Guest post by Alicia Lawrence
With the start of a new year also comes the usual speculation about trends and changes in the fast-moving world of online marketing. Last year, predictions ranged from the increasing importance of second-screen integration (true) to the emergence of design as one of the key factors in wooing customers (not so true).
New technology always plays a key role in determining these trends, and that won’t change in 2014. Here are seven things savvy marketers should be on the lookout for.
1. The Death of Linkbait
Let's be honest: No one benefits from bad linkbait. It clogs up inboxes and can tick off recipients who really aren't interested in the content, which is too often a reworking of other previously published information. And so, in the coming year, linkbait will take a backseat to something that really can benefit online marketers: Linkable assets. Think informative infographics and highly informative content that has no expiration date.
2. Skyscraper Content on Websites
Remember when the motto of the internet was "shorter is better?" Not anymore. Skyscraper content, or pages with more than 1,500 words that include high-quality links and are broken up by relevant, informative graphics, will take off in 2014. The addition of in-depth analysis and information plays well with Google's latest search algorithm.
3. Reputation Marketing
Online reputations have become big business, and companies rely on good word-of-mouth online to build their business. Marketers will be charged with building links to improve clients' reputations and push negative search results down, bumped out by positive reviews. In 2013, Google introduced authorships on Google+. Building authority as writers online, which brings more influence to links, will also continue to grow in popularity in 2014.
4. Retargeting Ads
Retargeting was a hot trend in 2013 that will gain added dimension in 2014. These ads are specialized to serve up to users who have already been to a web site previously, aimed at increasing conversions. Next year there will be a greater focus on adopting adroll on social media in addition to other web sites.
5. Semantic Search
The move toward semantic search, or anticipating what the searcher's intent is beyond the words they type in, will wield huge influence over internet marketing in 2014. Already, marketers are dealing with this new focus with the launch of Google's Hummingbird, which personalizes results to a degree never seen in search before.
6. Moving Beyond the Mobile Silo
Mobile has become increasingly important to marketers, with more than half of U.S. adult cell phone owners now owning smartphones. But too many marketers still regard mobile as a silo unto itself, focusing on mobile-only campaigns limited, by definition, in scope. In the coming year, mobile will become more integrated with other facets of online marketing, until we get to a point where it's hard to find the line between mobile and desktop.
7. Importance of Unique Content
No matter how well something is marketed, content is the underlying idea that can move a campaign from a success to a sensation. The Dove Real Beauty and Old Spice Smell Like a Man ads would not have resonated nearly as loudly if they didn't have such unique content ideas behind them.