January 27, 2017
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2017 – Wetpaint’s Online Marketing Predictions

So, we’re on another horizon, and a new year stretches out before us, ripe with potential. Here at Wetpaint, we’ve found that half of the fun in contemplating the arrival of a new year is in trying to figure out how to tap into the opportunities it promises to deliver.
Of course, in order to figure out how to make use of those opportunities, it helps to identify them first.

As we’re sure is the case in many businesses, across many fields, the Wetpaint team took some time towards the end of 2016 to consider what coming and ongoing trends would shape our industry in 2017 – all the better to adapt, evolve and ensure that we remain at the cutting-edge frontier of marketing and advertising best practices.
Presented are the trends that we predict will form that frontier here in 2017.

 

1. Video Will Continue To Grow

Between 2013 and 2015, the internet saw a 360% increase in video views, and while the numbers aren’t yet in for exactly how 2016 compares to the year before it, those in the know at Cisco predict that by 2020 video will drive more than 80% of all online consumer traffic.

The point is that if you’re hoping for anything other than the continued exponential boom of video in digital marketing, 2017 is unlikely to have good news for you. With online giants like Facebook having jumped onto the video bandwagon and attempting to eat into Youtube’s piece of this particular pie, all signs point toward video dominating content marketing for the foreseeable future.

 

2. Webrooming Will Grow As Netizens Become More Savvy

For those who don’t know, showrooming is the consumer practice of visiting a brick-and-mortar store to browse the prices of their products before going home, jumping online, and ordering those same products from somewhere cheaper.
Webrooming is the inverse manifestation of this shopping habit, whereby consumers browse prices online before going into a physical store to make their final evaluation of a product and then committing to an actual purchase.

It’s a trend that’s already taken off in more developed markets, such as the United States where studies have revealed that 69% of people webroom.
In South Africa, where consumers are currently more digitally savvy than many of the retailers that cater to them, the opportunity is ripe to take advantage of the inevitable growth of this trend.

3. As Smartphones Boom, Mobile Payments Will Skyrocket

The ubiquity of smart phones is near absolute as the convenience of mobile technology spreads internet access far beyond the constraints of yesterday and puts connectivity into the hands of almost everyone.
As this connectedness increases, so too will the uses towards which the relevant tech is put.

With innovations like Apple Pay making strong headway and threatening to eventually render traditional cashiers obsolete in the US and the UK, we’re going to start seeing the option to pay for products and services via smartphones becoming not just more common, but possibly even a standard consumer expectation.

While South Africa tends to lag behind the first world, it behoves the wise business to investigate mobile payment platforms and be prepared to cater to what could possibly become a standard retail requirement.

 

4. Targeted Digital Marketing

Data has got to be considered the bread-and-butter of the modern marketer’s world. Without it, we’re just scrabbling for scraps in a room with no lights.

The digital market is growing and with it, data collection. The wearables market, for example, will continue to expand and provide data that we could never have had access to before. This will, in turn, lead to more sophisticated algorithms being refined to offer the savvy business more effective methods of reaching a qualified audience.

For those already maintaining a comprehensive online marketing regimen, this means more data, more leads, more results, and more return on your marketing investment. For those not taking targeted marketing seriously enough, it might just mean eating more dust as better prepared competitors race past.

 

5. Search Beyond Engines

As the battle for consumer attention and consumer data rages on between the internet’s major stakeholders, we’re going to start seeing the frontiers of search expanding onto social platforms.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has long discussed the potential of the social giant’s massive index of consumer data, and he has made no secret about his company’s intention to encroach on what is traditionally Google’s territory.

In fact, both Twitter and Facebook have made subtle inroads into search with the development of their own internal search engines, meaning that two of the biggest names in social media have already laid the groundwork for the infrastructure that would allow them to challenge Google’s dominance of the internet.

For business owners, this should mean an increased focus on social media. Remember that 88% of consumers rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Those reviews are about to get a lot more attention as the lines dividing social from search start to blur.

 

6. The Rise Of Instagram

Make no mistake, Instagram’s been on an upward trajectory from pretty much the moment of its inception, but the photo-sharing platform is poised to make big waves in 2017.

Since being purchased for $1 billion by Facebook in 2012, Instagram has seen itself gradually become the subject of a number of small changes that we think could culminate in big developments in the year ahead. One such change was the launch of their advertising platform toward the end of 2015, which opened the social site up to marketers from countries that had never before been able to advertise on it (South Africa among them).

By September 2016, more than 500,000 advertisers were utilising Instagram to promote their clients’ brands. Given Instagram’s more than 500 million active users (every one of whom marketers will be itching to reach out to) we’re thinking that by the end of 2017 Instagram will have taken its place amongst the biggest generators of online advertising revenue.

Work Hard And Keep Your Ear To The Ground

We’re just a month in, and already 2017 looks like an exciting year.
These are the changes we see coming, but this is an industry that is constantly changing as new technologies are developed to meet the needs of innovative creators. Nothing but change is guaranteed, and so close attention ought to be paid to changing trends, as well as newly forming ones.

 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below with your opinions and predictions, and let’s get a conversation going!

Comments

    MITCH JOHN

    I agree with your comments and assumptions.
    The big issues, however, relate to 2 primary challenges, the one pertinent to South Africa, the other to the worldwide market.
    South Africa’s internet connectivity rates as one of the worst in the world in respect of both access and data cost.
    Given the rapid rate at which video viewing is growing – and in particular with mobile technology – it is purely a question of time before the spectrum crunch manifests because of insufficient WiFi data capacity. We are quite simply heading to a point where there will be insufficient WiFi radio frequency spectrum to handle all the data. We are already witnessing this with dropped calls having increased exponentially over the last couple of years with a direct correlation to the dramatic upsurge in data download as opposed to the previous texting and voice call usage. There will be insufficient bandwith utilizing current technologies.
    If you want to know which technology will revolutionise this space, call me.

    Regards,
    Mitch.

    Strat Team

    Great insight. We completely agree with you in regards to internet connectivity. South Africa’s digital environment is just simply not at the standard it should be when you compare the experience to many other countries. Please send us your contact details and if we ever need it we will be giving you a call. Thanks.

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    We do have our contact page: http://www.wetpaint.co.za/get-in-touch/ Thanks.

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    daran

    Great predictions. Mostly Internet and Mobile Phones will still keep on improving and people are more busy in interacting at social media platforms these days rather than meeting outside.

    Strat Team

    Mobile and social are definitely the vehicles of the future, we agree!
    Next up, 2018!

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