Tuesday, January 31, 2017

5 Digital Marketing Trends that will Die in 2017

This short, snappy list of predictions on Mashable outlines five trends in digital marketing that are set to fail this year. To recap, the five are:
1. Twitter
2. Big banner ads
3. Stock images
4. Fake reviews
5. Popup ads

Although the latter four did not surprise me, I was quite surprised to see that the author listed Twitter as the first "trend" to die this year. He correctly cites the platform's shrinking market share, but I would conjecture that its relevancy is at an all-time high given that the US president, the so-called "leader of the free world," uses the platform as one of his primary communication tools. Given this reality, I would imagine that there would be more eyeballs on the platform; however, perhaps most of those eyeballs belong to journalists. Rather than going to Twitter to read news on the president's latest utterance, perhaps social media users are reading the reactions to the Tweet on other platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. Unless Twitter becomes more relevant to the younger generation of social media users, it may be doomed to become a newswire that no one ever reads (and that no advertisers want to invest in).

In the era of sophisticated ad blockers that we find ourselves in, I would not be surprised to see big banner ads and popup ads give way to more insidious forms of reaching consumers, such as native advertising. Although native advertising holds the high potential of deceiving readers, I strangely prefer it over annoying banner ads, popup ads, interstitials, and the like that block content. I credit myself as being a critical reader, and I guess this new advertising tactic will test those skills. However, I consider myself forewarned of the extremely slippery slope that native advertising represents, especially vis-a-vis fake news.

Finally, in regard to stock images and fake reviews, the current zeitgeist of consumers craving authenticity may push advertisers to be more transparent and "real" in terms of how they engage with consumers. As consumers spend more time on social media, sharing videos and photos of their friends and family, the bar for advertising visuals most likely must be raised. Stock images not only appear "inauthentic," yet they look cheap and tacky, when they are ironically quite expensive. Moreover, as consumers solicit recommendations and product reviews from their friends and peers, they are more savvy about spotting fake reviews; and, it is a tactic that can backfire on a company as consumers search to procure products from more "honest" companies that are transparent about the virtues (and shortcomings) of their products.

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