Top Rated Digital Marketing Techniques for 2017

Smart Insights, a Digital Marketing company, published an article last month listing top-rated digital marketing techniques that could give businesses an edge in 2017. The information provided in the article was consolidated after crowdsourcing the importance of various trends, rated by the popularity of each, to their readers ending up with over 2300 responses from professional marketers.

According to the article, the readers were asked to share their opinion on the one marketing activity that would provide the biggest incremental uplift to businesses in leads and sales in 2017. The results showed ‘Content Marketing’ at the top followed by ‘Big Data’.

Each of the labels above were expanded to carefully scope the responses. For instance, the definition of Big Data was expanded to include predictive analytics and insights.

From this result, here are 14 of the top-rated digital marketing tactics which will influence the sector in 2017.

1. Content Marketing

It has been in the top 3 for the last 3 years, emphasizing the significance of devising an integrated content marketing strategy to uplift businesses in the digital world. From HubSpot’s recent research, it was clear that more businesses have now started going for a strategic content marketing approach. This is likely to continue in 2017.

With the cost and competition within content marketing increasing, more focus is expected this year on measuring Content Marketing ROI.

2. Big Data

The marketing applications of Big Data include market, customer insight and predictive analytics. Businesses dealing with a very large quantity of real-time data can use big data analytics to analyze the data, and increase sales through personalization.

Diya Soubra’s Data Science blog mentioned 3 V’s that define Big Data – data variety, data volume, and data velocity.

The V’s indicate why big data is one of the fastest rising trends selected by businesses dealing with a huge amount of data. Smart Insight also mentions that big data has a connection to machine learning, where it’s used to identify propensity to convert different customer behavior and characteristics.

3. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation has also been in the top 3 for the last couple of years, and has undergone many improvements from a business perspective. According to Smart Insight’s research, businesses can still improve their automation further.

Though web personalization, behavioral email marketing and other automation tools for marketing have been successfully establishing their worth in larger businesses, many businesses are still not sure where to begin marketing automation.

4. Mobile Marketing

The opportunities for growth in mobile marketing have gone down lately, as a lot of businesses started focusing more on mobile-friendly web design, and email marketing. This meant they didn’t have to focus more on mobile marketing. It is a fact that retail conversion rates on handheld devices will be significantly lower than that on desktops. However, businesses can still optimize conversion on mobile devices, considering its impact on search marketing evident from Google’s affinity to mobile-friendliness.

According to Smart Insights, this ‘mobile-first’ approach is misleading when you consider the overall customer journey where multiple devices will be used at different points for browsing. They added that mobile strategy should be treated as part of a multichannel strategy instead, rather than as two narrow spectrums (of mobile-only and desktop-only).

5. Social Media Marketing

Smart Insights also seems to agree to the fact that social media still revolutionizes marketing because of its reach, and the options available to engage audiences. Their research also indicated a consistent growth in social media usage, though some social networking platforms became less popular in certain countries.

Social networks like Facebook and Instagram now requires businesses to pay to get the reach they require through the network. Regardless of the mode they choose to monetize, social media marketing still continues to be a hot trend. Social Customer Care and CRM have already started turning heads this year.

6. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

A more data-driven approach of Internet Marketing, CRO was speculated to see the most growth in 2017 by Smart Insights and many other researchers. Though its popularity increased, CRO is still partly in the shadows. Until now, many businesses still haven’t figured out the potential of CRO in increasing leads and sales from their websites. But 2017 could bring about a positive change where we will see CRO getting the attention it deserves.

7. Marketing applications of Internet of Things (IoT)

According to Smart Insights, IoT has been one of the most important marketing technology applications for the last few years, though it is of a much greater value to retailers and device manufacturers.

Many research suggests that a whopping 75 billion connected devices will be present by 2020; almost 10 times the number of people on the planet. According to Smart Insights, IoT devices will be transforming the way we live with this level of data sharing.

8. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine giant, Google, released AMP last year along with announcements on the mobile index. A big increase in AMP smartphone traffic was seen after AMPs were rolled out in September, 2016. Business websites with obstructive popups will be penalized by Google, and the ones that implemented AMP pages will have an edge in 2017.

9. Wearables

Consumable commodities like Apple Watch, Augmented Reality tools etc. turned heads last year. Certain streams of businesses have benefitted from them too. They could play a bigger role this year, as many companies have already started researching ways to leverage the devices in marketing their product. Augmented reality apps have been coming out as well.

10. Paid Search Marketing

Google AdWords has always been the most important form of Pay Per Click. By 2017, they will be switching from standard ads to expanded ads, with two headline fields and one description line, and optimized for mobiles. This could probably be associated with Google’s ‘Mobile First’ strategy. Other forms of paid search marketing will also see some welcome changes this year, presenting more beneficial opportunities for marketers.

11. Online PR

Though it’s commonly linked with SEO or Content Marketing, online PR still retains a low rating. A difference in the way online PR works is much expected in 2017.

12. Communities

Digital marketing communities are still counted as useful platforms for marketers to devise effective marketing strategies.

13. Display Advertising

Banners on ad networks, social media, publishers etc. can still be effective this year depending on how marketers use them.

14. Partnerships including co-marketing

This also made it to Smart Insights’ research results somehow though it still doesn’t have much priority even now. It’s still a neglected aspect of digital marketing according to Smart Insights, but has been used effectively by businesses before.