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The world of online marketing is always changing and it’s not always clear which way it will evolve. With so many different disciplines to cover, we asked 13 members of our team to predict what they feel will happen next and where you should focus your skillset for the next 12 months and beyond.
Oliver Ewbank (@OliverEwbank)
Key Trend: Enhanced AdWords Campaigns
Why? I think mastering Enhanced AdWords Campaigns will be vital in 2014. PPC is becoming more competitive and there are a range of new features to master. Utilising new AdWords extensions and making the most of Product Listing Ads will be essential. Learning how to manage cross-device campaigns and enhanced bid adjustments will be imperative. In addition if you can get to grips with AdWords scripts you will save valuable time and stay ahead of the competition.
Anna Lewis (@Koozai_Anna)
Key Trend: Cross Channel Understanding
Why? I think that it is becoming increasingly important for everyone involved in a business to understand how things work across different channels. From sales people fully understanding a product to PRs understanding the value of SEO.
With modern technology and lifestyles, many more channels are converging and marketers in particular need to be able to understand the full picture in order to make sure the area they specialise in can perform as well as possible alongside and integrated with other channels. Understanding how they work together helps us bring to life the data from multi-channel reports, attribution modelling and Universal Analytics. And, with Universal Analytics uses and implementation expanding as people get to grips with it and work it into businesses, the potential to get data on things outside the website makes cross channel understanding even more important than ever before. I’m excited about the possibilities of bringing lots of data together and using it to make bigger and better decisions than ever before.
James Perrin (@JamesaChallis)
Key Trend: Technology Driven Content
Cat Fyson (@Koozai_Cat)
Key Trend: Data Driven Content Marketing
Why? Following a great talk from Stacey Cavanagh at this year’s Brighton SEO, I think that within the content marketing landscape, a Key Trend in 2014 is going to be the increased use of data within content. Whether used on a blog post, infographic or microsite, data not only adds more credibility to content, it makes it much more interesting and engaging too. Statistics and figures also add further context to a piece, and shows that we’re doing our homework as researchers. The tools are out there and are ready to be used!
Andy Williams (@Koozai_Andy)
Key Trend: More Common Sense
Why? It may sound obvious but the best skill you can possibly use right now, let alone in 2014, is common sense.
Recent Google updates may come across as appearing harsh and there are arguments that some sites have wrongly been caught in the crossfire but those who have simply gone about their business naturally without trying to “over game” the system have survived. Use your common sense, is that link you are about to create truly relevant? Will it add value to your audience? Will it be coming from a relevant source? Are you 100% comfy with it? We are digital marketers and there will always be an element of “gaming”, after all the web is a competitive marketplace but when it comes down to it, how confident are you that the work you are carrying out is as future proof as it can be?
You can use all the tools under the sun but the final decision as to what you do lies with you. So use your common sense.
Tara West (@Koozai_Tara)
Key Trend: Link Building Strategy
Why? I think link building strategy will become more important as an online marketing skill. As Google’s algorithm becomes more and more attuned to identifying unnatural link profiles, it will become even more important to have a sound strategy behind your link building efforts to ensure they remain natural and you don’t get caught out by an algorithm update. Link strategy basically involves lots of analysis of your current and historical link profile, as well as the link profile of your competitors. This information is then used to build a detailed plan of the kinds of links, quantity of links, and frequency of links to be built over the future months. You can learn more about link strategy in my blog post here.
Mike Essex (@Koozai_Mike)
Key Trend: Cross Channel Integration
Why? I hope in 2014 that the barriers between disciplines will really come down. Whether it be SEO, Social Media, PR, Analytics, Content, PPC or anything in-between I hope people will learn to stop creating things in a bubble.
For example, instead of just making a piece of content, we should be using SEO to ensure it gets found, Social Media to outreach to key influencers, PPC to kick start interest in it, PR to reach a broader range of people and Analytics to track effectiveness. I’ve even been experimenting with offline methods recently and think the next few years will reduce the barrier between what we see as “Outbound” and “Inbound” marketing massively.
Dean Marsden (@DeanMarsden22)
Key Trend: The Rise Of Authorship
Why? In 2014 I feel it will be vital to build a personal (and business) Google+ profile to fully take advantage of Google’s Authorship and Knowledge Graph benefits. The same can also be said for Facebook profiles with the roll out of Graph Search and more people starting to use Facebook to search for information.
Having a strong personal Google+ profile means more chances of Authorship appearing next to your content giving it a boost in Click through Rates. Building a better business page following will help more people find your page, services and content through Google+ and Facebook.
Harry Gardiner (@Hr_Gardiner)
Key Trend: Creative Storytelling
Why? To be honest this has always been a vital skill for content creators, but as search engines continue to put a tremendous amount of pressure on webmasters to create quality, engaging content, more and more digital agencies are looking for content marketers with that extra creative edge. Hopefully this means we’ll progress into 2014 with a lot more creatives in the digital marketing industry.
Graeme Benge (@GraemeBenge)
Key Trend: Attribution Modelling and Value Attribution
Why? For me the next 12 months will see marketers move wholesale away from traffic and keywords as KPI’s to conversions if they haven’t already. So the two things to get your head around are:
• Attribution modelling: understanding what channels have influenced a conversion
• Value attribution: being able to apply a value to content or to an interaction either as ‘money made’ or ‘money saved’. For instance how much is a ‘like” worth? If you were to run a Facebook ad campaign, how much would that have cost you, there is your value, £xyz saved.
Lenka Istvanova (@Koozai_Lenka)
Key Trend: Taking A Creative Approach
Why? For me personally, it needs to be taking a ‘creative approach’. In today’s always changing business environment every company will need to come up with something new, whether it’s a product or the way it’s marketed to potential customers. We constantly require something new from companies, whether it’s with their product or extra services. I think, the first and best place to start is endorsing creativity in the workplace. A great example is Zappos which excels at endorsing creativity among employees. This in turn results in unique customer service that their customers love.
I think this saying about creativity got it right:
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.” (Maya Angelou)
Ali Moghadam (@AlMoghadam)
Key Trend: Mobile Optimisation
Why? 2013 has been a massive year for mobiles and it’s only going to get bigger in 2014. There’s still a very disappointing number of sites that just don’t work on small screens or have been poorly optimised for mobiles – ecommerce sites that fail to cater to mobile users will lose out in 2014. But armchair web-surfers visiting your site on their mobile devices will be much more patient than users in the field. More people are using their mobiles to find places to go and compare products and prices while they’re out and about, so how you tie your mobile and local SEO together will be extremely important in the coming year.
John Waghorn (@John_Waghorn)
Key Trend: Social Signals
Why? For me, social signals will be even more relevant and important during 2014. Social media sites have so much to offer brands and businesses, including customer engagement, shares, likes, brand mentions, and the opportunity to build a strong and dedicated following.
As Google+ also becomes more popular, users can focus on authorship to build their reputation as an established voice in their industry and show the faces behind a brand too. SEO has evolved massively over the last few years and social has the power to drive human engagement, so I think it will have even more of an emphasis placed on it in 2014.
We’d love to hear what you think are the most important marketing trends for the next few years. Please leave your views in the comments below.
New Year Fortune Cookie via BigStock
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.