If you’re looking to get big wins with your digital marketing activities, get to grips with these trends for 2017. Technology is changing the way people are engaging with brands and the way brands can further personalize their content.

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Here are our predictions for this years’ movers and shakers in digital marketing.

Big Data

As businesses mature and put new structures and roles in place, big data will begin to become increasingly useful and utilised. Big data has been used with success in many areas of business, but it has excellent applications in digital marketing that not enough people are taking advantage of. The personalisation of Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify show the power of data in improving customer experience.

For example, the Financial Times gathers information about its 5 million users from its paywall. The FT.com asks users to register to read up to eight articles per month for free. Registrants are required to declare their email address, zip code, industry, job responsibility and position level. The FT uses this big data to deliver more targeted advertising — advertisers could, for example, target a campaign to CEOs in the finance industry, or HR department execs in Dayton, Tennessee. The FT also maps patterns in readers’ behaviour to help convert them to full-time subscribers.

Big data requires big investment to pull and analyse yourself, but there are tools and resources that marketers can take advantage of. Companies like Mintel, who specialise in gathering huge amounts of trend data, make their data available for brands to make marketing decision based on big data.

Chat Bots

People today are much more comfortable chatting in messaging apps, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. For ecommerce businesses, in particular, this trend offers powerful opportunities.

Chat Bots

Chat Bots are programs that use machine learning to cleverly imitate human conversation. They are used as a cost-effective means of answering basic queries, but now they are getting more sophisticated. They are now built into popular messaging apps increase efficiency and customer experience. Retail outlets are able to engage customers, answer questions and make transactions directly in Facebook Messenger. Chat Bots might be in their infancy right now, but as the technology develops, you’ll see businesses using them more and more.

Immersive Experiences

The release of augmented reality (AR) apps like Pokémon Go, and virtual experiences like the Playstation VR, people are starting to expect an immersive content experience. This technology is of course cutting edge, but there are other ways you can draw people in and help them forget they’re just staring at a screen.

Video content will account for 82% of consumer internet traffic by 2020 and is an excellent tool for making your audience feel a part of something bigger. 360 videos put the viewer in the moment, while webinars and live AMA (Ask Me Anything) streams make the audience feel part of a community and help drive positive sentiment about your brand.

The key takeaway here is that you don’t need to invest thousands in top of the range VR to create immersive content. But it is time to start thinking bigger than just blogs.

Voice Search

SEO is about to be shaken up by voice search. With the launch of devices like Google Home and the Amazon Echo, connecting our homes to the Internet of Things is all the more common. Unlike the manual searches made with fingers and eyes like we did in the misty past of 2015, new connected home devices and virtual assistants bring an audio element to the party.

Right now, voice search data is very light on the ground. But as soon as we gain access to the analytics of this new way of searching, voice search will have a huge impact on SEO. So as soon as the data is released by the various platforms, be sure to take early and quick advantage of voice search optimisation.

This year, digital marketing is going to be heavily impacted by new technology. To put your business above the rest when these changes really start to impact brands, you need to be riding this wave sooner rather than later.

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