As 2017 ends, an important thing to keep in mind is the trends that have risen this year, especially if you are looking to capitalize on new successes in the coming year. The following list compiles some of the top trends of the year, explaining what they are and why you should keep them in mind.
Before this century, all buying decisions were made in-store. We only bought things we could physically touch and try on. Now, we have the internet, phones, TV and physical stores to contend with. Purchases that used to be a one-stop buy are now decided ahead of time after we’ve interacted with businesses in a variety of ways first.
This is known as “omni-channel” marketing. It focuses on providing a seamless purchasing experience across as many channels as possible to reach the target audience. For example, you might see a new product in a television commercial, research it on your mobile device while sitting on your couch, order it on your laptop, and then pick it up in-store. By using omni-channel marketing to your consumers, you can assure them that what you’re offering is what they need in a variety of ways, spelling more success for your business.
Shared experiences can shape our perception of a product. Our opinion of a product and the enjoyment and value we get from it doesn’t just come from our personal contact with it. How we perceive a Mac computer, for example, is influenced by what we know about its brand, Apple.
Spotify’s internal creative team’s “Thanks, 2016. It’s been weird.” campaign played on the idea of shared experience. The Spotify team used the entirety of their user data to generate funny headlines for the campaign, including:
- “Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day, what did you do?”
- “Dear person who made a playlist called ‘One Night Stand with Jeb Bush Like He’s a Bond Girl in a European Casino,’ We have so many questions.”
People see this, and some want to check out the business that is getting personal with its customers, and some want to get in on this personal action. Regardless, such a quirky and fun advertising campaign certainly sparks interest.
Agents for Social Change
While advertising influences our behavior as consumers, it also has the power to shape our aspirations and reinforce our values. Social media has prompted companies to shift away from delivering monologues to engaging in conversation, transforming the relationship between brand and buyer. This dynamic has made brands more human in the process as they focus on creating conversations about shared values, and combines principles found in both omni-channel marketing and personalized advertising.
Always’ SuperBowl ad, which went viral before it even aired, doesn’t reference feminine hygiene once. Instead, it focuses on the issue of female empowerment and the question “What does it mean to do something ‘like a girl’?” By approaching the advertisement from this angle, Always draws the main attention away from them by taking a stance, but draws attention selflessly back on the brand by standing as an agent for social change. Not only can a brand gain more customer loyalty from this type of advertisement, but it can also attract new customers that are invested in brands that share their alignment on issues.
Brand over Product
Outstream videos might not ring any bells to you right now, but 77% of digital advertising agencies have already reported that it is going to be critical to their client’s success in the years to come. Its sudden rise in popularity is because of the increasing internet users being annoyed with obstructive videos on the sites they’re visiting.
So what exactly are Outstream videos? They’re a new type of ad format that allows publishers to show video ads outside of actual players (i.e. in text line breaks or on the corners of a web page). This provides better user experience for the user as they are no longer forced to watch ads before they can access the main content or during their access of the main content. This means that they’re more likely to watch the entire ad, rather than wait 5 seconds to skip the ad and not remember anything at all.
WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger are already outpacing the world’s biggest social networks, and some experts predict, with a little help, they could even outdo search engines. This improvement comes in part from chatbots — customer service agents introduced to Facebook’s messenger platform earlier this year at the social network’s F8 conference. Since then, 18,000 bots have already been developed to help brands offer streamlined, individualized service through chat. Chatbots are software applications that mimic written human speech for the purpose of simulating a conversation or interaction with a real person.
Early adopters have seen some success with these bots, and people are spending increasingly more time in chat apps like messenger and WhatsApp (around 2.5 billion people use at least one messaging app, and by 2018 that could grow to 3.6 billion). Since Facebook recently loosened their restrictions on sending promotional content via chatbot, now is a good time to rethink how chatbots might fit into your marketing strategy.