With a new year on the horizon, the OCG Creative team has collaborated to give our 2017 Digital Marketing Predictions. While the digital marketing landscape is fast-paced and ever-changing, we wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on 2016. Here’s some our best insights of what we think will be important in the upcoming year.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will Focus on Voice Search
In 2017, marketers will need to focus more on human language searches. “Digital assistant” platforms like Siri, Google Now and Cortana are increasing in popularity. For these, “voice search” is the obvious interface, but even in the search bar, Googlers are taking a more conversational tone.
For some time, Google has been including a snippet at the top of the SERP (that’s search engine results page, for you non-nerds), answering direct questions like, “What is science?” SEOs are still somewhat mystified as how to reliably win that spot, but human phrasing of the search definitely plays a role. It’s not among the results for every search, but the Google Snippet will only become more common in 2017.
Also in 2017, we can expect to see constant, significant (albeit subtle) changes to the look and color scheme of Google’s SERP. The reason seems to be de-emphasizing organic rankings in favor of Adwords results. We already saw major moves in that direction throughout 2016, including some searches that only display 9 results instead of the usual 10.
Finally, in 2017, say goodbye to unsophisticated Internet marketing campaigns. The Internet is still represents the most cost-effective, highest ROI marketing opportunities in human history. But, technology and the fierce competitive landscape have reached a point where home-brew websites without a real plan just don’t produce results like they once could. – Joe Ross, President at OCG Creative
Brand Strategy Will Focus Less on Looks and More on Message
Brand strategists will focus more on the message and less on the look. With all roads leading to “content” online, companies will need to have a better understanding of who they are, what they do, why they do it and who their perfect client is. The days of being a pretty face with no substance are gone! You better be able to back that great look up with relatable messaging. – Jill Rutherford, Vice President
Mobile Search Will Skyrocket for Ecommerce
If you thought 2016 was the year of mobile web, think again. 40% of Black Friday sales came via a mobile device. That’s up almost 10% from the previous year. Mobile search and mobile optimization should, therefore, be a top priority for digital marketers in the year 2017. If your phone was glued to your had by now, it will be. – Mike Rollman, Sales
Businesses Will Need to Have More Advanced Security
It seems that every year there’s a new security breach that puts the previous year to shame and 2016 was no exception. One of the biggest threats facing end-users when their service provider succumbs to system data theft, is that the bad guys now have all the time and resources they need to decrypt the account passwords. It seems to have become so common place that inevitably each of us will have at least one account/password combination that’s in the wrong hands.
While we can’t prevent that from happening as end-users, we do have the ability to make that information outdated sooner and thus less useful. Good password habits are the best defense. – Rick Ross, VP R&D
Print Marketing Will Still Matter for Your Brand
High contrast print pieces are en vogue; even the classiest printed piece will look dull if it’s slathered in one type of coating no matter how modern or bleeding edge that coating seems to be. Mix it up, add variety to the piece. Spot UV set on smooth silk adds a brilliant way to give your viewer pause as they travel across a page. But here’s the trick, don’t just place this highlight on top of a picture or text and call it a day. Rather, use negative space wisely and create imagery that adds depth to the piece with shine. Don’t know what I mean, just ask and we’ll show you. – Charles Driver, Print Manager
Your Website Will Need A Solid Content Strategy
In 2016, we saw a trend of websites being developed with minimal content, under the notion that “people don’t read anymore.” In reality, people do in fact read online, but they are choosy about what they spend their time on. This year, it’s going to become even more important to make content mobile friendly (with headings, bolding, and keywords) so that people can scan and find important information they need. If they find what they need, then they spend the time reading it. Removing content from sites hurts rankings, because that’s the majority of the algorithm that google uses to crawl sites. – Allyson Lambert, Content Strategist
Web Designers Should Think About Mobile Experience First
In a fast paced world, people don’t have time to pick up their dry cleaning much less wait for a slow loading web page to pop up. A recent study published by Google reveals that more than 7 in 10 people browse the web on their smartphones or computers and out of those people, 71% are browsing on a smart phone. Web designers should be thinking more about the mobile experience by designing sites that collapse down to an easy to read and fast loading mobile page. Designers should be placing content strategically on the page, the use of bright colors and bold fonts are going to be a must in 2017. Bold fonts and brights colors will help guide you readers’ eyes through the page faster as well as giving them the important information that they need to know. Plus bright colors and bold typography are always great design solutions that will make any website fun and modern. People browsing the web on a mobile device want an instant solution, which also means they want to get the information they need just as fast. – Chelsea Bosco & Mason Fur, Designers