There are seven digital marketing trends to look out for in 2017. It is no surprise that all of these trends show up on Twitter and Facebook.
Each of these digital marketing trends carries with them their own challenges. And each trend also falls within three progressive stages: content marketing, visual content marketing, and interactive visual content marketing.
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Content Marketing Trends
1. True story: Content marketing is still the dominant digital marketing technique.
What it means: Stop focusing on paid search marketing.
Via Smart Insights.
Content marketing ruptured the industry in 2005, but now, it has become all-encompassing.
Content is the crucial element for all digital marketing strategies. As you can see from this smart insights graph, it outranks Online PR, Social Media Marketing, CRO, and SEO.
Consistently “publishing great content creates authority and opens up opportunities to build a glowing backlink profile.” This is part and parcel of why quality content always leads to good Online PR, Social Media Spreadability, SEO, and CRO.
2. True story: The top three priorities for B2C Content Creators are creating more engaging content, creating more visual content, and effectively measuring their results.
What it means: Companies face many challenges when trying to engage audiences on the merits of quality content. Why?
- Everyone competes for the same content
- Attention spans are getting shorter
- There are problems accurately showing ROI or ROE (return on engagement)
- There are problems with content consistency
- There are problems with becoming a Subject Matter Expert
- There are problems with creating a Branding Voice
Many of these challenges can be met and resolved with VISUAL Content Marketing.
Visual Content Marketing Trends
3. True story: Facebook posts with images still perform better than posts without images.
What it means: In fact, Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without. Engagement equals likes, shares or comments.
Adding images to the following FB business-posting formulas should easily increase your likes, shares, and comments.
Here are some types of Facebook images to drive engagement:
Solving a Problem, DIY
“My [Activity] Must Have ____”
“Like for [Option1] Share for [Option 2]”
“Remember when [old fad/tradition]”
4. True story: Tweets with images still get more engagement than tweets without images.
What it means: While Facebook is the dominant B2C social media platform, Twitter is the dominant B2B social media platform for sales reps.
Yes, Twitter, not Linkedin. While some research would put them neck and neck on some aspects, others place Twitter ahead.
All of this indicates that Twitter engagement is one of the most preferred networking tools for companies.
Vanessa DI Mauro, CEO of Leader Networks, says “I like to describe Twitter as the bar after work–where you keep your tie on but loosen it a bit, and LinkedIn is the conference room in the corporate office.”
If you continue to post and retweet valuable expert information, you’ll connect with like-minded professionals. Twitter is ideal for following news, driving traffic, and even finding new talent.
This is also an ideal place for posting visuals like infographics.
5. True story: Infographics are performing better than any other type of content.
What it means: Infographics work for several reasons:
- We suffer from information overload
- 90% of info transmitted to our brains is visual
- They can tell visual stories
- They make use of the Picture Superiority Effect
- Infographics go viral
In fact, studies show that infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content.
As powerful as visual content marketing is, it too is posing a major marketing problem for brands.
Interactive Visual Content Marketing
6. True story: Visual UGC (visual user-generated content) is more engaging than brand-produced photos.
What it means: Visual UGC has become a major challenge for brands using visual content marketing. With the rise of Web 2.0 came an increased discomfort with customers and audiences being interrupted by outbound-billboardish content.
Brands often make consumers feel broadcasted to, instead of like prosumer participants in an on-going conversation.
There are some tricks of the trade that companies have used over the years:
- Photo sharing contests
- Hashtags and photo sharing contests
- Brand mascot remixes (The Dos Equis Meme is probably one of the best UGC examples)
Another way to break through what Walter and Gioglio call the over consumptive age of “infobesity” is with the power of visual storytelling.
Sachs suggests inadequacy marketing is dead and the 4/17 Pepsi ad all but confirms it. Instead of making the product/company the hero we should be placing the customer [not the brand] as the hero of said story. This helps to give consumers that same sense of ownership that they would otherwise get from UGC.
But how can brands consistently create compelling content that use images, videos, presentations and other visuals on social media platforms? How can one craft, as Gioglio says, a graphical story around “key brand values and offerings”?
Two words: interactive infographics.
7. True story: The demand for interactive content is increasing.
Tim Berners-Lee always envisioned the Internet as an interactive community. Web 2.0 was always the goal.
According to Kissmetrics, engagement is an all-important method for building brand affinity: “Building brand affinity leads to building the relationship that leads to building trust that leads to building sales that leads to building business.”
What it means: This means moving away from static ‘Web 1.0’ content pages and towards interactive ‘Web 2.0 and 3.0’ content.This shift addresses consumer concerns such as:
- DIY solutions
- Answering search queries
- Having fun [social gaming]
- Having a journey and answering questions [social gamification]
Interactive infographics can address all of those concerns, engage us with story, and create lead nurturing.
“Interactive content enables users to personalize and participate in the content presented to them. By helping consumers see themselves in the brand’s experience, the technique offers the potential to deepen engagement and drive greater satisfaction.” – Jodi Harris
Here are some excellent examples of brands using engaging content:
The Brand: R2D3 is an experiment expressing statistical thinking and interactive design.
The Question answered: What is Machine Learning?
The Journey: The interactive infographic takes us on a journey through the dimensions of data mining like features, predictors and variables.
Lead nurturing: They end with their Twitter handle and a notification button so you’re alerted to their next post.
The Brand: Inc.com
The Question answered: What are the fastest growing private companies?
The Journey: This infographic takes you through a three-year journey of the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S.
Fun Trivia: It evens brackets out what industries grew the most and which ones remained stagnate.
The Brand: Google Chrome
The Question answered: How did the Web Evolve?
The Journey: You can explore the infographic from two perspectives: the growth of the Internet as a whole or by looking at individual browsers and technologies.
Lead nurturing: Google Plus offers you the ability to give it a plus 1.
The Brand: Fathom
The Question answered: What are the health and economic challenges in New York?
The Journey: This poverty tracker guides viewers through the struggles toward wealth and health. You view this journey based on education, gender, age, and/or ethnicity.
Lead nurturing: There’s a call to action for sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
Digital Marketing in 2017: Conversion Through Conversation
Within these three progressive stages–content marketing, visual content marketing, and interactive visual content marketing–we see seven digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2017.
Marketing is all about conversion through conversation. But the focus is no longer on brands talking at the world; rather, it’s about listening to what the world is already talking about.
Interactive and visual content marketing has the ability to engage with this conversation at every consumer and prosumer touch point.