In 2016, we saw growth hacking become ubiquitous online and offline. From large corporations, such as Google and Frito-Lay, to bootstrapping startups, everyone is turning to growth hacking to create sustained growth these days.
But is what is working today still going to work tomorrow?
Yes and no.
The ideas that made growth hacking great in 2016 will still have value this year, but marketers would be wise to pay attention to new trends as they emerge.
To help YOU do just that and stay ahead of the curve, we have gathered 10 trends you will see in growth hacking this year. Make sure to read all the way through, and let us know what you think in the comments afterwards! Perhaps you are predicting other trends?
1. MARKETING AUTOMATION FOR EVERYONE
Today’s online marketing processes are largely automated. You can program apps and services to run targeted ads, make your sales pitch and collect the sale without having to do anything manually: just set up the automation and watch it work for you!
Expect this trend to continue in 2017, with market leaders like Zapier and IFTTT (If This, Then That) building their list of 400+ data sources and integrated apps. Automation and targeting will continue to advance by leaps and bounds, and that is trend #1 on our list.
2. EVEN MORE CONTENT MARKETING
According to Neil Patel, content marketing leaders get 780% more traffic than non-leaders. This may be why 70% of all B2B and 73% of all B2C marketers plan to make more content in 2017. They are finally catching up to the growing importance of content as a marketing tool.
This means you will see videos, articles and native ads as they continue their rise in digital marketing this year.
3. POP-UPS BECOME POPULAR AGAIN
In the 90s and early 00s, pop-ups were a major annoyance. They were obtrusive, annoying, and could even hijack your browser or operating system. Those days are long gone, and today most websites use “modal” pop-ups, which open inside the page you are viewing instead of jumping out in a new browser window.
2016 saw an increasing number of DIY modal services and scripts, so expect more modal pop-ups this year, especially amongst small and mid-sized businesses. Take a look at the pop-ups from SumoMe. They are not so bad after all, right?
4. DEEP-DIVING INTO CONSUMERS’ MINDS
In the last couple of years, marketers have tried to move past what consumers say and towards what they really think. One way they have done that is through neuromarketing: the study of the human brain and the choices it makes when presented with a product or ad.
In the past, companies like PayPal, Frito-Lay, Procter & Gamble have all used neuromarketing to “deep-dive” into their consumers’ minds. In 2017, small and mid-sized businesses will do the same using in-depth online analytics that became available in 2016.
For an example, check out this article on how data will affect social media this year; it shines light on the recent U.S. presidential elections amongst other things and is an interesting read!
5. GROWTH HACKING BECOMES EVEN MORE ESTABLISHED
2016 saw a smorgasbord of new growth hacking services, academies and experts on the marketplace. Given the influx, you might think this will result in a 2017 regression, but we beg to differ.
If anything, expect to see more demand for growth hacking bootcamps and summits like Growth Marketing Conference and Growth Hacking Summit. This stuff works, so it’s going to keep getting more traction this year – and for as long as it continues to deliver results.
6. FANTASTIC FUNNELS
In 2015, Apple used customer acquisition funnel principles to get Apple Music 6.5 million paying subscribers in mere months. Since then, funnels have continued to blow up – and some clever marketers are even saying they will “replace” websites going forward to sell their funnel builders.
The secret? Customer acquisition funnels take users through the customer journey, from start to end, via a series of automated processes. Compared to websites that let users navigate content freely, funnels drive users towards a definite end-goal – which is the “secret sauce” that makes them so effective.
In the past, high costs of funnel development restricted small and mid-sized businesses from employing practices similar to Apple’s. This drastically changed in 2015-2016 with DIY tools like ClickFunnels, Zapier, IFTT, Kissmetrics and SumoMe making it possible for anyone to create their own funnels without spending excessively.
As a result, we predict even more funnels in 2017. They are still profitable, and now they are more available than ever before. That is a recipe for success if we have ever seen one!
7. BEHAVIOURAL DESIGN IS UP
In 2015, Nir Eyal wrote the well-known book on behavioural design: how to build habit-forming products (yes we are talking about Hooked). This book, along with other must-reads, we also recommended in a previous post!
In his work, he reverse engineers services like Google, WhatsApp and Uber to try and understand why (and how) they become second nature to their users.
2016 saw Nir’s work blow up, with him being featured in Neil Patel’s Growth Hacking Summit. Expect to see even more of his concepts applied to marketing this year, as more and more businesses realise the edge that behavioural design can give them in the marketplace.
Speaking of creating products that fit consumers perfectly, 2017 will see more…
8. MARKET-DRIVEN PRODUCT DESIGN
Last year, a Google and Millward Brown study found that 71% of B2B researchers start by looking for general information instead of using a definite product as a starting point. This is a smart tactic, because it gives businesses key marketing indicators before they even begin R&D.
This year, expect to see more of this market-driven product design as businesses strive to make habit-forming products (trend #7) and deep-dive into customers’ minds (trend #4).
9. MORE VIRTUAL COMMUNICATION
According to Gartner, the three most valuable B2B marketing activities are direct interaction, references, and events (live and virtual). Virtual communication ticks 2 of these 3 boxes, because it allows businesses to reach out to customers and host virtual events, too.
As a result, there will be more virtual communication than ever before, as companies follow giants like AirBnB and Uber in taking more of their customer interactions online.
10. LIVECHAT CHATBOTS
ChatBots are making a strong comeback with whopping 25 ChatBot startups declared as “must-knows” by Venture Radar. Unlike the ChatBots you know from previous times, these ones are extremely good at mimicking humans — even to the point you might need a guide to tell one from a live person.
This means you will see more LiveChat ChatBots this year. Actually, live chat windows bring in 600% more leads (on average), and modern chat robots will allow more businesses to have them on their websites next year – so you can expect to see a lot more of them in 2017.
Now let’s have recap with a list of the top 10 growth hacking trends for 2017!
- More Marketing Automation
- Even More Content Marketing
- Pop-Ups Are Back
- Neuromarketing on the Rise
- More Growth Hacking Bootcamps
- Funnels Go Big(ger)
- Behavioural Design
- Market-Driven Product Design
- More Virtual Communication
- LiveChat ChatBots
As we’ve seen in the past, growth hacking trends become marketing common sense in the span of years and even months. If you’re not using the above trends in your own business – or at least doing your homework on them – it may be prudent to start now, lest you fall behind in knowledge and expertise.
So, jump on board and get the tools that will up your game, marketing and sales in the new year and beyond.