25 Online Marketing Trends for 2013 | White.net

25 Online Marketing Trends for 2013

By Shaad Hamid / November 27, 2012

Every year for the past 4 years the SEOptimise blog has predicted trends within the online marketing industry.  In keeping with this tradition, I’ve listed 25 trends that I think we’ll see becoming more and more mainstream in 2013. Considering the rate of change within the online marketing space, most of these listed may not even be new. So, without further ado, here’s my list of online marketing trends for 2013:

  1. The notion that ‘content is king’ will slowly diminish, being replaced with “context is king”. I know this sounds blasphemous right now, but let me elaborate.  Your website could have the most outstanding piece of content written about pizzas; but someone who’s looking to order pizza at 1 am in the morning wouldn’t be interested in your awesome content. Therefore, brands and publishers will need to focus their efforts on gaining a greater understanding of ‘context’ to guide them with their content creation.
  2. In order to provide context to content, semantic mark-up will become increasingly important. In the example above, search engines can look up all the Pizzerias around that particular user and display which ones are open at 1am in the morning based on their ‘opening times’ and figure out distance based on their address. Imagine if Google knew your dietary requirements and only displayed search results that met them. Semantic mark-up makes it easier for Google to make these judgements. Although most SEOs wouldn’t have paid much attention to structured mark-up in the past, in 2013 we will see more and more SEOs learning and executing semantic markup as part of the optimisation process.
  3. Quality of content suffers as channel tacticians succumb to pressures of audience content demands and editorial calendars. The ones who will succeed are those that follow the following (or similar) customer focused content creation model:

Purchase decision making journey

Problem recognition Solution comparison Supplier comparison Validation
Persona 1 Content? Content? Content? Content?
Persona 2 Content? Content? Content? Content?
Persona 3 Content? Content? Content? Content?
Persona 4 Content? Content? Content? Content?

Source: The digital Evolution in B2B marketing (2012), The Corporate Executive Board Company. Find the pdf here.

The above model outlines a framework for content creation focused on the customers’ information needs. The question essentially is, what information needs will you satisfy your diverse customers at varying stages of the buying cycle?

  1. Perception of visual content (video, image, custom illustrations, illustrative animation, and infographics) will change among marketers from “it’s a ‘nice-to-have’ marketing collateral”, to a key strategy in acquiring and increasing customer engagement and influence within target audiences.
  2. Creative teams will expand the core skill set by including web developers, digital experts, and freelance specialists based on project needs.
  3. Conversely, more and more SEO agencies will begin to forge strategic partnerships with PR and creative agencies in order to increase impact on client service delivery.
  4. Mobile specific marketing strategies will be a core customer acquisition channel, especially for local and small businesses.
  5. With the increase in devices that content is consumed, websites designed in 2013 will largely incorporate ‘responsive web design’.
  6. Google’s intentions of becoming an ‘answer engine’ will become even more obvious in 2013. Google’s ability to answer complex questions gets better.
  7. More and more businesses will begin taking their Google plus strategies much more seriously. This will help unify all their Google specific campaigns.
  8. Continuing from the last point, Google plus will be looked at as an important digital fingerprint for not only businesses but for regular users.
  9. With smartphones increasingly becoming our trusted companion at all times, faith in email marketing as an acquisition channel will increase.
  10. With the increasing complexity and maturity of the SEO industry, and due to Google’s algorithm updates such as Panda, top-heavy, and Penguin, the cost of SEO will continue to increase.
  11. Users will continue to have contradicting needs. On the one hand, they want personalised and customised service and product offerings, but on the other, will be increasingly uncomfortable over the amount of personal data being mined.
  12. Google will continue to mine more and more data about people and their relationships via Google plus and Gmail.
  13. Marketers will create assets from a multi-screen perspective. Based on how consumers engage with different devices; content creators will need to start focusing on channel-specific marketing strategies and content.
  14. More and more companies begin to dedicate a greater proportion of their marketing budgets towards going beyond online contact-level web analytics to incorporating important off-site social behaviours. Marketers will begin to make a greater effort to place estimates of digital impact in proper proportion and context of broader marketing strategy and the market environment.
  15. Marketing teams, typically in slower moving industries, will graduate from digital experimentation (via pilot tests) into actually defining their digital marketing strategy.
  16. Marketing teams that have gone further than that will look to approach the more sophisticated tasks of aligning and integrating activities across organizational siloes to deliver a more cumulative impact on their audience.
  17. Brands will continue to build communities on social media and blog platforms. We will begin to hear the role ‘community manager’ or ‘community relationship manager’ in the UK more and more.
  18. We all know that increased digital marketing efforts demand continuous and collective management, something few companies are designed to support at this point in time. The value destroyed by this misfit approach—although hard to quantify—is potentially very large. Several companies will be looking to take steps to restructure internal teams as a result.
  19. Companies looking to make structural changes will begin to look for individuals who can take ownership in executing processes and bringing the following disparate functions together: paid search, online community, corporate website, advertising, social media and blogging, and SEO.
  20. Television advertising is far from dead. On the contrary, television ads will begin to incorporate more and more social integration. Television advertising will also incorporate “second screen experiences”, where a TV programme’s tablet app, mobile app, and even discussions will be promoted and encouraged on social media platforms. Content creators will need to create assets that can live across multiple screens seamlessly.
  21. There will be an increased push for social marketing among businesses. Companies will look to align their brands with social causes.
  22. And finally, Facebook will finally figure out their eco-system. Businesses will have to use Facebook advertising to build a relevant audience and use Facebook advertising to reach their audience. 

Have I missed anything? What do you think will be among next year’s online marketing trends? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.

Image credit: futureshape

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