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Guest Column: Top 10 digital marketing trends that will dominate 2017: Sanjeev Jasani, Cheil India

03-February-2017
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Guest Column: Top 10 digital marketing trends that will dominate 2017: Sanjeev Jasani, Cheil India

It’s that time of the year and the whole world wants to know what to expect in the Digital space in the year 2017. Everyone is guessing, so here are my two bits on the subject.

Today the digital folks walk around proudly and finally find a place at the CEO’s table. I would imagine that this will continue into 2017 and marketers will continue to believe the internet space is going to expand further. Data will become very important and that too Real Time Data. And the ones who can draw insights from this will be considered the “Special Ones.”

To make things easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of digital marketing trends for the year 2017 that should be your focus in order to formulate effective digital marketing strategies and online campaigns. I’ve looked at these from an Agency point of view and stated trends that will impact our business directly.

1. Video Ads will dominate

Clients and Agencies will both need to build capabilities to do more video content for the web that is both economical as well as fast to produce. “Take TVC and slap onto Social” will soon be ancient and marketers will learn fast that this is not the way to go forward.

There is an increasing acceptance of video ads among users and, as the trend continues, we may expect different types of video ads popping up on our screens very soon.

Brands like Amazon, Microsoft, Nestle and Samsung are all increasingly focusing in video content to build an emotional connect with consumers.

2. Mobile will dominate the desktop

This is not a new one. We have all been talking about this all through 2016. So expect this to continue. We have seen how Google virtually phased-out all websites not optimized for mobile. As handheld devices grow in our country and more people adopt 3G faster than we think, expect to see desktop traffic fade away.

While building media plans marketers will put more money on mobile and agencies will begin to design mobile first campaigns. Mobile search and mobile optimization will, therefore, also be a top priority for digital marketers in the year 2017.

3. Bots will start making an entry

We will see brands and marketers begin to embrace Bots to help in ecommerce and service. Most social platforms (FB Messenger and Watsapp) will also begin to support it.

The old ways of driving customers to your e-store or retail store will soon begin to fade.  The linear sales approach will become complex and marketers will attempt to close sales at every point of interaction. Bots will help make this possible.

Among the early adopters of bots are travel, e-commerce, healthcare and banking companies, thanks to the repeat value of transactions, the large number of customers and daily use on these platforms.

Flipkart is known to be investing in bots and so are ixigo, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, UBS and ICICI. Lenskart uses bots for order tracking, query logging and assisted product discovery. Healthians.com, a 'test at home' service startup, bots are contributing to almost 12% of bookings that comes from the website.

4. Social conversion is coming

 Enough has been said about the power of social media. In the year 2017, the online communities will not be bound to only company-consumer conversation; instead, they will provide opportunities to improve conversion rates.Social media will work as new conversion channels and offer tools to convert prospects directly into buyers.

Marketers should stop thinking Social=Engagement. They will need to define clear objectives and think how they can use social media to work their ways down the funnel. Social Media Platforms like Facebook have already begun preaching this to most clients.

e-Commerce brands are best known to drive the marketing funnel and use social platforms like Facebook for sales. Of all social platforms in India, Facebook is still the most preferred channel for driving sales.

5. Digital Payment methods will be embraced

We have already seen how demonetization has seen people embrace e-payments and e-wallets. Now expect to see the credit card disappear as well and suddenly appear in a digital format onto your smart phone. Introducing a number of new payment methods like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay that will play a significant role here. Watch out for Samsung Pay as it has brought in a new technology (MST) that seems to be better than the NFC technology used by Android Pay and will work with regular credit card machines as well.

6. Search algorithm will become more complex and change further

With the enormous amount of information being added to the internet every second, search engine giants will keep on updating their algorithm to decide which content should get priority and rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs), and which should not. Therefore, the only strategy should be to remain original, informative, and helpful to your audience.

7. And Online advertising will become more expensive

As we see a growth in digital marketing, we will also see a heightened level of competition for space and dominance over the internet. And as we read in our economics classes, “As the demand rises for top advertising spots, the prices for online advertising will also increase.”

8. Content will be “King”

Content will remain an essential part of any online marketing campaign in the years to come. There will be a huge demand for professional content creators and writers. The key will be to write unique, high-quality, and interactive content that readers can connect with. Agencies will have to look beyond the regular pool of talent to find such people.

9. Real Time Data and Social Intelligence will be gold

Things on the Internet move at lightning speed. Brands that are not listening to and analyzing what their consumers are saying are sure to lose the plot. Using social data to plot consumer decision journeys and personas will help brands become sharper in their messaging and targeting and will help them predict behavior.

10. Growth hacking will continue to evolve

Getting a single view of your consumer will be the next challenge for marketers. Media plans will begin to be formed basis real time data rather than sample data. Agencies will develop new tools to help them to get real time data fed in about their consumers that will enable them to plan better. Keeping this in mind, growth hacking is here to stay and it will evolve further in 2017.

(The author is Head – Digital, Cheil India)

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