2017: Ten customer engagement trends to watch

25th Jan 2017

Yes, many of us will be glad that 2016 has come to an end but it’s no reason at all to take your eye off the ball. Here are ten things that you should be thinking about this year:

1. The next gen of Google results

Rich results are going to dominate search pages. That means that sites containing structured content — such as review sites or business listings — should label their content to make it clear that each labeled piece of text represents a certain type of data: be that a restaurant name, an address or… a Reevoo rating.

For example, we’ve already been working with Hyundai to amplify their listing on the Google search page.

The Google search result now takes its data feed from Reevoo. It features the review scores in full (with an image).

Google search results showing Hyundai featuring reviews from Reevoo

Carry on keeping an eye on Google (and Reevoo) in 2017 because they might just both be up to something.

2. The socially conscious customers

Knowing that your money is going to a business that shares the same values as you is becoming more and more important for consumers. Banks are a prime example. Many of the reputations of bigger brands have taken a battering in the last few years, and things don’t seem to be getting better (RBS anyone?).

This is an opportunity for purely digital ventures such as AtomMonzoB and new high-street banks such as Metro Bank to step up. They promise clearer information on fees, improved user experience and better customer service powered by a team that thinks and acts like you. We’ve talked a lot about banks who try and show off their personality. And according to our Bank to The Future report, this is an attitude younger customers find extremely attractive.

3. Video killed the [Google] star

YouTube is becoming the go-to for content. The Telegraph reported at the beginning of this year that Facebook finished December 2015 with 18.65 trillion visits; YouTube came in second at 15.7 trillion visits; with Google at 14.9 trillion.

Will this mean that content marketing continues to shift to video? And what will that mean for production costs? Does this herald the age of the UGC video? And what about choreographed UGC videos? We’ll be thinking about all those questions over the next year.

At the beginning of the year, Facebook started curating your newsfeed into videos, that seemed a bit – to be honest – soppy (and creepy). But twelve months on, they’re everywhere, and people seem to be using them as a way to celebrate the new year and other milestone events. This is just a taste of what your brand could be doing in the future with your customers’ content.

Live streaming will also continue to take off – how about capturing the moment your customers realise just how excellent your product really is?

4. Will the bubble burst?

US elections threw the spotlight on the filtering bubble – or what others called the echo chamber. People were only receiving the news they agreed with (and were therefore more likely to read). That led to some nasty surprises. Here’s an interesting take on the phenomenon from Eli Pariser.

There are lots of lessons here for marketers (as well as Democrats) – who should be conscious of the difficulty of getting their message to people outside the bubble. And getting those inside the bubble to do more: to actually turn up and to actually buy into the message.

5. Cars will become data hubs

The cars of the future are about to pull up in front of you. We’re not talking driverless hover crafts but electric cars that will function like your smartphone. Your car will become totally personalised to your lifestyle and connected to all the other apps in your life (Sonos, emails etc.).

And car makers will be able to make use of all that data – to build cars that are perfectly optimised to their customers’ lifestyles.

6. Augmented reality will define your shopping

Online shopping continues to become more and more a part of everyday life. But brands know that people want more than a screen and some clever algorithms if they’re going to part with their cash. So the boundaries between online and off will continue to blur.

3D printing means customers will be able to design exactly what they want and see it produced in front of their very eyes. Talking about eyes, they will continue to be tricked as virtual reality becomes part of people’s shopping experience. Amazon – the ultimate online store – has plans to go offline: the brand has revealed plans for a convenience store where customers don’t have to check-out and are charged automatically via an app instead.

Screenshot of Amazon tweet

7. Programmatic becomes a no no

The media got quite a bit of bad press this year. What’s new, you might ask, but this year round brands started to worry about which news stories they might be placed next to – and what kind of media their money was funding. Lego for example stopped promotional campaigns in the Daily Mail after their Brexit coverage. The Danish brand did not confirm that this had motivated the decision but it is well known for these types of decisions- the brand ended its relationship with Shell in 2014 after Greenpeace pressure.

Programmatic suffered from this change in attitude. The tech means that brands can show up on inflammatory sites without their say so. After the election, Kellogg stopped advertising on Breitbart.com. Programmatic doesn’t seem to offer the precision and control brands need. In the same vein, brands are going to target increasingly niche demographics and…

8. Proper personalisation will actually happen

Brands will use data to allow adverts to mirror not only their audience’s political views, but also their personality. They’ll slot into what each customer is doing at that moment.

If you don’t know what a micro-moment is then get with it. According to Google, mobile has “fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences”. Your brand will have to react to every stage of the consumer’s journey – and Reevoo features, like a closed review system, can help you do that.

9. Millennials become more than just a category

The obsession with millennials continues. But rather than a broad category, brands are starting to realise you can’t treat all people born in the 80s and 90s the same. We’ve interviewed a lot of millennials and one thing we’ve noticed is that they’re all quite different. Don’t believe us? Read our range of interviews with millennials about cars and banks.

10. We’re living in a post-truth world

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 was ‘post-truth’ – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. That might not be a good thing when it comes to making national decisions, but it is definitely a way to win the minds and hearts of consumers. Reviews and user-generated content are ways to show the emotional impact of a product or service on consumers – at all stages of their purchase journey.

Reevoo Experiences is a compilation of rich media generated by your consumers that’s real, believable and has the potential to be more influential than anything a brand can possibly create itself.

See there’s a silver lining to everything… Even post-truth!

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