It’s hard to believe we only have slightly over 20 years of digital marketing behind us isn’t it? A great many things have changed since 1994 that’s for certain and nowhere is it more apparent than in the world of SEO and digital marketing. 2013 was year of trends breaking through that will likely be felt well into the future. Let’s take an inside look at the nine most important.
#1) A Full Quarter of All Marketing is Now in the Digital World. This statistic that has been quoted by the experts at Gartner (http://www.cmswire.com/cms/customer-experience/gartner-benchmarks-us-digital-marketing-spend-finds-budgets-going-up-6-in-2013-020093.php) and would have seemed like something out of a science fiction novel had it been predicted even ten years ago. A full 25% of all marketing is now occurring online and that number is predicted to continue rising. This makes things like having a solid SEO plan even more important for businesses that aim to succeed and it’s clear that those who don’t get ahead of this trend may be stuck in the unenviable position of having to play catch up.
#2) The Last Days of the Cookie. Yes, it’s true. All of the major web browsers are planning to install their updates and new versions, with “do not track” enabled as a default. Mozilla, Microsoft and Apple have made the announcement and this is sure to force digital marketers to have to switch strategies and methods. Consider this as one of the biggest game changers ever and start to consider where it leads. Google may be showing one direction with their announcement (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/09/17/google-cookies-advertising/2823183/) of their coming anonymous consumer tracking mechanism. Others are likely to follow suit.
#3) Mobile Devices Will Soon Count for Half of Web Traffic. Mobile SEO and mobile marketing is of ever growing importance. Smart phones and tablets are taking over increasing amounts of web traffic by the day. This trend will only continue and a savvy SEO and digital marketing plan ignores this at their peril. Experts see half of web traffic coming from mobile devices in our near future so preparation is key to make use of this opportunity.
#4) Programmatic Buying Comes of Age. Don’t be shocked when you see any ad impression that can be bought and sold in a programmatic fashion being done so. Programmatic may have taken a while to pick up steam, but it’s here and here to stay. Smart digital marketers and SEO gurus take note.
#5) Google Shifts the Playing Field. Never shying from change Google has shifted the playing field of search engine marketing in 2013 and there’s more to come. First Google began blocking more and more keywords from website analytics attempts. This was followed by an announcement (http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2296351/Goodbye-Keyword-Data-Google-Moves-Entirely-to-Secure-Search) that 100% of keywords would also soon be not provided. Obviously, this is a blow against old school SEO efforts and makes it crystal clear the demand for those on the cutting edge of SEO will explode. Google is king of the search engines and staying on top of their changes will require more skill than ever.
#6) Possible Multi-Touch Attribution Solutions. Digital marketers want and need actionable attribution to become accountable and it finally seems as if this is on the horizon. The need and desire is their and technology has caught up. Big changes on the way in this area and it looks like it will be a win / win all around.
#7) Online Video and Television Come Closer Together. The two areas are too close for their data not to end up being at least somewhat merged. Television and online video efforts are recognizing their common ground and joint campaigns will be here in 2014 and beyond. Online video budgets will explode as television redirects some of their funding. The question remains of digital marketing and SEO respond to this new environment.
#8) Location Marketing Takes the Forefront. We can see it already, with Google Local, but location marketing and proximity marketing will move to the forefront of SEO opportunities. Google’s search is showing the power of location and proximity marketing and digital marketers have a chance for some rare “easy wins” in this area in 2014 and beyond.
#9) Real Time Marketing Becomes a Reality. 2014 promises that the idea of real time marketing and real time bidding to become that much closer to reality. This will change the face of SEO and digital marketing.