We’ve outlined what we believe are the top digital trends to pay attention to this year in order to stay on top of your marketing efforts.
Relevant Content Marketing Will Fuel Social Success
Ashley Reed, Social Media Director
While content marketing was a top social initiative in 2013, companies will need to refine their approach in 2014 to stay competitive and break through all the noise. With the amount of online content doubling every 9-24 months, brands will need to be strategic in creating content that’s relevant and truly resonates with their audience.
Insights from social data should inform marketers’ content strategies to a greater extent as more tools and processes emerge to make sense of the data overload. Real-time engagement should also be a priority for brands as it presents the opportunity to reach customers with the right message at the right time (think Tide’s Shark Week tweet). However, this will require that companies dedicate resources and put teams in place in order to be prepared.
Although creating engaging content will be incredibly important for social success in 2014, investing in paid social will be necessary to ensure it reaches audiences due to fierce competition for users’ attention and monetization goals for all major social networks.
Mobile is on the Cusp and Will Connect Advertising Across Screens
Katherine Jianas, Associate Media Director
Mobile devices are overtaking desktop devices as the most common web access tools. According to eMarketer, as of September 5, 2013, 39% of US internet users’ time was spent on a smartphone versus 49% for PC and 12% for tablet. Mobile devices will dominate overall shipments in 2014, according to Gartner. The stats could go on and on…but the reality is that mobile is quickly making its home at the center of our daily lives. Our mobile devices (aka our personal “hard drives”) store significant information about us and are used to connect to our other devices like desktops, tablets, TVs and emerging connective devices. Google’s recent acquisition of Nest Labs is a prime example of how mobile is quickly becoming the “remote control” for our daily lives. For us marketers at BKV, as we average screens/person has expanded over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to target the same user across these multiple devices. We believe mobile just might be the key to unlocking the code allowing us to efficiently market cross-screen, and we expect the industry to make great strides in doing so in 2014.
Mobile SEO Will Require You to Feed the Google Experience
Greg Lee, Director of SEO
Mobile SEO, Knowledge Graph, Structured Data, Schema and Google+ are all one interrelated SEO effort that overlap with Google’s efforts for mobile search. With the recent announcements of Google Hummingbird algorithm and improvements to Knowledge Graph, we see a connection in Google’s efforts to serve mobile and tablet users, while improving the quality and value of the Google search products. As Google leads the way, Bing and other search engines are following suite to stay competitive. How this relates to SEO specifically, Google is continuing its ongoing effort to decipher meaning and data from website content that is marked up as structured data with schema tagging and your Google+ brand page, which it then feeds its various vertical search databases. These databases then serve search results in the form of Knowledge Graph and rich snippets. Google is promoting its ability to provide these types of rich results that give the searcher in depth information and answers before clicking through to different websites. In this way Google takes the value of the data from the websites it crawls, and shifts that value to its own results pages. To compete for visibility in organic search, marketers will need to take advantage of all the avenues Google provides in a coordinated effort of the latest tagging technology on websites as well as feeding data directly into Google+.
These technologies and techniques created to improve mobile search also trickle down to desktop search results, making focus on mobile SEO our choice for 2014 SEO Forecast.
Marketers will Continue to Invest in Attribution
Dave Mundo, VP, Analytics Director
Digital marketers increased their reliance on data-driving decision making in 2013, and we think there will be an even bigger focus on this in 2014. Looking back on 2013, we witnessed the usual suspects (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) mining their vast datasets to deliver more personalized and better targeted messaging and content to their users. At the same time, revelations of the United States National Security Agency’s (NSA) global surveillance program has many people concerned that mass data collection (be it collected by the government or marketers) is too Big Brother-ish.
In 2014, marketers both big and small need to assure customers that “big data” collection benefits more than it damages. For one, The Direct Marketing Association’s Data-Driven Marketing Institute is setting the record straight about how responsible data-driven marketing works. Also, marketers increased use of data managing (as opposed to mere collecting) and visualization will be a crucial step when developing a data-focused, analytics mindset. Once the data is collected and managed appropriately, marketers can then focus on analytics techniques (attribution modeling, customer segmentation, mix modeling, etc.) to deliver right-time solutions to complex business problems. In particular, focus on attribution analysis will surge as marketers continue to rationalize their online and offline marketing investments.
Hyperlocal Targeting Will Allow for Increased Relevancy & Personalization
Katherine Jianas, Associate Media Director
A recent “buzzword”, meaning “information oriented around a well defined community with its primary focus directed toward the concerns of its residents” according to Wikipedia, we believe (if it makes sense for the advertiser, of course) considering adding a hyperlocal approach in your marketing programs is going to pay off in 2014.
In the marketing world, hyperlocal media has become to mean personalization and community feeling with a focus on customer experience. By using buying trends via hyperlocal data, companies can make targeted ads more personalized, resulting in revenue increases. Twitter has been experimenting with a mobile app that filters tweets down to a hyperlocal level. This not only makes it easier for local consumers to find what they are looking for, but it is more relevant.
Increasingly granular targeting options have enabled hyperlocal to be taken to another level for marketers, especially on the mobile front. Retailers can run hyperlocal Facebook ads with highly personalized messaging and specific times, driving in-store traffic. In addition, we can target someone on their mobile devices while in store at Big Box Retailer A and give them a promotion urging them to drive up the street to Big Box Retailer B.
Due to the nature of increased relevancy and personalization, hyperlocal campaigns definitely take time and thought in planning and executing. In order to make our messages really “hit home”, we as marketers must ensure we appear to consumers as the local experts; we must provide consumers with the most relevant, personal and feel-good experiences that will keep them coming back for more.
Google Search Landscape Gets a Makeover
Kimberly Honore, Group Media Director
In December 2013 Google started to roll out changes to their Search Engine Results Page by making the SERP more image-focused and putting more emphasis on Product Listing Ads (PLAs). It is believed that putting the PLAs at the top of the Desktop or Tablet search results page will lead to an improved user experience (something that is near and dear to Google). We live in a fast paced environment, and people are relying more heavily on images as a part of their overall search experience. Because of the popularity of PLAs, you can expect to devote more money to them in 2014 and may even see an increase in their CPCs.
In addition, traditional Paid Search ads will see a makeover in terms of how it’s called out within the landscape. Eventually the yellow background highlighting the top 2-3 ads will be gone, and paid ads will be identified with a small yellow and white “Ad” indicator.
These changes have not rolled out 100% yet, but Google has indicated that advertisers should hypothesize on seeing an increase in CTRs – particularly with lower ranking ads. Regarding how this will affect overall cost and performance, we’ll have to wait and see to find out – but it’s something all advertisers should be aware of because it may change the game.
Demand for Live Streaming Video will Grow
A recent report from Ooyala shows that online video audiences find live video far more engaging than on-demand video delivered over-the-top. According to the report which breaks out video consumption by device (mobile, tablet, desktop and connected TV), viewers spent up to 15x times longer watching live video than on-demand video.
Television executives have long since known that audiences flock to live programming and in turn advertisers follow suit with premium payment in hand (see: all sporting events and American Idol Finale, as examples). But digital publishers have not yet found the same success. We predict that numbers like these will spur more publishers to put some skin in the game and start producing more live video content (or at least experimenting with it) in 2014. One such “Publisher” that is experimenting in a big way is the WWE.
Last week they announced the WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 streaming network. In addition to making all past WWE, WCW and ECW events and programming available on-demand (Raw, SmackDown and Main Event will continue to air on their current networks – USA, Syfy and ION television, respectively), the network will also stream live Raw and SmackDown pre and post-shows every week. In addition they’ll also be streaming all 12 live PPV events.
Considering that recent broadcasts of Monday Night Raw have averaged 4 million viewers, now that live programming will be available both before and after the event to anyone with an internet connection, on any device- Publishers and Advertisers alike would be remiss if they didn’t at least stop and pay attention to the numbers. As of now, the WWE Network will not have any advertising outside of “limited promotional content in select programs.” But with engagement numbers being 10-15x higher for live streaming video, we wouldn’t be surprised if more Publishers explore live video content that can be monetized thru advertising.
Taking these trends into consideration this year is sure to payoff.