2016 was one hell of a year, filled with ups and downs it also helped solidify a lot of what marketing will look like in the next few years with advancements on current social networks, emergence of older mediums and more.

I’m a marketing junkie and am constantly reading up on trends and tactics that are either most effective or that are up and coming. Here are my top 5 picks to double down on in 2017 to make a Splash.

Increase of Pay To Play in Social

This has been a trend for the past few years but I really think this is the year that to really get return on your digital marketing efforts you’ll have to spend. Pinterest launching ads in the last year was a big indicator of this, however I think their pricing is a little crazy for the return you’re getting. Micro-transactions on Facebook and Instagram in particular will be enough to carry your content into the right hands. Plan and budget to spend – even just a little – as it goes a long long way.

Customer Advocacy/User Generated Content

I predict that in 2017 the power from big-name influencers online will be slightly diminished and move more into the hands of the average consumer who lets their opinions be known. I would take the time and focus on your customers more than anything. Invest in them, let them generate your content for you through contests and the like, and as a result you’ll see massive returns. Gary Vaynerchuk gives a great blueprint for this in The Thank You Economy.

Virtual Reality

Yes it might be a bit ahead of its time in terms of market penetration but the sooner you get ahead of this trend the better you’ll be once it hits full maturity. The fact that many phones are shipping with VR headsets now is a big deal as phones are the most important devices in any consumers hands. I think 2017 is the year where we see the first really strong content for the Oculus Rift as well. Virtual tours and experiencing your products in a 3D are some simple applications you can start with to test with your user base. This allows you to perfect your use of VR by the time it’s mainstream.

Podcasting

We’ve talked about this a lot internally at Splash Effect as many of us once thought the trend might’ve died off years ago but Podcasting is as strong as ever. We’re seeing more and more industries jump into it and I think it’s one of the easiest ways to build thought leadership in terms of barrier to entry. On that note, the Splash Effect podcast is coming soon! Watch this space. Also check out my post from last year highlighting some of my top picks!

Visuals Take Over

The domination of Instagram and Snapchat in the past year among the younger demographics are showing that instant videos and pictures are now a staple in their day to day lives. Doubling down on producing great visuals and stories should be your number 1 focus of the next year. We’ve heard that by 2020 the majority of content on the internet will have some sort of video component to it and we’ll start to move in that direction heavily in 2017. There’s no excuse now for grainy video and pictures as almost all of us have professional-quality camera in our pockets. Ensure you’re putting out content that truly represents the quality of your product or service through your advertising mediums.

If you need any help implementing these trends into your marketing mix in 2017, Splash Effect is here to help! Feel free to reach out to make sure you’re not behind the wave this year.