Here are 7 digital marketing trends for brands in Nigeria, looking to win with digital in 2017.

I hope you find them useful.

I have read quite a number of digital trend forecasts for 2017 from different global bodies, while several were great, I feel many don’t quite focus on the peculiarities of Nigeria/Africa closely enough to be relevant. The idea behind this article is to try to localize what I think will be the top trends digital marketers should focus on for this new year.

No, this will not be the year for VR or AR in Nigeria.

360 videos and IoT will not boom in 2017, sorry to disappoint you. You will see them in trickles but they won’t be going mainstream in Nigeria in 2017.

Brands in Nigeria looking to win in 2017 using digital marketing will need to keep it simple. Based on my experience from running several digital campaigns in 2016, I offer the following recommendations for brand managers and advertisers who want to win with digital in 2016.

  1. Mobile first: I know this has been over flogged but still had to start with mobile. It’s been on the radar forever but most brands are still not doing much in this space. It’s complicated though, with social being mobile now, many advertisers tick the mobile box just by going social. Instant messaging is a big part of mobile and probably one of the most overlooked areas of mobile. Brands that are able to creatively use IMs will do very well considering most IMs don’t support ads just yet. I personally think most brands should have an always on strategy for mobile in 2017, people only let go of their phones when they go to sleep anyway. Programmatic was awesome for me in 2016 and I will be spending more money here in 2017 as well. Go beyond Google Ads and extend your reach to other Ad networks that reach more Nigerians on mobile. Networks you can’t run Google ads on.
  2. Social: The Internet is both mobile and social in Nigeria. Review your social media strategy for 2017.What worked and what didn’t? Many of you would have realized by now that keeping a content calendar that requires you to post on a daily basis might not be the way to go. People don’t really need to engage with your brand on a daily basis. Give them meaningful connections whenever you do instead. Try new social media platforms beyond the ones you are used to. Instagram has come a long way and with Live stories expected to arrive Nigeria in 2017, Instagram is going to be huge. Organic engagement on Instagram is still much higher than on Facebook and Twitter. Live video holds a lot of potentials as well for 2017, there are loads of creative ways to use Live. Consider launching a product or new service using Live video. Build awareness about the launch on other channels and give people a reason to tune in. One million followers on Facebook isn’t a guarantee of success anymore, less than 0.5% of your fans on Facebook will see your content organically, invest in quality over quantity.
  3. Content: This really should come first because it drives everything. 2017 is the year to actually develop a content strategy for your brand if you don’t already have one. What sort of content would resonate with your audience? Go emotional, develop content that is driven by real human insights and truths. Content that connect to their core. Forget about content for online and offline. The right type of content will cut across most platforms. If it touches them in the most real way possible, they will engage with it. With your content, teach them, make them cry, make them laugh, make them think, make them smile. Connect with them in an authentic way and they engage with your content. Look at the top 10 videos watched in 2016 on YouTube and you will notice no brand video was present. This doesn’t have to be the case. Done right, brands can have their content really do well on all channels. Go beyond video when doing content, be creative. Not many brands will have the budget for big budget thematic TVCs in 2017. Consider moving some of that budget online for lots of short and long form videos that could still be used offline. Consider owning some content properties in 2017. Content personalisation is also a big concept you should explore where possible.
  4. Native Content: Users have become sophisticated in how they consume content online. They know an ad when they see one. This makes it more difficult for brands to cut through the clutter. Brand owners should be looking at building partnerships with platform owners and content writers to find ways to fuse their content and brands into everyday stories in a more organic way. There are lots of creative ways this can be done that gradually gets the brand associated with the right type of content and emotions.
  5. SEO. Search: Content fuels search and SEO. Brands need to get more content out there around their brands in 2017. You need a team of writers to begin to make this happen. Whether writing on your personal blog or contributing to 3rd party platforms, try to get enough content out there about your brand in 2017. Nigerians are searching more online for what they want. You want to get found especially when people need help. Don’t be all over the place. Define your content strategy and agree on your content themes so you can stay consistent.
  6. Influencers: This year influencers should play a big role in your strategy. When I say influencers, I am not necessarily talking about big budget celebrities. Some are great if you can afford them. Influencers for me would also include social media influencers, content platforms and what I will call micro-influencers. Micro-Influencers are the “real” folks out there that are active on social media. Some have between 200 to 2000 followers only but you can rest assured their followers are real and consume their content. Having access to hundreds of these influencers would be great for helping your content grow reach and engagement The secret will be knowing how to use them for maximum benefits. Have a more long-term strategic approach rather than short tactical one when using influencers. As an example, micro-influencers can easily help your brand win on Instant Messengers. Influencers can also give your brand visibility on a channel like snapchat.
  7. Integration: Now forget everything I have said and just Integrate everything. Try not to separate digital from traditional. Run campaigns that integrate all channels.Digital never works alone for most campaigns. Some digital campaigns work great when integrated with radio, others thrive with billboards in the mix. Try to run integrated campaigns in 2017, let your ideas run across platforms. Some of the most successful digital campaigns I have planned and executed were actually integrated campaigns that sold a consistent story across channels.

So there you have it, my top 7 digital marketing trends for 2017, go ahead and share them with your digital agency and see what they say. Along with what else you have planned for 2017, be sure to keep an eye on these 7 trends that could work magic for your brand in 2017.