What will the digital marketing landscape look like in 2013?

By Chris Lee

At the end of each year NMK invites industry experts to look ahead to the coming 12 months to predict what it has in store for digital marketers. While 2012 saw further massive advances in social media, mobile and digital marketing, what does 2013 have lined up for digital marketers? NMK tapped into its address book to learn what the experts thought would be the key developments in digital marketing in 2013.

Dawn of the “personal ecosystem”

According to Olof Schybergson, CEO of digital design agency Fjord, the growing number of devices and sensors that we incorporate into our lives will set the scene for what he calls “living services.” These emerge at the point at which individual smart objects interconnect to form a support network for their owner. He believes we’ll soon start to see connected devices infiltrating more areas of our lives.

In a similar vein, Caspar Craven, CEO of agency Trovus, believes that the culture of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) is another key trend to watch in 2013. He believes BYOD will impact business and users, generating yet more data to be harnessed, as well as more channel opportunities. Add the continued growth of mobile and Craven believes we’re really going to see game-changing developments in the digital world.

“Aligned to all of this of course is social media: it will continue to be here with new tools and new variations. As digital marketing professionals we’ll need to evaluate what their worth to us might be,” he told < i>NMK.

Growing culture of “showrooming”

Mobile, unsurprisingly, is an area many experts cited at the key battleground in 2013. For James Critchley of marketing app start up cloud.IQ, the practice of “showrooming” – where consumers visit a physical store to check out a product but then turn to their smartphones to find it cheaper elsewhere – is growing fast and brands need to respond.

“If you want to benefit from [showrooming], it’s crucial that your online presence is optimised for mobile devices. Consumers quickly get frustrated having to pinch, grab and zoom around regular sites on small devices. It’s not that tricky to convert your site into a smartphone-friendly format, but surprisingly few businesses do this,” he advised.

For brands, the multi-channel environment provides an opportunity and a threat. The experience of retailer Marks & Spencer’s multi-channel success when compared with Comet, which was forced into administration in late 2012 after losing out on online sales, illustrates this perfectly, according to Critchley.

The rise of mobile real-time bidding

Victor Malachard, co-founder and CEO of mobile advertising specialist Adfonic, predicts that for mobile advertisers, real-time bidding (RTB) will combine big data and “super-smart algorithms” to become mobile advertising’s “killer app” in 2013.

“It’s the epitome of the big data approach that relies on tech and data processing techniques that have only become technically possible on mobile in the past year,” he said. “RTB could be the killer mobile advertising app for 2013 because it enables advertisers to buy audiences rather than inventory. Today, most campaigns are targeted against criteria such as device type, platform, mobile operator and territory. This is not how advertisers want to target. They don’t want to draw inferences between demographics and device, or platforms and people. They want to buy audiences, and in 2013, with the adoption of RTB, they will.”

Shopping gets more personal

According to Nigel Muir, managing director search and social agency, DBD Media, in 2013 behavioural retargeting will grow beyond display to encompass search.

“Consumers are now used to being haunted by previous searches in the form of display-centred behavioural retargeting. But 2013 will mark the point where retargeting becomes even more effective by catching people at a later – and therefore more conversion-friendly – point in the buying cycle. This is big news for brands as it’s a move that is likely to impact e-commerce in a big way,” he told NMK.

Muir also believes that Google Shopping’s move from a free to a paid-for model will affect digital marketing budgets in the UK.

Have a look back at these predictions for social media in 2012 from December 2011 and judge for yourself if they turned out to be true.

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