A round-up of our digital predictions in 2017

Digital marketing trends in 2017

A round-up of our digital predictions in 2017

We’ve kept an eye on the digital developments that have been gaining traction over the last 12 months and here is a round-up of our predictions for 2017.


A chatbot is a piece of software that is designed to simulate intelligent conversation through written or spoken text. Chatbots are nothing new: the world’s first chat agent, SmarterChild, was developed in 2000 by Robert Hoffer and Apple’s Siri was launched in 2010.

The difference with today's bot is the combination of artificial intelligence and natural language processing that will take it beyond the novelty value to something that will actually add value to our lives.

Facebook integrated peer-to-peer payments into its Messenger app in 2015 and then launched a full Chatbot API so that businesses can create interactions for customers within the Messenger app. It is now possible to order an Uber, browse the latest fashion, transfer money from your bank account and make video calls all from one location.

Amazon Messenger App showing shopping, news and weather options:

interface bots

Take chatbots a step further and you have the emergence of interface bots that offer even deeper levels of functionality. Amazon’s Alexa is an interface bot that works within the echo hand-free speaker that you control with your voice. Ask Alex to play music from your Spotify account, provide the latest news, sports scores and weather forecast or order a pizza delivery without even having to lift your smartphone.

Amazon Echo speaker:

In this age of instant gratification, the opportunities for brands to simplify our lives are endless. For this reason, we should expect to see chabot technology enter the mainstream in 2017.

Live streaming

Live streaming takes video marketing to the next level and offers brands a way to stand out in the saturated world of content. Twitter (via Persicope), Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are all doing it. According to Facebook statistics, users watch live videos three times longer than the same videos when they aren’t live.

People love to watch events live and streaming presents opportunities for businesses to broadcast seminars, workshops and webinars live to a global audience. Viewers can also interact with the broadcast through chat, twitter feeds, voice or webcam video.

Given its low cost, potential for user engagement and search engine optimisation (SEO) benefits (Google loves video content), live streaming will really take off in 2017.


In October 2016, web use on mobile and tablet devices exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time. This should act as a wake-up call for all businesses to provide responsive websites that are easy to read on different screen sizes. You can check how responsive your website is with Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Screen shot showing Google's mobile-friendly web checker:

Another trend in 2016 was that most people searched on Google using a mobile device. In order to make its search engine results more useful, Google is changing its algorithms and will start to look at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals over the desktop version.

Google is currently testing its mobile-first index and will ‘continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale’. We will keep you posted as changes are implemented and the mobile-first system is rolled out.

In the meantime, here is some useful advice on what to do if you don’t have a mobile site

Big data and personalisation

Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data - both structured and unstructured - that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis [source: SAS: the power to know]. Organisations can use big data to their advantage by analysing it for useful insights into consumer behaviour that lead to better decision making and strategic business moves.

For example, the hospitality industry can use data to gain a better understanding of guest behavior and target customers with personalised content and offers as well as reconnect with guests who haven’t booked for a while. The targeted nature of personalised content makes it more relevant and engaging for customers. As such, it tends to have a more positive impact than non-targeted content.

Analysing web traffic through Google Analytics is a great way to use data. By monitoring audience demographics, top performing content and where traffic is coming from, you get insight into the type of content that resonates best with your audiences so that you know what to produce more of in future.

Screen shot showing Google Analytics:

Are you thinking of implementing any new technologies to drive user engagement? Do you need help analysing data to gain a better understanding of your target market?

Web Foundry can help. We have the technical experience and know-how to help you increase sales and build your business. Get in touch to find out how.


Joan Lavery on Tuesday, 28 February 2017


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