8 predictions for digital marketing in 2017


1. A boom in cross-device functionality

This uptick began in 2016 and wit will accelerate toward widespread mainstream adoption in the New Year.

Cross-device functionality both improves lift and offers more accurate attribution by targeting and engaging users across their devices.

These advantages suggest a larger adoption curve, and cross-device marketing functionality across display, video, social, mail, and more.

2. Programmatic moves across the full spectrum of the consumer journey

Brand has already been moving towards greater programmatic spend, driven in part by a larger desire to hold marketing spend accountable.

That transition has been a bit slower in 2016 than analysts predicted at the close of 2015. In part, this because the bigger move will be toward full funnel programmatic solutions, of which brand and direct response (DR) are core components, rather than siloed programmatic brand spend.

>See also: Are businesses failing to track the return on digital marketing spend?

Marketing professionals are under increased pressure to demonstrate results and are therefore looking to run highly relevant, creative, responsive and measurable campaigns at scale.

With the continued growth of video and other high-impact rich media creative formats through programmatic channels, more immersive and expressive creative formats will open up.

With clear links between brand uplift and DR performance, more marketers will start to use insights from both brand and DR campaigns to inform media and creative strategy.

3. Digital marketing moves away from last touch attribution

This is a corollary to the first two predictions. As cross-device marketing expands into other channels, and as programmatic spend is integrated across the entire consumer funnel, marketers will begin inching away from last touch attribution.

Last touch makes far more sense when siloed, as it doesn’t speak to the complexity of interactions between brand and consumer that might result in an eventual move from awareness to conversion, nor to the complexity of interactions between devices.

With better technology and better modeling, 2017 will see the development and testing of new attribution models that move away from last touch and toward more comprehensive assessments. These models will eventually impact how marketers measure ROI and plan campaigns.

4. Identity will be more important than ever

As brands move to other attribution models, and rely more on cross-device, understanding identity in a compliant way will be more important than ever.

Third party solutions will be important but not ideal in terms of providing solutions as regulations on PII and consumer data collection grow.

With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation coming into force in 2018, and the potential fallout from Brexit, marketers should look for new regulations governing the collection and transfer of data.

5. The ascendency of first-party data in marketing

First-party data is intrinsic to a specific company – meaning no other company has the identical data – and it provides significant insight into the demographic and psychographic profiles of customers. It can also be combined with third-party data when needed.

2017 will see more and more DMP (data management platform) functionality distributed into other marketing technologies, either in addition to stand-alone DMPs or in lieu of them.

Expect more and more DSPs to offer functionality like tagging and integrated analytics, and expect more companies to try to derive a competitive advantage from the quality of the data they’ve gathered.

6. Smart decisioning

As more and more companies turn to the data they’ve gathered in different venues and in different formats, they’re going to need to figure out how to turn their collection of data into something that is accessible and actionable by other technologies.

This means a growing emphasis on using data smartly across the marketing technology stack to ease and accelerate interoperability.

7. Marketers take advantage of DMPs

With the rise of DMPs, first-party data became increasingly important in the marketing space. Marketers could combine behavioural data with CRM data and develop more intensive understandings of when and where to engage, with what messages, and at which stage in the funnel.

DMPs continue to be adopted, but not at the pace originally predicted – in part because return on DMP adoption, by itself, takes time to manifest. And also because not all companies have figured out what to do with that new centralised data and don’t have the processes or people in place to take advantage of it.

>See also: 5 marketing trends to prepare for in 2016

So marketers have a situation where there is widespread consensus on the potential value of first-party data, but not necessarily widespread implementation of systems to take advantage of it.

8. The year of artificial intelligence

2017 will be a year in which artificial intelligence (AI) dominates marketing news. To tie all the pieces together, marketers need the ability to learn from the data and improve the specificity of a campaign in five different ways—getting the right creative, right audience, right message, right device, right time.

With the volume and velocity of data being assembled and put to use – an amount that is beyond human scale – AI provides the most effective way to process the data and make informed decisions in real time.

Look for new AI solutions, enhanced AI offerings and more brand cache to attach to machine learning and AI solutions in the coming year.


Sourced from David Gosen, MD and SVP international, Rocket Fuel 

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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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