2016 Digital Trends Turned Digital Expectations 2017

Nina Hale’s media leadership looks into digital expectations for 2017. Discover how these new trends will affect next year’s digital marketing planning.

1. MEDIA CONSUMPTION IS MORE FRAGMENTED THAN EVER

Advances in technology have brought about significant changes in consumer behavior. Customer are fickle and less loyal than ever before. One area where it’s clear to see these changes, from a media standpoint, is television consumption.

2016 is the first year digital advertising will outspend television and looking across demographics makes it possible to see where the biggest shifts are. Consider the following when addressing how the changes will affect a marketing plan – even with a more mature audience.

Over the last five years, traditional TV viewing decreased:

  • TEENS decreased 36%
  • MILLENNIALS decreased 26%
  • Gen XERS decreased 12%
  • Adults 50-64 decreased 2%

2. DIGITAL SPEND OVERTAKES TV

emarketer

2016 is the year digital will surpass television in ad spend. According to eMarketer, $72.09B will be spent in digital vs. $71.29B spent in television, but what you should focus on is the projection of a 31% difference by 2020.
Today, for example, more people are tuning in to watch NFL Thursday Night Football on TV vs. streaming the game on Twitter, but these trends are only going in one direction. Be aware of your consumer journey: How they like to consume info, and don’t make the mistake of thinking last year’s media mix will work in this year’s environment.

How should marketers adjust?
This does not mean you should move all TV and desktop dollars to mobile – even the savviest mobile users may still prefer to convert on desktop or purchase at brick and mortar.

This is the age of the customer so give them what they expect: immediacy, simplicity, and context.

 

3. SITE SPEED IS HOT, HOT, HOT

site speed

A quality page load time is very important for mobile. In fact, it is now the customer expectation.

So what is quality? Google thinks a quality page should load within 1 second above the fold; 2 seconds below the fold.

Google has even altered mobile search to favor sites optimized for this experience. After all, site speed is a Google ranking factor. It also plays a big role in customer experience, conversion rate, and now even ad delivery.
What about site speed and conversion rate? We know that visitors are more likely to convert if the page loads quickly, which makes sense. An ecommerce benchmark study of over 80 million website sessions found that for every two-tenths of a second you shaved off load time, conversions increased by 8%. Wow.

So what can you do to improve site speed? Start with Google. Google’s PageSpeed tool helps you understand the current state of a single page. You should also consider a full technical SEO audit to understand the broader sitewide issues – like image compression and page caching.

 

4. MATCHING SEARCHERS INTENT IS CRITICAL

Today, understanding the intent behind a search, action, or purchase is more important than ever. Google’s ability to match a searcher’s motive to the right content has become exceptionally sophisticated. Simply matching keywords is no longer a competitive advantage. Of course it’s still a must, but today it’s about fulfilling a searcher’s goal and satisfying their intent.

How can marketers accomplish this? To do this we have to take a step back and understand our audience’s mindset. What are they thinking, feeling and doing throughout their journey?

Only then can we create content that meets their needs and predicts their questions, like here in this example where the intent of a furniture shopper is matched to searches along their journey. This is just the start. But starting somewhere is what matters. Taking this approach helps us identify searcher intent before they even ask Google.

 

5. SOCIAL DRIVES CONVERSION

Social channels’ evolution from awareness ploy to engagement and now, more than ever, to a channel that drives conversion at volume, means marketers are seeing that shift in performance and are following suit. According to eMarketer, 22% of all digital ad spending in 2017 will be on social networks.

So why are these channels working so well? Firstly, people continue to flock to these channels – this is where our audiences are. There’s also functionality. Many of these platforms are mimicking or using search behaviors themselves, taking what we do in Google and applying it in their platforms directly so we can find what we are looking for when we are looking for it, even if we aren’t actively searching in that moment.

 

6. BIG DISPARITY IN PERSONALIZATION EXPECTATION – THINK BIG, START SMALL

It is the age of the consumer. According to eMarketer:

• 70% of people expect a personalized experience
• 56% of marketers are personalizing their website
• 27% of marketers are personalizing their mobile website
• 55% of marketers give themselves a grade of “C” or lower on personalization

The above survey of marketers shows a huge disparity between consumer expectation and marketers’ progress on personalization. App personalization is even lower than mobile site personalization; mobile is arguably where it is most crucial.

What’s more, there are simple rules for personalization: Algorithmic-based personalization is being perfected right now, suggesting an even wider gap between consumer expectations and marketers’ efforts.
What should marketers do? While the numbers highlight an intimidating gap, that gap brings significant opportunity, especially knowing what your competition is doing. If companies move fast, they can offer their customer the experience they really want before their competitors.

 

7. OFFLINE IS ONLINE

Apps asking to use your location means improved location tracking. Tying Apple Pay, PayPal, Amazon Prime to your credit card means automatized data that knows your home address and can associate with purchase size. Going beyond the geofence means knowing who you are, what you’re doing, and where you are layered on top of each other.

Working on attribution is key for 2017. Think about it from marketing and media mix perspective: When something happens in-store, how much credit should go to the Facebook ad a customer saw a week ago? Progress in attribution means we’ll be able to answer those questions in 2017.

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