In one of our previous posts, we have talked about ecommerce design trends for 2013 and this post is more likely about digitalization in 2014. 2013 has been a magnificent year for digital technology and Internet landscape, where we witnessed paradigm shift in search algorithms, social media, advertising and analytics. Gone are the days when digital media was synonymous to email and social media would only mean Facebook and Twitter. We have witnessed enormous changes in the way businesses use Internet to reach out to their customers and make use of different social media platforms to connect with their audience. As we bid goodbye to 2013 and see 2014 in the horizon, the coming year promises to be even more exciting for the digital world and some ideas that took baby steps this year would make giant leaps in 2014. Here we attempt to sneak peek into the digital marketing trends in 2014.
In 2013, we have seen the emergence of geo-targeting or location-based consumer services in mobile advertisement. This phenomenon will explode in 2014 and if you are in the retail business you need to cash in on this emerging trend. What makes it an attractive proposition is the fact that it is an inexpensive result-oriented option. For instance, you can reach out to maximum number of potential customers within a certain radius of your business and enjoy a high conversion rate. Location-based mobile marketing will also allow you to deliver custom messages at the right time to the right set of customers. This allows for customer segmentation, time-targeted offers, seeing results in real-time and actionable insights into the trends in the market. These campaigns will ride over existing tools such as Google AdWords.
In the last two years, we have seen m-commerce become popular with the customers and in 2014 it is finally come of age. Smartphone and tablets have become mainstream devices and this will be the preferred device for online purchases. There are a few factors that will fuel this evolution. With increase in screen size, most customers prefer to shop on the go. Secondly, native mobile apps offer better experience over web-based applications as they are more responsive. Thirdly, mobile sites have also undergoing considerable changes and are no longer used only for research purpose as increasing number of customers are using them to shop for their favorite products across all ecommerce sites.
Mobile apps have become a popular mode of payment in stores and food joints. The trend has been so much that there are many users who carry dozen or more payment apps on their devices. This has made things complicated as we need an app for making payment at Starbucks and another one for tasting our favorite burger at McDonalds. As customers demand sleek, trendy and simple modes of payment, 2014 promises to make life simple. Use of Uber have made payment simpler and in the coming year we will see rise in popularity of alternate payment models that can be used across all the stores. Google Wallet which hasn’t created its impact so far will surely be one of the things to watch out for in 2014.
Hashtag has become a part of the contemporary digital culture and this has been led by the popularity of social media platform. In 2014, this will become one of the most efficient ways to find content. Users will be able to find content relating to specific subjects using hashtags. The dependence on Google, Bing and Yahoo to search content will also decrease considerably as the social media platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube have emerged as popular search platforms. Here users would be searching for content with a combination of words and hashtags. In fact search engines have also realised the importance of hashtags and you can already see their increase visibility in the search results that Google offers on any topic.
Ever since Google introduced image search way back in 2007, it has been a huge hit with the users. Image search offers users to get instant visual preview of the items they are looking for. Now the search engine giant is taking image based search a step further in 2014 with the release of Google Authorship where it allows users to link content they publish on a domain to their Google Plus page. They can also have their picture appear in the search results adding online visibility and also increasing click through rate. Apart from this Google finally seems to have a solution to deal with long tail searches. On its 15th Anniversary, it launched Hummingbird that significantly improves semantic search. This will allow users to search for content in conversational tone. With this new development Google had lend good understanding to the intent and contextual meaning of terms used in a query. Hummingbird will deliver better results for long tail searches even if webpages aren’t optimized for them. This is Google’s attempt to ensure that its search engine interacts with the users in a more human way and provides more direct answers.
This might seem like a misfit when we are talking about digital media trends. But 2014 promises to be a re-birth of sorts for retail outlets. Over the last few years we have witnessed increasing trends in showrooming where users would examine merchandise in brick and mortar stores and buy them online. This was prompted by the fact that consumers could easily carry out a price comparison online which wasn’t possible in retail stores. But retail stores have been quick to respond to this challenge and are offering price matching, altered return policies and creating an increased line of unique products and deals that would attract customers back to the stores. They are now increasingly using the Internet especially the social media to reverse the process where users research on the merchandise online and purchase it from the stores.
These are some of the digital marketing trends in 2014 that would dominate the world and take digital media to a completely new level. Advertisers and marketers would need to be a part of this new emerging wave to gain a competitive edge in 2014.