In 2014, we are set to see an unprecedented amount of change in marketing practices and new technologies that will force brands and agencies to think differently about the content, consumers and context of their campaigns.
2013 brought lots of major advancements in areas like content management, analytics, mobility and optimization, and based on the insights gained over the last 12 months its clear that 2014 will be yet another significant step forward for the media and marketing industries.
While there are lots of things to be excited about this year, I’ve boiled them down into what I believe are the 3 most intriguing digital trends to watch in 2014. Here they are:
1 – Facebook fights the small fish
Facebook will remain a dominant part of the social media mix throughout 2014, but it will face its greatest challenge yet – increased competition from smaller, but rapidly maturing networks such as SnapChat, Twitter, and Instagram. These (and other) networks have always competed with Facebook in different capacities, but in recent months they have gained notable strength.
Late last year the Global Social Media Impact Study found that 16 – 18 year olds (a key demographic for identifying future shifts in broader demographics) are moving away from Facebook – which is now seen as a network for the older generations. As this trend continues, we should see either major innovation from Facebook or major growth and opportunity in other networks. I’ll certainly be watching this one very closely.
2 – #ContentMarketing dominates
With the increased adoption of digital marketing during 2013, updates to search engine algorithms will start to impact a wider number and variety of marketing campaigns and content in 2014. Google is now ranking higher quality, original content over curated content and as this will mean brands and agencies will need to work hard to constantly market fresh, innovative and creative content.
In response to this, PR, social, advertising and search agencies will further integrate services and expand their offerings to create better content and stake a claim in the growing market. This will also have the flow on effect of brands increasingly viewing themselves as publishers, and even ones who may see themselves as too boring for content marketing will need to adapt if they are to remain competitive. This means that the marketers who can demonstrate creative approaches and lateral thinking (even for the blandest of brands) will come out on top.
3 – The web adapts to wearables
Consumers and marketers will start to get their hands on two types of heavily anticipated wearable technologies this year: (1) Google Glass style augmented reality headsets, and (2) a wider/better range of “smart watches" and other “smart devices”.
These new form factors will give consumers new ways to interact with Internet content, brands, and each other, which will ignite a new generation of web, interface and content design. For smart marketers and designers, this will mean quickly starting to think about the look, feel and form of content in new ways as the adoption of wearable technologies grows.
We’ve been through a huge wave of social media and technological evolution over the last few years, and 2014 is looking set to present some of the most interesting opportunities and challenges yet. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!