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The Year Ahead in Digital Marketing

Executive summary
The year 2011 promises to be a landmark one for digital marketing industry, with
the industry coming to terms with a raft of legislative, technical and economic
changes that look set to make a fundamental impact on the sector.

Legislative change will strike in March, when the

Advertising Standards Authority plans to expand
“In 2011 consumers will continue to drive the Committee of Advertising Practice to cover
the digital sector. The precise details of how this
change and new habits and usage of social
will affect online advertisers are yet to emerge,
networking will bring to light opportunities for but PPC, Display and websites themselves look
companies to react. Owned social media certain to be affected by expansion of the
channels will become increasingly important as regulations.
brands become more confident in the ability to While discussion over its practical implications
manage the B2C conversation in the public will dominate much of the year, the change will
domain. We will definitely see social media result in a tougher approval process for PPC &
become an integral part of the marketing mix. Display creatives following ASA’s code of
conduct launch. Digital marketers will need to
The brands that will win the battle for the heart
be careful of the competitive claims they make,
of the socialised consumer will be the ones who ensure that quoted prices are inclusive of VAT
innovate and inspire by creative use of social and other added charges, provide limited stock
media.” warnings and cope with increased regulation
around the health, medical, gambling and
charity sectors.
Eva Keogan
Head of Social Media A rash of technical innovations are also likely to
impact upon the sector as marketers expand
their activities to cope with increased interest in
mobile marketing and the introduction of
internet TV. Taking into consideration a flourishing apps market and the
expected growth in demand for Apple’s iPad and competing tablets, retailers in
particular will be focusing far greater effort on exploiting this kind of technology.

The increasing importance of such technology will also herald renewed interest
in the technical infrastructure upon which digital campaigns are run. Consumer
expectations over speed and ease of use are likely to see more emphasis placed
on site usability, with an increased focus on both site architecture and traffic
measurement and analysis.

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Three separate disciplines will be fighting for control of digital budgets in 2011.
While companies continue to ponder whether social media is a function of
either digital marketing or PR, CRM departments are also likely to begin making
claims on the channel in the year ahead.

2011 will also be the year that many businesses become publishers, with
companies around the world placing increased emphasis on creating original
quality content at the core of their marketing strategies.

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The digital marketers’ curse: to live in interesting times
Andrew Girdwood
Media Innovations Director

The digital marketing industry has never been afraid of change. Since the
moment it emerged it has been characterised by a spirit of perpetual
transformation, and as a year that looks set to be characterised by legislation,
fragmentation and evolution, 2011 is likely to bring more of the same.
From its very building blocks, the internet is poised for rapid change that will
begin with the humble webpage itself. As the next generation of hypertext
mark-up language readies itself for W3C approval, we are preparing to move
from a scenario where HTML will no longer just be
about users being able to watch video without
“The year ahead looks set to be full of technical video software (such as Apple’s Quicktime) or Flash
(as currently used by sites like YouTube). HTML5 will
challenges and brands are going to have to
lead the way, creating more interactive experiences
work hard to keep on top of the many changes. on the web, and in 2011 digital marketers will have
It will not be easy by any means, but consumer to work out ways to track and respond to those
demand will mean that it is a task which must interactions.
be met head-on.” Only time will tell, but the advent of HTML5 may
well give companies reason to consider re-
launching their entire site just to keep up with
Richard Falconer
Head of Technical Services
technology. This will strike a bitter blow against
bigmouthmedia brands that have only recently rebuilt their
websites, but they certainly won’t be alone in their
Keeping up with technology may be close to impossible in 2011. As if it’s not
enough to contend with significant changes in the way that websites are built
and perform, it’s the way that consumers view them is set to shift as well.
Creating something of a nightmare scenario for digital marketers, over the next
year we face the very real chance of seeing four different generations of Internet
Explorer in use – ranging from the dreaded IE6 all the way up to the promising
Internet Explorer 9. At the same time it seems likely that Microsoft’s share of the
browser market will continue to drop as an increasing body of users becomes
aware of alternatives like Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox.

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To add a further layer of complexity, even as marketers struggle to cater for the
needs of multiple browsers, the landscape on which they operate will shift again
with the inevitable increases in the number of mobile visitors to sites. The
combined result? From next year, websites will need to perform on small mobile
screens, laptop/PC screens and TV screens. It’s what many are calling the ‘three
screen strategy’, being one which makes use of the web and mobile as well as
integrating with television broadcasts and perhaps also internet TV.
At first glance that seems straightforward enough, but the way ahead may not
be quite so simple. Three-screen strategies certainly might sound like a common
sense approach to the near future, but marketers are likely to discover that
legislation may well muddy the waters as we progress through 2011.
And let’s not forget Google. The search giant has
already issued guidelines on how to ensure your
“Affiliates will play a critical role in pushing website is readable when browsed via an internet-
forward many of the advances we expect to see enabled television, presaging the launch of Google
TV and a fresh welter of concerns to weigh down
during 2011. Frequently innovative and always
the dedicated digital marketer.
ahead of the curve, they have been the driving
In March 2011 the British Advertising Standards
force behind many of the online sector’s key
Authority plans to expand the Committee of
breakthroughs.” Advertising Practise (CAP) into the digital arena.
Whereas some user-generated content and SEO
Fiona Robertson
strategies are excluded from the new rules and the
Head of Affiliates and Performance place of affiliate marketing is still being debated,
PPC, Display and websites themselves will be
affected by expansion of the regulations.
The CAP means that PPC advertisers in the UK will
be expected to manage their bids alongside their inventory. Once a product
becomes unavailable then the PPC ads for that product on Bing, Google or
elsewhere are expected to be either withdrawn. Failure to do so may leave the
advertiser open to an ASA investigation.
In fact, there are two CAPs – one for broadcast and one for everything else. An
otherwise entirely logical three-screen strategy may well be desired by digital
marketers in 2011 but it will constrained by two sets of rules from the ASA
regulations that depend on what type of ‘screen’ is being used at the time.
This adds up to a tougher approval process for PPC & Display creatives following
ASA’s code of conduct launch. Digital marketers will need to be careful of the

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competitive claims they make, ensure that quoted
prices are inclusive of VAT and other added
"Personalization of search results based on charges, provide limited stock warnings and cope
users’ IP will force businesses to think more out with increased regulation around the health,
medical, gambling and charity sectors.
of the box and localize content. The Semantic
Web will take full shape, with early adopters The year 2011, I fear, will also be the fulcrum on
which many other battles are to be fought as a
enjoying a significant competitive advantage.”
three separate disciplines fight for control over the
digital budgets. Although not a new scrap, the
Susana Inarejos tussle to determine who ‘owns’ social media – is it
Head of Media Services
digital marketing or is it PR? - will intensify as the
heavyweight CRM department climbs into the ring
to make its claim on the title.
In response, some full service digital agencies will
ramp up their CRM offerings, some PR firms will improve their digital marketing
skills and decision makers from the customer relationship management side of
the fence will find themselves sitting in agency procurement meetings.
Strap yourselves in, folks, because 2011 will be an important year for digital. Big
decisions are going to be made. It will be a year of new. It will be a year of

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A web without wires: the mobile revolution continues
Leanne Johnson
Group Account Director

While it has become a long-running industry joke to predict that next year will
be the moment that mobile finally comes of age as a marketing medium, 2011
will see the sector finally reach its tipping point.
With the ascent of the smart phone central to many
companies’ thoughts, we will see a flurry of big
“Companies moving to engage with the mobile brands move into the mobile space with mobile
channel over the coming year face a steep enabled sites and cross-platform apps as more
learning curve. Our research has shown that evidence emerges to prove that it represents a
genuine, revenue-driving channel.
more than three quarters of the UK's big brands
do not understand the value of a visitor via A slew of devices to rival Apple’s iPad is set to hit
the market over the year ahead and will see tablet
mobile compared to other digital channels, and
use continue to increase, setting a chain reaction in
many will struggle to build the campaigns that motion. With the investment case for mobile
will keep them ahead of the game." strengthening by the day, we will almost certainly
witness growth in mobile advertising and mobile
targeting strategies as usage rockets upwards.
Simon Heyes
Head of International Media Marketers may have been slow to adapt to the
technology, but all the indications are that there
will come a moment of realisation in 2011 which
will make companies begin to take their mobile
strategy more seriously, moving it towards the
centre of their marketing mix.
Affiliates are likely to continue leading the charge. Their focus on SMS coupons
and mobile discount codes has been key to joining up digital marketing
campaigns with their High Street equivalents in 2010.
Amidst this atmosphere we are likely to see app downloads continue to increase,
with competition between Apple and Google’s rival smart phone operating
systems intensifying. Taking account of the scale of the growing market, we
would also expect to witness attempts by both companies to further monetize
the trade in apps.

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Fuelled by such growth, it is also expected that Augmented Reality will continue
to create real interest amongst marketers in 2011. Although the technology has
been around for a while and there appear to be
numerous benefits for the retail and travel sectors,
“2011 is finally going to be the year for mobile, it has yet to breach mainstream consciousness.
However, with several big players already
particularly when it comes to e-commerce,
investigating its potential, we remain only one
which is most likely to grow at a faster rate in successful case study away from seeing this
the rest of Europe than in the UK and US.” exciting field attract major commercial attention.
Already, companies interested in providing the
Sandra D’Onofrio type of user help that Augmented Reality can
Head of PPC
supply but unwilling to go all the way have
implemented some interesting apps and widgets.
There’s a growing list of retail examples that
includes everything, from virtual personal shoppers
and dressing rooms to interactive catalogues, and we expect to see an explosion
of such applications over the course of the coming year.

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Buckles, bolts, belts and braces: getting the basics right
Sarah Curds
Head of Media Usability

It’s all very well coming up with clever breakthroughs and cunning twists on
existing technologies, but none of them will amount to much if you can’t get the
basics right. Consequently, we believe that usability will gain increased
prominence in the eyes of the digital marketing
industry as 2011 rolls forward.
"An increased focus on accountability will The smart phone war has really spiked interest in
continue to raise the priority of analytics within optimising for mobile browsers and building the
latest mobile app allowing clients to extend their
many organisations in 2011 to match business'
reach online, and in the year ahead the user
desire for transparency across digital channels. experience of these sites and apps will be
As companies look to optimise budgets cross paramount. We expect demand for a range of
digital, marketing mix reporting will become mobile and mobile app usability services to
increasingly important, while long term increase strongly over the coming months.

customer value and genuine ROI will become Despite the fact that usability testing has been
the goal of more and more operations." around for over a decade, there are still so many
companies out there not getting the basics right
that there will always be a need for basic usability
Luke Maxwell reviews. Businesses are getting savvier about
Head of Reporting & Analytics
employing usability during new builds, but
because this doesn’t always go to plan we expect
our team to spend a lot of time in 2011 helping
clients reverse engineer and fix mistakes.
Another aspect of usability services we expect to move centre stage in the
months ahead is conversion optimisation, which is becoming more steadily
recognised as a means to improve digital marketing activity. Based on current
experience, it seems likely that we’ll be seeing more and more new clients
expecting this kind of service as standard with their PPC or SEO campaigns.
Google Instant is also likely to have a continued impact on search marketing in
the year ahead. When the service launched experts speculated that one of the

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effects for non-paid search would be a shift toward longer or shorter search
queries, and to some extent that seems to be the case so far.
Our research, which focussed on major brands, found that it appears to be the
short- to middle-length (two- to four-word) terms that have dropped. This is
likely due to a combination of users using the
suggest function more, as well as refining
“Speed will be a critical factor in 2011. searches in real time by adding more words to
their queries.
Consumers increasingly want to get what they
want even faster, and this trend will continue Bigmouthmedia’s usability team also expects to
witness increasing focus upon customer service as
affecting conversion cycles, with impatient
an aspect of user experience. Consumers are
users frustrated with click-heavy sites moving increasingly demanding higher levels of care from
elsewhere.” the companies they do business with and as sites
improve their level of optimisation and usability,
customer service will become the next clear
Dee Miller
Head of SEO differentiator and as such, increasingly important
bigmouthmedia to big brands.
This trend looks likely to encourage greater
integration between online and offline marketing
campaigns. Most users lump every interaction with a brand together and expect
the same experience in store as they do online as they do using a catalogue or
phone. Irrespective of how they do business with companies, the whole journey
for each method of contact should be as consistent and as joined-up as possible.
Many in the industry believe that web users will increasingly expect websites to
look and work like online apps in 2011. Users will begin to expect the same
simplicity and intuitive ease of use on websites that they can get via web
applications, and brands’ desire to present a consistent approach to their display
of content across all mediums may see us finally move away from print
influenced design and towards a mobile influenced look and feel.

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Content is king: the rise and rise of quality information
Julie Mahoney
Head of Content Strategy
LBi London
Back in the late 1990’s, not long before the original dot-com boom exploded
and fell flat on its face, one of the digital marketing industry’s best worn clichés
was that content is king.
Flash forward more than a decade and once again,
the spectre of top quality content has raised its
“This will be the year in which the digital media head again. All indications are that content
is finally no longer seen as being distinct from marketing will be firmly back on the agenda in
2011, and that the blending of SEO, Social and
the traditional press and broadcasters. Services
usability will demand a fresh approach to online
like Twitter and Facebook now playing an content diversity, quality and trust.
integral role in many aspects of the popular
We expect that brands will continue their move
media’s output and this process will become towards becoming online publishers and target
irreversible in 2011.” their production budgets towards video creation.
ComScore reports that 300 million people across
the globe discover, watch and share videos each
Leanne Rinning
Head of Online PR month, while Cisco predicts that by 2013, 90% of all
bigmouthmedia web traffic will be videos.
Given this shift in behaviour, brands will need to
ramp up to meet the demand for creating
engaging rich media content. Creating videos will gain increasing importance
for companies as they come under pressure to produce not merely standard
advertising videos, but creative executions which don’t seem immediately self-
promotional such as reviews, industry discussions, crisis management responses
and product walkthroughs.
Inspired by pioneers such as French Connection’s video-based Youtique store
and Google’s, luxury brands will delve more into content driven
ecommerce to satisfy the needs of shoppers for convenience. Prada reports in
The Economist that within five years some 40% of its revenues in America will
come from the Internet, and luxury brands will need to figure out the right
content to educate and inspire consumers to purchase big-ticket items from the

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web, which will increasingly be acting as more of a virtual shop assistant than a
straightforward display platform.
Accompanying this rethink on the value of content will be a reassessment of the
value offered by affiliates. Frequently the force powering the mix of blogs,
coupons and videos that drives sales online, these
critical players could find themselves viewed in a
"We’re about to see a real burst of creative different light by the brands they sell.
innovation as the industry reacts against the With content increasingly seen as the key to online
'age of austerity', bringing some much needed success in 2011, we expect competition to intensify
colour back into our lives. 2011 will also be the as the videos, reviews and personalities emerging
online begin to occupy a more central role in the
year we begin to see brands experiment with
overall media mix.
Wii-style gestural interfaces as the technology
Digital media is poised to strike at the heart of
becomes available and savvy marketers begin
traditional outlets. With the BBC’s early adoption of
to test the possibilities of a whole new type of twitter and bloggers into their TV programmes, we
user experience." anticipate that more and more social media experts
in niche fields will be invited to present guest posts
on television programs. Early programmes to do
Laura Jordan-Bambach
Executive Creative Director this are Film 2010, where a film blogger appears as
LBi the co-host. In turn this will elevate social media’s
profile and entice more users to start blogging and
Google and Facebook will continue to fulfil their current roles major traffic
drivers, indicating that defining strategies for both platforms will remain a 100%
necessity in 2011, but every business serious about marketing online will need to
formulate an approach to content. Like it or lump it – we’re all publishers now.

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And finally: ten top predictions for 2011
1. Greater sophistication: Overall, we will see greater complexity in digital campaigns,
with increased focus on tracking, targeting, remarketing, cross digital reporting and real
time influences.

2. Prepare to get tribal: Social media will remain crucially important with the emphasis
being placed on relationships. Cultivating relationships online will dominate value in
content, links and promotion.

3. More metrics: As advertising measurement improves, advertisers will engage in more

guerrilla marketing and viral techniques as Twitter introduces more advertising options.

4. Integration: There will be less and less the need for specific PPC, SEO or social media
strategies as clients look more and more into integrated approaches.

5. Cross platform: Social media will link into all other elements of on and offline
marketing and will have an influence on lots of other departments from customer
services and human resources to product development.

6. Local focus: Success starts at home, and those sites that are in tune with their local
markets and key business areas will find a wealth of social, content and link value.
Localised search and language management will advance, breaking down barriers and
borders for online communities.

7. Power shifts: The Yahoo and MSN search alliance has experienced delays in the US,
but it could mean serious competition for Google in 2011.

8. The need for speed: Consumers need to get what they want even faster, and with
impatient users frustrated with click heavy sites, usability will be the white knight
saving those deep, cumbersome websites from instant dismissal by users.

9. Highly targeted: Digital advertising will become increasingly more personal with
improved targeting becoming a feature of every aspect of search, promotion and

10. A breakaway in 3D digital campaigns: We’re already watching 3D TV and movies,

and it’s only a matter of time before digital advertising heads the same way. 3D laptops
are now available, and two 3D Android handsets are available in Japan. The first 3D
commercial aired in November 2009. Expect by November 2011 to see 3D advertising
across TV, mobiles and the mainstream internet.

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The Year Ahead in Digital Marketing

0845 130 0022 @bigmouthmedia


These predictions were put together by various heads of department in LBi and bigmouthmedia in December 2010 and is
copyright of bigmouthmedia. We are very happy (and flattered, actually) for you to quote or reproduce the content as long
as you source it to LBi/bigmouthmedia and you don't reproduce it for any commercial purposes.

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