10 The Here and Now
Google Now is a virtual personal assistant service offered by Google for Android and iOS
It responds to voice commands intuitively within Google’s Search service and allows
users to search for, manage, and organise information on their mobile devices displayed
as ‘Google Now Cards’ which are cleverly grouped together and personalised.
Google Now learns with time which means the more you use it, the more it can predict
what you need or may find useful. It builds knowledge based on your search behaviour,
location, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+ and Google Finance.
For Search marketers, knowing our customers’ behaviour is crucial to improving
conversion rates and Google Now is the most personalised service that Google has to
offer. It takes the move towards personalised and localised search one step further by
providing predictive information without being prompted by search queries, and with
the number of smartphone users on the rise, providing good local SEO results is key.
Bringing Home the Beacon
iBeacons is a type of technology that enhances the location awareness in mobile apps
through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). When a compatible device is near, a beacon can
transmit content to it via BLE and vice versa.
By placing small transmitters (beacons) around or within a building, relevant content can
be pushed to users’ mobile devices as they walk past.
For example, a restaurant might place a beacon next to its entrance so visitors with BLE
and the restaurant’s app on their phone, can be pushed information on waiting time or
food & drinks offers.
The retail and hospitality industries will be the key sectors to benefit from this type of
technology, but it’s clear that there are other sectors that could really benefit from
iBeacons and BLE in 2014.
With the growing number of people using smartphones to search on the go, it’s likely
they’ll be looking for things to do while out and about and what better way to tell them
about your special offer than when they’re in close proximity to your business?
Privacy to Become Policy
After leaks about current surveillance capabilities, technology companies will be
advancing plans for better security. There will presumably be legislation brought at
either EU member state level or at a wider EU level.
The revelations of the Snowden leaks also break the long established illusions of the
protection afforded to any data collected by private companies.
How can Data Controllers stay compliant with the DPA when at the same time
government entities are performing wide spread snooping?
And is this something a Data Controller needs to consider? How can retailers collecting
data for analytics, re-targeting and other marketing activities ensure they have
appropriate technical measures to prevent unauthorised disclosure?
The challenge has been set for cryptographers to prove the robustness of their
algorithms against any uncertainty and to weed out potentially compromised work.
Similar challenges are being tackled to help remove the need for passwords such as “
Secure Quick Reliable Login” (SQRL).
Marketer Roles Rebooted
Digital marketing is constantly changing as new technologies and platforms emerge.
These developments offer a range of opportunities, and none is bigger than the
increased range of data acquisition possibilities that are now available.
By tapping into the range of data, digital marketers can work out information such as
customer location, interests and day-to-day routine. These insights help marketers
deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, turning potential interest
into a sale.
Previously SEO was process-oriented and relied heavily on keyword optimisation. Now
search engines are transforming into semantic engines that can understand context and
intent. Social media and search campaigns should align to maximise search visibility.
Ultimately, digital marketing has become both a science and an art – a strict discipline
and a creative process and digital marketers must spend extra time measuring and
refining their campaign. The job therefore involves savvy analytical skills and a keen
understanding of attribution modelling.
All In The Game
2014 looks to be the year consoles join the ‘Internet of Things’ in a big way. Both the
PS4 and Xbox One include web browsing, and initial sales have been huge, with both
consoles selling over 1 million units within the first 24 hours.
Microsoft is pitching Xbox One as a complete media centre, allowing users to watch TV
and on-demand video in addition to playing games. It lets users multi-task and pull up a
full-featured web browser while using other features. This is in keeping with the
growing trend for multi-screening, which we researched recently.
Some brands are taking advantage of the multi-screening trend by adding social signals
such as Twitter hashtags into their TV ads, encouraging users to tweet about a brand
while watching the ad.
A barrier to browsing on consoles in the past was navigating the page easily with a
controller. Xbox One features support for gesture navigation and voice navigation and
Sony’s new PS4 controller has a laptop style trackpad.
With the rise in alternative devices being used to access the web, it’
s imperative that your website is responsive to the different user needs in these
Cost Cutting Measures
In the same way the internet revolutionised how we do business, Universal Analytics,
the latest iteration of Google Analytics, could bring the same step-change to how datadriven marketers approach the multi-channel world we now live in.
The most exciting feature of Universal Analytics is the ability to push data from almost
any source in to Google Analytics. These sources include cameras, microphones,
barcode scanners, Bluetooth sensors, iBeacons, NFC tags, EPOS…pretty much anything!
This means we can bring offline data in to Google Analytics, and can start to apply the
same ultra-data-driven approach to “non-digital” marketing that had previously been
limited to us binary types.
What kind of measurement will be possible?
1.Exact number of people passing an outdoor advertisement.
2.Conversion rate optimisation for a café.
3.The number of people who go from website visit to offline purchase.
4.And of course, correlation between the weather and the sale of condoms! (Yes,
there is a correlation!)
With the digital and physical worlds rapidly converging, consumers are able to compare
products, services and prices anytime from anywhere, making it tougher for retailers to
maintain customer loyalty.
By harnessing the power of big data, retailers can better understand and predict
customer needs and wants. A forward thinking retailer can employ a data driven
commerce platform to meet the customer, anticipate their needs and wants, in turn
adding convenience and efficiencies, and creating a better shopping experience.
Operational data can be captured as transactions occur, so analytics can be performed
against rich data sources, uncovering insights in real-time.
Here at Fast Web Media, we believe in the power of data and have proven its
effectiveness by tapping into weather intelligence with weatherFIT.
We’ve learnt that weather plays a significant role in helping consumers make decisions
about what to purchase, when, and through what medium.
2014 will see a greater number of e-tailers making use of big data to discover everything
about their customers, personalise their offerings and predict market trends.
Content Strategy is King
Brands like Coca-Cola and Domino’s have led the way in using content to inform their
own digital strategies, and now others are following suit as the realisation dawns that
using media spend for vanity figures on social channels isn’t achieving long term goals.
Brands are seeing value in creating and strategically deploying digital content aimed at
their target audience, with heightened awareness, data, consumer acquisition, and
ultimately sales being the core benefits.
Interesting, relevant and timely content will always be consumed and shared by users,
and they will have more affinity with brands as a result. Content can take many forms,
but must be engaging, relevant to the individual, and personalised wherever possible.
From a search perspective, SEO is becoming less about keywords and more about
subjects, content and intent; all of which are promoted naturally by strong digital
Not all brands starting on a content strategy will be successful, as content needs to be
curated, managed, analysed, improved and evolved. However, as more content from
digital publications is placed behind paywalls, brands can exploit the ever-growing
consumer appetite for ‘good stuff’ when, where and how they demand it. And the best
bit for brands: once a strategy is up and running, it won’t eat up all their time in
meetings or their total marketing spend
The Connection Collection
The “internet of things” was mentioned last year but uptake was slow in 2013 due to
high prices and lack of infrastructure.
The latest version of the internet protocol; IPv6, is starting to gain traction, and BT and
Virgin are both planning to roll this out to customers in the New Year. This vastly larger
address pool will allow any device in your house to have its own dedicated internet
address, making it accessible anywhere in the world.
Wi-Fi enabled fridges with LCD screens, and Flowton Technologies launching a
futuristic human remote that enables users to control various devices in the home ‘with
a flick of the wrist’.
Forgot to turn your oven off? With devices like the Belkin WeMo, you can do it from
your smartphone. Ran out of milk? No problem – thanks to companies such as
Thin Film Electronics developing connected sensors, your fridge will know and have
already ordered more from your favourite supermarket. Connected appliance costs
should also start to drop to become more appealing to the mass market and not just
So will 2014 be the year of the connected home? We’ll check back with you next year!
Smart Casual Dress Code
In 2014 we will become more aware of our health and well being through analysis of smart
monitoring on our bodies, which will promote new and innovative or redesigned health
products. Re-engineered heart rate monitoring devices will let users explore more advanced
concepts like heart rate variability (HRV) training.
Each wearable technology will have the potential to generate useful data, but the value will
likely depend on how that data is combined with information from other sources. If advances
in biotechnology are anything to go by, it would seem that the human body is an emerging
source of data in its own right.
Within advertising, there will be opportunities to deliver evermore relevant messages which
fit with consumers’ current physical behaviour and state of being.
Existing products; Fitbit, Google Glass and Galaxy Gear are already proving popular and
innovative ideas are being developed such as Omsignal’s compression shirt that collects data,
including breathing levels, movement and heart rate. Sony filed a patent for ‘SmartWigs’;
hairy head accessories with smartphone-like features, and Microsoft developed a smart bra,
intended to assist women from emotional and stress-related eating, and for the wearer’s
overall health to be improved.
Health-based wearable tech opens up avenues in medical research, disease prediction and
personal health management. This in turn reveals a wealth of business opportunities for
health companies that will develop further during 2014.
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