For me, going home for the holidays often means three things: lots of laughter, lots of good food, and lots of time going through old photo albums filled with family memories and lots of questionable fashion choices.
For some reason, a good portion of my childhood was spent obsessed with wearing patterned vests, a high pony tail secured by not just one, but at least three scrunchies, and a fanny pack, which, while useful for holding my Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker® was terribly hideous.
But these crimes against fashion weren’t completely my fault. After all, that was the trend.
Every industry has fads that come and go. Marketing is no exception. There was a time when direct mail ruled all. There was another time when flash-based websites were all the rage. And then there was another time when inbound marketing had a big moment.
There’s no doubt that 2017 will bring its own set of new marketing fads, particularly when it comes to digital marketing. But until then, here’s some trends we hope end up the way of patterned vests, scrunchies, and fanny packs—gone for good.
Using Clickbait to Get More Traffic
It’s old news that brands are producing more content than ever. And with content production reported to increase 600% by 2020, many companies have resorted to using clickbait strategies with the purpose of getting more eyes on their content and increase traffic to their website.
While clickbait strategies started with publishers, it has since moved on to include major retail and consumer brands, as well as B2B brands. This type of content often includes clever headlines alongside eye-catching creative. However, upon viewing such articles, consumers are often left with content that lacks quality information, and many times, don’t live up to their headlines.
While these clickbait strategies do increase website traffic, the benefits pretty much stop there. An increase in traffic that can be credited back to the content you’re producing is only worthwhile if it’s working to increase engagement, and ultimately, conversions.
Instead of using a clickbait strategy, focus on creating content that is based on your audience needs and wants. Every piece of content should have value and help maintain, if not increase, your brand reputation. And most important of all, every piece of content should have a grander end goal behind it. You may get less views, but the quality of those views will be much higher.
Using Pop-Up Banners on Mobile to Gain Subscribers
You perform a search on Google using your smartphone. You find a website that seems to fit your need. You click on the result and begin reading. And just as you’re about to scroll down to find the information you wanted, the screen of your mobile device is suddenly blocked by a pop-up asking if you want to subscriber to that brand’s e-newsletter.
True, lightboxes and pop-ups have shown to be effective in helping brands gain new subscribers. For years, this has been the go-to method for many email marketers as a way to steadily increase their list size.
The downside to this method is that many website visitors enter their email addresses hastily, using it as a way to close the lightbox and return to what they were doing. In turn, this can lead to adding subscribers that aren’t necessarily going to engage with your emails in the future, driving down your ROI.
And soon, these types of pop-ups could have an impact on your mobile search rankings. Starting in 2017, the use of lightboxes or pop-ups that make content less accessible to visitors will be added to the long list of ranking factors Google uses when determining whether or not to show your website in search results. With a reported 60% of all searches being performed on a mobile device, that little pop-up could cause big problems.
Instead of blocking your content, opt for smaller banners that can be easily dismissed and don’t poorly impact the user experience. Here are some formats Google recommends in lieu of traditional pop-ups.
Creating Content for the Sole Purpose of Going Viral
Blog posts, news articles, photos, infographics, videos—these all have the potential to achieve that “gone viral” status that every marketer, whether they’ll admit it out loud or not, hopes to achieve.
There are a number of tips that experts put out there to help increase the chances of helping your content go viral. They include things like understanding your audiences needs and wants, creating content that creates an emotional connection, creating content that is useful, connecting with influencers to promote your content, etc.
Essentially, the tips for going viral are the same best practices you should be putting into every piece of content you put out there, not just those you are creating for the sole purpose of “going viral”.
Instead of thinking in terms of viral content, which, when achieved, result in short-term traffic spikes, think about how every piece of content can work to help you reach your audience in a slow and steady manner. In other words, focus your strategy on long-term, steady growth instead of temporary spikes that don’t have a long shelf-life.
Of course, when a digital marketing trends fades away, it is quickly replaced by something new. No matter what trends emerge in 2017, it’s important to remember that not every new fad is right for every brand. Always take the time to fully strategize and formulize a clear goal around any new marketing efforts, whether you’re exploring an established digital marketing best practice or just playing around with the latest trend.