7 trends that shaped digital marketing in 2014

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Social Media – the ‘Purple Cow’ in Digital Marketing

In the mid of July 2014, Forbes reported that 92 percent of businesses laid a major emphasis on social media, which is a shoot up from 82 percent of the same in 2013. That being said, what was really noticeable in this field is the growth of a variety of social media channels and platforms, not restricting the playground to just Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. For instance, image-centric networks such as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat gained a lot of ground in 2014. Brands were also seen to be interested in micro video platforms like Vine and Instagram video.

However, the aforesaid giants in the space continue to occupy the largest mindshare with a clear dominion of LinkedIn in case of B2B marketing and Facebook for the B2C crowd. There was also a rise of paid advertising which can be expected to continue in future. The only concern that haunts marketers is on measuring the ROI. We might find some answers to this in 2015 as digital marketing agencies fight with the challenge to define metrics.

Content Marketing – Because Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Almost all businesses have come to realize the immense importance of smart and effective content marketing. For every stream of digital marketing, be it social media, email marketing, marketing automation or even mobile, interesting and engaging content is a must to capture customer attention. However, a lot of companies were found to be struggling with content in 2014. As per a Forrester study published by AdAge, a meagre 14 percent of companies actually have a correct content marketing strategy in place. The challenge is about tying up content marketing initiatives with the overall business objectives, because it is not only about creating good content, but content that deliver actual results.

A picture is worth a thousand words

And the Internet has gone a long way to prove this. 2014 has seen a huge surge in visual content consumption. As discussed in the first point, the rise of image-centric social channels is proof to the same. The variety of visual content has also diversified. Images, videos, infographics, lists are different forms of visual content that are taking user engagement to the next level with increased interactivity. The leading trend here is the expanding scope and definition of content.

Location-based marketing to give the customer only what makes sense

Making use of the GPS technology, marketers in 2014 were seen to opt for location-based marketing to cater to their audience based on their geographical location and preferences. Apps such as Path, Foursquare, Ban.jo made it wonderful for marketers to deliver only relevant content to customers for facilitating easier purchase decisions. This also went a step ahead to help customers make a purchase using their credit cards from anywhere, which is otherwise called near field communication. This is a huge opportunity that can be expected to grow in the coming year.

Making them come back with re-targeting and re-marketing

Re-targeting is a great method to convert first-time visitors into potential and warm leads. It is observed that while only about two percent first-time visitors convert into actual sales, chances are high of converting them into loyal customers with proper follow up. Google digital remarketing services was therefore a huge hit with businesses with their massive user base around the world. AdRoll is also another service that picked up speed in the last year. After all, in a competition heavy market, good advertisement can get a customer to visit you once, but it needs more to compel them to actually make a purchase.

Mobile – You just can’t ignore it anymore

The fact that the number of mobile users have exceeded that of desktop users is now commonplace. But 2014 still saw companies struggling to catch up with this demand and provide mobile friendly and responsive layouts for their content. As Google reports, only 6 percent pages are actually compatible and decently usable for smartphones and tablets. With 2015 being acclaimed as Year of the Mobile, companies haven’t really made a great head start in 2014 in this direction. The key here is to identify and develop mobile responsive layouts that could adjust itself to the device in use.

The SEO savior in the digital jungle

The growing importance of content marketing has had a directly upward impact on the prominence and inevitability of SEO. Before Panda came into the scene, ranking content was pretty easy. Some good keywords and links could do the trick. With everybody out there hankering for online visibility, SEO gained immense importance in 2014 with companies investing heavily in this. The Moz Industry Survey for 2014 states that 78 percent marketing professionals are employed for SEO in contrast to only 49 percent for content marketing despite its gaining popularity.

These trends have had a ruling impact over the marketing domain last year, and it is important to take them into consideration while planning and preparing for the coming year. What else do you think should make into this list? What other trend is worth noting before take the next leap forward?

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