The digital marketing industry never slows down. The growth channels, marketing strategies and customer acquisition tactics are constantly evolving. The steady rise of social web has given birth to several new channels and formats to reach out to the target audience.
Although the basics of marketing remain the same – creating a unique message, understanding your target audience, knowing where they hang out – a marketer has to constantly acquire new skills to learn and understand the consumption patterns that keep evolving over time.
For example, 51.9 percent marketers worldwide named video as the type of content giving the best ROI (Adobe 2015). Cisco predicts that by 2020, video will account for 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic.
While 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers (HubSpot 2016), this channel may not work for everyone. I reached out to 8 digital marketing experts to know their predictions for the most effective growth channel for 2017. Here’s what they say:
Harnessed the power of Snapchat's custom geofilter capabilities
Snapchat's custom geofilter capabilities to provide our clients massive engagement with negligible upfront outlay says Andrew Medal of Agenta Beta.
So what is a Snapchat geofilter?
A Snapchat geofilter is an image that overlays a Snapchat image or video. The overlay filter can have a company message or logo, and when used, provides an opportunity for an exponential amount of Snapchatters to be exposed to your company.
The real opportunity...
The real opportunity lies in the fact that geofilters are still in their infancy, and early adopters can reap the benefits of a network that boats of one hundred and fifty million daily active users and over ten billion video views. Additionally, most brands have not yet figured out how to use geofilters in an effective way, which leaves even more opportunity for the right minded marketers to use other brands followings by creating geofilters with their company name, and promoting them during competitor events.
With rumors of an IPO 2017, Snapchat may still be the next public tech behemoth, but massive marketing opportunities still exist in its still evolving product life cycle.
Video will be a phenomenal growth channel for 2017
An amazing year comes to an end, with mobile numbers sky-rocketing, viral videos breaking the internet, organic reach nose-diving and content marketing becoming mainstream. If this year saw the rise of online video, 2017 will see the explosion of video content on tiny mobile screens says Aashish Chopra of Ixigo. It’s raining videos everywhere, from Facebook news-feeds to family groups on WhatsApp. NASSCOM estimates India to have 700 million smartphones by 2020, and 2017 will see the curve climb north, with majority of those consuming video content. With 4G expected to become the norm, we’ll be getting a lot more videos in our news-feeds. More than 50% of mobile data is already dominated by videos and this trend will see sharp rise next year.
Facebook is planning to add a dedicated video tab in their apps in a major redesign, aiming to become the home of videos on the internet. That’s just Facebook, YouTube is paddling hard to stay relevant, new platforms like Snapchat are right at the border and LinkedIn has jumped in the race with native video for B2B. For me, this year videos came full circle, from just being conduits of branding, to impacting ROI. Just this year, we experimented with share-worthy videos, which reached millions (one almost broke the internet), drove massive app downloads, and even had impact locally, where a viral video increased footfall and enquires at a local restaurant.
With eye balls migrating to tiny mobile screens and time spent on social rising by the year, video will be a phenomenal growth channel for 2017.
Videos via YouTube to top 2017
Video will be one of the highest growth channels in 2017 says Chirag Kulkarni of Taco. Whether you are using Live Video or generating content on YouTube more consumers will be utilizing the channel than ever before.
Behavior-based email marketing
Digital marketing in 2017 would be all about segmented & behavior based email marketing. As consumers subscribe to more brands online, the volume of emails hitting their inboxes has only gone up in the past one year. This has resulted in higher unsubscribe rates and lower open rates. Consumers will not pay attention to your email if it is not useful for them says Deepak Kanakaraju of Digital Deepak. The best way to combat this would be to segment your email list based on consumers’behavior and send customized emails that are targeted to specific sets of customers.
For example, if a customer is browsing pages on dual sim Android mobile devices on an e-commerce store, a follow-up email with the best deals on Android devices would make much more sense to this internet user than a general offer email with all the best deals. When consumers notice that all the email communication they receive from a brand is relevant and useful for them, they will pay attention, stay subscribed and take action on the emails.
In my opinion, 2017 will be dominated with viral marketing. Content marketers should plan for at least one viral content every month. Every viral piece helps in accumulating the social signals that boosts branding and traffic. Even google looks at number of social shares when ranking articles in search engine.
The organic growth would be impossible without investing into viral content in 2017 says Pardeep Goyal of CashOverFlow. I am not planning video marketing for my personal finance startup Cash Overflow. Last year only 4 articles went viral - 30 days in Goa, 50 days in Thailand, My Income Report, replacing an out of warranty Kindle. I will invest my time in publishing at least 10 viral articles in 2017.
Usage of visual content to drive traffic and leads
Over the last two years, videos have been picking up slowly to be a part of digital marketing strategy of many businesses and I’m of an opinion that video content creation & distribution (to the right audience) will be one of the most effective growth channels in the coming year.
I had been writing on and off in 2015 that 2016 will see quite a lot of usage of visual content to drive traffic and leads, but from what I have observed and seen in the last couple of months, it appears to be a very strong area that a bunch of businesses will focus more on says Prateek Dholakiya of E2M. In fact, at E2M we plan to invest a good chunk of our marketing budget of 2017 to create and distribute video content.
Videos not only helps you convey your message very clearly in less amount of time, but also connects the audience with the brand very easily. In this digital age of virtual reality, the audience want to spend less time on reading but more time on doing. And as it is rightly said "a picture is worth a thousand words but a video is worth a million”.
Content marketing and inbound marketing will continue to grow in 2017, but the important thing to note is that content alone is not the king says Prateek Shah of Digital Defynd. It is distribution in fact which is the king because great content that doesn't reach out to the right people doesn't mean much. Marketers need to focus on spending right, upping their email marketing game and stop focusing on random traffic from SEO and similar activities. We've had enough buzz, now let's start concentrating on conversions.
In my opinion video marketing as a part of content marketing would be a popular and effective inbound marketing channel in 2017. Long form content and infographics are still popular content choices, however with low attention spans, video marketing is becoming the best bet for users on the run says Taru Bhargava of AppVirality.
Which growth channel are you going to use in 2017? Would love to hear your views in the comments below.