Digital Marketing Predictions for 2014
The relentless pace of change continued to career on as if totally out of control with no brakes in 2013, and I see no reason why this will slow down in 2014. Indeed the rapid pace of development, new ideas and creativity is synonymous with the digital world in which we all live.
It’s all very well to see what is coming down the line but the real trick is to understand and predict the impact that the technology / digital developments will have on businesses of all sizes.
General business to change from analogue to digital (social) businesses.
In 2014 we will begin to see a change in the way businesses operate as the impact of the digital revolution begins to be realised by executives with the real power to make a change.
There will be an increasing rise in importance of the marketing discipline in organisations at board level; businesses will start to understand that it is the whole organisation that is responsible for marketing and not just a single department.
There is a fundamental shift in power from businesses to consumers. In a digital world everything is amplified, and in a digital world consumers have a voice and the power to switch allegiance in an instance.
Businesses in the digital age need to be more transparent in the way they operate (some would say honest!) and to be more service driven. Businesses that are open and honest and put the consumer at the center of everything they do will win new business and grow at a substantial pace that will out perform their competitors.
Businesses, and even big brand businesses, will need to grow personalities – this is the way they behave, the way they communicate, the way they act. It is no longer just about marketing messages and perceptual advertising, it is about everyone in the organisation contributing the personality of that business. We have seen the beginnings of this in the storytelling advertising this Christmas from key brands such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.
The impact of digital businesses
It is my belief that the smaller / mid sized businesses are the ones that have the opportunity to really benefit from this sea of change. These businesses are more agile and will be faster to change and adopt the digital organisational structures, compared to larger businesses where the change will take longer due to the command and control structure being more entrenched.
Google + is here to stay
In a digital world you have to keep up with what Google is doing. Google+ has a great number of user accounts but not many of these are actively used on a regular basis. 2014 will see Google+ become a mainstream social network. Like it or not, Google will not allow Google+ to fail – it is at the cornerstone of their strategy.
The impact of Google+
Google+ needs to be integrated into the social media strategy.
Google+ is another channel for the distribution of content – another option to build a following. This will require time, effort and focus to embrace this from a businesses perspective. The positive impact of Google+ on search results, whilst not proven, is undoubtedly there, as this is a content driven mechanism that is within the Google camp, so points of integration are easy to make.
Mobile dominated world
Last year we definitely saw the rise of mobile into mainstream life. The high speed of adoption of mobile devices and the extensive variety of uses for mobile phones and tablets has been far quicker then most people anticipated.
Yes, we knew it was coming but now it is here we are definitely all playing catch-up. Most of the client analytics we study are now showing that about 30%-40% of the traffic to their websites coming from mobile devices. Yet few companies are catering for the experience that mobile users have.
The impact of mobile
In 2014 we will see businesses not only developing mobile strategies but also mobile ‘first’ strategies as the usage of these devices continues to increase.
This will lead to multi dimensional analytics as the usage, engagement and conversion rates from different devices will need to be analysed. The resulting strategies will focus on user experiences based on multiple devices (not just multiple browsers). It suddenly all gets a lot harder and more complicated!
There is then the impact of mobile search adding yet another dimension to the job of SEO. By not catering for mobile devices it may severely limit your visibility in search engines as Google favour those sites that provide a better user experience – i.e. those that are mobile optimised.
Continual rise of content generation will lead to the a greater importance of Authorship
Content was yet another area to receive a big boost in 2013, which will continue to grow and develop in importance in 2014. The best advice I could give anyone for 2014 is to make sure you allocate a significant proportion of your marketing spend to generating content. Get a content strategy and plan, and produce that relentless stream of content that will position you as experts in your field. Is your content sharable? Having social sharing buttons on your website and blog is an important aspect of your content strategy – visitors to your website will share great content.
Search marketing is all about content, and always will be. That role becomes more important as the amount of content that is generated increase multi fold month on month. Google has to keep developing ways to work out what content is good and what isn’t.
Google has to find ways to work out what is the best and most relevant content and an increasingly important factor in this decision will be ‘authorship’; a score or measure which Google provides based on the quality and trustworthiness of your content. The personal equivalent of page rank if you will. In 2014 this will be of utmost importance.
The business impact of content
Businesses will not be able to hide behind faceless content – the importance of experts within organisations will lead to businesses being more human with real individuals leading the charge on behalf of businesses.
Businesses will have to create an engine of content generation. This I believe will be one of the biggest challenges to all businesses in 2014. It will no longer be just about generating content but also ensuring it is good enough to provide a high authorship score.
Wearable tech to make its market debut
The final prediction for 2014 is that we will see an increase in the devices that interact with the internet. This is an extension of the rise in mobile focus for businesses. Devices like Google Glass and Galaxy Gear have been previewed, however these devices will reach the market in 2014.
The impact of wearable technology
Good question! Other than it being another category of mobile device that will need to be considered I am not sure we really know or understand the impact these devices will bring to the market. 2014 will reveal all I believe.
2014 – Year of mobility?
There will be developments in 2014 that are as yet unseen, the above are some of what we see coming up and what we thing businesses should be looking out for.
What are your predictions? Do you agree with above, what have missed – please tell us.
Whatever happens we wish you a very a prosperous 2014.