Report of key trends leading to social media dynamics to consider for 2014 planning. Topics include content marketing and social media impacts on strategy, user experience, technology and enterprise models.
Report of 2014 Top 10 Social Media Stars, RIPs, Rebounds & Marginals
2014 Social Media Predictions
Top 10 Stars, RIPs,
Rebounds & Marginals
Dr. Jim Barry
Underlying Trends 2
Top 10 Rising Stars 8
Top 10 RIPs 12
Top 10 Rebounds 16
Top 10 Marginals 21
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2014 SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS
Year of the Oxymoron
In summary, brands should focus on building lasting, but
ephemeral relationships using outbound techniques for
inbound marketing in an anonymous, but highly
personal media. What’s wrong with this picture?
- Social Content Marketing
2014 Social Media Predictions Wrapped Up in 13 Oxymorons
As the list of 2014 social media and content marketing predictions winds to a close, what can
organizations really take to the bank this year?
Let’s start with an overarching dynamic that most would agree characterizes 2014. We hear
terms like the age of advocacy, infobesity or experience marketing, as well as a year of
audience, laser focused granularity, brand evangelism and content purpose.
Others describe 2014 as the year content marketing goes mainstream. As Robert Rose puts it
“…we step on the gas…” Marketing folks get serious in acquiring an intuitive social mindset
backed by meaningful social proof and hyper-targeted brand relationships. It’s also the year
when e-Commerce really grabs onto content marketing and CMOs finally hunker down on
proven social initiatives. If not convinced, consider that online sales topped $1 trillion
worldwide last year.
So what can we expect in this new era of hyper-targeting and more profitable social
engagement? Before diving into what media, marketing concepts or shiny new objects are likely
to materialize, let’s first consider the dynamics shaping the bulk of 2014 predictions among
leading social media practitioners.
Key Dynamics Shaping 2014
Social ROI & Predictive Analytics
As companies get serious about content marketing in their 2014 plans, many agree that social
ROI will be more demanded than ever. Some have gone as far as to say that 2014 is a moment
of truth for proving the value of content and social marketing.
And with the rise in social pay-per-click, as well as big data analytics now available from cloud-
based data bases, social ROI estimates are getting more precise and reliable. This is leading
many brands to invest in some brand-specific ROI studies and turn to performance data to
ensure that their content does not fall on deaf ears.
But besides ROI, this year will likely see a surge in social data mining as big players (Apple,
Google, Facebook, etc.) start to leverage social signals and intentions for predictive analytics.
Platform Specific Content
Marketers have taken serious steps toward customizing content to particular platforms.
Recognizing better how communities vary in their expectations, CMOs are now putting more
attention into repurposing content to fit a platform’s preferred format (e.g., gifs, videos, short-
posts, etc.). In theory, those that provide a seamless, user-oriented experience with timely
helpful advice will be credited with more brand advocacy.
Content marketers are also redirecting content based on whether platforms contribute more to
impressions and clicks or to deeper engagement and greater conversions.
That context is king will really take hold in 2014. As anticipatory computing and SoLoMo (Social,
Local, Mobile) technologies find out what you are doing, where you are and what you need,
marketers will be capitalizing on these insights to target you with a real-time relevant response.
And hopefully it doesn’t come off like personal advice from a nearby stalker.
In their book, “Age of Context,” Scoble and Israel provide a convincing big picture of how more
pinpointed marketing approach will emerge from seeing the customer in context.
With the high demands placed on content marketing, we might very well see the convergence in
content creation and curation predicted by Curata. Their Content Marketing Tactics Survey
indicates a significant shift in 2014 by marketers to make greater use of curation as part of
creation activities. According to Michael Gerard, “The new mix will be 65% created, 25% curated
and 10% syndicated content; and the line between created versus curated will continue to blur.”
Micro-Content & Infobesity
Expect an avalanche of micro-content as consumers are bombarded with content. The mass
maturation of short-form video (e.g., Twitter Vine, Instagram, SnapChat, Tumblr, etc.), imagery
and posts primarily stems from the explosion in mobile devices. But its continued growth will be
spurred by the success of micro-aggregators (e.g., BuzzFeed) suggesting to brands that brevity is
the key to attention.
With the vast amount of digital noise, marketers in 2014 will truly witness their audience’s social
fatigue. Twitter feeds, inboxes and new post alerts will cause many to seek niche specific
platforms as well as micro-content. Seeking to separate themselves from the clutter, brands will
lower their volumes on audience reach while raising the volume on qualified prospects.
Another likely consequence of content marketing going mainstream is the formalizing of social
businesses that promote:
• Employee advocacy (everyone wears a content marketing hat)
• Social customer service
• Enterprise-wide social standards
• CMO oversight
In particular, forecasters are expecting 2014 to be the year that social business really emerges as a
business function, and content becomes its own department.
Does anyone remember Gomer Pyle’s infamous “surprise, surprise, surprise?” Most of us knew it
was only a matter of time before stakeholders in Facebook, Twitter and Google+ expected their
darlings to monetize. Earning your way into newsfeeds will take more than organic approaches. If
you expect to reach the attention of your fans, you had better pull out your wallet.
Social Influence Rewarding
This may also be the year we see brands courting influencers more than before. Recognizing the
power of brand evangelism, brands will be anxious to reward celebrities and other popular
influencers. Expect greater attention to be given to social influence scoring (e.g., Klout score) as
well as compensation for those whose audiences trust their authority.
With global mobile traffic likely reaching 15% of total media consumption and the number of
smartphone users topping 1.4 billion by the end of 2014, mobile will be the first screen for a
majority of people users. Yet, according to Adobe, nearly half of businesses do not have a mobile-
friendly website. At minimum, users will expect to get the same brand experiences on their
smaller screens that they have on their desktops. This will likely translate to even more micro-
videos, a preferred media format for mobile users.
Real-time marketing will likely become the talk in many CMO sessions as companies realize how
participating in conversations far outweighs their sending content when their schedule permits.
As brand campaigns like Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark” and WestJet’s “Christmas
Miracle” discover the high impact from engaging fans in real-time, expect others to capitalize.
Leading the way will be the many real-time native apps that provide emergency advice (e.g.,
Charmins Sit or Squat app, Clorox’s MyStain app, etc.).
Top 10 Rising Stars
#1: Ephemeral Media
If there was a bolt from the blue to pick among 2013 shiny new objects, Snapchat would get
most votes. In less than 3 years, the social media company has reached an audience of more
than 100 million users. Its early success as an “erasable media” attests to the demand for apps
that limit the time exposure of posted images. The appeal of erasability especially suits those
sensitive to their exposing a regretted photo left in someone’s archives.
2014 Prediction: Continued Exponential Growth
Given their rejection of $multi-billion offers from Facebook and Google as well as its appeal to
Millennials, a safe prediction is that Snapchat lives up to the analyst predictions that its future
will be long-lasting.
#2: Photo & Imagery Based Sites
The percentage year-to-year growth of image-based networks services like Pinterest, Tumblr
and Instagram, as well as slide-based service (e.g., Slideshare), are testimony to consumers
preferring visual content. The trend towards curated content will also favor photo-rich sites.
2014 Prediction: Continued Rapid Growth
With the higher search and engagement results seen from imagery as opposed to text, expect
content in 2014 to be even heavier on infographics, slides and photos.
#3: Self-Help Native Apps
In his book, Youtility, Jay Baer demonstrates how brands see the move toward mobile “self-
help” apps as a way to engage in Friend-of-Mine marketing. Imagine having an app at hand that
helps you diagnose garden weeds, remove stains, tie a boat knot, get dinner suggestions or find
a clean restroom in real-time. Would you give credit to My Scotts Lawn App, Clorox’s MyStain
App, Charmin’s SitOrSquat App and Columbia’s iPhone Knot App?”
2014 Prediction: Continued Rapid Growth
According to Gartner, “25 percent of enterprises will have an Enterprise App Store by 2017.”
And the $10 billion self-help industry shows no signs of slowing. Coupled with the sky rocketing
growth of smartphone shoppers, these developments suggest that self-help apps should stay
Top 10 Rising Stars
#4: Micro Video Sharing Sites
With the growing popularity of 6 second Twitter Vine and 3-15 second Instagram videos, real-
time video sharing has become a reality. More brands are embrace these short videos as fast,
affordable and practical ways to tell their brand story. Others see it as a new form of
2014 Prediction: Gains More Ground
What likely delayed the accelerated growth of micro-videos is its still questionable
applicability in social content circles. With the growing expectation for real-time video,
brands who can deliver a "get it now" social and customer service experience, however, will
likely gain ground in 2014.
#5: Cloud-Based CMS
Candidacy for Top 10: Solid
As brands struggle to organize their content marketing efforts, working off a single platform
will be paramount. This year, we will likely witness a greater consolidation of end-to-end
content marketing system (CMS) platforms that simplify the process of brand
2014 Prediction: Steady Adoption
With big data moving to the cloud, expect 2014 to be the year where brands embrace cloud-
based CMS. Many will recognize the advantages of the cloud in scaling their content
#6: User Generated Content
By now, brands have realized in a big way the impact of embracing fandom. As a result, more
of the conversation will be about a community’s fans.
2014 Prediction: Serious Adoption
As the expectation builds among community followers that fans control the conversation,
expect more brands in 2014 to empower their fans with their own storytelling.
Top 10 Rising Stars
#7: Visual Storytelling Engagement
The rapid rise of Instagram did more than attract fans to a new world of imagery. Marketers are
finding new ways to tell their brand stories with these micro-videos while connecting more
persuasively to their audiences. In his book “Epic Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi leaves us with
many examples (e.g., Red Bull) where “telling a story to the right person at the right time always
cuts through the clutter.” (p. 15).
2014 Prediction: Shift towards Greater Adoption
With the mainstream arrival of short-form video, many are predicting a shift towards greater
visual storytelling this year.
#8: Mobile Commerce
2013 Black Fridays convinced almost every brand that users regularly buy from their phones.
According to Google, 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones while shopping. And an
increasing number of them are using it for shopping assistance (e.g., price comparisons or doing
further research on a product while they are in the store).
2014 Prediction: Mainstream Adoption
As more marketers target their audiences with contextual offers, expect a greater number of
mobile users to handle their check-outs with shopping apps and LBS type services.
#9: Search via Author Rank, Hashtags & Lifestyles
Despite what we may not know about Google’s search engine plans, one thing is certain: their
search algorithm is crediting quality authors who appear expert in their field. Even the Google+
hashtags themselves are helping to categorize writers. Along with hashtagging used on other
networks, expert brands to focus more on tag topic contributions than keyword monopolizing.
2014 Prediction: Gains More Ground
With Hummingbird and other likely algorithm changes, search will be a more semantic
challenge to brands attempting to expose their content. Expect brands to struggle with
measuring and applying a more lifestyle-oriented search process. Despite these challenges,
however, brands will see this search process change as a more legitimate way to separate high
quality content from the clutter of black-hat SEO spammers.
Top 10 Rising Stars
#10: Social Network Aggregation
With the pace of infobesity as it is, audiences will expect brands to curate, and not just create,
content. Aggregators and smart news feeders can be expected to capitalize on audience profile
data and behaviorally tracked preferences to better aggregate micro-content for their targeted
2014 Prediction: Mainstream Adoption
Pinterest, in particular, will likely gain more ground as an aggregator as brands see its value in
visual storyboarding. Brands will likely recognize how these pictorial-based curators will make
the lives of working professional audiences more efficient.
1. Ephemeral Media
2. Photo & Video Sharing Sites
3. Self-Help Native Apps
4. Cloud Based CMS
5. Micro-Video Sharing
6. User Generated Content
7. Visual Storytelling Engagement
8. Mobile Commerce
9. Search via Author Rank, Hashtags & Lifestyles
10. Social Network Aggregation
Top 10 RIPs
#1: Cold Calling for Any Industry
You may wonder why this wasn’t put to rest 5 years ago because prospects can research so
much before ever contacting a company. But up until the last few years, cold calling arguably
had its place in some industries. What likely puts the nail in the coffin are the roughly 1.6 billion
users now regularly on at least one social media site. Add to that the over 1 million apps that
can be easily downloaded – a large portion of which are used for self-help or test trials – and we
have to ask what is missing that cannot be addressed by inbound marketing (i.e., no cold calling
I believe Jeffrey Gitomer, New York Times Best Selling Author, said it best: "Over 80% of decision
makers absolutely will not buy from a cold call…But despite this hard truth, most salespeople
today continue to waste valuable time and effort cold calling, usually because they don't know
what else to do. Cold calling is all they've been taught.”
The argument that some industries still require ‘proactive helpfulness’ no longer fits the mold of
a user whose mobile device gives them instant advice from peers they trust. As real-time
marketing is embraced by brands, more helpful answers will be provided exactly when needed.
A trustworthy trail of blogs, webinars and eBooks can be used to qualify suppliers; and
endorsements can be authenticated from your trusted connections. So what could possibly be
left to justify a cold call that well aligned content, test trail apps and social media testimonies
cannot handle up to the point where a prospect makes the first call?
#2: Digital Ad Agency Networks
As brands see the richer consumer behavior insights required for personalized advertising, they
can be expected to migrate away from ad agency networks to social media platforms. At
question is the overhead consumed by agencies, whose value-add is diminishing. Coupled with
the long-standing concern of agencies having too much campaign control, more brands will
prefer ad platforms over agency buying models.
#3: Black Hat SEO Agencies
To the delight of many content marketers losing their share of search results to keyword
stuffers, Google’s latest approach to search engine optimization will level the playing field for
those producing good, useful content.
Those whose primary goal is to stuff their pages with SEO-friendly keywords (e.g., Black-Hat
Keyword Stuffers and SEO Linkers) will likely find themselves penalized more than benefitting
from crafty keyword usage. Hummingbird, Google’s latest update, is shifting the focus away
from keywords and towards intents and semantics. i.e., their search algorithm will consider
location, social connections and previous searches as opposed to searching solely on keyword
queries. In effect, keywords may actually take a backseat to sentiment.
Top 10 RIPs
#4: B2B and B2C Marketing
This argument has continued for some time. The bases for saying B2B and B2C have died in
favor of People-to-People (P2P) Marketing is that a firm has lost its place in a world where
people have their smartphones and computing power with them everywhere. i.e., Work and life
are blending under a social media framework.
Add to that a growing body of evidence suggesting that business decision are largely based on
emotion, and we could easily conclude that P2P marketing will emerge from the ubiquity of
social media marketing. As stated by Rick Segal in his Forbes article, “The customer is not a
corporate entity, but an independently minded, highly connected, always-emotional human
being.” As a result, who you know, like and trust (person-to-person) will override bid credentials
in the B2B case or high powered consumer tactics in the B2C case.
#5: Contextual Advertising
With the growth in popularity and feasibility for delivering, hyper-targeted ads, advertising
based on a “content-for-content” match of ads with viewed topics will likely fade away. Instead,
richer social mobile, location (SoLoMo) and behavioral data will allow for ads to be retargeted.
This replaces a content-for-content match with an ad that instead reflects what the user expects
at a given time, place and shopping circumstance. i.e., content now matches a target’s real-time
circumstances regardless of the content that are viewing at the moment.
#6: Personalized Website Dashboard
The final nail in this coffin comes from the closure of iGoogle. Google’s reason for terminating
their personal start page has much to do with capability of today’s Chrome and Android-based
apps that put personalized, real-time information into a mobile dashboard. Coupled with the
growing use of personalized news feeds, curated content and other gadgets (e.g., weather,
sports, mail, etc.) in social networks, the need for iGoogle and alternative dashboards (igHome,
My Yahoo, Netvibes, MyMSN, etc.) has arguably eroded over time.
#7: Facebook Organic Reach
According to social media expert, Dave Kerpan, “social media will increasingly become a pay-to-
play channel.” Since Facebook has changed its news feed algorithm, getting fan attention
organically will become all the more difficult. This will pressure brands to pay-to-play to sponsor
their posts. Expect the same adoption of pay-to-play by other social networks as they face their
own pressure to monetize.
Top 10 RIPs
#8: Social Media Managers
According to Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes, the growth in social media manager positions slowed
to 50 percent in 2013. This follows exponential growth in prior years. Instead, brands are
looking for content marketing experts and social media evangelists.
More importantly, we are seeing the initial stages of social business where everyone wears a
social media hat. This follows the migration years ago from strategic planning positions to
“everyone is a strategic planner.” So expect more social media functions to be instead written
into traditional organizational job descriptions.
#9: Those Not on Google+
Hardly a 2014 prediction of social media goes by without at least one expert highlighting the
growing importance of being on Google+. With 343-million active users, it has become the
second largest social network globally.
By using the platform to gain personal information (e.g., location, demographics, etc.), it is
providing a more personalized search experience. Add to that the importance of Google
Authorship to search results and + Brand pages in the right hand column, and you can see why
Google+ will easily win the ROI value comparison.
#10: Bosses That Don’t Tweet
2014 will likely see the serious adoption of social business. And with that comes more
transparency from business leaders. Consumers and buyers will expect to see, or least hear
from, a human on their social channels. And if that means the boss, he/she will have little
excuse for not engaging.
And no longer can CEOs and other executives count on PR, legal and other surrogates to
represent their voice. Too many leaders have already set the stage for “open door means
regular tweeting.” And few bosses could insist on their subordinates boosting their followers
unless they witness their own success in tweeting.
Top 10 Rebounds
With the growing popularity of content marketing, it is easy to prematurely dismiss
traditional marketing approaches as being obsolete when, in fact, many traditional
approaches are coming back due to social media. We are finding ample evidence that TV
benefits greatly from social media (e.g., social TV). Email has resurrected from social media
(e.g., socially integrated email for precision content marketing). And media formats like
podcasting and print magazines are seeing a rebirth as content marketing burnouts seek
outlets on the treadmill, in the car, or on the couch.
#1: Backchannels for Screen Social TV
Contrary to popular opinion, the internet did not kill TV. The use of mobile phones and
tablets have actually enhanced the television experience, to the point where Americans are
watching more television than ever before. Some research shows that at least 40% of tablet
or smartphone owners are using their devices daily while they’re watching TV. As a result, the
worldwide market for Social TV is expected to reach $250 billion by 2017. That is the same
amount spent worldwide today on all television advertising.
What is creating this marriage between social media – Twitter in particular - and TV is the
role that back channels or second screens play in engaging TV viewers on the web. i.e.,
Viewers of TV program content (including ads) are sharing their insights with their social
communities. TV advertisers now see a gold mine of opportunities stemming from this
“social lift” in the form of social voting, better targeted ads and post-view content sharing.
#2: Permission-Based Email Marketing for Sales Nurturing &
As noted by Brennan Carlson, SVP of Product & Strategy at Lyris, “…2013 marked the advent
of an email marketing renaissance with consumers choosing email as their preferred channel
for brand interaction. In 2014, marketers will adjust their budget and resources accordingly.”
Many doubted the revitalization of email marketing until the social web and inbound
marketing concepts convinced us that email and social media work hand-in-hand in sales
Now add to this Email 2.0 trend the growing intention of brands that will increasingly focus
on subscription-based marketing. Then add the explosive growth of smartphones used by a
majority of executives to access their emails, and it should be no surprise that 47% of B2B
marketers plan to increase their email marketing spend in 2014. Furthermore, 77% of
consumers now prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through
Top 10 Rebounds
#3: Location Based Services Transformed to SoLoMo
The quick start and over hype over Foursquare, Gowalla and other geo-social apps may have left
many concluding that Location-Based Services were a flash in the pan. But as Sharn Kandola
explains, “technology is at a point where we can see how consumers behave at that pivotal
moment when they are ready to make purchasing decisions.” This will especially bode well for
shoppable storefronts and the more traditional retail landscape. And with a growth in LBS usage,
expect far more location-based ads (i.e., advertising targeted to your current location) as well.
Many attribute this renewed interest to social plus location plus mobile (SoLoMo). More than
likely, the original LBS model lost its luster as a result of far too little contextual content (worked off
spatial data only) and far too much game-oriented appeal. In a nutshell, the original technology
lacked context surrounding the target audience’s shopping histories, app behaviors and social
profiles. Add to that the sparse data bases and limited number of niche audiences on LBS, and we
could quickly conclude the time was not ripe for roll-out.
Now with the incorporation of geo-location data in mainstream social networks and more robust
spatial analytics, this should change. In particular, start to take notice of how iBeacons and more
in-store WiFi will soon provide for a more enriched in-store shopping experience. Then consider
how Hadoop-like systems and other smart data solutions will start to marry geo-fencing data with
consumer events and behaviors. This this will give us far more robust and predictive analytics. So
instead of LBS being used simply to reward “mayor badges,” we will see the makings of a platform
for ads that are more relevant to consumers buying needs than in the past.
#4: Display/PPC Ads Moving to Native & Retargeted
Without a doubt, display ads lost their touch in banner advertising and pay-per-click (PPC)
campaigns. But the revenue spent in ads will likely continue at its fast pace. Social ads will climb as
Facebook’s organic reach fizzles out. And expect many PPC campaigns to include ads for content.
Instead, according to Walter Knapp, COO of Federated Media, “…in 2014 we’ll start seeing
increasingly intelligent ad placement across all types of media…” What will undoubtedly change is
the context of advertising. 2014 will likely by the year we see the following:
1. More native ads where the ad is disguised as editorial content
2. More advertising in content feeds
3. Advertorial 2.0 as a major part of the social media marketing mix
4. Ads retargeted in accordance with tracked app behaviors and audience location
5. Engagement ads for increased interaction
6. Cost-per-action metrics for performance-based advertising (i.e., advertising in which the
purchaser pays only when there are measurable results)
Top 10 Rebounds
#5: Podcasting 2.0
Another surprising turnaround involves podcasting. What seemed cool four years ago seemed
to have become obsolete as more video rich and sexier social media platforms took the
limelight. And now that smartphones serve as a podcast receiver, it’s not surprising that one
billion podcasts subscriptions are now in the iTunes library.
In an interview last October, Michael Stelzner stated “I believe that we are in an inflection point
with podcasting... 24% are planning on doing podcasting this year compared to only 5% the
year before.” He and Jeff Bullas attribute this growth to the rapid adoption of smartphones and
an ITunes media portal for easily downloading podcasts. i.e., faster data transfer rates that no
longer require clumsy iPod-to-desktop syncing.
Add to this the fact that components are inexpensive, and software makes podcasting as easy
as posting on blogs. But what arguably has resurrected its popularity is the time slot and
application it fills in a content strategy. E.g., Podcasts offer a persona-engagement exercise in
long-form that offers an educational substitute to music when in your car or on the treadmill.
#6: LinkedIn Makeover from Influencer/Pulse/Slideshare
Hats off to LinkedIn as they revitalized their purpose and usability. Using pulse and other tools
put them ahead of the game in newsfeed aggregation as well as in curating content from those
most likely to influence our professional interests. But more importantly, its 2012 acquisition of
Slideshare is paying off. The one-time slide-hosting service has become a full-fledged social
network in its own right.
#7: Cookies Technologies Turns to Fingerprinting
Many are claiming the death of cookies, the digital code stored on our browsers, is greatly
exaggerated. Its demise is attributed mainly to any inability to work with television on second
screen setups and across different devices. The growing number of users setting their browsers
to reject cookies, along with their limitation on mobile - the future of content - will certainly
put the future of cookies technologies in question.
This bodes well for the privacy advocates who have been aggressively trying to kill the cookie.
But many may not realize how its potential replacement, fingerprinting, could be even creepier.
Fingerprinting techniques look at the characteristics of a computer (e.g., plugins, installed
software, screen size, time zone, fonts, etc.) to form a unique identity of us much like that of a
fingerprint. And with the big push towards capitalizing on smart data retrieval, expect cookies
technologies to eventually disappear.
Top 10 Rebounds
#8: SmallBiz Websites Move to CMS & Social Assets
With apps and social assets essentially eliminating the need for small business websites, an
argument develops that websites will disappear outside of their use for larger operation portals.
By their very nature, websites were originally designed for surfing, not for answering user queries.
At the same time, apps and social networks have begun to fill much of the service information,
shopping carts, company background, prices, location and company background information that
justified the need for a corporate website. So what’s left?
Arguably, the rest should include content useful to the audience. So replace the traditional website
with a content management system like WordPress, and we now have a far better presence for
engaging and delighting the search engines. As companies grow, cloud services conceivably offer
better ways to scale the adoption of internal functions and CRM. This essentially leaves a website
as an unnecessary shell.
But considering the growing concerns with social networking sites owning our platforms, it’s
difficult to imagine organizations relinquishing control of their corporate presence to third party
apps and social networks. At minimum, a home page would provide backup as well as a stationary
validation of a company’s reputation.
#9: Article Marketing Transforms to Guest Blogging
The days of posting articles on Ezinearticles.com and articlesbase.com are slipping away in favor of
more SEO promising content. Even articles that at one time garnered heavy syndication are
disappearing from Google's index. And expect this to continue as these non-indexed copies
generate little SEO value. But the disappearance of article posting from search results should not
impact the demand for REMARKable content. It simply shifts the distribution scheme to that of
guest blogging. The social signals and potential high traffic link-backs overcome Google’s
resistance to article content syndication.
#10: Infographics Transform to Visual Stories
Infographics have undoubtedly surfaced as an essential element of content marketing in recent
years as they prove to be easily sharable and have great potential to go viral on Pinterest and other
sites. No doubt, their overuse destroyed its initial novelty and hype. Too much data and not
enough story turned a lot of infographics into a repurposed content afterthought.
But as stated by Ross Crooks, Co-founder and Creative Director of Column Five, “We are witnessing
the death of the novelty of infographics but not a decline in their value.” The problem according to
Brain Solis is that “most infographics are no more than visual press releases with graphical
elements tied to way too much information.” He instead encourages a visual story wrapped
around a current event that sparks conversations around a well-organized point of view.
Top 10 Marginals
#1: Direct Mail Returns at Least for Now
The imminent demise of direct mail is another example of predictions made from the aftermath
of social media dominance. But like television and email, direct mail has resurrected itself, in
large part, because of social media.
According to Tod Cordill, Integrated Marketing Specialist, “There is so much noise on social
media that it is really hard to stand out. So look for more and more traditional marketing
techniques being focused on standing out from the crowd and driving prospects to online
marketing. In fact, non-catalog direct mail marketing has been growing over the last several
years and is now at or above 2006 levels. Catalogs are growing but still lagging earlier levels. At
one end, we see QR codes, personalized URLs, and links to social media leading recipients
online. At the other, we see companies like IKEA and Costco adding augmented reality content to
With the acquisition of Tumblr, a refugee hangout for Millenials fleeing their parents now on
Facebook, many believe Yahoo could turn around its seemingly bleak future. But it remains to be
seen how the “light-on-ads” social blogging platform feels about the web portal’s penchant for
advertising. More concerning is Yahoo’s mindset. Should they go all out in monetizing, as
opposed to the way Google gently handled its YouTube integration, Yahoo could really turn off its
Tumblr target audience.
But a reality is that Yahoo still maintains 800 million users a month even topping Google in traffic
last May. At question will be how well Marissa Mayer’s leadership will leverage its Yahoo’s
impressive ad platform analytics to lead the charge for Tumblr’s presence in a more mobile and
#3: Facebook f-Commerce
Now several years in the making, many predict Facebook will abandon its attempts at f-
commerce. Its quick adoption of the shopping cart by florists and airline tickets seems to have
lost its momentum. Some would attribute its imminent demise to an underestimation of the
shopping cart mindset.
Once believed to be the rival of Amazon, Facebook’s f-commerce was well positioned to rule the
world in online shopping. But users seem more confident in hopping off-site to a more reputable
commerce model. The shopping experience just doesn’t seem to fit the overall experience
expected by a Facebook community. But given the deep pockets and already mounting
pressures away from Facebook’s monetizing model (e.g., pay-to-play social advertising), don’t be
surprised if the owners roll out an f-Commerce 2.0.
Top 10 Marginals
#4: Myspace Last Ditch Music Media Foray
Once a pioneer in social media, Myspace become the internet punch-line. But its recent
purchase by Justin Timberlake and others gives it a glimmer of hope in a place where music
artists can connect with their fans. Although it will never return as a social media giant, the niche
oriented media shows some promise for a digital music audience.
By capitalizing on a music and arts community, marketers may see Myspace as an opportunity to
host more creative advertising options. The popularity of “behind-the-scenes” content with
celebrities and a variety of custom experiences could actually breathe new life into Myspace
assuming it reaches a critical mass among a younger, hip crowd.
#5: From Campaigns to Customer Controlled Conversations
2013 clearly saw the decline of marketing campaigns. Arguably, campaigns used primarily as a
vehicle for measuring ROI have been superseded by a new model based more on continuous
engagement. This would not imply the death of contests or other engaging event activities. It
merely suggests that campaigns oriented around the generation and measurement of business
results will likely disappear.
Instead, improved solutions for calculating ROI and Return on Relationship from big data
advances and other breakthroughs will reduce the pressure of hosting campaigns strictly for
results measurement. Further, as content marketing strategies move more towards real-time and
continuing relationship building, campaigns will not have a place. Instead, expect more attention
on storytelling engagement and techniques that motivate customer controlled conversations.
#6: Cryptocurrencies Still in Question for Secure eCommerce
There's a broad belief that “Bitcoin” might just be the virtual currency that leads the way for
secure ecommerce. As one of a few cryptocurrencies in experiment today, it was created as an
online payment network that bypasses the need for banking institutions, thereby sparing online
merchants from interchange fees. The digital currency also acts as a currency hedge (e.g., gold
standard) that removes fraud risk and wild currency fluctuations from global ecommerce
Although many are predicting Bitcoin will help address a burgeoning mobile commerce demand,
a number of issues still need to be resolved for it to widespread public acceptance. In question
are the taxing uncertainties, some country regulatory concerns, and the value of the currency
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#7: RSS Fading Away?
The declining interest in RSS is no surprise given the lack of interactivity and a growing desire
among brands to capture emails instead. The discontinuance of Google Reader is probably
enough evidence to support a waning interest in RSS.
Andrew Chen explains his RSS death claim in a single chart that shows its trending decline as
a google search term. His explanation agrees with many that users have far better
alternatives today for integrating their reading. And the lack of two-way interaction runs
counter to brands that are now placing even more attention on tracking reader interests
through their email response behaviors.
What remains to be seen is whether RSS ultimately serves as a better curator of topic trends
than is available from aggregators and email. For now, however, the future looks grim.
#8: PR Blends into Social Media Marketing
Let’s face it, media channels created for online PR firms are typically arranged more for press
broadcast than engagement. Brands today have more concern about real-time engagement
and personalized communication with their clients than their extending reach to an
“everybody” audience with a one-way megaphone. Some of the most mentioned reasons for
the apparent “demise of PR” are the following.
1. Online reputation campaigns are going to pure play digital agencies
2. PR functions are spreading across enterprise employees and their social media
3. Digital content marketing and social media channels are intrinsically designed to
manage the PR function for reputation building and company news distribution
In other words, some would argue that social media has crippled the PR industry. But if we
look at the classic definition of PR as the communicating of messages across a firm and its
publics, this could be no further from the truth. The role of PR, itself, is crucial to a successful
social media presence if viewed in the following light: social media allows us to spread our
messages and manage our brand conversations.
Even the role of PR for crises control and reputation building is embedded in solid social
media practices. Consider what a proactive PR response could have done to avoid United
Airlines’ “breaks Guitars” debacle.
Although tradition media channels for PR activities may be disappearing, the maturation of
social media hasn’t killed the profession. It has merely made it easier for businesses to
communicate with their publics. i.e., Social media has redefined the channels for
communication as well as the process for managing communications.
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#9: Wearable Computer Technology Still on Test Drive
Research firm ABI estimates the wearables market will hit $6 billion by 2018. But the recent
allure of Apple iWatch, Samsung Galaxy Geosmart watches, Google Glass and other wearable
devices may be fading, in part, because of its questionable fashion appeal.
In his 2014 predictions, Leo Burnett says “Wearable technology was one of 2013’s big talking
points but it is yet to be considered a must-have…Technology is not about gadgets; it’s about
enhancing our capabilities.”
And besides being used for fitness trackers, its real utility is still in doubt. This is supported by
a Harris Interactive poll where nearly half of all those questioned believe wearable tech is just
a fad. The survey results further suggest that the pricey technologies do not justify yet
another smart device. Add to that the lack of mainstream manufacturer support, and users
are left confused with its intention as well.
But more optimistic forecasters are predicting that legacy platforms (e.g., Facebook) will
adapt to, or even acquire, one of the star wearables in order to facilitate meaningful
#10: Print Magazines for Unplugged Audience
No, print is not dead. In the wake of Newsweek’s and Smart Money’s demise, many have
prematurely ruled out printing as a viable element in content strategies. While it is true that
print magazines have declined dramatically in past years, the decline has bottomed out. In his
book “Epic Content Marketing,” Joe Pulizzi states “…yes, marketers have stopped fleeing from
the print channel.”
Gone might be the days 7 day news, but many are re-embracing print as a way to unplug
especially for niche oriented magazines. They still invite higher quality interviews than can be
expected online. Audience development costs for print have also dropped dramatically as
magazine publishers use their online subscriptions for mailing lists.
About the Author
Dr. Jim Barry,
Founder, Social Content Marketing
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
LinkedIn @ drjamesbarry
Email @ email@example.com
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