As another year comes to a close, it’s inevitable that we reflect on what went wrong and what went right. Last week, we provided a summary of social media happenings during 2013, and hopefully, these events have been beneficial for business endeavors.
But, now, we must look forward and think about the coming year. What will the big trends be in 2014? Will social media reach its saturation point? How will marketing evolve further? Though time will tell, there is a lot of content circulating that offers some predictions for the coming year. Here’s what some people are saying:
New Marketing Demands
According to a new eMarketer report, the 2014 marketing sector is full of new demands. These demands include: big data, real-time marketing and the “always-on” consumer. Marketing is changing drastically. In this new era, marketers and advertisers are going to have to embrace smart applications to help them keep up with data challenges, understand that customers expect instant responses, and recognize that customers don’t have hours, so integration of automation processes in some instances may be necessary.
Digital Marketing Trends
Convince and Convert’s Zena Weist compiled a list of marketing predictions emphasizing the digital side. This list includes real-time marketing; creating Youtility through care, context, and creativity; and empowering employees and fans. Though we’re already seeing some cross-over in terms of real-time marketing, Weist sheds some new light on it. For starters, the term “real-time marketing” is actually just marketing in today’s world. It involves marketing in the moment and engagement. In other words, it’s new, but it’s not locked to a particular project, it’s a continuous effort.
Social Media Tips & Tricks
Lisa Buyer over on Search Engine Watch put together a lengthy list of trends to look out for in the coming year. Her list includes a variety of marketing projections including brands as publishers, increased mobile marketing integration, more sophisticated tools from industry leaders, among others.
Buyer also highlights some trends that are going out with 2013. First of all, while big data is in, consumers definitely only want the data that pertains to them. Secondly, as we’ve seen of late, while organic social media efforts work, now that many of the leading social networks are public, the emphasis on the paid side is growing in significance. Thirdly, just because everyone is talking about the latest and greatest social tool, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Listen to what your audience wants and needs.
Out with the Old, in with the New
More specifically speaking, Frederic Gonzalo on Social Media Today believes there will be key social media changes in 2014. According to him, Facebook is not going away completely, but it will lose some of the traction that it has had. Twitter, he thinks, will have its best year yet.
He also believes the up and coming Snapchat will play a larger role in marketing circles and that more brands will begin to embrace it. Thirdly, Google+ is expected to grow in value. Though we’ve heard this before, Google is continuing to push its network. Given Google’s dominance in search, it is worth watching.
Another area that he sees growth in is the collaborative economy. Platforms such as Yelp and TripAdvisor have grown in recent years, and Gonzalo believes they will grow and advance even more as consumers put more value in the opinion of their peers.
Fifthly, videos are alive and well and rising even more. YouTube is going nowhere but up, and as marketers integrate applications such as Vine and the video capabilities on Instagram, it’s clear that video is a tremendous asset for marketing purposes.
Social Media Maturity
InformationWeek rolled out its forecast for social media in 2014 as well that shows some correlation with other trends we’ve seen thus far. For example, it predicts that Google+ will gain more momentum. However, there are some differences. Contrary to Gonzalo’s belief that Facebook would lose value, IW citing Brian Solis expects the social network to gain respect. Since many investors aren’t even on social media channels, they have struggled with understanding them. But, as the platforms grow and become heavily integrated across industries, the prediction is that Facebook, and even Twitter, will become respected players in the marketplace.
As social media advances, IW also projects that businesses will better be able to monetize their social campaigns and that users will become more comfortable sharing content. It also believes that brands will further embrace user-generated content for their benefit. Some brands, such as Pepsi, have been doing this for some time, but the trend is expected to reach a new level in the coming year.
There are MANY more predictions circulating across the Web regarding marketing and 2014, but we wanted to aggregate some of them in one place. What do you see happening in the New Year? Are you going to adjust your strategy based on the above projections?
Images courtesy of redvan.wikidot.com, eMarketer and Frederic Gonzalo respectively.