Predictions for 2014: The digital view

We asked the industry what changes and continuing trends they thought we’d see in 2014. A number of the more digitally minded members of the business responded first. Here’s what some of the industry’s brightest minds believe may lay in store for the next 12 months. Dave Fleet Senior vice-president, Edelman Disintermediation “Collaborative economy” is […]

We asked the industry what changes and continuing trends they thought we’d see in 2014. A number of the more digitally minded members of the business responded first. Here’s what some of the industry’s brightest minds believe may lay in store for the next 12 months.

Dave Fleet

Senior vice-president, Edelman
“Collaborative economy” is a buzz term right now; overlapping but connected to this is an emerging trend of organizations disintermediating established players (think: AirBNB; Hailo; Kickstarter). Look for an emergence of additional platforms that challenge established institutions.

Always-on social media
The continuing maturation of social media marketing will lead to more companies layering marketing campaigns with always-on approaches to social media marketing. Look for an increased focus on always-on social vs. campaigns.

The ubiquity of mobile devices will mean equally ubiquitous connectivity. This will lead to consumers being “always on” when it comes to potential touchpoints with companies, wherever they are. Look for an increased focus from brands on the utility of mobile commerce apps.

New platforms challenging Facebook’s dominance
We’ve seen a number stories in the last couple of months that should worry the folks at Facebook. Teens, while still using Facebook, are increasingly gravitating to other platforms like Tumblr. New channels like Snapchat are emerging that are free from parental interference and challenge Facebook’s role as the dominant social platform. Meanwhile, Google is (not so) quietly building-out Google Plus. Look for channels like these to grow in 2014.

Disciplines merge
The lines between PR, advertising, paid etc. are no longer blurred – they’re erased. PR agencies like Edelman are embracing paid media and sponsored content (paid media is already a critical component of a successful social media program). Media-buying agencies are hiring community managers. The lines are gone. Look for an increasing mobility of top talent across agency disciplines and more tightly integrated programs in 2014.

Social customer service as marketing
Customer service continues to play second fiddle to marketing when it comes to the marketing mix, but this is rapidly changing. Over the last few years, customer services has gone from being a brief touchpoint to a potential relationship-builder and differentiator (or, conversely, a reputation destroyer). Issues can explode in visibility in minutes (especially if people like the disgruntled British Airways customer continue to pay to amplify their complaints). In 2014 we expect to see an increased focus and discipline around social customer support.

Bite-sized content
Instagram and Vine are paving the way for an even greater focus on bite-sized content. Sites like Reddit, Buzzfeed and Upworthy are furthering the trend by focusing our attention on these nuggets. As we enter 2014, look for more and more brands to move into the bite-sized content space.

Anthony Lipkin

Marketing director, Dx3
2014 is the year that brands reset their marketing clocks. The buzz around “content” will have died down, with consumers being indifferent to these attempts anyway. It will be about generating genuine utility as defined not by gimmicky branded, one-off apps, but rather through building technology (and products) that actually add value to consumers’ daily lives.

Jordan Banks

Global head of vertical strategy, managing director, Facebook Canada
In 2014 mobile will become the “first screen” for an increasing number of Canadians and marketers will create compelling campaigns specifically for mobile. Great work will be seen on many screens, but brands will be discovered and affinities will be built on Facebook.

Marketers will move away from the term “social media”
With more users and more time spent on social networks, marketers will start to think of platforms like Facebook as mass awareness and engagement vehicles where they can reach up to twice as many people as primetime TV spots. With sophisticated targeting options, Facebook will be seen as “TV with benefits” rather than as a social media platform.

Ed Lee

Senior director of social media, Tribal Worldwide – Toronto
The pay-to-play model for brands on social networks is getting more and more expensive so this is the year we’ll see brands move away from shared media and refocus on properties they can truly own.

Agencies and marketers will have to work with what we’ve got. Sadly, there may not be too many shiny new things for us social media-aholics in the next couple of years. Cash-rich from their IPOs or late-stage fundraising, social networks will continue to overpay for or shamelessly borrow from any newcomer that threatens their dominance.

As internet users, we will become increasingly cynical and better at sniffing out publicity hungry fakes…waitresses…protesters…twerkers…baby stealing eagles. This leaves far more space for brands to tug on our heart strings in a genuinely humble and human way.

RTM = real time mis-steps – 23% of brands will be forced to delete a social media post as being offensive, or apologize for said post.

Big data doesn’t lie. The country’s most storied news outlets will give into popular demand and exist solely of GIF-based lists – 47.5% of which will feature animals.

67% of statistics will continue to be made up on the spot.

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