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2017 Digital Trends And What They Mean

Every year, Kleiner Perkins publishes a state of the industry report. This year's report is available here: http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends. It’s 355 pages long - so I've taken the liberty of pulling out the most important bits for marketers in Canada.

How To Win In 2017

If you’re winning at marketing right now - it’s because you’ve figured out how to get to the right people at the right place at the right time (think mobile geo-targeting with personalized content). Virtually all of the trends in this report demonstrate trends and technology that are enabling this notion of Right x4 that we talk about at NATIONAL every day. All to say - be on mobile, create targeted content, and leverage ad tech to amplify.

Mobile Is The Dominant Channel

Mobile is starting to slow down in its growth, however, don't confuse this with a decline in usage of mobile. Quite the opposite. The slow down is attributed to mass market adoption of mobile, with little room for any further growth.

With mass markets using mobile over desktop, this is where advertising is going. It's also important to note that this means we need to stop thinking about generational channel divides. Millennials are not the only people on mobile. My 85 year old grandmother is ONLY on mobile, and looks at the same news sites as everyone else. The difference is lifestyle, not channels. Tune your messaging accordingly.

Ad Performance

Despite the measurability of digital advertising - finding ROI is still a big challenge for many marketers. Digging deeper into the same survey data that shows ROI as a missing link - you'll see that Engagement is the biggest priority for current advertisers. We as an industry need to continue to engage, but also focus on converting to action. That's where the ROI gold lives. See my previous post about finding your KPIs if you want more on this: http://www.national.ca/Bold-Thinking/An-Gentle-Introduction-to-KPIs.aspx

Beyond ROI - we rank second highest (next to Germany) in use of Ad-Blocking technology on desktops - we’re not there on mobile yet - so mobile’s still a goldmine. More on this shortly.

Social Media

Effective User Generated Content (UGC) has been found to be up to 6.9 times more effective than branded content on Facebook. The keyword here being "effective", we need to give people products, stories and services that they want to show off. A great example of this is Starbucks cups. Who doesn't want to show off their unicorn frappuccino?

Conversely - audiences are less inclined to upload their personal photos into a branded campaign.

This leads into...


Influencers will continue to be a driving force in increasing followers and engagement in social media. When thinking about ROI from influence, think about Awareness and Trust. You might not get conversions, but you should be thinking about number of engagements, time spent and the amount of awareness that you'd be getting from alternative channels like Search, Display or Native.

Smart Advertising

Image recognition on mobile devices (think Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook - anything that uses your camera) will be the new advertising medium. Did you just take a shot of your new running shoes? Your camera can see those shoes, know what they are and offer up advertising for a running app, socks or other related products... As long as one savvy marketer thought to set that up in the first place.

Voice commands will replace your keyboard, and listen to everything you say, further enabling hyper-targeting (this is already happening through Siri, Amazon Echo, etc.).

Ad platforms are enabling transactions directly within their content. You don’t have to send somebody anywhere, they can just book their movie tickets without leaving the ad for the trailer.

Customer Service

Poor customer service is having bigger impact on consumer preference (think 2017 Leger Reputation study: http://www.national.ca/Bold-Thinking/NATIONAL-and-Leger-Present-the-2017-Corporate-Reputation-Study.aspx) with 82% of customers abandoning a brand over a poor experience, vs. 76% in 2014.

This could be as simple as improving community management, website support content and leveraging Artificial Intelligence tools like chat bots (Rogers has made good use of this).

The "So What?"

The technologies available today are offering us unprecedented levels of hyper-targeting, and vice versa - audiences expect to be able to get the information they’re looking for when, where and how they want it. The new addition to this today, is that they expect offers and information to be put in front of them based on their every day interactions, whether it’s walking to the local grocery store, visiting a doctor’s office, or asking their phone for more information about a B2B vendor.

If you're looking to reignite or just improve your current audience relationships - pay attention to these trends, your own KPIs and think about how you want to connect with Canadians in the right place, at the right time, in the right channels with the right context.

As always - feel free to reach out with questions. Getting started is as easy as a discussion - [email protected]

2017 Digital Trends And What They Mean
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