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1. Instagram Stories Drive Upcoming Instagram Trends

Instagram Stories is a big deal and they’re not going away. We wrote about it here; check it out if you missed it. Daily viewers of Instagram Stories surpassed daily Snap Chat viewers just one year after launch, and the growth isn’t stopping.

2. Influencer Marketing Makes Major Contributions to Social Media Engagement

Influencer marketing is big business — a billion2. Influencer Marketing Makes Major Contributions to Social Media Engagement

Influencer marketing is big business — a billion-dollar industry by some counts. There is an exhaustive list of micro-celebrities who earn six figure incomes. And this isn’t a fluke. Influencer marketing is uniquely keyed to exploit certain facts about a growing number of buyers.

As Millennials advance their careers, and Generation Z starts theirs, an enormous population’s purchasing power is increasing swiftly and starkly. These two groups — who, combined, literally comprise most of the world’s population — are uniquely influenced by this marketing method. dollar industry by some counts. There is an exhaustive list of micro-celebrities who earn six figure incomes. And this isn’t a fluke. Influencer marketing is uniquely keyed to exploit certain facts about a growing number of buyers.

As Millennials advance their careers, and Generation Z starts theirs, an enormous population’s purchasing power is increasing swiftly and starkly. These two groups — who, combined, literally comprise most of the world’s population — are uniquely influenced by this marketing method.

3. Generation Z to Decide Social Media Trends

We’ve mentioned Generation Z in both of the previous topics for good reason.

Retail Dive had this to say about Generation Z and their associated social media trends:

“Gen Z is two- to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts — the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions…”

Furthermore, 81% report watching at least one hour of online video per day, or more, according to a study by Fluent, covered by AdWeek. Combine these facts and realize that droves of Generation Z will graduate college and/or start careers next year, and you start to see the powder keg.

4. Messaging Platforms Make Companies Accessible

What do you know about WeChat? They’re a wee little Chinese messaging company . . . error, one that’s looking to cross 1 billion users this quarter. WeChat and WhatsApp are absolutely ubiquitous across either ocean, reaching across many different functions to dominate social media, direct messaging, and even purchasing and commerce.

5. Live Streaming Explodes

Live streaming isn’t about live streaming. At least not in the way we’re going to be talking about it. You’re going to see a lot more of it in 2018, and the people who do it well will be fully with the times and accelerating. Its prevalence will increase because it works.

But there’s something more at work here.

It’s actually about technology. We get better phones every year. Does that mean that we’re running the same apps better? Sometimes. But once the technological baseline of the average user has clearly moved up a notch, it becomes about making more robust apps that do more and fully take advantage of that new technology.

The smartphones of today are better than what we used to have by orders of magnitude. Furthermore, our data speeds are better, and are poised to make yet another insane leap in the next few years when 5G becomes the standard.

Live streaming is a medium or implementation of social technology that’s uniquely positioned to take advantage of hardware improvements for the next several years. The resolution of an image the size of a phone screen can only get so good before you have to zoom in to see a difference.

But better video processing across the board means all devices involved can handle more streaming at a better quality across more channels at the same time. This is such a huge change that it’s possibly unclear that anyone is even capable of fully understanding the ramifications.

6. Twitter is Going to Change

And they themselves might not even know how just yet.

Twitter has been slowly circling the drain, in some respects, for a long time now. 2017 pulled no punches with the social network, either. Twitter needs to make some big changes to stay relevant, as its growth is the slowest of all the major social media platforms.

7. Online Hangouts Become the Norm

WHY UTILIZING EMAIL METRICS CAN BE A POWERFUL ADDITION TO YOUR MARKETING TOOLBOX. 

Let’s say you own a pet supply shop and have gathered a strong email marketing list made up of interested customers. Using the analytics from your email platform, you can discover the number of people clicking from your email to your website, or how many complete any call to actions you’ve set, such as making an online purchase using a discount code.

This type of informed decision-making can lead to greater conversion rates, and help you refine any future campaigns for success.

So the benefits of reviewing email metrics are clear. But what story, or insights, can these individual metrics tell you? Let’s take a look at five useful email marketing metrics:

An email campaign Open Rate is simply the ratio of people who’ve actively opened the email vs. the total number of people who received it. This is useful for understanding the effectiveness of your email subject line. For example, if a subject line of ‘Things We Love About Our Pets’ receives a higher open rate then an email titled ‘Discounts and Offers on Pet Food’, this tells you your audience favors emails that give them insight into life as a pet owner, rather than promotional content.

Once you know how many people opened the email, take a look at the Click through Rate, or CTR. This offers a top level view of the success of the individual email campaign, and gives you the percentage of people that clicked on links to your website from every email that was opened.

The Click -to-Open Rate takes into account total number of clicks vs. emails that were actually opened. This gives you a more realistic idea of audience engagement because if they opened your email and went on to click a link, you clearly did something right!

Another useful metric is Conversion Rate. Say you have a free pet grooming workshop coming up that you advertised in your email. The conversion rate would show how many people you sent the email to, compared to the number of people who actually ended up registering for the event.

Sometimes, when you send emails they ‘bounce’ back. The Bounce Rate is the percentage of emails that could not be delivered to subscribers and were sent back. 

There are two kinds of bounces to be aware of:

Soft Bounces: These are rejected due to a full inbox or size limit restriction on your audience's email server.

Hard Bounces:
Your emails are blocked or the address you are using is incorrect. A breakdown of hard bounces per email campaign can show you which email addresses to remove, saving you time and effort for your next campaign.
Looking at the metrics and the story they tell will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. The next step is to adjust any future campaigns accordingly, whether that be to refine the subject lines, review the type of content published, or clean up your subscribers list.

We’ve now covered some valuable email metrics that will help you uncover useful insights from your marketing campaigns. Take the time to review the metrics from the last email you sent - what story do these metrics tell you?

LOCAL SEARCH

More and more people are choosing the internet as their first choice to look for local businesses. Go to Yahoo Local and type in ‘pizza’ along with your address and you’ll have all the pizza restaurants within a 10 miles radius of your address. There isn’t an offline medium that offers that kind of power and convenience.

This is why in the past year, the search engines like Yahoo, MSN, and Google have spent large amounts of money to improve their search functions for local markets. All the major yellow pages are now online to capture visitors. Most will sell you a package of online features along with your offline ad. Online ads have a number of advantages

  1. *      Generate highly qualified leads and sales from local customers.
  2. *      Boost local offline sales - an increasing number of people search the web for products and services they buy in an offline store.
  3. *      Low cost per lead compared to print Yellow Pages and Direct Mail.
  4. *      Links directly to your company website. This allows the customer to immediately come to your website for more information on your products and services.

Local search engine marketing uses the same techniques as outlined above but targeted at a specific geographic region. You will include local keywords on your website by state, city, county or by region, like the semi arid area, East Africa  or Rwanda.

 PPC(Pay-Per-Click) engines like Google actually let you select regions where your ads will appear. That way you don’t have people from Nairobi  clicking on your ads for services only available in Uganda

Targeted local search will save you money and effort. You won’t have to compete with national chains or people in other regions. You’ll have lower traffic but warmer leads as people self-qualify by their location.

RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT 

A critical, but often overlooked component of a successful website is its degree of usability. Your site must be easy to read, navigate, and understand. Some key usability elements include: Simplicity: The best way to keep visitors glued to your site is through valuable content, good organization and attractive design.

Functional 
A website is designed to serve a purpose, usually to solve a problem. For example, a job board has a purpose where employers can post jobs and job seekers can find and apply for jobs. Once applied, there should be a way for candidates and employers to communicate and keep up to date with a job application. If you build a job board and it only lets you post jobs that are not enough. 
Easiness
a website should be easy to use and navigate. When users visit your website, do they find the information they are looking for, without struggling? Does your website provide easy navigation to jump from one page to another and go back?
Relevant Content
you do not want to put content on a website that is not relevant to the users. You do not want to put car details on a job board. If your website is a job board, it should have content and tips related to being a good candidate such as how to create a professional resume and how to behave in an interview. You do not want to post about cars or sports on a job board.
Modern
you want to make sure your website is using current trends and technologies. You do not want to build a website that does not support today’s needs. For example, responsiveness and fluid web designs are the key requirements for modern websites. You do not want to create fixed page layouts for your website that doesn’t support mobile readability. 
Optimized
your website and its content should be optimized for different devices, browsers, data speed, search engines, and users. If your website is not optimized for mobile data users and their download speed, users may leave your website. If your website does not support common modern browsers, you may be missing out on some users. If your website is not optimized for popular smartphones and their sizes, users may not want to visit your website.

Reliable
is your website reliable? If I apply for a job, does your website send me on-time notifications and messages to keep me posted with the updates? Can I access your website whenever and wherever? Is your website up and running 24/7? 

Accessible
Do you have sufficient infrastructure to support your website and its visitors? A website should be able to scale to a number of potential visitors. Not only should the website's user interface be scalable but the back-end database, APIs, and services too should be able to scale.