Our Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2014
The most exciting thing about the upcoming year is the paradigm shift that’s already begun. We are entering an age of
maturation in digital marketing. If there’s one prediction for 2014 we can count on, it’s that digital will continue to evolve
away from its former silo. More and more, brands are realizing that it’s no longer sufficient to simply slap on tactics. A greater
behavioral shift is forcing a more integrated way of thinking. It’s changing brands from a macro level, requiring
unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability. As the walls of communication and interaction between brands and
consumers continue to erode, those that don’t adapt will be left behind.
1. CONNECTED DEVICE
Consumers will continue to see the life-improving benefits of connected
devices. Adoption will increase through increased product availability (Nest,
Philips Hue, Roku) and integration with even the most mundane of hardware
(TV’s, appliances, garage door openers, power strips). Home automation will
no longer just be a tool of the wealthy. Cognitive computing and sensorenabled tracking add real-life value. Brands can take advantage of this
behavioral trend by offering campaigns that make use of touch devices as
remote controls for branded experiences. We have found they can be
effectively achieved in-browser without a full app download. We will start to
see more of these experiences in retail and live events in the coming year.
READ MORE CONNECTED DEVICES AND THE FUTURE OF USER EXPERIENCE
2. WEARABLE TECH WILL
BEGIN TO ENTER
The Google Glass Explorer program built a lot of hype around wearable
tech in 2013. It was a sort of early proof-of-concept for a future of
inevitable breakthroughs. More wearable devices have begun to pop up,
and although Google has not yet announced a release date for Glass many believe it will be available to the public sometime in 2014. As price
points for these devices begin to drop, we’ll begin to see more than just
early adopters sporting fashionable tech. The market is expected to grow
to more than $19 billion by 2018. Progressive brands will follow the lead
of innovators like Nike in releasing their own hardware, as well as
developing apps for smart watches, Google Glass, and others.
VIEW LABS PROJECTS CAMELBAK THIRST & YALE FOOTBALL
3. WITH PRIVACY
CONCERNS AT FEVER
PITCH, BRANDS WILL NEED
With the NSA, Edward Snowden, and concerns of online privacy hitting the press en masse in 2013, the average consumer
enters 2014 more cynical than ever. In fact, roughly 9 out of 10 adults online have some privacy concerns. Most brands
already do a sub-par job of quelling privacy concerns with digital campaigns, contests, opt-ins, and other interactions. The
consumer is going to be less likely than ever to blindly accept Facebook Extended Permissions or to opt-in to an SMS
campaign. Instead of avoiding effective engagement channels, brands must over-index on reassurance and better
communicate what they will and won’t do with personal information. Most consumers are willing to give up some privacy
when the implications are clear. When those implications aren’t communicated properly, the fear of the unknown sets in
and the assumptions are usually worse than reality.
4. MARKETERS WILL DEMAND
MORE REACH FROM ONLINE
A recent Pixability study unearthed an alarming statistic: of the content
published by Top 100 Interbrand Global Brands on YouTube, 50% of
videos had less than 1,000 views. That’s despite huge investments in
creative and production. Brands still have a muddy view of online video
ROI, an almost-mythical disillusionment on “viral”, and insular digital
media buying habits. To remain competitive, brands need to be more
scrappy in releasing online video content, while backing up their
initiatives with smart paid support. The shiny-object novelty of online
video is beginning to fade, and marketing managers will need to start
demanding more performance from their investments.
READ MORE P.O.S.E. FOR YOUTUBE SUCCESS
5. TEENS WILL CONTINUE
TO GRAVITATE TOWARDS
There’s good reason Facebook dangled $3B in front of SnapChat in 2013.
While it may seem like a monumental amount of money, Facebook
continues to struggle to maintain the teenage market. The appeal of
rapidly growing apps like SnapChat and WeChat is not necessarily what
they do, but what they don’t leave behind. Today’s teens don’t want to
leave a running log of incrimination that parents and authority figures
can find, and that’s exactly what Facebook and Twitter do. Facebook has
already begun to try to adapt to this movement by introducing
Instagram Direct, a private group messaging feature in its Instagram
app. There’s an overall scaling back of mass social media and a move
into micro-communities and tribes. It’s an important lesson to learn as
brands seek new ways to market to the elusive youth demographic.
2013 was the year that saw Tesla’s stock hit a high of $192.50, a
nearly 600% increase in value from the year’s first trade.
Indicators like TSLA hint at guilt-free consumerism expanding.
What was once a trend among Millenials is now becoming
commonplace among older demographics, as Baby Boomers
exert their spending power. These consumers are willing to
spend considerably more money on products they feel
good about purchasing. Sustainable, made local, zero waste,
proceeds to non-profit. Altruistic tenets are driving big
spending. Brands that embody these values will sustain (no pun
intended) a higher price tag. A fine line will need to be balanced
between genuine values and commercial exploitation,
especially on the campaign level.
7. GOOGLE WILL TAKE A BIG
BLOW AT TRADITIONAL TV
Or at least attempt to. Google recently reorganized its ad group to better service brands. In 2014, Google will attempt to make YouTube more
competitive for advertisers by making it more like TV as we know it. The video giant is making moves like embracing Nielsen OCR, improving content
(and therefore audience) segmentation, encouraging upfront deals with media buyers, and making the experience more TV-like in general. A move of
this scale will only increase tension between streaming services, content providers, and networks. Expect the content war to heat up in 2014.
8. BRANDS WILL NEED TO
MAKE TOUGH CHOICES TO
STAY COMPETITIVE IN SOCIAL
In this day and age, brands needs to pivot on a dime to be effective
in ever-changing social channels. The needs for faster response
time, more nimble content, and a lean-forward strategy have
increased. The number of social networks that beg for attention
continue to grow. In 2014, the notion of a single community
manager handling social for a brand is seen as increasingly
impractical. Up to 23% of brand managers are struggling to
execute. Social is a mix of art, copy, strategy, customer service,
listening, personality, and a nice dose of pop culture. The problem
exists that ill-equipped agencies are still attempting to land grab
social and dedicated social agencies are still a relatively new breed.
2014’s scrappy social team can scale to provide quality content
quickly, while constantly adapting to the social landscape.
9. TARGETED, CONTEXTUAL,
SOCIAL ADS WILL CONTINUE
TO GAIN GROUND
The old school Flash banner’s days are numbered. Namely because they’re
built on a dying platform. HTML5 ad units will become commonplace to
solve the Flash issue on tablets, but the pressure will be to push more
relevance. Basic banner ads aren’t keeping up, and consumers are twice as
likely to be influenced by targeted ads. Consumers are becoming more
accustomed to native and contextual advertising. Facebook is littered with
sponsored content. Pre-roll and interstitial ads are just a by-product of web
browsing. Whereas a few years ago such intrusions were met with rage,
most users have accepted them - even embraced them when the content is
relevant. And while impressions are more expensive, their performance
speaks for itself. That said, display ads aren’t going anywhere - but expect
increased demand for better targeting (and re-targeting).
10. NON-RESPONSIVE WEB
EXPERIENCES WILL BEGIN TO
FEEL ANTIQUATED TO USERS
Many major brands made the shift to fully responsive sites in the past year or so.
Others are following suit, and we’re seeing marketers begin to demand #rwd.
Even your local web designer is starting to see the value in selling responsive
templates to their clients. What was once a specialty of most savvy digital
specialists is now something that average shoppers are going to expect when
they’re doing research at the grocery store. Consumers now access the web on
mobile devices 28% more often than on desktops. Those legacy mobile sites are
going to seem more and more dated, and consumers are going to start to expect
the same content they get on a full site on their mobile browser in a readable
format. Deny them that, and you risk looking quite old-fashioned.
VIEW LABS PROJECT GUMBY FRAMEWORK
Founded in 2007 in New Haven, CT, we are a full-service
agency driven by the relentless urge to move brands
forward. Built from the need for greater effectiveness,
we’re a passionate group of visionaries, technophiles,
and strategists. We’re digital savvy, but channel agnostic.
We’re low on fluff and hell bent on doing great work. We
aim for innovation and disruption without hesitation.
Written By @rkurfehs with Contributions from @petesena & @digitalesquire
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