So we’re well and truly into 2014 and I figured this is the perfect time to review what is going on in the online marketing space. What are the trends to watch out for in the coming year? What are the predictions? Should you spend some time acquiring new skills?
Whoa! That’s a lot of questions, but OK, I’ll try to answer them all. In no particular order, these are my top picks:
1. Content Marketing ROI
The buzz around content marketing hasn’t died … yet. I’m a huge believer in the power of good content. However, I believe bad marketers have latched onto the content marketing trend and flooded the Internet with terrible, terrible content. While I think content will continue to rule the roost in 2014, we’re going to have to be more accountable.
Content marketing will have to prove its worth this year. The content we publish is going to be deeply tied to the lead generation and sales process. We will need to justify the return on investment (ROI) of content marketing.
If you’re planning to continue investing in content marketing in 2014, I think you'll need a solid content strategy to back you up. A lot of businesses (and their bad marketers) will likely struggle to find the value of content without a strategy and will give up on it. Meme after meme without any real value isn't going to cut it any more.
My tip? Don’t give up on it, just work out how to align your content more closely with your sales goals. In short, figure out how to use content to make money!
If you need quality content that attracts visitors and drives sales, our AffiloJetpack product might be a great solution for you. The hard work is done, the content is created—all you need to do is get started.
2. Multichannel Cooperation
Even just a few years ago, the Internet marketing industry was very fragmented. You could be an expert in one subject area and be limited to that alone. You were not required to have any knowledge of other related fields in online marketing to be good at your job. This has changed and I foresee that 2014 will be the year when the various Internet marketing channels will work together better.
For example, if you’re an SEO expert, you can’t just carry on with your job without at least having a basic understanding of social media. If you’re a one-person business, you will have to upgrade your skillset, gain a good understanding of multiple channels and make those channels work together for you.
Channels are converging and marketers need to understand how the different avenues can work together. This will result in better business outcomes, so it’s obvious that convergence is a key online marketing trend to watch out for this year.
3. AdWords Enhanced Campaigns
Enhanced campaigns were a HUGE change in the world of PPC advertising in 2013. In 2014, it's only going to get bigger.
PPC advertisers have entered a whole new world of competition and they are going to have to keep up. If you were previously focusing all your efforts on managing desktop advertising alone, you know it’s time to step up the game. Advertisers will have to become very skilled at managing multiple-device campaigns and optimizing them for ultimate performance results. Enhanced bid adjustments and AdWords scripts are just a few things for you to get your head around this year.
4. Mobile Goes Mainstream
If Google has come along and basically forced everyone to advertise on mobiles, the message is clear: Mobile is going mainstream. Mobile marketing has been on the brink for the last couple of years, but 2014 is the year everyone will go mobile.
Smartphone penetration is only going upwards. Worldwide, smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2013 were up almost 46%, compared to the same period in 2012. The writing is on the wall. Every website will HAVE to be optimized for mobile or lose out. You need to put on your thinking cap and REALLY brainstorm how to get your site in front of customers who are on their phones.
5. Retargeting for Everyone
I talked about the growth of retargeting and why affiliate marketers should consider it in a previous blog post. With Twitter onboard now, it’s obvious where advertising is headed. Retargeting is no longer in the stranglehold of big brands with deep pockets. Ordinary advertisers are going to use retargeted advertising even more in 2014.
I also think it’s likely remarketing will become less invasive (i.e., less creepy). We’re going to be retargeting based on interests, but we'll also go further and add location and devices into the mix.
These are the trends I think are the MOST worth watching in 2014. You tell me—what do you think is going to be BIG this year? I’m sure there are many more we could add to this list.