Online Marketing Articles: 2017 Edition

The year is almost over, which means it’s time for reflection and looking back on the past year. The world of online marketing was certainly active and interesting as usual, with plenty of new developments to keep you busy. Here’s a small selection of some of the biggest headlines that broke in 2017.

Facebook Finally Admits Advertising Is Not Going Away

To begin with, Facebook made no secret of the fact that it was investing heavily in digital marketing and social media. At the same time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long stressed that the company’s fundamental business model is not going to change. In other words, if you’ve got an audience, then you can sell your products to them. The digital marketing industry responded by creating various studies and reports that forecast a surge in ad spending in the next few years. Unfortunately, when the year was up, the social media giant had not only kept its original advertising revenue stream, but increased its share of the market by 30% compared to 2016.

Instagram Finally Admits Advertising Is Not Going Away

Instagram, the wildly popular photo-sharing social media platform, did not disappoint when it came to keeping up with the times. The company acknowledged that advertisements were not going away, even if some users may not have noticed. This is because Instagram’s enormous user base is primarily made up of millennials and Gen Z. According to a recent study by OneOpinion, 71% of millennials are more likely to consider a product or service as valuable if they haven’t seen an advertisement for it. In addition, Gen Z is more likely than older generations to focus on a product’s ‘human-element’ rather than its advertising. In other words, the icons of TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram don’t have to look far to find success.

Twitter Finally Admits Advertising Is Not Going Away, But Wants To Change The Way We See It

Twitter has been a bit of a different story to Facebook and Instagram. While the micro-blogging platform has continued to grow, it has maintained a rather fixed advertising revenue stream and has tried to push the boundaries of what a ‘traditional’ advertising experience looks like on the platform. In particular, Twitter has looked to create alternative revenue models, such as selling live video streams to brands. As a result, the company’s share price has risen by 18% since the beginning of the year. But while advertisers seem to have welcomed the changes, many see the platform’s reliance on advertising as a negative. According to a recent YouGov poll, 44% of adults feel that Twitter’s main purpose is to advertise, compared to 42% who feel it is to “tell the world’s stories.’”

That being said, Twitter has been experimenting with various forms of advertising in an effort to better serve users. For example, the company recently started showing videos from creators you follow rather than ads. In an effort to reduce the prominence of ads on the platform, the company is also taking a ‘light’ approach to promoting content. This is in contrast to the ‘belly button’ approach that many other major brands and platforms still rely on.

YouTube Finally Gets It: Video Is The Future Of Marketing

YouTube has arguably been the biggest success story of 2017. The video platform, which is owned by Google, has expanded its revenue stream beyond just advertising via YouTube Red and other paid campaigns. Now, it’s looking beyond traditional advertising and exploring other revenue sources, such as live chat, email marketing, and even selling a product or service via a ‘how to’ video.

These moves come as no surprise given that YouTube’s user base is constantly changing, with more and more people choosing to consume content in video format. According to a study by HubSpot, 81% of consumers have watched a product or service video to better understand or learn about an offer, while 70% have watched such videos to understand a product’s features or compare them to other offers. In addition, 59% of consumers have watched a product or service video to see how others reacted to the product, while 52% have watched such videos to see how the product works in practice.

The popularity of product videos on YouTube is expected to surge, as more and more businesses and brands recognize the importance of video content in marketing.

New Marketing Platforms Rise To The Oc

The trend towards ‘boring’ business models continues, with established brands looking towards online marketplaces for new customers and products. If you’re looking for a reliable and effective way to market your product, look no further than the vast ocean of internet users that make up the online marketplace. According to HubSpot, 69% of consumers have looked for a new product or service online, with 22% researching through social media and 17% going directly to a physical store. In addition, 17% have used a combination of all three methods (online / social media / physical store).

This trend is being seen across different industries. According to HubSpot, 55% of customers in the technology industry have conducted research online, compared to 38% who have done so in the music industry and 35% in the fashion industry.

That being said, this trend is largely due to the fact that customer research is becoming more digital. Those in the technology industry are particularly reliant on the internet for research, with 71% reporting they have used all available platforms, including forums, blogs, and social media to gain industry knowledge. In comparison, only 49% of customers in the consumer electronics industry have done the same.

The Year Of Videos

Forbes this year ranked the Top 20 Most Influential Celebrities In Online Marketing and Social Media. While many of the individuals on the list made it onto our top ten, Forbes points out that the “year of videos” saw many iconic faces appear in online and social media platforms. Celebrities from the movie ‘Captain America: Civil War’ appear in the list, as do the voices behind some of the most popular YouTube channels.

Forbes has analyzed the influence of these celebrities, determining that the most influential individuals in marketing and social media ranked as follows:

  • Tom Hanks (actor, 58.2m followers)
  • Reese Witherspoon (actress, 52.9m followers)
  • Bill Murray (actor, 51.8m followers)
  • Sandra Bullock (actress, 49.7m followers)
  • George Clooney (actor, 48.2m followers)
  • Marjorie Merriweather Post (actress, 46.2m followers)
  • Helen Mirren (actress, 41.9m followers)
  • Emma Thompson (writer, 39.2m followers)
  • Charlize Theron (actress, 38.4m followers)
  • Meryl Streep (actress, 37.6m followers)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow (writer, 36.6m followers)
  • Angelina Jolie (actress, 36.2m followers)
  • Kate Winslet (actress, 35.7m followers)
  • Charlotte Chabal (actress, 34.2m followers)
  • Penelope Cruz (actress, 33.8m followers)
  • Jessica Chastain (actress, 33.5m followers)
  • Keira Knightley (actress, 32.8m followers)
  • Berenice Bejo (actress, 31.4m followers)

The Forbes article references the HubSpot Influencers Survey, a research project that examined the behavior and activities of over 1,500 consumers in the technology, digital marketing, and social media industries. The article notes that videos have become so important to consumers that 48% of respondents said they would “definitely” buy a product or service after watching a video of it.

This trend is not limited to just social media. In fact, traditional print publications have seen an increase in the use of video content this year. According to HubSpot, 22% of customers have read an online article and then watched an accompanying video, while 13% have watched an online article and then purchased the product or service. In addition, 12% have read an article and then watched a video to learn about or understand an offering, while 10% have purchased a product or service and then watched the corresponding video.

Video is also making its way into offline marketing. According to HubSpot, 27% of consumers have attended or participated in a community event, such as a parade, and then watched an accompanying video. In addition, 17% have walked into a retail store and then watched a video on the wall about the product or service, or about the design or style of the store.