2016 was a year of creative opportunities and new ways of reaching audiences, especially for brands.

New mediums and strategies have literally pushed the boundaries of marketing, inviting audiences to experience brands like never before.

2017 is set to harness these new strategies even further and make the brand-reader experience even more exciting.

As a blogger, you sit in the middle, being both an influencer and a receiver of this marketing. Knowing what’s hot and what’s not will help you to shape your own strategy for the upcoming year.

See which trends fuelled some of the most creative campaigns all around.

Influencer Marketing

“Influencer marketing” has definitely been one of the buzz words of 2016 – so much so, that we even have our own influencer programme.

Just in case you are new to this – we are pretty sure you are not – the concept of influencer marketing is straightforward: to reach new audiences on social media, brands pay “influencers” to post about their products.

After its early stages on YouTube and Instagram, the market is clearly growing and consolidating.

However, there aren’t really clear compensation guidelines for influencers, or ways for brands to measure the success of influencer-driven efforts. Transparency in all promotional material is key, and setting out a clear working guideline is the best way to do this (see our straight forward ‘Brands & Bloggers agreement templatefor some inspiration).

This is why we always recommend newer bloggers to seek help and advice from reputable agencies – once again, tooting our own horn – you can join our HBC talent and influencer programme here.

Despite some issues, many brands have found success with tapping into the reach of influencers to promote their products and target niche audiences (which is the essential difference between micro and social influencers).

Live Content

2016 was the year of live video for social platforms (you can find more info on how to use different social platforms effectively in our Social Nerds course).

Facebook launched Live back in April, Twitter just introduced native live videos, and Instagram released a live video streaming service to all U.S. users last December.

From a brand-influencer point of view, ambassadors are encouraged to experience live branded content directly from their phones.

Think about branded recipes, quick workouts, mini reviews or how-tos for products. It’s relatable, it’s fun and it’s overall very personal.

Experiential Marketing

In a very digitalised world, everything that is experienced instantaneously puts a new, refreshing spin on the whole brand/product. Collateral events (think supper clubs, immersive classes, bouncy castles in the middle of London) help brands relate to people who don’t connect with traditional advertising anymore (read magazines, TV and most social media promotion).

From branded pop-up shops to larger promotional events, brands definitely embraced experiential marketing.

It’s a great way for potential ambassadors and customers to experience the brand in a context that can either be relevant or extremely surprising. This is also the most effective way to encourage social sharing.