Digital marketing: 2012 in review / 2013 at a glance

Birdman2 Digital marketing: 2012 in review / 2013 at a glanceWe’ve taken a look back at some of the major developments of 2012 as well as offered our predictions for digital marketing in the next 12 months.

How would you summarise the last 12 months for your discipline?

Design
“It is not surprising that sites and experiences designed for mobile devices has become a major part of the digital strategy discussed, planned and implemented with clients. Responsive design, web/native apps and mobile websites are all areas we have seen a massie growth in”
Hayden Evans, creative director

Technology
It was a year of releases and missed opportunities. Unsurprisingly all of the CMS solution providers released something; Sitecore has come to the fore with 6.6 and DMS making them a market leader; Tridion has released its new UI; and Microsoft released Windows 8 to a quiet reception, although the business take up is slowly starting. Elsewhere, tablets and other mobile devices have really taken off over the past 12 months, with all sites now giving thought to the design and content implications for mobile devices.
Graeme Wigglesworth, chief technical architect

PPC
“The best thing to happen to PPC last year was the change in remarketing targeting by Google. Being able to create new remarketing lists quickly and easily using the URL based rules has meant remarketing campaigns can be more targeted than before resulting in better conversion rates. 2012 will also be remembered for the year Bing and Yahoo finally combined their search results. So far, performance from the combined engine has been very encouraging with the increase of customers giving more data and making optimisation easier.”
Gavin Burgham, PPC manager

SEO
“Local was one of the fastest growing areas in 2012, with those businesses utilising it – by looking at proximity, devices, etc – have seen some strong results in SERP positioning. Penguin’s arrival caused problems for some, while others were able to capitalise through brand building and a focus on strong unique content. SEOs often overlook the value of brand building and quality content and its been to their detriment, as the strategies that include it are the ones that see the best results.”
Danielle Williams, SEO manager

Social media
“One of the main advances in social media in 2012 was its adoption by a wider range of organisations. In previous years the market has been led by tech-savvy businesses and well-known brands, but more and more companies – of all shapes, sizes and sectors – are finding their niche on social media and have gained a better understanding of their audiences. This has generated success for businesses – not only in terms of marketing reach, but also financially as their followers are converted into advocates.”
Nicola Peate, social media manager

What do you think the next 12 months have in store for your discipline?

Design
“The mobile market, specifically tablets, is going to explode this year. Christmas alone will have seen children and adults alike finding an array of affordable and different sized tablets under the tree.  This will start many companies looking at the tablet/mobile market as a priority over the traditional desktop site. There will be greater consideration of ‘second screen’ marketing, and brands and companies will want to provide sites and experiences that allow the user a rich interactivity whilst attending an event or watching a TV programme. This year the comfort browsing, touch-device obsessed audience is going to become the target audience for many.
Hayden Evans, creative director

Technology
“People will get more excited about the potential of social media integrations, with this functionality being required more and more. We also have the possibility that one of the open source solutions could take on the established players, who are likely to be involved in more mergers and acquisitions in 2013. In terms of content management, we anticipate a greater number of people within businesses wanting the freedom to update their website. Expect a shift, with responsibility for content creation moving away from the IT department and towards marketing and sales teams, as well as individual departments.”
Graeme Wigglesworth, chief technical architect

PPC
“The year of the mobile has been coming for years and although mobile search use has risen sharply the conversions from this medium have not followed in the same vein. In 2013 we expect more focus on developing better mobile websites and apps to assist with making converting on a mobile phone easier. Better tracking of a customers journey across multiple devices and using different media before making a conversion will be become more paramount as well.”
Gavin Burgham, PPC manager

SEO
“Technical mark-up, including author tags, are likely to gain greater significance over the coming months. Although authorship will inform Page Rank rather than replace it, the authority of the individual will join domain and web page authority in determining how content is valued by Google. There’s no doubt that part of the reasoning is to encourage more use of Google+, and diversifying SEO strategies across social, content and traditional SEO techniques will become more prevalent.”
Danielle Williams, SEO manager

“The mantra ‘content is king’ will continue to be uttered in 2013, even by those who loathe the phrase, because unique, valuable content is ultimately what the user wants. I also think we are going to see a new level of ‘black hatting’ abuse on things like local and mobile results. Mobile is a big channel that too many sites are only dabbling with, which leaves it open to abuse. The potential returns for black hatters are high and sadly the major updates have been around long enough that they could start to be gamed.”
Paul Goonoo, head of search & marketing

Social media
“Social media now needs to prove its worth more than ever. Advancements in social media analytics tools mean that everything can be measured – not just fan and follower numbers. 2013 will be the year when those using social media must demand accurate figures on the value of social media. In the past there have been many dodgy ’guesstimate’ theories about the value of social media but with increasing quality of analytics tools this is no longer the case. If you are an e-commerce business, what sales can you attribute to social media? If you are a charity, who has signed up from Facebook and Twitter? It’s not about “new” networks or the next big thing – it’s about maximising the potential of the audience that you have amassed and proving their value.”
Nicola Peate, social media manager

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