March 19, 2013

5 Digital Media Trends for 2013

At Brighter, we’re passionate about helping our clients improve.  A large part of that involves constantly seeking out new market opportunities that align with our client’s business goals and give them an edge in their marketing or technology efforts.  As Brighter's Director of Analytics & Media Performance, I wanted to share a few of the top digital media trends that my group is focusing on in 2013 to help our clients stay ahead of the curve: 

 

Trend #1:  Mobile Continues Rapid Growth

Although the growth of mobile might not be earth-shattering news these days, the opportunity it will present to marketers in the next several years might be. 

According to a report from KPCB, mobile now makes up 13% of all web traffic, and the number of mobile subscribers is forecasted to grow to 150M by 2015.  Not only are more people buying new smart phones, mobile commerce is also exploding. 

The value of purchases that occurred on mobile devices reached $10B+ in 2012 and is also forecasted to grow in line with usage rates.  If companies coming out of Silicon Valley are any indication, this space will not only grow but present some incredible opportunities for businesses. Companies like Square, Stripe, Paid and Affirm are building platforms that make mobile transactions easy and stress free. 

With all of these things coming to a head, we’ve seen an increasing amount of our mobile campaigns outperform desktop experiences.  Consumers are choosing to engage with businesses in ways that are convenient for them, and much of the time that means on their mobile device or tablet.  So what should you do about it?

Opportunity

Businesses must evaluate how mobile fits into their business strategy.  There are a lot of important questions and factors that need to be evaluated in pursuing a mobile strategy, but some preliminary questions might be: 

These are just a few of the questions and considerations that you’ll want to take into account, but as the channel continues to grow, it’s important to ask them now.

 

Trend #2: Traditional Advertising Becoming Less Effective

More and more I’ve found myself engaged with a video or piece of content only to find out during or after that it’s actually sponsored or created by a brand.  This trend isn’t an accident. Marketers are quickly finding out that savvy web consumers are becoming less and less responsive to traditional advertising campaigns.  These consumers desire content in lieu of marketing messages being pushed into their lives.  This is especially true for Millennials, who’ve been conditioned to expect brands to entertain them rather than just try to sell them something. 

This shift to understanding consumers as active participants in media rather than just consumers of media is an important concept to grasp as businesses plan out their 2013 marketing calendars and business plans. 

At Brighter, we believe in content in a big way, and although the process might be more involved than pushing out a new round of banner ads, the effort to reward ratio can be incredible. From Coca Cola’s ambitious new Content 2020 initiative and Red Bull’s recent groundbreaking Stratos mission to Old Spice’s wildly successful viral marketing campaign of a few years ago, brands have already started making engaging content the cornerstone of their marketing efforts.

 

Coca Cola's Content 2020 Content Marketing Campaign

 

Opportunity

Creating meaningful media experiences in which the customer is a participatory actor rather than just a passive consumer is critical for brands seeking to connect with consumers. As branded content and content marketing become the primary options for increasing awareness, brand equity and leverage, organizations need to start thinking hard about how to kick-start efforts internally to establish a solid, well-built content program that can help them avoid being lost in the noise.

 

Trend #3: Using Data/Analytics Platforms to Improve Marketing Efforts

Every minute of the day, 571 new websites are created, users email 204M messages and more than 100k tweets are published (source).  With this staggering about of data being created, many marketers are wondering how they can capitalize on “big data” and turn it into actionable insights. Thankfully, over the last few years, a multitude of SaaS tools and platforms have emerged to help collect, decode and analyze this data. 

In 2013, these tools will continue to grow because of the value they provide.  Some of our favorite tools include MixPanel and KissMetrics for on-site data analysis, Crimson Hexagon and Topsy for Social intelligence and Tableau for data visualizations and big database analysis.

 

infographic
How much data is created every minute?

 

Opportunity

With new tools, big data is becoming increasingly accessible and can be used to manipulate and improve marketing messaging and strategies. At Brighter, for example, our analytic’s teams first objective is to align a company’s business goals with their tracking systems. By tracking conversions, checkouts and user paths, we can optimize a client’s online presence by testing new messaging or creative strategies. For most clients, the first step in getting this right is to audit their analytics platforms and make sure that all pertinent data is being tracked accurately. 

 

Trend #4:  Multi-Touch Marketing and Measurement

Implementing platforms and tools to measure efficiency is only the start of the battle when it comes to data analysis.  Much of the “special sauce” of leading digital marketers can be found in perfecting the attribution models used to measure marketing effectiveness. 

Although online advertising grew rapidly from its infancy under a single touch (and last click) measurement model, most savvy marketers now realize that today’s consumers don’t interact with just one marketing touch point.  Consumers are often exposed to a wide variety channels: from banners ads to email marketing and even offline and traditional channels. 

When deciding how to attribute the success of your marketing campaigns, things can get a bit fuzzy if you don’t have the proper tools and measurement strategies in place to understand which touch points are driving conversions or interest in your product.  This challenge is compounded when you take into consideration the proliferation of new marketing channels and devices that are available for consumers to engage with. 

As tools and measurement strategies become more of a focus for clients in 2013, organizations will need help taking advantage of real-time, dynamic attribution models that personalize optimization strategies - not just at the channel level, but to each individual consumer. This level of measurement and customization will no doubt result in higher performing campaigns and will help companies be more informed about how their marketing channels interact and impact each other.

Opportunity

The opportunity to implement multi-touch measurement is one that every marketer needs to take advantage of, as it will allow them to get a complete picture of the steps customers take before purchasing or converting.  If you don’t have some sort of measurement in place in 2013, you need to get with the times. 

 

Trend #5: Realtime/Agile Implementation

Once the right data is in place, organizations must be able to execute on this information at the same speed that their analysis is being done.  We’ve found that Agile project management processes can shorten time to market for marketing campaign implementations. 

Agile, for those unfamiliar, is a style of project management that came out of software development.  The basic premise is that requirements and strategies on the web change so frequently that it’s impossible to predict what a six-month waterfall project would look like. Agile chunks out pieces of large projects and turns them into smaller two-to-four week ‘sprints’ in which team members try to complete as much work as possible within the allowed time frame. 

Because of Agile’s focus on interactions over process and conversation over documentation, marketing teams are quickly finding out that this set up is perfect for adapting to constantly changing market conditions and creating optimizations based on data analysis.  As an agency, it also allows us to develop a real partnership with our clients.  By running projects in this manner, we become an extension of our client’s team and can continuously improve our strategies based on performance and testing.

Opportunity

Evaluate the agile process and see how it might improve your day to day marketing activities. For some clients, agile might not be the right approach, but we’ve found that for projects where web development and digital marketing need to happen in tandem, the agile process works extremely well. At a high level, agile can help your organization become more nimble and operate more efficiently. And on a practical level it can improve collaboration, help you focus more on your users, allow you to spend less time waiting for client feedback, and help you bring products to market faster.

 

Conclusion

If there’s a common thread among these emerging trends it’s the need for strategies and tactics that are measurable, flexible and geared towards responding to user behavior. As advances in technology and methodology help us achieve a greater understanding of who our customers are and how they want to interact with our products and services, we can start to develop new ways of connecting with them that meet their needs, as well as the needs our organizations. 

Overall, staying ahead of these trends and not letting opportunities pass them by should be a focus for brands looking to take their marketing efforts to the next level.  At Brighter, we’re always seeking new ways to provide more immediate value to our clients.  We know not every project needs cutting-edge technology or the latest development methodology, but by staying on top of the latest trends you’ll put yourself in a position to take advantage of the tactics that make sense for your business. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on other trends your business has identified for 2013 and how you’re addressing those opportunities! 

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Written By:
Michael Kraft