Shaad Hamid

Oxford SEO and PPC Consultant/Blogger

20 Digital Marketing Trends for 2014

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  1. It’s almost 2014 and we’re all convinced of the value of mobile as a key channel in a user’s multi-screen and multi-channel journey.  However, deployment and implementation has still been slow due to various reasons (lack of expertise, budget, and inability to prove ROI etc.). But with increased levels of mobile penetration, and Matt Cutts estimating that mobile searches on Google are set to surpase desktop search volumes next year, I expect 2014 to really be the year of deployment.
  2. Mobile specific marketing strategies will be a core customer acquisition channel, especially for local and small businesses.
  3. We will see the lines of paid search and organic search blur. We are seeing this already, but in 2014 Google will enable more and more bidding options in order to win ‘moments that matter’ (think location or proximity bidding when people are searching closer to your store, or when people search outside an airport etc., device bidding, app promotions etc.).
  4. Last year I predicted Google will get better at understanding complex questions (Hummingbird). This will mean websites will need to be user focused in terms of content strategy. Content will need to fall under the following stages of the buying cycle: problem recognition, solution comparison, supplier comparison and validation. If you won’t supply this information to your users, someone else will.
  5. Other major search engines will move to ‘secure search’ making a keyword-less world a reality. SEOs in particular will be forced to use paid search advertising, first entry page analysis and multi touch attribution in order to prove value.
  6. With deeper smartphone penetration, email marketing will continue to be an important customer nurturing channel. Far from being dead, the channel will continue to grow and thrive. What will be dead though is ‘batch and blast’ emails.
  7. We’ll see best-in-class organisations go beyond understanding their customers from purely demographic data to unifying their view of customer behaviour. Organisations will need to go beyond their CRM systems to mine data from sources such as accounting and order processing systems in order to unify their view of their customer.
  8. HTML5 becomes mainstream. Switching to HTML5 won’t be as easy for many organisations. But this will move from a fad to ‘mainstream’ in 2014.
  9. Linkbuilding will merge alongside PR and creative, making asset creation the only viable linkbuilding method to provide long lasting results.
  10. Perception of visual content (video, image, custom illustrations, illustrative animation, and infographics) will change among marketers from “it’s a ‘nice-to-have’ marketing collateral”, to a key strategy in acquiring and increasing customer engagement and influence within target audiences.
  11. With the increase in devices that content is consumed, websites designed in 2014 will largely incorporate ‘responsive web design’.
  12. Users will continue to have contradicting needs. On the one hand, they want personalised and customised service and product offerings, but on the other, will be increasingly uncomfortable over the amount of personal data being mined.
  13. More and more companies begin to dedicate a greater proportion of their marketing budgets towards going beyond online contact-level web analytics to incorporating important off-site social behaviours. Marketers will begin to make a greater effort to place estimates of digital impact in proper proportion and context of broader marketing strategy and the market environment.
  14. Marketing teams, typically in slower moving industries, will graduate from digital experimentation (via pilot tests) into actually defining their digital marketing strategy.
  15. Marketing teams that have gone further than that will look to approach the more sophisticated tasks of aligning and integrating activities across organizational siloes to deliver a more cumulative impact on their audience.
  16. We all know that increased digital marketing efforts demand continuous and collective management, something few companies are designed to support at this point in time. The value destroyed by this misfit approach—although hard to quantify—is potentially very large. Several companies will be looking to take steps to restructure internal teams as a result.
  17. Companies looking to make structural changes will begin to look for individuals who can take ownership in executing processes and bringing the following disparate functions together: paid search, online community, corporate website, advertising, social media and blogging, and SEO.
  18. There will be an increased push for social marketing among businesses. Companies will look to align their brands with social causes.
  19. Facebook will start to get serious about search in 2014. They will find a way to personalise entity search with social interactions thereby providing an ‘alternative search engine’ based around ‘friend recommendations’.
  20. And finally, television advertising is far from dead. On the contrary, television ads will begin to incorporate more and more social integration. Television advertising will also incorporate “second screen experiences”, where a TV programme’s tablet app, mobile app, and even discussions will be promoted and encouraged on social media platforms. Content creators will need to create assets that can live across multiple screens seamlessly.

What are your predictions for 2014? Feel free to share your thoughts within the comments below.

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Author: Shaad Hamid

Shaad used to be an Oxford based SEO and PPC blogger, consultant and citizen journalist. He has recently moved to Dubai and is currently working as an SEO Account Manager at DigitasLBi. He is passionate about internet marketing and is the SEO lead for numerous clients from diverse sectors such as FMCG to Travel & Tourism. Find Shaad on Google

  • Dennis

    Hey guys very good post

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