10 trends influencing internet companies in 2017


1. Mobile use continues to grow

Companies will need to have a mobile-first approach when it comes to customer engagement. It can’t be an afterthought. Over a third of millennials have researched a product online via a mobile device while in a store – and nearly a quarter have bought a product online from a mobile device while in a store, according to research by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It’s highly likely your customers will be using their smartphone when viewing your content.

2. Voice will change the way we search

Voice assistants have more than doubled in popularity, being used by 65% of smartphone users in 2015. Searching with your voice lends itself perfectly to the way in which we instantly expect information to be returned. People are already changing the way they communicate with search engines as they look for information.

>See also: How the Internet of Things is changing business models

3. Customer privacy is back to the front of everyone’s minds

Protecting customer data should always be kept paramount. Only one in four UK adults trust businesses with their personal information – high street banks are the most trusted, internet brands the least. The ICO’s research found that nearly half of customers (45%) are more worried about their online privacy than a year ago, while 78% of customers are concerned businesses will sell on their data.

In order to help correct how customers see parting with their details, companies will need to be more transparent about why they need the information they’re seeking. A balance needs to be struck between a need for insight and a respect for customer privacy.

4. Marketing will need to adopt more inbound tactics

Trusted brands will sell more. In 2016, internet users relied heavily on their ad-blockers and didn’t respond to invasive marketing tactics. While it was once acceptable to buy email lists and invest in pop-up ads, this is now viewed as noisy and disruptive, as reflected in the rise of messaging apps.

Snapchat and Whatsapp have grown massively in photo and video sharing, and this trend for communicating via messaging apps rather than on social networks mirrors how customers are opting for more private, ad-free channels. Brands will have to invest in more tactful ways of reaching out to potential customers and begin using blogs, podcasts, video, ebooks, newsletters, whitepapers and SEO.

5. HR will need to cater to the millennial workforce

Unlike their previous baby-boomer generation, millennials are a more demanding workforce. They’re more likely to need constant validation, communicate through social media and require significantly more guidance. The challenge for HR is to attract and retain this talent in an innovative way. There are a variety of techniques that can help, such as regularly recognising good work, continuous assessments and non-traditional performance reviews. Tools can help HR managers to easily track progress and produce reviews on employees.

6. Social video content continues to rule marketing

Facebook receives 8 billion video views on average per day alone and Snapchat has grown to 10 billion daily video views. Video has become more and more important to a marketing strategy.

Putting a face to the name of a business in an age where companies are more digital, and therefore less approachable, helps a company becomes less remote and more personal. It’s important to grab attention with visuals – a millennial audience means consumers already possess a solid understanding of technology and a dwindling appetite to read long articles. Video can be easier to understand and digest than text, whilst giving an opportunity to convey your message in a more personal way.

7. Internet advertising will help grow e-commerce

The internet is fuelled by advertising. Google and Facebook both dominate this area of the market – Google earned almost $30 billion from PPC ads over the last year. As these platforms grow larger, they’ll continue to exercise an increase in e-commerce trends and grow a demand for e-commerce tools.

8. Product innovation and integration

Having a willingness to adopt an adaptive culture where new technologies are easily integrated will ensure that business enjoy long-term success. Businesses also need to ensure time isn’t wasted creating tools that offer no real value. The faster your company can put ideas into action, the more it can take on opportunities to grow. This means taking on an attitude that accepts failing in order to succeed.

>See also: AI and the sharing economy: how Expedia views the future of travel

9. Be ready to embrace a remote team

Millennials prefer flexibility to compensation. Today’s technology means businesses can easily connect with talent anywhere in the world. It’s now commonplace to host meetings over Skype, Google Hangouts or other video conferencing platforms. Increasingly, roles of a digital nature will only require access to a computer and the internet in order to get the work done.

10. Keep customers’ experience a priority

Customers are increasingly cautious in trusting a brand and are a lot less likely to do so if it doesn’t match their values and needs. Companies need to ensure a consistent and positive user experience is given at every step to keep them engaged – no matter how and when it takes place.

Analytics must be used to show where they are coming from (eg. from social media or a blog) and to streamline and personalise this interaction, making sure businesses are adding to the experience for every customer, wherever they are in the journey.


Sourced from Olly Culverhouse, CEO, Signable

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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