2016 is finally out the door – you can practically hear the collective sigh of relief.
From political pandemonium to Prince, there’s no denying it has been an eventful 12 months. It hasn’t been all bad. For those of us who care, digital marketing, as always, has experienced significant progress – including several key trends which could influence the way marketers promote and publicise their brands forever.
So, what were the digital and content marketing trends that mattered most in 2016? Hold tight for our big fat digital marketing round-up 2016.
The Fake News Problem
While satire has been the driving force behind social media for some time – there’s nothing amusing about the brand of fake news which dominated our newsfeeds this year.
Already under pressure following accusations that members of staff were overruling its news feed algorithm and suppressing content from right-wing media outlets, Facebook faced more harsh criticism in the run up to the US election. Many felt that the social media had failed to deal with fake news stories effectively, with the social site’s most furious critics claiming that this had a direct impact on the election result.
Google also struggled to cope with an increasing number of hoax stories, with one incorrect article about Trump’s popular vote win gaining a massive amount of attention and traction.
As both Facebook and Google try their best to get rid of fake news articles, the fact remains that social media has evolved into a platform where the nature of the content consumed by the user is increasingly dictated by his or her world view. When people are faced with the kind of thing they want to see, presented in a certain way (some fake news even appears as if on the websites of a real newspaper), the appearance and credibility of certain fake news sites becomes quite convincing.
Life shared live.
With people spending 3x longer watching live videos compared to pre-recorded, it clear to see how influential and effective this medium can be.
While some brands might feel as though they are relinquishing a fair amount of creative control with live video in terms of editing and post-production – this is exactly why it has become so popular. Live video enables anyone to record and share content, allowing for more open and inclusive online experiences.
Audiences love the full-frontal nature of live video because there is nowhere for tricks or gimmicks to hide. One of many great examples on this HubSpot blog post is Tough Mudder, which uses video to really show people what they are signing up for.
As usual, Facebook is leading the way with live video and has even launched a nationwide TV advertising campaign for it. But along with the ever-present YouTube, options like Twitter’s streaming app Periscope and Snapchat’s Live Stories feature could also come in handy for the-camera-loves-me types.
Customer Service Bots
More and more consumers are using social media to contact brands with customer service queries. To deal with this swell, both Facebook and Twitter have introduced automation technologies for rapid and relevant responses.
Chatbots on Facebook allow any business to deliver customer support, e-commerce guidance, and even interactive experiences. Thanks to AI and natural language alongside human help, Mark Zuckerberg said that users are able to chat to Messenger bots just like their real friends.
In response, Twitter unveiled Welcome Messages and Quick Replies to help brands improve their responsiveness. After all, a Twitter study found this could result in higher revenue, greater customer satisfaction, and positive word of mouth.
The prevailing piece of advice for brands adopting customer service chatbots is to strike the right balance between automation and the human touch.
Often-overlooked as a social media platfor, in spite of its reputation for innovation – Snapchat has had to face an army of clones this year, as leading sites Instagram and Facebook have moved in on some of its most fantastic features.
Instagram ‘Stories’ first appeared in August. While CEO Kevin Systrom acknowledged that the credit for its newest feature had to go to Snapchat, Instagram then unveiled an event-themed video section too, another all too familiar feature.
Parent company Facebook has also been accused of replicating Snapchat 15 times for features such as photo filters, masks, and stickers. It has got rid of Snapchat-inspired standalone apps including Poke and Slingshot though, preferring to integrate these additions into its flagship offering.
Despite benefitting from such obvious inspiration, Facebook has even gone on the offensive against Snapchat, warning Page admins that it will delete ‘snapcode’ profile images if not removed by 20th December.
That’s all folks! Have a merry and bright Christmas and we’ll see you in 2017.