When I’m Not Trying To Be Funny, I Discuss The Top Trends in Digital Marketing for 2017

I primarily write humor essays and embarrassing stories about myself on this site. But for most of the week—40 to 50 hours of it—I’m a digital marketer. With all that time invested in the subject, it probably deserves some time on IamChrisTodd.com too.

There are two distinct activities most of the world takes part in when the New Year rolls around: looking back and looking ahead. I’m going to take this moment to look ahead. Not everything will be new in 2017, but there are some digital marketing trends to keep an eye on for your brand and/or business.

I’m not going to bother telling you to watch virtual reality take off in 2017. It’s very cool technology but it’s not going to be a viable marketing tool for the majority of businesses—despite being on most trends lists for 2017. Specific industries might want to experiment with VR, wearables, or 360 video but I want to give you a more practical look at moving the needle for your business in the New Year.

Analyzing the full digital ecosystem

In years past, it was not uncommon for a potential client to walk through the doors of a marketing agency, request a website or mobile app, get one, and then part ways. It probably still happens but it should be getting less and less frequent. My team at Spyder Trap always encourages clients to look at the full picture of their business—there’s no point in starting a pay-per-click campaign if your website or sales team isn’t ready to handle extra traffic. The digital marketing winners in 2017 will the ones who execute digital strategies informed by the whole context of a business.

It’s not big data, unless you can use it

Big data is useless. It’s better to focus your analytical power on something more practical and still very powerful. Tracking the key performance indicators (KPI) you want to look at is a crucial first step. Then it’s up to strategists to find patterns and determine a road map to optimize those KPIs. If you’re not already using Google Tag Manager to keep track of your all your favorite analytic events, make it one of your digital marketing resolutions.

Google AMP & Facebook Instant Articles will change

How will they change? No idea. But publishers aren’t in love with the way these fast-loading articles keep eyeballs off of their sites...meaning a loss in advertising revenue. They load quickly which is great for users. But they also keeps those users on Google (or Facebook) instead of browsing a site’s related articles. Google is already working on ways to ease this concern. Both Facebook and Google need content for their products to work, and the products are useful enough not to disappear in 2017. They’ll just look different.

The death of cheap social media tricks

This is potentially a bit optimistic, but users won’t keep getting away with cheesy tricks to fuel engagement. Fake news was the buzzword of the year in 2016, and Facebook started to crack down on it before the New Year. Facebook also wants to prioritize the posts of friends and family in your news feed. With these priorities, it should be harder for bad memes and fake Ray-ban offers to make it onto your screen. Boosting engagement with tricks like adding emoji won't catch the attention of users in 2017 either. Social media in 2016 felt a little like the early days of link farming in search engine optimization (SEO). Black hat tricks work for a little, but are detrimental to your brand’s long-term value—users and social media sites (hopefully) won’t let garbage exist forever. 

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