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2017 is going to be a big one. We’ve got a new president, technology is advancing faster than ever before, and most importantly, the second season of Stranger Things will be released on Netflix (If you haven’t watched the first season, close this window and start the first episode immediately. Seriously, so good). But we all know that with cultural changes come changes in marketing. Based on the trends we saw in 2016 and even the changes we’ve seen in the first couple weeks of the new year, these are our digital marketing predictions for 2017:
 

Influencer Marketing

A new form of stardom has taken the world by storm, and we’re not talking about traditional celebrities like musicians and movie stars. “Influencers” in marketing are people who have grabbed the attention of large audiences through some sort of skill or achievement. Social media and influencer marketing go hand-in-hand because most influencers’ fame is reflected through large social media followings. Often coined as “Instagram stars,” these people are paid by brands to promote products or services. They’re already established and trusted by their followers, so it’s expected that more of these personalities will jump on the advertising bandwagon this year.
 

Live streaming

Even though live streaming had been introduced previously by platforms like Periscope, the release of Facebook Live in 2016 was a real game changer. Live broadcasting allows brands to reach their audiences in real time and in a genuine, unedited way. Facebook Live allows two-way text conservations as well, giving viewers the chance to personally engage. Before you get too excited, know that Facebook Live can be very hit or miss. If you live stream just for the sake of live streaming, you probably aren’t providing any value to your viewers and might come off as annoying. As with anything else, content is key in live video. Either way, we expect more brands to utilize Facebook Live and more consumers tuning in.
 

Chatbots

The phrase “tech support” alone makes anyone groan because it used to involve calling a 1-800 number, waiting a half hour to get a real human on the phone, and then inevitable frustration when the person on the other can’t help you. Chatbots are a new customer service trend, and we expect to see a lot more of them in 2017. A chatbot is a basic form of artificial intelligence that is programmed to address customer inquiries, solve problems, take orders, and perform other previously-human functions. A 24/7 live chat feature gives customers the ability to get instant solutions without even having to talk to another person. Chatbots are also able to collect data and provide insights about the traits and behaviors of those they communicate with. Truly a double whammy for marketers.
 

Snapchat

2016 was supposed to be the year of Snapchat, and it was, kinda. But we expect to see more Snapchat growth this year, especially in terms of advertising. Snapchat’s expiring content creates a sense of urgency and significance, simply because it will be gone forever in a matter of a few seconds. We foresee more individual brands maintaining native Snapchat channels as well as more paid advertising opportunities.
 

We can make predictions, but only time can definitively tell what kind of content and media people will respond to this year. Our days at Transformation have been filled with meetings and research in the past several weeks in an attempt to plan and prepare for the coming year. The start of a new year is a great time to kick your marketing efforts into gear, especially if you’ve gotten lost in recent incoming and outgoing trends. To find out what we can do to make your business more relevant than ever this year, drop us a line here.

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