As with most people, I like to use the first few days of the New Year to reflect on what’s happened over the past 12 months. What went right? What went wrong? What might I have changed if I could go back and do things over again? I also like to use the first days of a New Year to look ahead at what’s to come.
As some of you may remember, at the beginning of last year I wrote a blog post which outlined 6 online marketing predictions for 2013. In that post, I promised to revisit them in a year and see how right or wrong I really was. Let’s review.
1. More and more businesses will hear about Facebook’s EdgeRank and get upset about it.
I had this one halfway right. I don’t think many businesses heard about EdgeRank, but many marketers did and for the most part they weren’t happy about it.
2. SEO’s will begin talking about Co-Citation or Co-Occurance when it comes to backlinks.
Correct. Most SEO’s I had conversations with over the past year told me that they rarely used keyword anchor text when acquiring backlinks to their sites.
3. Pretty much a no-brainer here, but 2013 will be the year of mobile website design.
Again, I’d call this one halfway right. Yes, mobile website design became much more popular than it was in years past, but many businesses are still not buying into the hype. (They should!)
4. LinkedIn will become a bigger source for B2B marketing, advertising and sales.
Correct. LinkedIn increased its Marketing Solutions 38% in the third quarter last year and, on average, businesses that we worked with listed LinkedIn as their 3rd most important social network behind Facebook & Twitter.
5. Businesses will no longer be able to avoid Google+, mostly because of how it’s linked to Google Places.
Correct. Although some businesses may not have realized it, they signed up to Google+ in order to list their business on Google’s local search index Google Places.
6. The (not provided) keyword analytics reports will continue to grow and grow.
Correct. Everyone in digital marketing saw this one coming. Back in September Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land wrote this post talking about how Google was quietly moving all searches “not provided”. Using our own Analytics, we’ve calculated that nearly 85% of searches are now stored under “not provided”.
On to 2014…
So all in all, not a bad year of predictions! The only problem with being right or halfway right on 6/6 predictions is that it’s a strong act to follow in 2014. Below are my 6 online marketing predictions for 2014.
1. Businesses will begin to fully embrace the different ways to make their search results stand out.
From adding a mini profile picture next to your search results, to adding reviews, more and more businesses will implement different ways to make their search results stand out. Authorship, localization, reviews, map listing and much more will become the norm in SERPs.
2. SEO will no longer be a standalone service.
Let’s quickly have a moment of silence for all SEO consultants out there… ok, moving on. Fear not, consultants! SEO is not dead, nor will it ever be dead. I just don’t think that it can continue to stand alone with all the constant changes to Google’s algorithm. SEO needs to evolve to become more about content and online marketing. Create content that people love so that they’ll naturally and organically link back to your website. Don’t just go out hunting for backlinks, earn them through inbound marketing.
3. Initiatives will be put in place by businesses to place their social media focus on making things less business, more personal.
This is something we’ve been preaching at DMG since 2012. Consumers and clients have no interest engaging with you on your social media network if you only talk “shop”. They want a peek inside your business with employee profiles. They want to feel like a part of your business by being given the option to offer their opinion. Lastly, they want to get to know your CEO/President. They don’t want their vision of your CEO/President as a silhouette figure behind a desk, they want to get to know him/her and be able to relate or be educated by them.
4. The new Facebook News Feed will finally launch for all users.
It’s been nearly a year since Facebook announced the launch of the completed, redesigned News Feed & Timeline and yet hardly anyone is able to use it. Too many users’/marketers’/businesses’ Facebook pages look and feel stale. It’s my opinion that they’ll launch the new Timeline in the first quarter of the year.
5. Re-targeting ads will become more mainstream for small to medium sized businesses.
Have you ever viewed a product on a website, closed that window, opened up Facebook or another website and suddenly have that product appear in an advertisement? That’s re-targeting and it’s a great way to keep your products/services in front of a user who has already shown interest in it. Many big companies like Home Depot and Adidas are doing this already, and I think many small to medium sized businesses will begin doing this as well.
6. Video and visual marketing will become a key point in many online marketing campaigns.
Over the final quarter of 2013, we saw a large increase in the number of our clients who were interested in creating online video. With the lowered cost of video production, I can see many businesses beginning to dip their toes in the lucrative video marketing water. Most people are visual learners so why not create mini informative videos or commercials to keep them informed on your business or products.
They may not be bold, and I may not be late 1990’s psychic sensation Ms. Cleo, but I’m confident these 6 online marketing predictions will come to fruition.
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