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Digital Trends 2017

Over the past year, web technology has continued to see numerous innovations leading to transformations in the web design and development space. So what trends can we expect to see in 2017? Emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are expected to take the stage in 2017 as they move towards mainstream use with 360 degree videos and photos. Additionally, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving to develop products and services with emotional intelligence providing more personalised and actionable content. When looking to 2017, the data gap will grow as big organisations use sophisticated automation and optimisation tools to understand the fast paced and evolving environment that is the web. It is more important than ever to understand your customers’ needs and provide customised content to convert sales, as a result the trend of marketing automation continues. Web apps are set to see a resurgence in the coming future and last but not least, we cannot forget the importance of the use of videos and email customisation in 2017

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has evolved exponentiallyand in 2017 we will see a shift in the way organisations’ approach product and service development as emotional intelligence (EQ) becomes a critical AI differentiator. Nils J Nilsson, leading AI researcher defines artificial intelligence as “that activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment”. More personalised and actionable content will fuel 1:1 exchanges between brands and customers through the rise of chat bots, marketing automation and all kinds of artificial intelligence. As businesses look to simultaneously automate customer support, increase self-service offerings and boost user engagement, chatbots will become a vital part of the equation. Chatbots can be deployed on websites, apps, or even on social media sites, with the goal of interacting and assisting users on their customer journey.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation will continue as a trend for 2017 as it allows marketers to efficiently manage the entire process from sign up, registration and purchase, all the way through to shipping and post purchase support. Not only is this a digital trend, but a stepping-stone to next level engagement between companies and customers. Although this is not a new trend, many organisations have the potential to improve their marketing automation, including CRM, behavioural email marketing and web personalisation. Marketing automation needs special attention when creating a marketing strategy as it keeps evolving year after year.

Videos

A trend to watch this year is brands making use of online video to more clearly define their personalities and engage with customers. This will be achieved by focusing on the most important platforms in their marketing plan and showing a side of the faces in their organisation that make them great. Videos, although not new are now more widely used than ever. According to the Web Video Council video is not only leading in ROI, but is being thoroughly consumed as well. A study conducted by the Firebrand Group revealed that nearly 85% of marketers received a positive return on investments from video content. Additionally, video content has been proven to increase both brand customer loyalty and brand awareness. Now more than ever videos are most likely to get the consumers attention amongst the content clutter.

Augmented Reality (AI) and Virtual Reality (VI)

2017 will mark the year where Enterprise-level Virtual Reality will take off: As Mixed Reality moves towards the mainstream, organisations will turn away from single, siloed enhanced reality experiences to instead work towards capturing and combining all types of reality – both enhanced and real. It is expected Virtual Reality will quickly grow as a brand new marketing channel. You can anticipate that businesses will begin to start developing sites and applications with VR-enabled components.

Big Data

In 2017, the data gap will grow. Automation and optimisation platforms will improve traffic and conversion rates will allow big players to grow faster as they get more sophisticated in their tools. Many organisations have experienced the increase in volume of real-time data and data formats. Big data will be mined to identify opportunities to convert sales for given customer characteristics and behaviour, increase sales through personalisation on websites and email marketing.
You don’t have to be big to use data effectively and make better decisions. By watching Analytics small organisations can iterate and improve results faster. Review the actions that were was most successful over the last year and close in on those channels, topics and tactics.

Web Apps

2017 will see the resurgence of web apps. There was a slowdown in the app market as people had simply stopped installing them. However, thanks to frameworks such as responsive web design, you don’t need an app for most things today. A web app can now perform almost as well as a mobile app. The end result? A resurgence in web apps in 2017.

Research shows that retail conversion rates are significantly lower on smartphones, so there is work to be done for many businesses to optimise conversion on mobile. Webs apps could play a vital role in this transition. 

Email customisation

Email is the best way to get the right message with the right data to the right person at the right time. 2017 is the year where getting the right message to a customer is going to become easier. Mass email communication will be personalised to the recipient through the use of innovative email marketing and marketing automation platforms. This will give marketers even more social, content, and behavioural insights that can be used to create customer-centric messages such as interactive emails allowing a customer to alter and select different variations of your product as they see fit.

Monique Oosterbaan

Author: Monique Oosterbaan
Published: 02/02/2017