Marketing Predictions for 2017

As I am involved heavily in some pretty large online marketing campaigns, I can definitely start to see trends for what is about to happen next year in online marketing – and thus create some actionable marketing predictions for 2017. Feel free to use these predictions as you shape your planning for campaigns, and I’d love to hear from you  – what do you think?

Within each section I break down my thought, and then how you can use it to win online.

Video Advertising Will Be King

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this one come through. Video advertising, regardless of ad-network, continues to explode. Facebook has been in some hot water recently  based upon its most recent disclosure about exaggerating ad video views, and it’s important because of the amount of money going into video advertising, and the strategy set forth at Facebook.

Facebook’s most recent investors call, on 11/2, Mark Zuckerburg, states,

“One way we’re putting video first is through Live video on Facebook. Since May, the number of people going Live at any given moment has grown by four times — and people have gone live from all seven continents and also from outer space.

Another recent example is Instagram Stories, which we launched in August. Instagram Stories is a lightweight way for people to share moments of their day through photos and videos that appear in a slideshow format and disappear after 24 hours. Stories now has more than 100 million daily actives. We also improved the Explore tab in Instagram to include more videos and Stories — and it has 100 million daily actives now as well.

In addition to making it easy to share video, we also want to make it easier to capture video. In most social apps today, a text box is still the default way we share. Soon, we believe a camera will be the main way that we share.”

There you go. Video first focus at Facebook. This will literally affect the world’s consumption of video and advertising. I foresee another video-focused acquisition at Facebook, or significantly more penetration into other apps like Instagram and WhatsApp. Remember, Instagram advertising really started to take off this past year. I’m excited to see what happens in 2017 on that platform.

How You Can Win in 2017:

Video advertising *needs* to be an integral part of your marketing campaigns – no matter how simple or how small the budget. People are starting to reduce attention on image/text ads, and on Facebook these things will evolve quickly to be video first.  I expect to see video in the right hand column’s on desktop within Facebook, and I expect to see video advertising make its way into Google’s SERPS soon.

It doesn’t cost a fortune to make video ads – you can simply use your iPhone. Or a graphic animated video with a voice over. It will however, take time to produce a great ad – unlike whipping up a quick text/image ad.

Additionally, start getting used to metrics around Cost per View, Video Views to 95%, and Audience Retention, and proving campaign ROI using these metrics.

VR/Augmented Reality Will Be HUUUUUGE – But Not Profitable Yet

Pokemon Go was just the beginning in 2016. The app itself was bloated, slow, and consumed a ton of battery power. But the bigger picture is that this was the first taste of Augmented Reality in reality. While Microsoft continues to work on its HoloLens, I believe that Apple and other app developers will start to enable some truly amazing new technology around augmented reality. We also see that Main Street business is ready to get behind this – as we saw with “PokeStops.”

Imagine with me, that you walk into a coffee shop, and your phone alerts you to coupons available to use right then and there. You can literally point your phone at the wall and swipe a coupon. Or perhaps the major coffee chain next door has a green path arrow on the ground  showing you where you can get a better cup of joe for an even better price.

Another monetization idea is possibly selling e-downloads and educational materials. What if you could sell someone a virtual or augmented reality on how to change the oil in your exact model car for $10?

Or,  what if you need to administer some sort of emergency care – but your phone could show you where to poke, plug, or hold?

Apple’s next iPhone – is very early rumored to be supporting more augmented reality capabilities, and the current iPhone 7 Plus is rumored to be the gateway allowing this to happen with its dual camera setup. Tim Cook has said on multiple occasions that VR is kind of the next big thing.

How You Can Win in 2017:

We are on the cusp of making this a reality, and an entirely new channel of advertising. I think we’ll have to wait for some native apps and API’s to come preloaded on the next version of Android and iOS, which should realistically happen in 2017. Once this happens, get ready for a rush of advertising, games, and development that will make this a totally new way of distribution, advertising, and education

Goodbye Desktop SEO

This isn’t so much as a prediction as a new reality. Google has announced that it is now indexing mobile first  websites. This. Is. Huge. Expect to see web designers and SEOs alike scrambling to tell you to get your website up-to-snuff in mobile design. If you are an SEO or web designer, expect to be busy :). Besides being responsive, your site should be mobile optimized – think of all the nerdy stuff like HTTPS, image optimization, UI/UX, and new types of CTAs for mobile.

Additionally, to push user friendly design they are now penalizing things like welcome matts (Thank goodness!). Will Exit Intent be next?

Google has been pushing mobile for awhile, but this change, I believe, caught everyone a bit off guard. I expect to see more mobile first ranking factors come to play, like time-to-first-byte, DOM loading time, and portrait vs. landscape.

How You Can Win in 2017:

You or your client’s websites need to be designed for mobile first – desktop second. If your website is more than a year or two old, you really should start diving into some of the newer technologies like image SVGs, optimized images, new CTAs, and the latest in CSS/HTML5. As most browsers are now auto updating (Microsoft Edge being the exception) you can  STOP worrying about IE 8, and start designing for today. Focus on speed. Focus on Schema, and structured data.

Attribution is Getting Easier, and More Creepy

Google has been caught behind the 8-ball with attribution and multi device tracking. Facebook has persistent pixels and tracking all over the internet, and likewise can tell that YOU are the one browsing the web on your office computer and your cellphone at the same time – thanks to you being signed in at Facebook and logging in via your app on your mobile device. What does this mean for an advertiser?

Instead of targeting users of a particular demographic, it can target specific users. Yes, you specifically. If I am looking to get people within a certain demographic, once you show some interest on your desktop at the office, I can show you the same campaigns on your cellphone and tablet. And it’s narrowed to you, the user, which is why you typically see the same stuff over and over and over again. Or, if I upload a customer list (email addresses), I can literally show you ads as you visit websites within my business category. It’s all creepy, but totally legal.

Google has started doing some remarketing lists but it’s still pretty far behind FB’s massive lead. Ever log into Chrome itself? This is Google’s attempt to do the same stuff as Facebook but a bit more broadly. And their recent privacy change is a pretty clear sign that this is the direction its business is going. So much for “do no evil” :-P.

If you’re really looking to get paranoid, check out “passive listening” articles. Facebook, and other apps are starting to listen to you. And with the invention of Alexa, Google Home, expect this stuff to continue.

How You Can Win in 2017:

There isn’t much you need to do for this one. Expect Google and Facebook to be duking it out to try and provide you the most accurate data as they explore their attribution and available advertising channels. I think that the voice ecosystems are still a bit of a ways off for advertisers, but if you have products on Amazon make sure they are “Amazon Optimized” so that if someone is trying to order your product, more likely than not it will be fulfilled with your product.

Brands, Brands, Brands

There isn’t much to this one. Just something you need to be doing, now.

People are getting more familiar with brands. Instead of searching for “Golf Products” people are heading over to GolfSmith directly. You need to be working on your brand through all of your advertising campaigns.

Be sure to make your brand stand out – for something. Whether it is your logo, story, or , marketing campaigns, you need to stand out and make your brand memorable. It will help with SEO (you should show up as #1), but it will also help put together a compelling memory for your customers. Remember, every interaction with a customer is an interaction with your brand. Work with your fellow teams to make sure your brand is being represented as you’d like to win in 2017.

So There you have it, my marketing predictions for 2017

What do you think? Have I missed anything ? Let me know.