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There are only a few weeks left until New Year. Reason enough for a blogger like me with a fondness for online marketing to pull out my crystal ball and take a peek at the future. I was able to discern ten online marketing trends, a few of which surprised even me.

1. Influencers are becoming increasingly important

Influencers won’t make you sick, but their opinions are contagious. Just like in real life there are people on the internet who have a strong influence on the opinions formed by large groups. They can be bloggers, Youtubers or other social media stars. If a product, webpage, service provider or something similar is recommended by these people, their followers will do more than just give it a cursory glance. The advantage influencers have is that they are considered credible. Unlike with classic advertising, their opinion is trusted. This comes from a study by the Territory Webguerillas agency from the summer of this year.

If you want to be successful with online marketing in 2017, you should cooperate with bloggers, YouTubers, etc. and win them over with your products and services.

2. Enlist Users

Users who are convinced of something are an ideal marketing instrument, because they transfer their conviction to their environment. To make anonymous consumers and users into people who act out of conviction, it is important to actively engage them. Contests, raffles or polls can be arranged, or have website visitors create content themselves, take part in hashtag campaigns and express their opinion. The more they interact with a product, website or service, the more they will talk about, recommend it etc.

User participation will be an indispensable marketing instrument in 2017 as well.

3. Inspire and Inform Customers

For eCommerce websites, it’s no longer enough to just offer products that have been treated to a pretty description. Shoppers want more. To this end Instagram, for example, can be integrated into the shop. It displays inspiring ideas suited to the product. So along with the red wool, a suitable knitting pattern is presented at the same time. Online travel agencies share travel tips and provide their customers entire guidebooks. Besides your own content, comments from Facebook or other social media can also be tied into product presentation.

The inspiring and informative incorporation of products and services into offers will influence purchase decisions and increase visitor numbers in 2017.

4. Chatbots instead of FAQs

Chatbots are small programs that in theory are supposed to function like a real chat partner. In practice the whole thing doesn’t run perfectly quite yet, but they are ideally suited for customer service. Everyone who already works in this area knows that the same questions come up again and again. For this reason FAQs can be found on practically every internet site. But clicking through a long list of questions is often frustrating. Chatbots can perform these tasks considerably better. The user can ask his questions and the software answers interactively. Interested parties as well as customers arrive at their answers quickly, and receive the desired assistance in short order.

Chatbots will make customer service and customers’ lives easier in the year 2017.

5. Live Video is Becoming Increasingly Important

Masses of pre-produced videos can be found on the net. In the last few years though, live transmissions have become ever more popular. Live streaming is even possible on Facebook now. The demand is obviously there. So instead of a video tutorial, webinars can be hosted. Viewers can join via video or text chat and questions can be answered immediately. This way, the presentation of a new product can also easily become a live event. With live streaming the interested party feels more connected to what is shown.

Live video will play a more important role in the year 2017, because it allows the interaction and bond with the user to be further developed.

6. The User Experience Occupies Centre Stage

The old “SEO tricks” for a better ranking are passé. Link farms, spamming and other methods only get search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to devalue the site. For them, the user experience comes first. Beginning in January 2017, advertising that customers are unable to bypass will also be used as a criterion by Google to rank a site lower. Pop-up content will then no longer irritate visitors. So when doing search engine optimization, always remember that the search engine puts the user first. Those who forget that will quickly find themselves on page ten of the Google search results list.

In 2017, websites have to be better accessible for users and offer inspiring content to rank well.

7. Importance of Native Advertising on the Rise

3,000 to 5,000 advertising messages bombard internet users daily. This enormous quantity is not processed however, it is simply ignored. This is called advertising blindness. For this reason, banners ads or pop-ups are becoming less of a factor. And of course the beloved ad blockers also contribute to this. On the other hand, native advertising is gaining importance. This includes articles in blogs, portals etc. that have not been created by an editorial team, but by an advertising agency or a company’s marketing department. Good native advertising is characterized by high-quality content. The reader is encouraged to read the article, although it is advertising. In addition native advertising should always be identified as such, otherwise blogs and advertisers are gambling with their credibility. As opposed to ads and banners, this method has the advantage that it can target people specifically.

Native advertising will gain in importance in 2017 because user “blindness” to classic online advertising is increasing.

8. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality is no longer a familiar concept only in the video and computer game scene. On Facebook and YouTube, 360 degree videos are published every minute. Television networks secure the VR broadcasting rights to sports events, and VR television series and movies are in production too. The first online shops are displaying their products in virtual showrooms, and travel agencies offer virtual tours through resorts. VR apps allow users to test out new products and services. And if they are convincing there, the purchase or booking is then just a formality. Virtual reality is also more than just of passing interest to social platforms. Facebook didn’t buy VR pioneer Oculus for no reason.
Augmented reality proved its potential at the very least since Pokémon Go. Those who were able to submit a PokéStop there received a lot of new customers. So augmented reality offers brand-new ways to acquire customers and position advertising.

Virtual reality and augmented reality will make completely different marketing measures possible in 2017. They allow the user to be involved, and not just to stare at a screen.

9. Occupy Niche Markets

Ever increasing online offers confront a relatively constant number of users. For that reason, it is important to find niches that have remained undiscovered until now. Certainly, no one will be able to assemble a large community, but surely a special group of people. For online marketing such niche sites are worth their weight in gold, because they allow a fairly specifically defined target group to be addressed.

New websites can still be established in 2017 if they fill a niche. Their potential is enormous especially for target group marketing.

10. Increase Information Density

Hardly anyone reads a text on the Internet. It is skimmed, and scanned for relevant information. On Facebook, articles are shared when only the title was actually read. There is simply too much information pelting users in a very short amount of time. Therefore, it is extremely important to write informative texts with high information density. Long prefaces and flowery embellishments have no place here. The writing of sentences just to accommodate keywords, as already described under number 6, will become a boomerang.

In the year 2017, the density of information in texts must continue to improve, so they don’t go down in the general info rush.