2014, according to Chinese astrology, is the Year of the Horse. Since this isn’t exactly applicable to the world of digital marketing, we’ve compiled a list of predictions for marketing trends in the coming year that should impress everyone, even astrology neighsayers.
Our take on what’s ahead:
1) Social starts to feel more like SEO
For years the social media channel has been engaging audiences in brand conversations. Now, some brands are starting to recognize the power of social media for driving direct response traffic – and the tactics behind this look a lot like the ones used for organic search optimization. It’s about tying in the brand conversation with targeted, high-volume topics. It’s also about good relationship mapping, which is the Social equivalent of good interlinking in SEO. In 2014, expect to see more brands optimizing social media across the marketing funnel – it’s called Social Media Optimization (SMO).
2) Map out your King (Content)
Content will still be huge in 2014, but you’ll start seeing more businesses using analytics to tie the content strategy to business KPIs. Good content plans are beginning to address:
– The logistical challenge of deploying high volumes of quality content
– Blended brand and lifecycle messaging
– Integration of measured responses to the topics and themes
Create an overall content strategy with usable copy you can tweak and deploy. Then, put together a content calendar aligned to your business’ sales cycle. The calendar should be centered on themes that will get attention from your audience and, ultimately, drive conversions. And make sure you set up analytics and content tagging schema that allow you to measure the impact of your content, across the board.
3) Personalized, Mesmerized
Expect 2014 to usher in a new era of hyper-personalized marketing. This means leveraging demographic and behavioral data to deliver custom content across channels and across the customer lifecycle. Many businesses are tapping into the rich data available in social media to drive content to users on their websites. They’re also matching social profiles, using a starting email list to build bigger lists of email addresses, based on people with similar profiles. We’re forecasting another 2014 marketing trend — ad retargeting will continue to get more specific, using data points to deliver highly customized ads.
4) Flatland… meet Spaceland
Flat design really took off in 2013, but we think it’ll go even deeper as a marketing trend in 2014. Characterized by simple interfaces, strong colors, prominent use of white space and unique font choices, flat has become a popular option for website and app designs. Brands are just starting to differentiate their sites by introducing elements of depth, such as layering, long shadows and blur images. They’re also able to bring these elements to life by using a full 3D framework like three.js and paper.js. Don’t let your design fall flat in 2014 – add some depth to it!