For example, an IDC report revealed 79 percent of smartphone users have their phone with them every hour while they're awake.

In 2015, Google updated its parameters to show ranking preference to websites that offered mobile-friendly responsive elements. Since this time, marketers around the country have been working hard to make their sites welcoming to all mobile users. Then in November 2016, Google announced its mobile-first web index, which will lead to pushes for mobile integration at all levels of a marketing strategy. The fact of the matter is that mobile is here to stay and its influence will only grow in the coming years. Now is the time for marketers to capitalize on this key trend.

3. Move beyond the basics of social media

It's no secret that social media is an integral part of today's digital society. Marketers from nearly every industry have been leveraging the power of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to interact with potential and existing consumers for years. While necessary, the newest trend in digital marketing indicates that it's time to move past the basics and embrace innovative new approaches and tools.

[bctt tweet="Move past #socialmedia basics. Make strategies like #livestreaming a part of your social media plan." username="StartupInst"]

One way marketers can achieve this goal is to use Facebook Live, Instagram Live or other live video streaming offerings to connect with users in real-time. It's one of the latest trends taking the internet by storm and could be an integral part of your social media marketing strategy, according to Brand Insights. For example, instead of tweeting or posting a photo about your product launch, why not live stream parts of the event to get people hyped up?

4. Big data will grow even bigger

The best marketers today are thinking outside of the box in terms of data and analytics. Big data might seem like it's just an industry buzzword, but it offers so much more in terms of digital marketing potential. As big data grows in popularity over the next few years, you need to leverage big data marketing applications to gain key market and consumer insight and conduct predictive analysis.

To put it simply, big sets of data must require segmentation in order for you to analyze and draw conclusions based on these figures. For example, with Google Analytics, you measure how users reach your site, what pages they visit, what they buy, how long they stay on each page and more.

All these singular data points can be important for promoting growth at your organization, but they should not be where you stop. Instead, using all this information collectively can tell you what pages keep your users interested the longest and which ones they might not enjoy. Overall, leveraging big data is not only about having more data, but using it to its fullest potential.