2016, we are SO over you! As we say goodbye to a year as cringe-worthy as Mariah Carey’s NYE performance, we take a look at six digital trends to get you excited about what’s in store for 2017:
#1 Influencers Rule
Influencers will be crucial for brands looking for ways to break through the clutter online. Although influencer marketing isn’t new, with the rising popularity of influencers on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, 2017 will be the year they dominate advertising and brand endorsements. Not only do influencers increase brand visibility by leveraging their built-in networks, they help build genuine relationships and earn consumers trust. Despite new FTC guidelines, which require influencers to label sponsored posts with #ad or #sponsored, we predict these disclosures will become the “new normal” as consumers continue to embrace influencer marketing.
Stats Don’t Lie: 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals over brands, even if they don’t know them!
#2 Rise of the Chatbots
No, this is not the title of a new Michael Bay movie. Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence (AI). Chatbots allow brands to have more personalized exchanges, providing the one-on-one engagement consumers crave. While the technology is still being refined, people are already interacting with chatbots using Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa. This year we anticipate more uses of chatbots to help resolve customer service issues, answer common questions, and complete transactions. Chatbots will not only make customer support faster and more efficient, but they take us one step closer to Westworld being a reality.
Stats Don’t Lie: More than 1/3 of people prefer social media over calling customer support.
#3 Go Live or Go Home
As millennials demand authenticity and transparency from brands, social media platforms look to deliver a solution via the rise of live-streaming. Although Periscope paved the way, Facebook and Instagram Live have not only made live-streaming mainstream but have proved live video content has higher engagement then any other content format. Live video helps connect users to brands in the moment, in an unscripted, unedited, and genuine way.
Stats Don’t Lie: Live video gets 3 times the amount of engagement as pre-recorded video.
#4 It’s About to Get (More) Real
2016 saw Virtual Reality (VR) headsets take off—in fact it was one of our trends last year—but what we overlooked was the rise of Augmented Reality (AR), many thanks to the success (and craze) of Pokémon Go. Unlike the fully immersive nature of VR, AR involves overlaying visual objects and information on top of the physical world. Recently, Snapchat launched Spectacles, sunglasses with two circular cameras facing outward. Sorry Google Glass, it turns out 2017 is the year it’s cool to wear glasses, a battery, AND a camera on your face. Although Spectacles remain in their first stage, what we should see overtime is an ability for the wearer to display information within the lenses. We also are seeing search engines expand their image search capabilities. Eventually pointing a camera at something and searching for information based on your picture will become more normal then typing in a search query.
Stats Don’t Lie: 60% to 70% of consumers see clear benefits in using AR in their daily life and at work.
#5 Quality Mobile Content Is King
The demand for digital content continues to grow as people spend increasing amounts of time across multiple screens. As mobile phones continuously evolve and connection speeds increase, Google has given us every indication that we are moving toward a mobile-only world. What this means is that we must change our mindset when creating content and embrace different ways of storytelling that relay better on a mobile screen. Quality content can only go so far—having a strong understanding of the platforms on which your audience consume content is vital.
Stats Don’t Lie: 65% of digital media time is consumed on mobile.
#6 Year of the CDO (Chief Data Officer)
In today’s on-demand economy consumers desire instant gratification. Through the harnessing of big data and analytics, we can create a more personalized and successful consumer experience. In 2016, major advancements were made as organizations began to understand how to store, process, and most importantly extract value from big data. As we move into 2017, we expect to see a focus on more ways to secure big data while still empowering users to analyze that data. The CDO position will become more clearly defined as companies work to balance the benefits of big data with the reality of data security risks.
Stats Don’t Lie: In April 2016, 61% of CIO’s polled said they wanted to see a CDO hired within the next 12 months.