By: Jennifer Ellis, Digital Marketing Manager, Valassis Digital
Published Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017
I recently connected with our subject matter experts, Cindy Soremekun, vice president of Product, John Jenkins, senior vice president of Finance and Operations and Mike Balducci, vice president of Strategy to gather their thoughts and predications on digital trends they expect to see in the months ahead. Although there are a number of relevant trends in the space, I decided to focus on the following: chatbots, virtual reality/augmented reality, ad spend and mobile commerce. Here’s the lowdown:
Expect Brands to Adopt Chatbots
Although they aren’t a new technology, in 2016 we saw a reigniting of the chatbot. As a result, brands reevaluated methods to incorporate chatbots into their marketing plans to enhance consumer experience.
This year, we anticipate marketers will fully adopt chatbot technologies to drive engagement and conversion. Facebook offers leading platform capabilities and, as a result, the number of consumers using chatbots to connect with businesses on the popular social media channel will explode. To achieve success, it is essential for brands to define an objective for their chatbots such as lead generation, or improved customer service, etc.
Retail Will Embrace Virtual and Augmented Reality
With the extreme popularity of the Pokémon Go app in 2016, brands were exposed to how augmented reality (AR) technology can drive user interest. In fact, Pokemon Go was the most downloaded app in the App Store’s eight year history, beating out social networks and hit games alike.
With this kind of consumer interest, it’s likely that more brands will incorporate virtual reality (VR) and AR into their advertising and marketing efforts. Consumers are clearly ready for this technology, so if implemented correctly, brands can provide an unforgettable experience that will reach and activate their audiences. According to a report from ABIresearch, the VR market is expected to grow 88 percent by 2021.1 This supports the belief that this technology will be embraced by more retailers and sectors such as consumer products, automotive and the events and entertainment industries. The trick for marketers utilizing VR/AR in their brand marketing efforts will be to create a user experience with stickiness -- one that will continue to bring the consumer back to the brand, versus a one-and-done marketing effort.
Digital Ad Spend Will Continue to Rise
For the first time, digital ad spend overtook TV ad spend. When all is said and done, digital spend is anticipated to reach $72.09 billion for 2016, with mobile and video driving the increase.2
In 2017, the digital ad market will likely grow 8 to 12 percent, with mobile experiencing the greatest growth. With consumers increasingly relying on mobile devices as a channel of consumption, marketers will leverage the unique attributes of the medium – particularly it’s potential for one-to-one communication, to take advantage of consumption behavior. As all of this this occurs, data and analytics will continue to play a prominent role in influencing digital ad spend.
mCommerce Will Increase
In 2017, it is anticipated that mobile shopping (mCommerce) will continue to rise. In fact, eMarketer projects mCommerce sales will grow to 65 percent -- up from 58 percent in 2016.3
Improvements to the mobile shopping experience such as increased smartphone screen size, buy buttons integrated into social media platforms, and retailers with one-click shopping, will further propel mCommerce, with eCommerce growing simultaneously.
As mentioned earlier, brands will increase use of chatbots, and marketers who implement them across platforms, including mobile, will help consumers pressed for time locate and purchase desired items. mCommerce and chatbots are a winning combination for both consumers and retailers due to the transaction speed and personalized experience they offer.
2016 was an incredible year for marketing in the digital space and it looks like 2017 won’t be far behind!
1. ABIResearch: Augmented and Virtual Reality News, Updates, and Future Devices
2. eMarketer: US Digital Ad Spending to Surpass TV
3. eMarketer: Podcast: Five Mobile Commerce Predictions for 2017