Digital Marketing in 2014
As the year draws to a close it’s a good time to pop open a bottle of champagne, celebrate your wins and consider lessons learned. To help you who start planning your marketing efforts in 2014 I have reviewed the latest trends in Digital Marketing and put together a list of 8 new technologies and marketing techniques everybody is talking about.
2013 saw Twitter go public and release Vine, Facebook add hashtag support and Instagram introduce Video. One of the biggest changes this year was the roll out of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm in August. This critical change leads me to the first trend on my list…
Keywords still Central to SEO
The Hummingbird is a new search algorithm which will take a search engine query using long-tailed keywords and try to decipher the context of the question rather than chase the specific keywords within the question. The idea behind it is that results generated should actually answer your question. Google can now provide more relevant answers to longer-tail search questions even if a page isn’t optimised for them. This means that some pages can now have a better chance of being found for particular search queries.
You can use Google’s new Keyword Planner (which recently replaced the Keyword Tool) to find new keyword ideas and plan search campaigns. You need an Adwords account to login to the Keyword Planner so if you don’t have one there are a few free keyword research tools available. Google Hummingbird is still an algorithm which represents a complex mix of factors that weigh the relevancy of a page for a query. The same factors are still important in your SEO strategy. Here is a list of the things that continue to play a role in SEO.
Content Marketing, Curation and Aggregation
The importance of content to anyone engaged in B2C or B2B communication online isn’t changing and will be greater than ever in 2014. Regular updates on products and services ensure that you grab and maintain the attention of potential consumers. But knowledge sharing is one of the most effective ways of promoting consumer confidence in your brand. As indicated in the infographic below companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t. Your content is the most effective way of establishing authority and gaining trust with your customers. If there is one aspect of your digital marketing strategy which you focus on in the new year this should be the one. You need to make sure you have a solid content marketing strategy that will ensure that you are continually creating and promoting valuable content through a variety of channels.
There are many content discovery apps available such as Flipboard and Pulse that help users to collect and read feeds according to their interests. Flipboard users can read and collect the news they care about, curating their favourite stories into their own magazines on any topic they like. Marketers can increase the relevancy of their marketing since users can arrange the posted content according to what interests them. Pinterest is an example of a network with fabulous content curation possibilities. It is quick and easy for users to curate their content and the results are visually appealing. But it isn’t the only one – List.ly and Quora are other websites that help users arrange and aggregate data.
Last year one of the top digital trends on everyone’s list was the increase in users accessing web content on their smartphones. If you or your friends checked-in on Facebook or Twitter lately whilst you’ve been out at a bar or restaurant you’ve been contributing to one of this year’s biggest trends: Location-based marketing. Services such as Google Places, Facebook Places, Urbanspoon, Yelp, and Foursquare allow you to deliver multi-media directly to the user of a mobile device dependent upon their location via GPS technology. Customers receive these marketing messages by using their mobile device to search for local businesses on the internet or ‘check in’ to a particular neighbourhood or business.
Simple location-based services (such as Google Places) provide a list of businesses that match a customer’s search terms, along with basic information about those businesses. More sophisticated location-based services (such as Yelp and Foursquare) go much further. Once a customer checks in at a particular place, these services can send them special offers and discounts for immediate use at nearby businesses. Location-based marketing will continue to be a growing trend in 2014 due to the fact that 91% of adults have their mobile phones within arms reach 24/7.
Screen Culture & Responsive Design
I found myself watching a rugby match on TV recently and checking my emails on my computer in the ad break. Later on during the show I tweeted about what was happening on the program on my tablet, and meanwhile my mum had sent me a text asking me if I had just seen who won the Finale of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on another channel. The number of screens we are used to is steadily increasing and marketing innovations will emerge to suit the different screens available for us to interact on. The latest screen resolutions are pushing the boundaries of what we previously though was possible. Google Glass is an example of screen technology that will have a major impact on user behaviour. Trendwatching.com provides some valuable insights into the emerging trend of Screen Culture or as some people refer to it “The 4 Screen Revolution”. As Screen Culture becomes more prevalent in our lives, responsive design and marketing campaigns which take into consideration the different devices on which users receive information will become even more vital to the survival of online businesses.
Social Media Diversification
This year, like many other online marketers, you probably utilised social media more than ever to promote your content and brand. Well, as you have probably worked out, it’s no longer enough to establish your brand’s online presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Google+, Pinterest and Instagram are now key players and will be even more so in 2014.It will be essential for you to explore and establish your brands on multiple networks in order to stay in the game for attracting your customers attention and business this coming year
Video marketing is already popular but it will become even more so in 2014. Twitter launched Vine, an app which lets marketers create and share 6-second looping videos which can be used to market products and services. Instagram delighted users like myself when it also added a new 15 second video feature.
There is no doubt that YouTube will not face any downfall. Over 6 billion hours of video are watched every month on YouTube, and that’s 50% more than last year. One expected change will be the length of videos might decrease and companies are likely to use videos a lot more to promote their brand. Online video will continue to play a bigger role in the online space and in marketing, especially as more and more people watch it on mobile devices.
Image-centric networks will reign supreme
While video giants YouTube and Vimeo continue to dominate, image-centric sites like Imgur, Pinterest, Tumblr, Mobli and others will soar and businesses will exploit their built-in shareability. Instagram & Pinterest have proven that an image is often much more powerful than the written word. In 2014 this trend will be even more apparent. With articles that include an image seeing 94% more views, including a picture in a post can greatly increase your chances of getting your message out to your target audience and getting them to interact. The use of images is also a great way to boost your SEO if you use relevant alt and meta tags with each image.
Google+ will finally shine
Many of you may not have embraced Google Plus as a core element of your digital marketing plan as yet. With over a billion active monthly users Facebook still leads as the largest social media platform but Google Plus is rapidly catching up with over 350 million monthly visitors. Not only is Google+ important to your business as a prominent social media network but it is also directly affects Search Engine Optimization. Whilst all of your social network activity has an impact on your Google search ranking, your Google+ content is likely to beat content on any other social media platform. Google treats your Google+ content just like any other page on the web, meaning it will be indexed by Google, get a page ranking and appear in the search engine’s search results. If you still aren’t convinced, here are some tips on how to increase your SEO with Google Plus and ultimately drive more traffic to your website and customers to your door.