For many marketers, the passing of a new year is a great time to reflect on industry trends. Is influencer marketing the real deal or a passing fad? Has mobile finally hit a plateau? Is “omni-channel” more than just a buzzword?

To answer those questions, we held a webinar featuring three Curalate in-house experts: Senior Brand Strategist Ryan Werner, Marketing Director Brendan Lowry and Client Solutions Manager Simone Attles. They identified four marketing trends that will dominate in 2017. Listen to the full webinar here.

1. Influencer marketing is here to stay

Any successful digital marketing strategy starts with nurturing a growing community of followers. A great way to achieve this is via partnerships with micro-influencers, who are loosely defined as having between 10,000 and 100,000 followers on a particular social platform. Micro-influencers tend to have niche audiences and an authenticity that many celebrities or more widely recognized personalities lack. Additionally, they are more cost-effective for brands, helping them build audience and drive engagement. In fact, 59% of marketers increased influencer marketing budgets in 2016, according to ION — indicating that influencer marketing will only continue to grow in the coming year.

2. Omni-channel marketing is all the rage

Marketing campaigns that resonate most powerfully with consumers are omni-channel — meaning that customers can have a seamless experience regardless of channel or device (i.e. desktop, mobile, brick-and-mortar, etc.) When creating an omni-channel campaign, brands should create content that can flow in many directions. Customers can tell the difference between stock imagery and authentic content, and by incorporating photos of people using products in real-life scenarios, consumers are more likely to feel an emotional connection, which can lead to more conversions.

3. Mobile is (still) on the rise

Year after year, we are continuously seeing a rise in mobile usage — and it’s still increasing. In fact, mobile now represents 65% of all digital media time and desktops are becoming a secondary screen for many, according to Marketing Land. It’s more important than ever for brands to cater to mobile users. If your website is difficult to navigate on a mobile device, you’ll lose the attention of your consumers. Period. Additionally, mobile is not just important for retailers whose goal is to drive sales — it’s an absolutely crucial discovery tool for brands in other verticals like hospitality or consumer packaged goods. For example, consumers are no longer researching hotels or travel destinations via paper brochures or TV commercials — they’re discovering them and booking trips on mobile devices.

4. User-generated content is expected, not just a bonus

User-generated content is an extremely powerful marketing tool and in recent years there has been a steady increase in brands incorporating it into their marketing strategies. By using UGC, brands are able to share more compelling, authentic pictures of their products in real-life situations, beyond just a product page full of stock imagery. It’s becoming so commonplace that consumers expect it and brands had better deliver.

Want to work with micro-influencers but not sure how to get started? Check out our free guide How to Win Fans & Influencer Purchases to learn how much it costs, how to measure ROI and why micro-influencer marketing is the future.