Top 11 Digital Marketing Trends To Look Out For In 2017

By November 17, 2016March 17th, 2021Blog

There’s always something new stirring up the constantly evolving word of digital marketing. From the wide pool of emerging trends we’ve pulled put a few that will rule the roost in 2017.

Marketers have always stayed abreast of new technology and innovation to adapt to the changing needs of the consumer. With a rapidly-evolving digital marketing ecosystem, they also need to constantly revisit their marketing strategies to incorporate new online channels, which have made it possible for them to share their message with the consumer in diverse ways.

To stay ahead of the curve, here are the top 11 trends marketers need to keep an eye on in 2017

1. Content Marketing

The need for engaging and relevant content is now more than ever. Content has to be inspiring and it has to connect with the target audience. According to the Digital India 2016 study from Indian marketing technology company Octane Research, 72 per cent of Indian marketers considered content marketing to have an impact on raising brand awareness, while 56 per cent revealed it helped them to engage new audiences.

Image source: Octane Research’s Digital India 2016 study

When compared to traditional marketing, content marketing generates three times as many leads.

According to the 2017 B2C Content Marketing Trends – North America study by the Content Marketing Institute, 40 per cent of B2C marketers said their organizations have a documented content marketing strategy.

Image source: Content Marketing Institute

In the same study, 73 per cent of marketers revealed that they planned to produce more content in 2017.

As digital advertising becomes more personalized and as companies strive to improve their communication with their target audience, content marketing will evolve and play a key role in marketing strategies in 2017.

2. Social Media Marketing

There are ample opportunities for growth in social media marketing, provided marketers know which platform works best for their audience. The Digital India 2016 study also stated that 67 per cent of 450 Indian marketers revealed social media helps them engage effectively with their customers, and 61 per cent said social media boosts traffic.

Image source: Octane Research’s Digital India 2016 study

In fact, social media marketing remains the most popular online marketing activity for the sixth consecutive year.

Image source: Octane Research’s Digital India 2016 study

A great example of social media marketing would be Ariel India’s #ShareTheLoad ad campaign that addressed the challenges women face globally; being successful career women while balancing their responsibilities as wives and mothers. The ad film went viral globally on social media garnering more than 50 million views in just 50 days.

3. Mobile Marketing

Mobile is growing and continues to be an important channel for brands and consumers. Apps are equally popular and messaging apps are slated to be the next big thing. According to Yahoo’s Flurry Analytics, 90 per cent of time spent on mobile is spent on apps. This 90 per cent figure is key insight as brands decide whether to create apps or restrict themselves to mobile-optimized websites. These insights do have implications for mobile advertising.

In another study titled the State of Mobile Commerce 2016, apps were found to convert three times more product viewers than mobile web. Thus, the potential impact of mobile on the digital marketing ecosystem shouldn’t be underestimated.

Users are sharing all types of content using messaging platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat. WeChat, for example, allows millions each month to play games, bank, book cabs, schedule doctor’s appointments, conduct video calls and more. This makes a huge amount of relevant data available to marketers who can then tailor their mobile ads to suit their target audience’s needs.

4. Chat bots in marketing

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Bots are sophisticated software applications able to mimic human behaviour in an almost invisible way. The best example of a bot is a chatbot, which has suddenly become the coolest thing in technology.

Consider this: you open up a chat conversation with a movie bot and ask it questions regarding movie timings, seat availability, movie ratings, etc. You would never guess that you’re chatting with a bot and not a human. If chatbot platforms become successful, they can redefine how brands sell their services. Instead of the customers browsing aimlessly on an app, the bot can ask for their criteria and help them find relevant products and disperse personalized news suited to their interests.

5. Big data

Big data and predictive or real-time analytics have a big role to play in how marketers predict and analyze customer behavior. For example, with access to big data, marketers can create customer personas that ensure their digital marketing efforts are geared towards a specific type of buyer.

Big data today is not confined only to the Internet. For example, stores are amassing data on their customers’ visits and purchases every single day using cutting-edge technologies. With this kind of data available to marketers, the opportunities for growth are limitless.

6. Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to change marketing in complex ways. Every new technology is going to find its way into the hands of the consumer, which means that their interactions with a brand are going to change dramatically and rapidly. Thanks to AI algorithms, machines will be able to replace humans in several occupations, even marketing. Google Assistant and Facebook’s digital assistant are already making waves on the digital landscape, so the AI trend is definitely one to watch out for.

7. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to be a game-changer for digital marketing considering consumers are rapidly become more accepting of advanced digital technologies. Globally, brands are largely accepting and using the VR trend; finding new ways to develop content that can provide immersive experiences to their customers. For example, one can add depth to a 360o video by using the Google Cardboard or a VR app.

In India, Tata Motors came up with a unique idea to promote their new car Tiago by providing a free VR set with the April 12, 2016 edition of The Times of India, accompanied by a four-page ad supplement. Readers had to download the Tiago Virtual Drive app and then view the ad on the VR set sent with the newspaper.

8. Augmented Reality

While VR creates a completely immersive experience for the user, augmented reality (AR) integrates the digital world into the user’s real life providing a much more enhanced experience to the user. For example, the globally popular Pokémon Go gaming app allowed players to engage with their real environment using their mobile devices.

Along the lines of Pokémon Go, British fashion retailer Topshop partnered with Microsoft Kinect to create virtual dressing rooms powered by augmented reality allowing customers to try on their purchases without having to visit a store. They were able to see themselves in a 3D version of the garment.


What this means for digital marketing is that brands can utilize AR to integrate the digital world into the real world, thus creating unique interactive experiences for their customers.

9. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution has opened up many more digital channels for marketers to keep track of. With data available in such volume, marketers have to now figure out how to analyze and use this information more efficiently. As more and more devices become connected, IoT will allow data-driven marketing by providing real-time customer data to brands. Brands will also be able to analyze customer buying behaviors across platforms and interact with them.

10. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation adoption is set to grow as companies come up with different ways to automate certain marketing activities. With a marketing automation platform marketers will be able to schedule emails, manage content, track the lifecycle of their customers, and much more. This trend highlights the need for marketers to spend their time on more important tasks, like creating engaging relevant content for example.

11. Gamification

The idea of integrating game mechanics and game design techniques into your marketing plans is to encourage customers to engage in real-time conversations with your brand in an entertaining way. Gamification can help increase brand and customer loyalty, boost product purchases, store visits, etc. For example, if you’re hosting a live event, you can conduct contests where users can click photos and share them across social media by using a common hashtag.

Your brand can then incentivize the process by rewarding the user, who has shared the most photos across social media.

According to eLearning Industry, the gamification industry is expected to reach $5,500 billion in 2018 with the biggest market slated to be North America, followed by Europe.

Image source: eLearning Industry

With new technologies and trends emerging in the digital marketing ecosystem make sure your brand stays ahead of the curve when developing your 2017 marketing plans.