I love these end of year posts when we get to talk about all the things we wanted brands to do this year that will be eventually rolled at some point next year, as long as they don’t sidetracked by the another ‘new marketing opportunity’ in the process.
In 2014 the digital marketing space and all that above the line activity will slowly but surely be pieced together for many brands as an array of ‘buzz words’ move away from the conference podiums and marketing journals headlines to becoming a reality. ‘Big Data’ or the ‘singular customer view’ became meaningful for a small amount of sophisticated players in the market that wanted to understand how all the fragmented marketing and sales activity attributed to the bottom line; (the metrics that the CEO and CFO may be interested in). Thousands of companies will be going for it next year, everyone will want to be a data analyst, it will be the new ‘guru’ status, you never know your luck; the metrics may actually stack up, if the analysis is scoped out correctly in the 1st place.
So what is on the cards for many brands in 2014?
Google will continue to try and keep the competitive advantage going in 2014 as some Demand Side Platforms and Real Time Advertisers made noticeable inroads into using brands marketing budgets over the past 2 years. I asked the Ambergreen paid search team their thoughts on how the top advertising platforms will try and continue to dominate the majority of spend of advertisers budgets. Here are some of the publishable thoughts!
With the growth of RTA in the past year, Google will try and make up ground by reaching more granular audience groups, examples of this include:
DoubleClick demographic data within Google Analytics will be used to help understand how different demographic groups interact with different campaigns.
New segmentation features within Google Analytics will help cross-sell/ up sell opportunities and the longer term behaviour of users and life time value of clients will be more clearly defined.
More Google Opportunities:
Google will continue to expand the use of their ad extensions including viability of seller extensions as they extend their advertising offering.
New shopping campaign functionality will help the management of Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) as they will no longer have to be tagged within the Google merchant center feed. Our prediction is more brands will find this ease of functionality very attractive and there will be greater uptake of brands using the Google Shopping Channel.
YouTube can now be used to stimulate brand searches and recognition as well as driving sales primarily through remarketing. The entire video platform will be used heavily as a medium for advertisers in 2014 and the rate of growth will not slow down this year.
Shared Endorsement ads will become prevalent in 2014 although it’s unclear how users will react to these ads. Brands with a strong Google+ strategy and a growing following will benefit from this and it will force other brands to follow suit.
+Post Ads are currently being trialled by a few major brands. This will allow a brand to take a piece of their public Google+ content, ( photo, video Hangout) and with a few clicks, turn it into a display ad that can run across more than 2 million sites in the Google Display Network. Initial results are impressive and we anticipate this will be another incentive for brands to embrace using Google +.
Google Estimated Conversions estimates the conversion on other devices and locations through from your campaigns based on industry trends. This is a great tool and it will drive home the importance of understanding where your advertisers’ budgets are spent on initial brand and product awareness and where the last conversions lie. Googles’ Enhanced PPC campaigns were not initially well received, but we can see where the benefits to the advertiser will lie. Where several of Googles old tools are now less relevant, the Estimated Conversions tool will be a blessing for planning all paid search campaigns in 2014.
Google Trusted stores will be a good opportunity to showcase a brands strength in customer management and delivery. The opportunity will be another way of cementing the bricks and mortar experience with the online experience. The ‘digital’ word in digital marketing will becoming less relevant as the marketing process starts focussing on ‘engagement’ rather than the specific channels and devices of getting to the point of a sale or conversion.
Twitter has released a self service advertising platform so there is no longer the £5k minimum spend level. Currently there is £50 free credit for all new advertisers so we could look to conduct a small trial before Christmas. Twitter is not renowned for its great level of service, but this will prove to be a winner as SME’s and more brands get into this space.
Organic news feed content is now growing at a faster rate than users can consume the content. The only way that brands can ensure that they are growing their followers base is by acquiring them through paid advertising. In the words of Facebook they wish brands to “to maximize delivery of your message in news feed.” Where Facebook used to be seen as a free distribution channel for brands it is now being repositioned as a method making Facebook Ads more effective. Brands will have to rethink their marketing budgets if they wish to maximise the opportunities they can get from Facebook.
Real Time Advertising, Real Time Bidding, Programmatic Buying, call it what you want, this is an area where advertisers are still struggling with and there will be more confusion next year. It reminds me of the embryonic days of SEO days at the turn of the century. Who should you buy it off? What are the differences between all the suppliers? How does it tie up with all your other advertising initiatives, how does it work with bid management? Regardless of who you are currently working with, you are will probably seeing uplift right now but as more ‘specialists’ come into the market wearing the emperors’ new clothes of display advertising, we will see the market develop into something more meaningful over the next 12 months and the level of service that brands will expect will increase accordingly.
So there you have it in a nutshell; paid media is still growing and there are better ways of planning it, serving it and measuring it more than ever before. As much as 2014 will be a challenge for many, it is as much an opportunity. It’s all to play for, if it’s time to change strategy, your agency or it’s simply time to make those changes you’ve been promising to make, now is the time to do it. 2014 will be the year of winners and losers as the paid media space defines itself as a battle ground worth fighting for.