Digital Marketing: A Look Back at 2016 and What to Expect in 2017


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Digital marketers are constantly exposed to new changes and trends in the digital arena every year. Therefore, marketers need to train themselves to welcome these changes and adapt to them as quickly as possible.

Observing changing user behaviors and adapting to them has always been important to pave the way towards success. 2016 was no different. A number of new trends emerged, making some marketers vulnerable, while benefitting others immensely.

Let us evaluate the hottest trends from 2016 and analyze how they will impact the digital landscape in 2017.

1. Mobile Optimization is Here to Stay

With mobile traffic surpassing desktop traffic, it has become important for businesses to build mobile-friendly websites to attract next-gen customers. Almost everyone uses mobile devices to search for information. If your website is not mobile-optimized, you risk losing customers to your competitors.

Moreover, according to Google’s Mobilegeddon update, you may see your website’s rankings fall if it isn’t mobile-optimized. Several digital marketing courses emphasize the need for mobile optimization in online marketing to ensure that digital marketers make no mistakes when designing strategies for their clients or company.

Companies, both big and small, pulled up their socks and started creating mobile-friendly websites in 2016, and we expect to see more companies follow suit in 2017. For example Etsy, an ecommerce website where people can buy or sell handmade or vintage items is doing an amazing job of it.


Their mobile website caters to the needs of buyers and sellers. As you enter it, you are provided with an option to search for your desired items, shops or categories. Just below the search bar, you can find thumbnails of the most popular items on Etsy. The images are large enough to be easily tapped with fingers.

Overall, mobile-friendly websites offer amazing user experience to their customers, irrespective of whether or not they actually shop.

2. Personalization Will Continue to Rule in 2017

The key to digital marketing success is personalizing for niche audiences. Content marketers and technology developers have already started realizing its power. Social platforms like Facebook are offering more audience-targeting features than ever before to allow content publishers and advertisers to connect with their target audiences. Content marketers are now targeting smaller groups of people and talking more about specific niches. Including this strategy in your marketing rule book for 2017 will benefit your company in several ways.

Take the example of the popular automobile company, Ford. It engaged millennials to raise awareness of their new models among them. The company gave Fiesta models to about a hundred 20-somethings for a period of six months and asked them to share their experiences. Most participants had an active social media presence and a large number of followers on leading social platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

The company never attempted to influence the reviews (text, video or images) and the results were amazing. The Fiesta Movement, as the campaign was named, garnered over 6 million views on YouTube and generated over 50,000 information requests in less than a week.

3. Marketing Automation to be Greater in 2017

Marketing automation had been the buzzword in 2016 and this will continue in 2017. It is a process where marketers use software or Web-based services to streamline, manage and execute tasks that would otherwise have to be performed manually. Thanks to the various marketing automation tools, several aspects of content marketing, social media marketing, and online advertising can now be achieved quickly and easily.

In fact, an average of 49 percent of companies are using marketing automation in some form, according to Emailmonday’s ‘The Ultimate Marketing Automation stats’ and 91 percent of marketers agree marketing automation is crucial to the

overall success of marketing across channels (Marketo and Ascend2 ‘Marketing Automation: Strategies for Sustaining Success’ (2015)).

With marketing automation, you can make improvements, such as engaging and nurturing prospects, qualifying leads, cutting down overall sales cycle, and communicating easily with existing customers, throughout the customer cycle. Marketers across the world will benefit from leveraging marketing automation and achieve goals quickly in 2017.

Take the example of Tami Brehse, who automated her Twitter posts using Buffer to get amazing results. Here is what she found at the end of the month:

She witnessed an increase of almost 311 percent in website traffic, 8.7 percent increase in followers, and 43 percent increase in impressions.

4. Marketing Agility

Marketing agility was there in 2016 and is here to stay in 2017 and beyond. Marketing is all about identifying and satisfying customers’ needs with an aim to nurture relationships, deliver value, and increase the sales; while marketing agility is the ability to adapt and respond to the changing customer behavior, business goals and market conditions.


Implementing the principles of agile management can be helpful here. Break the digital marketing campaign into smaller and more manageable chunks and then completing them one by one, while measuring their effects on the overall marketing campaign.

The success to digital marketing also depends on the agility of the digital marketer. In order to ensure success, the digital marketers need to identify a recent trend, adjust the strategies and leverage appropriate marketing channels to satisfy ever changing customer needs, and achieve business goals.


A lot of things happened in 2016, such as wearables became more popular, videos became more important, and social selling came into being. In 2017, we need to be open to further changes in the online marketing landscape and become the earliest adopters.

Whether you join a digital marketing course or learn by observing others, remembering the past trends and keeping an eye on the latest ones is crucial. This will give you an idea of what was and relate it to that which is yet to come. So, pull up your socks and prepare to beat the competition and enjoy the rewards of your hard work.

Dipti Parmar
Dipti Parmar Consulting
Dipti Parmar is a blogger and business consultant. She has been featured on sites like Inc., CIO, CMO, Entrepreneur and more. In her free time, she enjoys cycling.


  1. Awesome post Dipti. I completely agree especially to #2. But I was wondering, will guesting posting still be huge for this year? it’s has become quite spammy at some point already.


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