Marin Software’s 2017 Digital Marketing Forecast

January 4, 2017

There’s no doubt that the options for advertisers are growing by the day. So, as we start 2017, what should marketers be looking at to stay relevant and competitive?

We spoke to market experts across social, search, and omnichannel to ask: what can marketers expect to see in 2017?

From location beacons to artificial intelligence—here is a comprehensive guide to what Marin predicts will be the biggest marketing trends of the year.

Beacons Likely to Disrupt Retail

Amandine Dovelos, Senior Customer Manager


Location-based, personalized data is the clincher in perhaps one of retail's most underutilized technologies to date—beacons. Using beacons in sophisticated marketing strategies will be the next step in how customers experience your brand in a bricks-and-mortar setting. For marketers, it also adds a new dimension for in-store analytics, allowing them to better understand buying patterns, create in-store engagement, redeem offers, and increase conversions.

Imagine this: A beacon in a clothing store that can located a shopper and detect exactly what sort of customer they are (for example, their gender, age, location, and whether they’ve purchased from the retailer before). Then, the retailer serves them a notification (email/SMS) with a time-limited, personalized offer.

Since the importance of customer experience dominated throughout 2016, the new year will have marketers’ efforts geared toward consistently improving this experience, as it directly correlates with positive brand differentiation.

Increase in Voice Activated and Integrated Search

Amandine Dovelos, Senior Customer Manager


As interesting enhancements continue to rock the online landscape—for example Google Shopping, carousel ads, and voice search—advertisers need to explore new ways of enticing possible buyers.

With audiences becoming more sophisticated in their online behavior, new online searching patterns have emerged. Search engines can now better analyze each word/token of a query and produce a deeper contextual meaning. Rambling voice searches will be enriched by synonyms to return search results that reflect your deeper intent. Given that many voice searches have a local intent, enriching customer intent with a local tweak will facilitate better results.

Facebook Broadening Scope

Jane Felice, Senior Product Marketing Manager


Facebook has introduced a unified conversion pixel that combines both the conversion tracking pixel and custom audience pixels that enables more solutions for advertisers. Note that the previous iteration, Facebook's conversion pixel, is going to be deprecated in February 2017, so marketers will be migrating to the new pixel to leverage the best options Facebook has to offer.

Facebook Audience Network (FAN) will develop new formats, metrics, and channels such as purchases and installs via FAN, so as FAN grows, more metrics and objectives are likely.

Facebook is also likely to invest in publisher partners, focusing on header bidding for greater control. These moves are likely to pivot the focus of programmatic display.

Omnichannel Will Continue to Influence Purchasing Decisions

Brian Lee, Market Research Manager


A variety of quality touchpoints continue to influence consumer behaviors. WBR recently found that 75% of retailers consider omnichannel essential to their business, and with good reason. Over 50% of current search conversions have a conversion path with two or more channels, and this is likely to continue as consumers have access to an increasing amount of data—and options—online.

Augmented Reality Ignites the Customer Experience

Brionna Lewis, Kiip guest author


The Pokémon Go frenzy this year brought augmented reality on mobile to the forefront for businesses. Augmented reality unleashes unlimited creative possibilities when it comes to delivering more captivating content. With this technology, the viewer becomes an integral part of the brand experience as opposed to a mere observer. Instead of a call to action, they are the action.

Highly engaged users are highly engaged consumers, and with the virality of Pokémon Go and the consequential sharp fall in its users, marketers will be looking into this area with great excitement, but also caution. Because AR and VR technologies remain largely uncharted territory with literally endless creative possibilities, we expect advertisers outside of the gaming realm to dive deep into this space in 2017.

Artificial Intelligence: Virtual Assistants and Chatbots Lead the Direct Marketing Charge

Brionna Lewis, Kiip Guest author

Companies like Amazon and Google are already tapping into this in a big way with virtual assistants like Echo and Google Home. These high-touch devices allow brands to reach consumers in an authentic and useful way. They also serve direct communication to consumers, and in doing so, they encourage purchase and brand preference.

Similarly, powered through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Kik, WhatsApp, and WeChat, brands can chat directly with consumers and inspire them to make purchases via chatbots. From Sephora offering makeup tricks, to American Express letting you know about new promotional offers you might qualify for, the opportunities for brands to reach consumers through messenger bots is gaining momentum. They’re likely to be a large focus for marketers in 2017.

Maria Breaux

Marin Software
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