By Mike Flynn
As we head into the first few weeks of 2014, we tend to try and predict what lies ahead for the coming year. But sometimes, looking forward can often be a little daunting, as you realise there will be new marketing techniques to learn about and master, new trends to follow, and so on.
However, the upside is that some current marketing trends will become less relevant in 2014 – meaning that you can afford to not worry about them too much, giving you a little breathing space in which to evaluate those emerging new trends and start putting them to use. With this in mind, here are my predictions for the 5 marketing trends that will be of lower priority than before in the coming year.
1. Measuring traditional KPIs
Measuring the success of campaigns based solely on metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), impressions, and visits will become less common, for both search and social media. Marketers will start to adopt a more holistic evaluation method to determine campaign success and ROI based on how the campaign has engaged with the target audience and what actions (conversion, engagement, transaction etc.) have taken place.
CTR is often believed to be the key yardstick for campaign success, because it’s easy to calculate and easy to explain. But success is more than just the number of clicks: it’s about exposing your brand or solution to target audiences and encouraging them to take the action you want them to. Studies have shown that less than 20% of internet users are responsible for 80% of all click traffic. If you’d like to reach beyond that 20% of clickers, it’s worth re-evaluating how you benchmark campaign success.
2. Google ranking checks
Google ranking checks will become less important as marketers focus more on ROI instead of on simple keyword-based rankings. With new introductions such as Google Now, search engines are transforming into semantic engines that can understand the context and intent of the user’s search based on a range of parameters including previous search behaviours, location, reference to the user’s Google apps, and more.
This provides predictive information that isn’t closely linked by search rankings; and with the number of smartphone users on the rise, providing good local SEO results is key. Social media campaigns and search campaigns should therefore align to maximise search visibility.
3. Mobile versions of websites
It’s no longer necessary to have multiple versions of your website – one for mobiles, one for tablets, one for PCs. Consumers are increasingly ‘platform agnostic’, i.e. they use different platforms depending on their location or situation, and can use up to three devices simultaneously. So what’s important is to ensure that your website content is responsive to the type of platform and browser being used, to make the content as easy to access and engaging to the audience you want to connect with. So don’t worry about that version of your site optimised for the BlackBerry browser: simply have one auto-responsive site.
4. NFC – not near enough
Near field communication (NFC), the contactless Wi-Fi tech was predicted to take off in 2013; however a December 2013 YouGov survey found that just 35% of adults are aware of NFC-enabled mobile devices. While NFC is growing in terms of bankcard usage, it has yet to take off on mobiles, despite the fast-growing number of Android-based devices being purchased that support NFC. This may be partly due to security and privacy concerns, but in any case, the technology has yet to fulfil its promise for use in marketing, advertising and loyalty programmes.
5. Facebook fall-off
We’re seeing the younger audiences gradually leaving Facebook, and brands following suit. There is not so much emphasis from brands to get likes and to run Facebook competitions as there was this time last year. This is due to a combination of users becoming weary of such promotions popping up on their feeds – meaning marketers need to use more subtle methods to engage with audiences – and a gradual decline in user numbers. Facebook has lost millions of users per month in its biggest Western markets, research suggests, as other social networks grow in popularity.
Remember that trends rise and fall in marketing just as they do in any other discipline. Hopefully these predictions of what will be less important in 2014 will help you to focus on what will really make a difference to your brand.
About the author
Mike Flynn is the CEO of digital marketing specialist, Fast Web Media. He joined the company in 2000 from brewer, Bass, where he was Director of Sponsorship. He was behind the company’s growth and its winning of multiple marketing industry awards and accolades, leading to the acquisition of FWM’s parent company (FAST Search & Transfer, a specialist in search and video software) in April 2008 by Microsoft. In July 2009, Flynn led an MBO from Microsoft ownership, re-establishing FWM as a company in its own right. FWM is now a £3m-turnover digital marketing agency, with 31 staff and is targeting revenues of £4.5m this year.
Fast Web Media is a data and technology-driven digital marketing agency with offices in MediaCityUK and London. The company provides clients with award-winning digital marketing services, specialising in search marketing, technical development, social media and mobile. In 2011, FWM announced a strategic partnership with the University of Salford Business School for research and innovation in search marketing and social media.
Led by CEO Mike Flynn, Fast Web Media has developed FWM BIGprofile, which combines the power of search marketing, social media and digital PR to significantly raise a brand’s profile, as well as multi-award winning cloud based PPC tool weatherFIT, which lets users control PPC adverts based on current weather. WeatherFIT has won numerous awards, including most recently the ‘Innovative New Technology’ and ‘Retail’ Awards at The Digitals 2013, and previously the ‘Best Use of Search Marketing’ Award at the Revs 2013. In 2012 it won the award for ‘Best PPC Management Tool’ at the UK Search Awards and the ‘Innovation’ and ‘Grand Prix’ Awards at the European Search Awards.