5 Digital and Social Trends That Will Explode In 2017

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With the new year comes a whole lot of brand new tech that will revolutionise both digital and experiential marketing. From new tools to grab consumers’ attention online to jaw-dropping live brand experiences, it’s down to marketers to be creative and adapt early to get the most out of what 2017 has in store.

We predict what’s going to be big in 2017, and how you can use it to grow business.

1. Live-streaming on social media will become more popular

Free live-streaming services on the internet date all the way back to 2005, but only in the past two years has mass live broadcast consumption become commonplace on social media platforms.

The uptake and roll out of platforms in 2016 like Periscope (by Twitter), Facebook Live and Instagram Live means that brands have a whole new tool to play with then promoting their brand or event.  Why not host a Q&A session with your followers so they can get to know your brand better? Stream an event live, display new products, show behind-the-scenes content… the possibilities are endless, so be creative! Third party software platforms that add a layer of production value to live social media streams also mean that brands have better resources to ensure their live broadcasts look and feel professional.

2. Digital marketing through influencers will become fundamental in brand strategy

We’ve all heard about how super influencers, such as Kylie and Kendall Jenner, can rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post on Instagram. While social influencer marketing has been an essential part of some brand campaigns in recent years, in 2017 we predict that influencer marketing will become fundamental to every brand strategy – and take more money from the display ad budget lines in a brand’s media plan. After all, what’s more engaging – an print or online ad, or a loved media personality recommending your product to their followers?

Your brand doesn’t need to shell out millions on getting Hollywood endorsements – instead, partner with local micro-influencers that have a social audience similar to your target market. Reach out to bloggers, Snapchatters and YouTube vloggers to plug your brand in an engaging way.

As influencer marketing becomes more popular too, we expect consumers to become more aware and skeptical about what is genuine and what is paid placement.

3. More interactive content

We predict that 2017 will see a surge in interactive content to advertise products and services. Instead of expecting their audience to passively consume, brands are integrating interactive mechanics into their ad campaigns. Take 2016’s runaway hit Netflix show Stranger Things. To promote the series, Netflix released a terrifying virtual reality experience which placed viewers inside the show. To date, the VR experience has 1.5 million hits.

Buzzfeed Quizzes has cleverly monetised content by regularly hosting online quizzes sponsored by brands, such as: “Which Barbie Doll Are You?” or “How Would You Die In ‘Game Of Thrones?’”. While not a new platform, it’s a good example nonetheless of brands increasingly trying to interact with consumers rather than spending budget on traditional display advertising.

4. Brands will get creative with Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) technologies exploded in 2016 with the the hugely popular app game Pokemon Go and Snapchat’s animated selfie filters – but AR hasn’t nearly hit it’s peak yet.

Consumers have shown that they have an appetite for it, and in 2017 it will be on the rise with Snapchat’s Spectacles and World Lenses, which were introduced late last year. The latter will allow you to animate the world around you using augmented reality, and the former is Snapchat’s first foray into the wearable tech world – a pair of sunglasses you can send snaps from. No doubt that the companies intend to monetise these new features by selling ad placements to brands in 2017.

In 2017, brands will also be using AR to effectively and creatively demonstrate products and services across all industries. Whether it be products displayed in AR on shop floors or on packaging.

5. Everything will get smarter!

Over the next year or two, consumers will see an explosion of devices connected to the internet. They’re getting smarter, more secure and more integrated into our lives. From FitBits to Apple watches – Amazon Echo to Google Home – we can control our lives at the tap of a button.

Entire smart cities are the next frontier – which see new connective technologies make urban living more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Smart city tech will manage everything from traffic congestion to air pollution, and the tech has already been introduced in cities including Madrid, Barcelona and Amsterdam. We’re looking forward to seeing how smart cities will communicate with their citizens via social media and smart devices, and how brands may be able to sponsor this content or partner with cities to roll out smart city technology.

With the tech world ever evolving, keeping up with the latest social media tools and thinking about how to use them effectively to leverage your brand online is absolutely essential.

Keep an eye on tech news blogs like Digital Trends, CES and Silicon Republic to be ahead of the curve and get the most out of new technology.