Digital Trends #1: Digital Marketing Predictions 2013

The holidays are approaching and you no doubt have your eye firmly on the prize of an extended Christmas break. There will be food, family, parties and hangovers but once the celebrations are over it will be back to work where you’ll be looking ahead with blurry eyes filled with booze-fuelled regret. In this post I hope to help demystify what challenges lie ahead for digital marketers and provide a small insight in to what awaits us in 2013…

FACEBOOK LAUNCH AN EXTERNAL AD NETWORK

A Facebook external ad platform will be a big hit for investors

A Facebook external ad platform will be a big hit for investors. (Image source: Flickr, OwenWBrown)

This one is almost certain to happen sooner rather than later as the disappointing stock price forces Facebook to find new revenue streams. Some analysts have forecast that by launching their own rival to Google’s AdSense platform, Facebook could double their revenue.

Given the recent changes made to Facebook’s data use policy, it would appear that this is a high priority for Facebook. If you don’t believe me, read what Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, told Forbes magazine in November.

“Everything you do and say on Facebook can be used to serve you ads. Our policy says that we can advertise services to you off of Facebook based on data we have on Facebook.”

CROWDFUNDING CONTINUES TO BOOM

Pebble Smartwatch: A crowdfunded success story.

Pebble Smartwatch: A crowdfunded success story.

Gone are the days when angels and dragons were a start-ups best chance of launching a new product. Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter are democratising the funding process. As of 30th November 2012, 43% of Kickstarter projects were successful in raising their funding.

But even the unsuccessful requests for funding have found success through Kickstarter. David Politis, VP of marketing for the Salt Lake City-based Xi3, thinks that hardware companies have a lot to gain from using Kickstarter as a media channel. Their efforts to raise $250,000 through Kickstarter have so far been unsuccessful, but David told Gigaom that people who have visited the project page and viewed the video are already ordering the computer from Xi3 rather than waiting for the project to close. “As campaigns go it has been successful. You have to ask at what point does a Kickstarter project become a media channel?” he said.

USING AUGMENTED REALITY BECOMES A REALITY

In 2012 we have seen smartphones overtaking “dumb” phones in the mobile market. The increase in mobile processing power provides marketers with a big opportunity to connect the physical world with the digital world and while use of QR codes is increasing year-on-year, the big players are going to be utilising augmented reality (AR) in their campaigns.

Publishing companies will be the driving force behind this shift with titles such as Maxim and Esquire already showcasing the technology in past issues. Advertisers are looking for more ways to provide consumers with engaging content and AR provides the means to do this.

Product manufacturers are also launching AR ready devices beyond the tablet and smartphones that we already know of. Oakley, the sunglasses manufacturer, has augmented reality glasses designed for athletes available and Google’s Project Glass is also coming to the market very soon.

To find out more about augmented reality, watch the video from Robert Scoble below.

GOOGLE+ OPENS UP THE API

An expansive Google+ API is likely to roll out in 2013

An expansive Google+ API is likely to roll out in 2013

Since the launch of Google+ in 2011, developers have bemoaned the poor API. However, this year saw a few select partners, such as Hootsuite, being invited in to use some more open APIs. The simple act of allowing services like Hootsuite to read and write on Google business pages was a great benefit to many marketers and helped them organise their social media activity more efficiently.

It makes sense that Google will gradually open up the API although we shouldn’t expect them to allow full access to the platform in the same way Twitter was open in the early days. Google will have seen the backlash from Twitter developers as more restrictions were placed on them; as such, it makes sense for Google to only give out in the first place what they intend to keep out permanently.

MARKETERS SEE THE VALUE IN GOOGLE+

Naysayers continue to write off Google+ as a platform worth investing time and effort in but those who are forward thinking recognise the value in a platform that is closely tied to the biggest search engine, biggest online video website and biggest smartphone OS in the world.

From an SEO perspective, we already know that original content is king and with Google’s authorship tools we now have a way of connecting our content with ourselves which helps boost our search rankings. This is just one way Google+ is helping marketers and I haven’t even mentioned the +1 button or Hangouts.

This is far from a comprehensive list but I believe these developments show the way digital marketing will change in the coming months.

I’d be interested to hear your predictions in the comments below.

By Martin Broadhurst

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