digital marketing

The 10 Hottest Online Marketing Trends in 2014

Is 2014 the year your business will explode with growth? While you’re busy this year building your entrepreneurial empire, make sure you don’t overlook these 10 super hot online marketing trends to help you gain visibility, add customers and grow revenue!

1. Content Marketing Takes the Cake

We get it – content is king. What else is new? The answer, it turns out, is Sponsored Content. Expect to see more partnerships this year between brands and publishers, where content is co-created, co-published and co-amplified. An example of effective sponsored content is the partnership between GE Capital and Slate called “Roadshow for Growth”. The content covered a six-month tour of U.S. cities and included blog posts, videos and opinion pieces published on Slate’s dedicated content hub.

Content pushed out by editorial sites like Forbes, Buzzfeed and Slate is truly a win-win for everybody:

  • Publishers uncover new revenue streams.
  • Your company gains greater visibility AND readers are more likely to hit ‘share’ (41% more likely, according to a Forbes Media study comparing content read on vs. on a company’s own website).

2. SEO Is Redefined

Ignore rampant claims that SEO is dead. Yes, the once-accepted trend of focusing on keywords is behind us, but the process of optimizing your web presence through quality content, responsive design, public relations and social sharing is not only very much alive; it’s a formula that will keep your brand moving forward. The bottom line with SEO is that if you produce crazy good content that people love and you get the content amplified by the right organizations and people, your SEO results will improve.

3. The World Goes Mobile

Mobile-friendly content is a must. No, really. In 2013, more people used the Internet through mobile devices than desktop computers. Seventy percent of smartphone owners say they never leave home without their mobile device (Source: ABI Research).

The grace period is up for companies scrambling to make their business more mobile-friendly. Customers will no longer take brands seriously if they’re stuck living in the digital dark ages. And believe me, no one wants to be late to this party, especially when 1-in-10 e-commerce dollars is spent using a smartphone or tablet (Source: comScore).

4. Time to Pile on the Visuals

Everyone’s skimming; no one’s reading. Capture your customers’ attention with image-centric content. Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Slideshare and Vine are are obvious picks for distributing your visuals, but consider how impactful an image, video, infographic, or .GIF could be when leveraged outside of these platforms. For instance, a photo posted to Facebook gets 20x more engagement than other posts, and a press release paired with images, videos, and downloadable files will garner up to 9.7x more views than a text release alone (Source: PR Newswire). Visuals are processed 60,000x faster than plain text (Source: 3M Corporation), which is precisely why infographics have become the standard for communicating clunky data, and beautifully designed webpages – à la Evan Williams’ highly visual blog platform, Medium – are more common than ever. Your audience is drawn to visuals, so pile them on!

5. Brands Come to Life in Real-Time

Real-time marketing is fast becoming the marketing MVP at major broadcast events like the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards. Everyone remembers Oreo’s score in 2013, and most everyone can agree that J.C. Penny’s intentional drunk tweets stole the show at this year’s big game. Given the success that these and other major brands have seen by joining the dialogue and contributing to real-time conversations, we can surely expect this trend to grow.

On the B2B side, it’s not as much about real-time funny tweets as it is about leveraging software to uncover real-time insights during the long B2B sales cycle for more sophisticated lead nurturing. Real-time analytics are being used in more aspects of marketing than ever before, including web analytics, email marketing and integrated dashboards.

6. Retargeting Is More Effective Than Ever

Ninety-eight percent (98%) of visitors to your website leave without converting (Source: Perfect Audience). What are you doing about it? Retargeting is a solution that utilizes cookies to track visitors after they depart your site. Using data collected about the products and services they viewed, retargeting will continue to drive the sale by showing these products to them again via advertisements displayed across different websites. And there are plenty of options to choose from, including site retargeting, search retargeting, keyword retargeting, and email retargeting. Given the bump retargeting gives to conversion rates, 2014 will see this trend continue to dominate.

7. Be Generous and Share!

The more customers that are sharing your content, the wider net you are able to cast. Ignoring this fact will limit your reach and hurt your growth. Your customers want to share, so help them do it! Add social sharing chicklets to your blog, infographics and other “share-able” content. Optimize your content with short headlines and visual “hooks.” Focus on the heavy-hitters in social sharing: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Depending on your target audience, though, consider also testing the waters on Pinterest and Instagram.

Start developing relationships with influencers in your industry, and then let them know when you have new content that their respective audiences may love (NOTE: Don’t be pushy. Just let them know about the valuable content.) And as mentioned above, make your content visual whenever you can!

8. We Keep Hitting ‘Play’

Each month, we watch over 6 billion hours of video on YouTube, and upload 100 hours of video every minute. We watch videos to pass the time, to be entertained, and stay informed wherever we go (FYI: 10% of all online video is viewed on a mobile device.). Somehow, video always manages to turn work into play and boredom into amusement. This year, create videos that your target audience will value, appreciate and share. After all, consumers are 27x more likely to click through online video ads than standard banners (Source: MediaMind). After 72 hours, a person retains about 10% of the text they’ve read, 65% of an image they’ve seen or 95% of a video they’ve watched. So keep ’em hitting ‘Play’ to boost your marketing ROI in 2014!

9. Omni-Channel Marketing Everywhere

Omni-channel marketing aims to unite all available channels to ultimately produce a seamless customer experience no matter where the customer touches your brand. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer this year introduced the company’s new ad buying platform, Yahoo Advertising, which includes a comprehensive suite of web, mobile and video ad products, covering everything from search to dynamic creative to programmatic buying. Expect additional options for omni-channel platforms for your business in the coming year, as well.

10. Social Advertising Spend Is on the Rise – and It’s No Secret Why

Social advertising allows you to reach customers when and where they are most actively engaged. For instance, now that Facebook ads are displayed directly in the News Feed, they have a 21 times higher click-through rate than standard web retargeting ads, and produce 49 times stronger click through rates compared to ads located on Facebook’s right-hand side (Source: Adroll). It’s no wonder that social advertising across the board is set to explode to $11 billion in 2017, up from $4.7 billion in 2012 (Source: BIA/Kelsey). If you know your audience, social advertising can be served up when and where your targets are paying attention. Are you paying attention to this trend?

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