2017’s Digital Trends: Where Are We Now?

20 July 2017

Our Digital Marketing team weighs in on some of the biggest trends for the rest of the year, and how they'll affect your brand.

While we’re still reeling at how quickly the last 6 months have passed, this is a brilliant chance to examine some of the digital marketing predictions that experts have made for 2017, analysing how far we’ve come this year, and how far we still have to go.

It’s also the perfect time to look at new trends that have emerged over the year, and the new opportunities they’re offering brands. As 2017’s online experiences continue to grow and develop, our Digital Marketing experts bring you 5 game-changers that will define digital marketing for the rest of this year.

Social Trends: Live Media

While Facebook Live was first rolled out to the public in early 2016, it’s this year that live media has really come into its own with new tools making services such as Facebook Live and the Twitter owned Periscope easier to use and engage with.

February 2017 saw YouTube’s answer to the increasing live streaming phenomenon, upping the game for brands seeking to engage with their consumers in real time. With influential YouTubers jumping on the bandwagon with real-time unboxing videos, this is also an ideal time for brands to do some powerful PR and get their products seen.

Facebook Live’s coverage of the UK Election in June, in partnership with Buzzfeed, reached 2 million viewers, proving that live video could be the ideal way for brands to interact with a millennial audience. The coverage used Facebook’s reaction emojis to its advantage, conducting polls across the show, and asking people to show their preference by clicking on an emoji.

This kind of direct real-time involvement allows marketers to create a sense of dialogue with audiences, making live media a powerful weapon to add to any brand’s social marketing arsenal.

PR trends: Combating Fake News

"Present your brand as an authoritative thought leader via verified stats, commissioned research or customer testimonials."

This May, Facebook announced measures to counter the growing trend of ‘fake news’ permeating social media. By using algorithms to identify misleading articles, the platform has started to weed out so-called ‘clickbait’ articles, with phrases such as “You’ll never guess what…” in the titles, and has suspended tens of thousands of fakes accounts that have been set up to spread false news stories.

In a world of viral social media stories and dishonest media, PR can be a tricky terrain to navigate. Referred to by plenty of different names, misleading media isn’t actually a new thing - and it won’t be going away anytime soon. The key to riding this fake news tidal wave is establishing trust with your audience.

Honesty is always the best policy, and if you can present your brand as an authoritative thought leader via verified stats, commissioned research or customer testimonials, you’ll be sure to Trump any alternative facts out there.

Email trends: Video-first

Video in email has always been the equivalent of waiting in line for over an hour to get into your favourite club, only to get to the front and be told 'no one else can come in'.

In previous years, we’ve recommended that clients avoid emailing videos, unless they enjoy hanging out in the junk folder. Nonetheless, our top prediction for email marketing in 2017 is… video in email.

Video outperforms images in nearly every other channel in terms of engagement. Let's face it, it's just easier and more enjoyable to digest a snappy video in this fast paced digital world - imagine opening up your email and seeing live feeds from your favourite celebrities and sports personalities, or being able to view the weather at your next holiday destination via a live beach cam.

Since releasing iOS 10 in June 2016, Apple - which receives more than a 53% share of email opens - supports HTML5 across email clients. This could be a game-changer for the way we think about sharing video, allowing brands to excite subscribers and increase conversions.

Technical trends: Dashboard plugins

Analytics and the data science behind it is in a renaissance period currently, as the business world becomes more and more technologically advanced.

Most businesses make use of a variety of services for social media, paid advertising, customer relationship management and other technical tasks. The humble spreadsheet has handled the burden of comparing data from disparate systems well over the year, but businesses need more agility if they’re to compete in modern markets.

Enter services like Google’s Data Studio and Microsoft’s Power BI, offering scaling real-time dashboards that easily plug into pretty much any other service you care to imagine. Analytics dashboards and business intelligence aren’t new areas, but up until recently they’ve been the reserve of enterprise-level tools like Tableau - meaning enterprise level pricing structures.

The current trend is seeing these tools fall into the hands of even the smallest tech-savvy businesses, and the learning-curve to properly implement them is becoming far easier.

Design trends: The death of stylisation

The last few years have seen web design moving in the same Scandinavian direction as interior decor, defined by clean layouts and minimalist concepts. While this elegant simplicity has captivated clients across industries, it seems that 2017 has hit peak minimalism.

Designers such as the colourful Kate Moross are heading up a visual backlash against overly-stylised design, championing a less constrained canvas for brands to illustrate their messages upon.

From the brutalist layout of Moross’s own website to Camille Walala’s primary-coloured pavilion installation in London’s Broadgate, the biggest names in design are reverting to a basic yet playful look, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

Digital consumers can expect the unexpected as bold web designers jump on board this rising anti-trend.

What’s next?

How will our predictions play out over the next 6 months? Only time will tell, but we do know one thing: whatever the next big digital trend is, our marketing team will be one step ahead of it.

Get in touch to find out how your brand can take advantage of all the ‘next big things’ in digital.

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