5 digital marketing trends to watch in 2013

The digital landscape is constantly expanding and updating. As marketers it’s critical to keep up with trends in technology and consumer behavior. 2012 saw big changes in social media, mobile marketing, and analytics, just to name a few, and the pace isn’t slowing. Here are five digital marketing trends to keep an eye on for next year.

  1. Content marketing

    2012 saw content marketing explode as Google’s Panda and Penguin updates placed increasing emphasis on quality, original content. With consumers tuning out advertising messages and seeking information and interaction from brands, companies from every industry jumped into the content-production game.

    In 2013, brands will improve their content marketing strategies and focus on results. An eMarketer study found that only 38% of in-house marketers and a scant 13% of agencies had a defined content marketing strategy this year. However, 55% and 58% respectively are planning to develop these strategies in the New Year. We’ll see companies seek out content professionals such as writers, journalists, and social media experts or seek the help of outside agencies in crafting their marketing content.

  2. Social Commerce

    Although social deals sites like Groupon were on the wane this year, social’s influence on shopping behavior is stronger than ever. Search Engine Land reports that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 52% say positive online reviews make them more likely to use local businesses. Social shopping sites like Etsy and Polyvore are on the rise, and social ‘pinning’ site Pinterest saw a more than 1000% increase in traffic this year, making it the number one referrer to ecommerce sites.

    Expect to see further integration of social with commerce in 2013 as businesses find more ways to generate revenue from direct sales on social sites, advertising, recommendations, and social sharing. Already, 20% of shoppers prefer to buy products directly from brands’ Facebook pages than their ecommerce sites, and Mashable predicts that half of web sales will occur on social media sites by 2015.

  3. Mobile marketing

    Mobile everything was on the rise in 2012, from Web surfing and emailing to shopping, social media, and ad response. This isn’t a trend that’s going away next year, so in 2013 expect a corresponding increase in mobile marketing efforts by all sorts of brands. Indeed, a new study reported by Mashable found that 70% of marketers are planning to increase their mobile budgets next year.

    Mobile isn’t the same as Web, of course, so marketers will need to adopt mobile-friendly approaches. These include condensed, to-the-point content, responsive design that adapts to any screen size, touch-screen friendly layouts, and helpful tools such as mobile apps.

  4. Retargeting

    Retargeting or remarketing was embraced by brands in 2012, and consumers found ads following them across all sorts of media. A recent study by Advertise.com found that remarketing through display advertising can increase advertisement response by up to 400% above traditional display advertising, so expect to see many more companies getting on board. In 2013, we’ll see retargeting expand beyond display advertising as other platforms adopt the strategy. Recently released remarketing tools for Facebook and Twitter enable marketers to direct their promoted posts to users who are already engaged with their brands, and Google’s remarketing tools for paid search are currently in beta. Other adaptations from social and ecommerce platforms can’t be far behind.

  5. Big data

    We’ve all heard that 2012 was the year of big data. The availability of information increased exponentially from every imaginable source, leaving companies wondering how to put it all to use. Already there is a shortage of trained data analysts as big brands like Sony, General Mills, and Wyndham seek to hire specialists to make use of their huge data sets.

    In 2013, we’ll see a shift of focus from data collection to data translation as marketers try to derive actionable insights from their information streams. Startups and existing providers are already creating affordable, scalable analytics solutions that allow small businesses to access the kind of intelligence formerly available only to big players. Marketers will now be able to draw conclusions from their data and translate them into smarter, better targeted campaigns.

Of course, these aren’t the only changes we’ll see in the digital marketing sphere in 2013. Will you be watching a marketing trend we’ve missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.