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It's that time of year to reflect on 2013 and predict what's to come in 2014. As a full-service agency, AMP knows a lot about a lot of things. We asked the experts to share their predictions for 2014. Read their insights below. Content Marketing: Content Strategy We've known for years that content is king, but it looks like the landscape is shifting from a bunch of 'cowboys'? (bad poker reference) at the forefront of content development to a full house of brands saddling up to jump into the content marketing mix. Recent data from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketingprofs shows that 90% of B2C marketers are already using content marketing in some form with 72% producing more content than they did one year ago. The scary/exciting part of the story? Only 39% have a documented content strategy. As Content Marketing budgets continue to rise (see below chart), 2014 will be the year that content marketing strategies become core to a brand's overall marketing approach. Key to this evolution will be an increased focus on leveraging audience insights to identify relevant content themes, delivery channels and formats. Search: Content Creation In 2014, search marketers will work even closer with content creators, video producers, and infographic designers in order to help brands grow their library of interesting, shareable content. Content will be focused on answering questions that consumers care about while helping brands gain additional visibility within search engine results. Search marketers will utilize measurement tools such as Google Analytics to measure: Site search: to see what searchers want to learn about when they're on the site Landing page visits: to see what types of content drive the most traffic Social shares: to see what types of content leads users to sharing on social media In addition, search marketers will be focused on creating tactical content sharing campaigns which utilize Social, PR outreach, and perhaps even Email, to expand the reach of new content. In 2014 brands will have to ask themselves ' what is the most exciting content for my industry? Display: Programmatic Buying Due to its cost efficiencies, targeting capabilities, and transparency, Programmatic spending is estimated to grow year over year to $4.66 billion in 2014 (38% growth over 2013) and up to $9 billion by 2017 according to an eMarketer study (eMarketer, Dec. 2013). Some challenges with programmatic spending in 2014 include: Continued education to advertisers and publishers Cross device targeting Cookie deletion and the affect on first and third party data points Inventory quality and viewability Social: Mobile. Visual. Content. The three words of 2014. Mobile. Visual. Content. Social Media has evolved into an inherent part of the marketing mix. While most brands have adopted social in some form, the challenge in the coming year will be how brands can reach the right audience and make an impact. The answer lies in providing content that's accessible and contextually adds value to consumers lives. Quick-hitting ,highly-visual, mobile content will be what resonates with consumers and provides positive brand experiences. Measurement & Analytics: Integrating the Data Measurement will continue to move towards integrating different data sources, both offline and online. We have seen this with the two web analytics leaders, Google Analytics and Adobe Marketing Cloud, being no longer just limited to website behavior. Where ever there is a consumer touch point, these solutions will seek to integrate that data as marketers try to make sense of the digital ecosystem. Additionally, there has been an increasing push to acquire offline data to deliver a complete picture of product research and purchase cycle. For example, Google has stated that they will be moving users from the old ga.js Google Analytics code in favor of the new Universal Analytics code, which enables integration of offline data including point of sales data at the user level. This has big implications considering that over 62% of the top 10K sites on the web utilize Google Analytics in some form. All these tools will become more user friendly as analytics vendors make their products more accessible and less technical skill intensive. Tag management tools, which allow the capturing of data across touch points, are becoming less tech intensive and more user friendly - empowering marketers to edit tracking on the fly without the need to edit code. All these advances will allow analysts to spend less time gathering data and more time analyzing data. Keep checking back to our blog in 2014 to see our analysis of these predictions as they come to fruition. Blog Post Contributors include: Michelle Gilbert, Christina Wong, Andrew Ricker, Rachel Lawton and Matt Jacobs.
As a full-service agency, AMP knows a lot about a lot of things. So, we asked AMPers to share their thoughts on the most monumental moments in their respective capabilities in 2013. Read their insightful thoughts below. Search: Google Hummingbird In 2013, Google released a major search algorithm update for the first time in a long time, making it the most monumental change to happen in Search within the last year. The algorithm update, called Hummingbird, focuses on understanding a searcher's intent rather than the keywords they've used. By better understanding a searcher's intent, Google can present more relevant search results to the user, which has always been the end goal. In addition, Hummingbird is designed to better understand synonyms, long-tail queries, and full on questions such as, 'How do I sew this hole in my pants?'? While Google says that brands will be unlikely to notice a shift in rankings based on the Hummingbird update, this change is monumental in that it gives search marketers fuel to focus on several opportunities moving forward, including: long-tail & keyword synonym targeting, onsite content expansion to address new queries, and optimizations for the mobile web to better target long-tail queries entered via voice command. The release of Hummingbird will help search marketers drive home the importance of high quality content creation, which is a priority for AMP. Display: Programmatic Buying Display advertising is dynamic and constantly evolving. One of the largest shifts in 2013 was the adoption of programmatic buying. Programmatic buying allows for auction-like buying of a specific audience by analyzing a multitude of data points to decipher the right ad, the right person, the right time. Although programmatic was not introduced in 2013, it sure caught on this year - changing how media planners purchase their media. Whether purchasing programmatic through a partner or directly on platforms such as Google Bid Manager, it's estimated that 28% of 2013 US ad spend was on RTB according to eMarketer, Measurement & Analytics: Integration The moves by big web analytics vendors to provide a holistic view of digital marketing channels was the biggest change in measurement and analytics. This shift allowed marketers access to a range of features and solutions that helped to tell the integrated online story. Google released Universal Analytics out of beta. Universal Analytics utilizes the new Measurement Protocol to process disparate data. The Measurement Protocol allows integration of data from website, apps, web properties, ecommerce, and offline logged interactions to be tied together. This takes Google Analytics from being a web analytics tool to being a business intelligence solution. Adobe has also made strides in integrating data sources through the Adobe Marketing Cloud, available to all advertisers in 2013. The Adobe Marketing Cloud encourages users to use all the solutions available through Adobe for a more holistic view of marketing efforts, not just the Adobe Analytics (formerly SiteCatalyst). Social: Native Advertising Going into this year, we talked about what social would mean for brands. The key takeaway of the POV was that at its core social is about telling stories. This statement underscores the way the landscape shifted over the past year. While we anticipated a shift toward monetization, the most monumental change was how that monetization took shape in the form of sponsored stories/posts. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram all introduced sponsored posts that seek to provide maximum value to both brands and consumers. Overall, 2013 was the year of personalization. According to our VP of Account Management, Pamela Neville: The most monumental change I have noticed this past year is around targeting and messaging. From Facebook paid ads to email to display, I am constantly impressed with a brand's ability to target me personally with products I actually want to buy. Nordstrom and Zappos come to mind from a re-targeting perspective. And, Nike comes to mind from an email/CRM perspective. They each have a knack for bringing me back to their respective sites and cross-selling or up-selling me various products. I care less about the invasion of my privacy and rather value the speed with which a brand can get me from awareness to shopping cart. Now that you know our thoughts on 2103, keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming post on advertising and marketing predictions for 2014. Blog Post Contributors include: Michelle Gilbert, Christina Wong, Andrew Ricker, Rachel Lawton and Pamela Neville.