With some pretty major predictions having been rather wide of the mark in 2016, you’d be forgiven for viewing prediction-based articles with a bit of scepticism. But you can’t stay ahead of the curve unless you’re looking forward. So let’s look at some of the trends that we think could shape B2B marketing activities in 2017.
Prediction 1: 360° video takes off
A lot of what’s currently touted as ‘VR’ is — at least outside the video game world — more accurately 360° video.
Nonetheless, it’s been an exciting development in 2016, being used in medicine and even to retell the story of the crucifixion. Facebook and YouTube have already integrated 360° video into their platforms. And 360° video ads and other marketing are surely not far behind. Visit Austria’s collection of videos demonstrate perfectly how 360° video encourages viewers to spend more time with the content you create.
Part of what makes 360° video so exciting is that its design is ‘mobile first’. Viewers can survey the panorama by turning and tilting their mobile phone. 80% of internet users own a smartphone, making the need for mobilised content more pressing than ever, and 360° video could be a powerful way to stand out from the crowd.
It also provides some of the immersive experience of more complex VR technology, without the price. So B2B content marketers can use it to bring content to life, especially dense and hard-to-visualise content.
For example, you could create a 360° video that places the viewer at the heart of a computer network during a cyber-attack. Or to liven up a virtual tour inside a data centre.
Prediction 2: Live video enhances corporate events
There’s something about the immediacy and unpredictability of live content that engages people much more than if it were recorded. With tools such as Facebook Live and Periscope growing in use, this is a trend to watch out for in the 2017 B2B marketing world.
Tools such as these could be used to livestream corporate conferences and events, allowing people all around the globe to tune in from the comfort of their office chairs.
Savvy marketers can also encourage delegates, speakers and employees at their events to generate their own live video content to share with their networks, increasing reach and engagement beyond those who follow your corporate social channels.
Prediction 3: White papers become mobile-friendly
Increasingly, your target business audiences will be accessing your social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn et al) through their mobile phones. So have you thought about what happens when, for example, they click on a tweet promoting your white paper (a piece you’ve invested a lot of time and effort in), and find themselves having to download and read a PDF — on their mobile?
This is not an effective way of engaging and starting a conversation: the traditional white paper format just isn’t designed for the mobile channel. Which is why we think that condensing white papers into a mobile-friendly format could be a big thing this year.
The idea is to take ‘flat’ long-form content (your white paper) and create a teaser or trailer with mobile-friendly screens, designed for scrolling and swiping and using video or animations to bring it to life. Unlike infographics, which aren’t always easy to view on mobile devices, the ‘mobile white paper’ would be designed specifically to work on a mobile screen, giving the user a slick experience that adds to the overall power of the piece.
Where the full paper (in PDF form) would cause them to disengage, the shorter, mobile-friendly version would keep them interested and give them handy options for accessing the full paper once they’re using a more appropriate device (or have access to a printer).
Look out for a further blog on this topic, which will more fully explore why we think there’s a gap here that needs to be filled.
And with those predictions laid down, may we wish you a prosperous, exciting and fulfilling 2017.