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2017 Digital Marketing Predictions

We are excited to see what’s new but always skeptical about what will last.

One of the greatest assets of Saltwater Software is our tenure. We’ve been in the digital marketing space since the beginning and have loved every moment along the way. This experience gives us a unique perspective when it comes to trends and innovations—we are excited to see what’s new but always skeptical about what will last. We’d like to share these insights to help our friends get focused in the new year. Here are our predictions for digital marketing in 2017:


E-Commerce Will Get a Tech Stimulus

These days, spending money online is no longer just an exercise for shopping sites like You can call an Uber with your voice via Amazon Echo or book a flight within a Facebook bot. At the same time consumers, more than ever, are clicking through from social media to buy items they see on their feed. A recent survey from Aimia shows that 56% of consumers follow brands on social media to browse products. These shifts indicate that consumers are more comfortable with both mobile-friendly and non-traditional retail options. Think about integrating e-commerce both within your site & as a part of social to leverage this critical revenue tool.


Chatbots Are Here: Fools Rush In

AI, machine learning and natural language processing have made such advances in the last few years that the chatbot is no longer science fiction. Facebook added to this wave by opening their Messenger platform to bot developers and as a result, consumers can now choose from over 11,000 bots on the platform. Meanwhile, aggressive developers are trying to convince every marketer that if they don’t develop a chatbot immediately they’ll be left behind. Don’t be fooled. The development of a solid and robust chatbot is not something to be taken lightly. Carefully consider your customer experience before taking this leap. Your audience is your most important asset—don’t risk ruining that relationship with a robot. In many cases, the risk just isn’t worth the reward.


Nonlinear Marketing: The Rise of the Non-Campaign

Traditional, or linear marketing, consists of the creation of a captivating image or message of your brand and that is then inserted into where the agency believes a consumer will see it. Non-linear marketing is a more modern approach that works like attracting bees with honey. The brand creates engaging experiences and content to lure in consumers without having to sell to them. These experiences create connections that lead to both sales and loyalty in a new and exciting way. Examples include Red Bull, Coca Cola and Ford.


Video: Short, Sweet & Live

Cisco predicts that by 2020, video content will account for 82% of all consumer internet traffic. At the end of 2016, we saw Instagram & Twitter both roll out live streaming capabilities at the end of 2016. Meanwhile, Facebook Live is reporting a 4x growth since May of 2016, with brands such as PBS and Techcrunch using the tool extensively. In a recent Wyzowl report, 83% of business state that video gives them a good ROI. Because of new technologies and a shift in customer expectations, videos need not be polished and overproduced. Consider behind-the-scenes content, contests and event live streaming videos as a great way to leverage this movement.


Mobile First: Now More Than Ever

During 2016, Google made two important announcements that reminded us all that mobile can no longer be ignored. First, mobile Google searches usurped desktop usage for the very first time. Google also announced that, for the second time, they’ve updated their algorithm to favor mobile-friendly website. However, this doesn’t mean you can nor should you neglect the desktop. Sites such as Travelocity still report a desktop usage over 70%. The answer? Adaptive design is key and a consistent and thorough review of mobile visibility is the key to solid SEO.


Email Marketing: Targeted & Personal

As consumers connect with more and more brands online, their inbox is flooded with additional email marketing campaigns. Because of this, for emails to be not only effective but simply opened, they need to offer something of value to the consumer. Consider segmenting your email lists and curating the conversation to things that these readers will embrace. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in unsubscribe hell.

These are just some of the points to consider while creating your marketing calendar and budget for 2017. But keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for marketing. By leveraging new technologies, data and insights, creating an approach that amplifies your strengths and connects authentically with your audience will drive traffic and enable your business to thrive.