For starters, happy New Year to everyone. Here’s a quick round up of some of the top 2016 digital marketing moments before we throw you into a new year, new trends list.

Mr Marmite, aka President Donald Trump certainly used his own words when tweeting about his campaign and his opponents. His ‘authentic’ use of social media meant that his ‘mean girl’ style tweets about Hilary and many others made it hard not to hear about it (whether it annoyed us or entertained us). The publicity meant he spread his message of ‘Make America great again’ even further. Who said politics and Twitter don’t go well together?

The food/coffee chain Pret set up a veggie only version of their store in London for a four week trial. The movement started after the CEO Clive Schlee wrote a blog post with the idea of opening a non-meat Pret store – 10,000 votes in favour later he decided to run it as a trial. With TV ads and a huge social media campaign around this, the brand was thrust to the forefront of a large and ever growing eco-conscious, food savvy audience. The result – it was a big hit, the store has become permanent and the price of the company’s share prices rose.

Final round up comment – the ‘Lidl Surprises’ campaign. The inspiration for this campaign actually came from negative tweets. The ads on TV feature ‘normal’ people asking where the meat/other produce from Lidl’s is actually from (with suspicious and doubtful voices). The ad then takes you on a little journey to discover the answer. Lidl wanted to rejuvenate their brand to appeal to a wider audience, whilst this campaign also personalised the concerns of people who may not being Lidl converts. UK marketing director Clare Farrant said “Great marketing should be about changing your brand’s misconceptions and not just banging the same drum.†Fresh thinking.

So, 2017, what’s predicted to be big in the digital marketing world this year?

More online customer care

The fact customers can have ‘conversations’ with the company opposed to those long waits to call centres is a revolution in itself! The opportunity to offer quick advice and solutions will improve any customer’s experience and conversion rates. How will this develop in 2017? Chatbots; are an automated way of offering personalised assistance to customers 24/7. A survey done by Sprout Social in 2016 highlighted that 34.5% of people chose social media as their top choice for customer care, website/live chat came in second with 24.7% of the votes. With the least favourite way of receiving customer care voted was going in stores (5.3%). Take note HMRC – your call hold times are too long.

Augmented Reality

AR (augmented reality) & VR (Virtual reality) is one to watch. Pokemon Go really took AR games to the next level in 2016 – the world went crazy for it. Coffee shops started advertising their venues as ‘Poke-Stops’ for users to grab a drink and game features. It won’t be long until we are wearing our VR headsets and participating in obstacle style TV shows without even leaving our home – for fun of course, not exercise! Marketing and content through these channels is really going to take user experiences to the next level.

Live streaming

Live news is the new news it seems – YouTube live-streamed Donald Trump’s inauguration coverage for a whole host of broadcasters. We’ve seen big brands like Grazia live streaming behind the scenes from live events as well as live debates, which are always a popular watch. Video has always been a popular form of media but this brings ‘in the moment’ feelings to reality. User-contributed questions is just another layer to how brands can connect more personally with their audiences.

Collaborative Marketing

Both big and small are teaming together to attract the masses in their own ways, but what are we going to see more of in 2017? Bloggers/Vloggers and Instagrammers are the micro-influencers brands like Iceland are using for their new marketing campaigns. Why? Because they are more in touch with their audience, and more personable. Then there are the larger collaborations like Spotify and Sainsburys, the #FoodDancing campaign is based on the idea that more people should “celebrate the simple joy that can come with food†and put it “at the centre of real moments, relationships and emotions”. We predict more #bigcollabs coming our way in 2017!

Those are our predictions for 2017 but share your thoughts in our comments section below or Tweet us!