This year has been a year of innovation for the digital marketing industry, the rise of social media and mobile has created even more avenues for businesses to explore and this innovation is only going to increase in 2017. From virtual reality to big data, here are our digital marketing trends to look out for in the next year.

Virtual Reality

We are very excited at Generate UK for the arrival of virtual reality, with the platform offering a unique way to market products in the future. Virtual reality will give consumers the opportunity to walk around a potential hotel room, explore and shop in a virtual high street and test products from their living room.

Virtual reality has the potential to benefit various industries in a big way. Holiday companies can preview their holidays, with customers, for example, sampling a ski slope on the Alps from a shop in Brighton. Architects could create 3D models that clients can walk through and give feedback that they would not be able to do with conventional modelling. For us, the opportunities with virtual reality are endless.

Big Data and More Personal Marketing

The rise of big data, and increase in the way we can harness it, will lead to a boom next year in more targeted and personal marketing. There is a cavalcade of information available for marketers to harness and use it for their digital marketing strategies. This information can be used to segment and target new demographics for your products and allow you to create ads that will resonate with an audience, which may not have the same impact as a mass audience campaign.

Social E-Commerce

With 1.18 billion people actively using Facebook daily, it provides a platform for brands to interact with a large number of potential customers without the need for an expensive worldwide campaign. With 29.7% of all of Facebook’s users aged 25 to 34, you have the chance to engage and interact with over 300 million key consumers.

Previously Facebook, and other social platforms, could only be used as a channel to build relationships with consumers, however, with the introduction of ‘Buy’ buttons you can sell and market your products directly to a mass audience and use social media as a way to help reach your sales goals. Do not be surprised to see other social media platforms develop their e-commerce capabilities in the next year.

Mobile-First

This year saw a big shift in focus towards mobile friendly websites and content and you can expect this to further develop next year. With Google’s search algorithm ever changing, it will be more and more important to optimise your content for mobile users. The average smartphone user spends 3 hours per day on their mobile device, and the number of global mobile users has now overtaken desktop users, so capitalising on this will be increasingly important in 2017. Brands are now beginning to create apps to communicate their message directly to consumer’s smartphones; offering deals, advertising new products and interacting with consumers directly from the user’s pocket.

Increase in Video

You may have noticed recently that when on Facebook, a lot of the content provided is now in video format. 45% of people now watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week and this number will only grow in the coming year. A recent HubSpot survey has shown that 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and so next year it will be important to use video to engage potential customers with video content.

What digital marketing trends do you think will arise in the next year? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter!