Top 5 Marketing Predictions for 2014

We all know marketing is changing at rapid speed. In my decade of working in marketing, it’s changed so much. It’s changing faster than most of us can keep up with. It’s a fascination of mine to stay ahead of the curve and learn as much as I can from my own experience, but also looking ahead at what could be possible. As I look back at the last year and think about my strategy for 2014 for my work in publishing or for my wife’s photography business, here are a few marketing predictions I have for 2014:

2/3 of Web Traffic will be Mobile: If you’re at all involved in marketing and not paying attention to the rise of mobile, you won’t be around for long. Mobile has been a game changer. It changes the way we have to design emails, websites, images, etc. There is nothing more annoying than viewing a website that isn’t responsive or mobile friendly. I’ve seen the importance of the need for optimizing websites for mobile. The traffic for almost every website we’ve built (almost 50) have over 50% of the traffic occurring on a mobile device (phone or tablet.) 

Here are some crazy stats about the state of the mobile world:

  • 28.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones and 10.16% on tablets
  • Mobile web adoption is growing 8x faster than web adoption did in the early 1990s and 2000s
  • 72% of tablet owners make purchases from their devices on a weekly basis
  • 56% of people own a smart phone
  • 50% of mobile phone users, use mobile as their primary Internet source

The trends show that mobile is only increasing. My bold prediction is that website traffic from mobile devices will increase to 2/3 of all users. This will cause mobile development to be more focused on the mobile experience than the web experience. 

The Beginning of the End of Facebook: I’ve been saying this ever since Facebook went public, but I think they’re a couple big decisions away from going downhill and going downhill quickly. We’ve seen it before with Yahoo! and MySpace. People think I’m crazy for saying that, but Facebook has struggled to figure out mobile, which is why they paid $1 Billion for Instagram. Instagram built a platform solely on mobile, but they still haven’t figured out how to make money. They don’t want to add the ability for clickable URLs and I don’t see how any advertiser is going to win long-term without that on a mobile device. 

People love the underdog and Facebook is no longer the underdog. It’s becoming more and more expensive to reach the audience you build on Facebook and there’s no true measurement to know how many people you’re reaching. If you manage a Facebook page, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of not knowing whether or not the analytics are correct or if Facebook has tinkered with their setting and not told anyone. This has happened so much that I’ve lost faith in the accuracy and validity of their analytics. It tells me they have no clue what they’re doing. Sure, it’s the largest social network and everyone is on it, so we have to use it as marketers while it’s around, but I believe for these reasons, Facebook is on the decline. It will only take them making a couple wrong moves that could turn into a colossal mistake. Google+ is waiting in the wings to gain market share and has the infrastructure to do it. 

Rise of Video Ads: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, only behind it’s owner, Google. The YouTube phenomenon isn’t going away anytime soon. This only shows the fascination with video on the internet.

With the click-through rates of banner advertising going down, I believe sites are going to invest in ways to offer creative opportunities to display video. This won’t just be 15 or 30 seconds before a video you want to watch (those are just annoying), but creative ways to leverage videos as natural as possible on sites that exist by advertising revenue. There are already a lot of websites experimenting with this, but it will become more accessible for all websites, not just the big commercial ones with huge expense budgets. 

Instagram Will Allow Hyperlinks: It’s unbelievable to me that Instagram doesn’t allow for this already. I understand that when they created the app, they were targeting the photographer community, but it’s blown up and is much bigger than that now. It could be a better marketing tool than Facebook or Twitter, but if they don’t offer this, it’s a closed circuit. It can be useful for branding impressions, but being in the age of marketing metrics needed to justify our marketing dollars, it’s just not an option for most brands. For a brand like Lexus (which is the only one I’m seeing ads for) it makes sense, but very few companies sell $40,000 products. If Instagram isn’t able to get small companies to advertise, they won’t succeed. 

For Facebook and Instagram to start making money and providing value to their shareholders, they’re going to have to figure this out. I think the only way for them to do that is opening this option up. I would double down on Instagram with my marketing dollars if this happens.

The Rise of Real-Time Marketing: Google’s real-time analytics and A/B testing now allows for marketers to see the effectiveness of messaging, creative, and even placement of the ads. The real-time analytics is a fairly new offering by Google and not many people are using it to it’s fullest extent. When we roll out an advertising campaign for one of our books, someone from our team is monitoring the real-time analytics to see if there is anything we need to change in the moment to give our launch the best chance it has to succeed. I anticipate this only getting better and will allow us to make smarter marketing decisions instantaneously. If you’re not taking advantage of this feature, you should be. I know for me in publishing that if I wait a couple days or weeks to measure the effectiveness of my campaign, our marketing dollars could be gone and we’re on to the next thing.

As this becomes more and more accessible, it will be adopted by more people. If that happens, Google will only increase the tools and utilities to do this more effectively. This is where marketing is going. 

Which one are you looking forward to most? Did I miss anything? I’d love your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

  • William Coles

    Interesting predictions bro! Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks man! Looking forward to seeing you in NY in a couple of weeks.

  • Luke Perkins

    I think you nailed it. I wonder what will take the place of FB?

    • Thanks so much, Luke! I believe Google+ is in the prime position to overtake Facebook. It’s gaining traction and has the users.

  • Steven Fogg

    Great thoughts here Chad. I think that G+ can leap over FB if FB keep adding to the noise. The friction is feeling like its starting to reach it’s limit.

    Instagram is great, but I think the very narrow feature set they have not budged on means that when they do make a move it will cause a ruckus in the Insta community, especially if it is only advertising driven. They should broaden the feature set a incrementally 1st before hitting the advertising full on.