The year 2014, similarly to 2013, will be a year that will give us a hint about how our digital future will look like, however new technology will still not bring dramatic changes to our lives, it will just make our living easier. The main changes will continue to happen in the areas of: mobile, social media, content & video, clever digital devices, smart shopping, big data, and cloud.
“There is no escaping a digital future. Right now we are at a crossroads. …The Earth will become one digital room with everyone in it. For the first time in history, physical reality will not be the only reality,“ says Dan Abelow, an American digital development guru, a graduate of Harvard and the Wharton School, patented inventor, technology consultant and author, owner of Expandiverse. “How many in 1970 foresaw what 2010 looks like? The speed at which 2013 becomes 2033 will be far faster … Today´s digital seems cool. But it´s only just begun.” Dan Abelow expects huge increase in location based marketing, rapid proliferation of devices and the explosion of the Internet of Things. People will be more dependent on the technological breakthroughs; cognitive computing will be the next big trend.
Progress cannot be stopped. More and more CEOs are personally sponsoring the agenda of digitalization; more and more marketers are re-allocating budgets to digital activities. They respond to changes in the digital landscape, enabled by permanent connectivity, resulting in social media and new technology addiction. In the meantime, Facebook in the U.S. managed to attract more young consumers than traditional TV stations, whose viewership is declining, due to paid streaming. The value of digital advertising today in America exceeds the value of TV ads. Advertising on Google surpasses the summary of paid ads of all newspapers and magazines. No wonder that the value of new media Companies tops the traditional media firms.
As about three billion people on the Earth have on-line access today (while China´s user base is twice as big as the U.S. one), human society moved from information hungry into information overloaded. But digital disruption is not just about easy access to information; it is also about new experiences and fun. On average, users spend the daily minimum of one hour on their mobile phones, and one hour on their tablet (eMarketer.com, USA). The World is becoming multiscreen - one individual using multiple devices and screens (PC, smart phones, tablets, smart TV, wearables,…). As the sales of tablets crush PC sales, and smart phone sales boom, smart phones and tablets are becoming the center and integrating component of consumers´ multiplatform lives. Creating a buzz in the digital sphere will be the new art, companies will have to adjust to all the changes.
7 Most Distinctive Trends For 2014
Mobile is perceived as the most disruptive media and marketing trend. Mobile currently accounts for one fifth of Internet traffic and it is expected that it will surpass desktop in two years. Mobile rules in the U.S.: about one third of organic search today is happening over mobile (RKG); mobile video traffic is continuing to surge; the majority of e-mails opened is occurring on mobile devices; and social media and music are now also mostly mobile (Facebook 65%, Twitter 80%, Pandora 85%). Mobile also changes shopping habits. According to eMarketer.com 19% of internet sales will actualize over mobile in 2014 in the U.S. (in Europe even 24%) and the percentages will continue to grow quickly.
All these changes mean that Companies will have to adjust to them quickly, not only in communication with their customers. The route to success will lead via user friendly responsive designs, the reallocation of budget to mobile advertising, and setting up business models reflecting on users mobility – not only in the area of m-commerce, but also in the area of data availability for mobile employees.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA
The question will not be if the Company should be present in Social Media, but rather in what scale, with which targets and with what relevant content. If the years 2012 and 2013 were about focus on acquisition of large fan/followers numbers and driving their engagement, the year 2014 will become a year, when companies will capitalize on their learning from failures and experiments, they will effectively target brand ambassadors, passionate and influential brand advocates. They will increase the content attractiveness – also thanks to micro video formats. Marketer will continue to integrate their social media activities with their entire content strategy. Facebook, Twitter, and more and more significant Google +, Tumblr, Instagram a Pinterest will be the priority for brand communication in 2014. In B2B LinkedIn will continue to lead the game.
Content will remain the king, but it will be crucial to adapt it to multiple formats – video, micro video, blogs, white papers, studies, articles, webinars, e-books, live presentations, e-mail newsletters etc. – and also to multiple screens (PC vs. tablet vs. mobile). The primary focus for companies will remain in building the relationship with customers to build the image of an iconic brand, not the hard-sell. The shift from content towards context indicated also recent changes that Google made in search algorithm and when it removed keyword data from Google Analytics. The deeper geo-location focus of Google´s algorithm will be requiring localized link-building in companies target markets.
The creation of content that is easily consumed in the mobile environment will become a necessity – it will become natural to have responsible designs, more actionable and shorter blogs and location based content marketing enabled by GPS technology. Short videos and pictures will have bigger impact on young target group than plain texts. The creation of viral videos with the use of the micro video applications - Twitter Vine (6 sec), Instagram (15 sec), MixBit (16 sec), and Tumblr GIFs will increase the interest in sharing, as Coca-Cola, Oreo, and RedBull already learnt (micro video on Vine increased sharing 4x vs. classical viral video).
With the increased popularity of video format among consumers, it is expected that 9 in 10 brands in the US will increase their spending into video advertising, most probably at the expense of TV campaigns (Adap.tv and Digiday: State of the Video Industry). Video will also become fluid medium - Apple TV, Chromecast, You Tube – will enable syncing content across screens, so that consumers can return to the point when they stopped film watching, even if they change the viewing device. At the same time ads will be optimized for the screen size.
Enterprises will use their own resources and vehicles to connect to a person on their own terms, not relying on any outside source to create a meaningful brand relationship. Netflix (House of Cards), Red Bull (Media House) and Amazon (Alpha House) have already tried to break through all the noise on their own. They stopped the co-operation with agencies and rather established their own newsrooms and production studios.
4. INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)
“Internet of Things” (IoT) and all of the devices associated with it will explode in 2014. It is expected that very soon smart watches (Pebble, Omate, Sony, Samsung Galaxy Gear, Nissan´s Nismo), smart glasses (Google Glass), medical devices, fitness wristbands (like Nike+ Fuelband or FitBit) and other smart products will become attractive to masses not only in the U.S., where according to Business Insider already 13% of people tried at least one wearable product. As wearable technology becomes ubiquitous in 2014, devices will change the way we interact with existing screens and they will also make our lives easier. The market of wearables will boom globally from 750 million USD in 2012 to estimated 5.8 billion USD in 2018, according to Transparency Market Research. The health and fitness market will continue to play a key role in bringing the wearable technology to consumers.
5. DIGITIZED RETAIL EXPERIENCE
Shopping experience will move to new heights. Brick-and-mortal shops will be offering not just products, but a lifestyle. Stores will look very different. Cash registers will enable mobile payments; shoppers will be attracted by digital displays. There will be greater expectation on services and personalization. Internet shopping will continue to grow double digit, while mobile commerce will record the biggest dynamics (global value of e-commerce reached nearly 1.3 trillion USD last year, according to eMarketer).
Shopping will no longer be linked to a physical store, consumers will be using their permanent connectivity to search the internet for information and compare competitive offers. The shopping trip will start earlier and end later than it used to. The consumer will always be in the consideration phase for purchasing something. Retailers will start to understand the consumer in greater detail, the path to purchase across all off-line and online touch points, and they will be able to segment that path to derive valuable insights to make better strategic and tactical investment decisions.
For 2014, the International Data Group (IDG) predicts that the topic of “Big Data” will become a priority for a minimum of 70% of large companies, who will each invest, on average, 8 million USD, into this project. The focus will move from the agenda of collecting, storing and sorting big amounts of not-related data, into using the Big Data related applications, that will be smarter, context aware, location sensitive, predictive, visualized, simplified and actionable, thus enabling companies and their managers to improve the quality and the speed of their decision making, to improve the planning and the new product / service development process.
There will be more dependence on cloud services, as it will be more advantageous to store big amounts of structured data in the CLOUD.
7. CLOUD COMPUTING
The global market of cloud services will continue to grow rapidly; according to Gartner, it will reach 148.8 billion USD in 2014. Cloud will become the most important data manager. Cloud service providers that guarantee data security and offer the clever linking with the off-line world, will have the biggest competitive advantage. It is expected, that the biggest portion of the cloud market will be taken by Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google, that will explain to companies and individuals the benefits of cloud storage and that will provide their clients safe base.
The upcoming DIGITAL era will produce significantly bigger amounts of intelligently assisted programs, smart advisers, smart devices, modern industrial systems, robots, etc. than we can foresee today. According to the Company Cisco, in the future, the Internet of Things will transform into the INTERNET OF EVERYTHING (IoE). The Internet will link people, processes and data together, and we will observe the boom of smart homes, smart offices, smart industries, and smart cars. It is expected that people will be connected by miniature chips that will enable wireless long-distance connectivity to the Internet.
According to CISCO, the potential economical value of the market of the Internet of Everything (IoE) accounts for ca 6.2 trillion of USD in 2025. Companies that adapt quickly to the upcoming massive changes in the Digital world will be the ones that can capitalize on them and survive the uncertain future. There is no possible way to escape the digital future.