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By Johannes Helmold

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The 21st century is a great time to be alive. The development of fantastic technologies, solutions to or at least discussions on pressing social issues, rapidly improving medicine and education—all this is a part of global processes occurring in the modern world every single day. Yet another part of these processes is the emergence of new professional spheres, occupations, and trends—a large number of which are connected to the Internet. One of such spheres is digital marketing, the science of promoting goods and services with the help of electronic media. Digital marketing allows companies to monitor consumers’ preferences and reactions in real-time, and adjust and/or plan their marketing campaigns accordingly.

As in any other sphere, in digital marketing, there are numerous trends, emerging and disappearing annually, or even faster. The year 2017 is no exception: the current year has been productive in terms of trends; some of them have persisted from previous years—others are brand new. Numerous factors are influencing this process. For example, digital marketing is heavily affected by the ever-increasing amount of mobile devices people use and by the share they make in consumption. Experts believe that mobile devices help form the “on-the-go consumerism,” becoming a kind of shopping assistant for their owners, diversifying their options, and supplying them with all the information necessary to make a certain purchase.

It is also important to mention the dissatisfaction and even resentment many consumers experience when facing intrusive marketing—banners, pop-up windows, advertisements in social media, and so on. This attitude is only expected to deepen in 2017, so digital marketing specialists should consider this fact when planning advertising campaigns. In addition, contemporary digital marketing trends are influenced by the tendency to rely on peer opinions when selecting products or brands, the development of neural networks, AI, and several other factors (Forbes).

Based on this information, what are the digital marketing trends in 2017? The first significant trend worth paying attention to is immersive marketing. It has become not enough to simply show a vivid, attractive image to a potential customer or to make his or her experience entertaining; the market nowadays is oversaturated with such content. Therefore, brands and manufacturers now try to not only interest a customer, but to immerse him or her into the reality they are creating with the help of advertising, targeted messages, and technology. For instance, the latter allows the opportunity to create 360-degree videos and interactive images, which the customers can play with, garnering an interesting and innovative experience (Brandwatch). Virtual reality is another fine example of how a brand or service can be promoted. With the help of 3D graphics—with which a customer can directly interact with the help of special controllers, allowing him or her to “touch” a product, test it, view it from different angles—marketers engage audiences and bring advertising to a new level.

AI and the potential it possesses gradually comprises a new trend; leaving the routine and logical operations to AI, marketers can focus on the creative aspects of advertising, and thus produce more interesting, alluring content. There are two ways in which AI can be used in digital marketing. The first one is that AI can be a service (or a part of a service) on its own. Smart products communicating with their owners, helping them solve different tasks (like Apple’s Siri, but on a much more sophisticated level)—this is the direction markets can be expected to develop in coming years. The second possible option is to use AI as a second side in the vendor-consumer dialog. Come to think of it, marketing today is mostly one-way communication: specialists who advertise products communicate their messages to customers, but the latter has limited options to enter the dialogue. AI utilizing language-processing algorithms could solve this problem, increasing the efficiency of customer-vendor communication with minimal human effort (Avaus). Imagine a commercial which can, for example, talk to customers, telling them more about the product or answering their questions. A person interested in a product but willing to make an informed decision could dispel his or her doubts immediately—this would possibly increase sales dramatically.

And, of course, mobile platforms remain a trend. When they became popular several years ago, many companies started developing websites and services optimized for access from gadgets; however, research shows that this is not enough: retail conversion rates for smartphones are lower than for desktop systems, so there is work to be done. Currently, many companies are focusing on developing adaptive mobile designs, which are more efficient in terms of loading time, and allow serving users with more relevant, contextual content. Although it might be a mistake to focus entirely on mobile systems, treating them as a full-scale part of multi-platform consumption might be beneficial; there are more consumers utilizing both mobile and desktop devices, rather than those who use only mobile or only desktop devices (Brandwatch).

As we can see, it is important that digital marketing considers and makes use of the technological trends emerging and persisting currently. Such factors as the extensive use of gadgets, the development of AI, and fatigue from annoying pop-up commercials and intrusive banners cause new forms of digital marketing to emerge. For example, instead of shoving their banners in customers’ faces, companies tend to focus on developing immersive consuming experiences, allowing their clients to interact with advertised products with the help of technologies. Or, speaking of AI, it is expected that AI can significantly boost the efficiency of digital marketing, and enhance communication between consumers and vendors. Finally, since mobile devices have remained a trend for several years, it is important that companies focus on making these devices a full-scale part of the consumption chain, simplifying and optimizing the process of browsing and purchasing content and services.

Works Cited

Harrison, Kate. “Top 10 Trends that Will Transform Digital Marketing in 2017.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 12 July 2017.

“11 Digital Marketing Trends for 2017.” Brandwatch. N.p., 21 Feb. 2017. Web. 12 July 2017.

“8 Hottest Digital Marketing Trends for 2017.” Avaus Marketing Innovations. N.p., 21 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 July 2017.

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