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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 the Committee of Advertising Practice to cover the digital sector. The precise details of how this will affect online advertisers are yet to emerge, but PPC, Display and websites themselves look certain to be affected by expansion of the regulations. While discussion over its practical implications will dominate much of the year, the change will result in a tougher approval process for PPC & Display creatives following ASA’s code of conduct launch. Digital marketers will need to be careful of the competitive claims they make, ensure that quoted prices are inclusive of VAT and other added charges, provide limited stock warnings and cope with increased regulation around the health, medical, gambling and charity sectors.
“In 2011 consumers will continue to drive change and new habits and usage of social networking will bring to light opportunities for companies to react. Owned social media channels will become increasingly important as brands become more confident in the ability to manage the B2C conversation in the public domain. We will definitely see social media become an integral part of the marketing mix. The brands that will win the battle for the heart of the socialised consumer will be the ones who innovate and inspire by creative use of social media.”
Eva Keogan Head of Social Media LBi
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 bigmouthmedia 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 video software (such as Apple’s Quicktime) or Flash “The year ahead looks set to be full of technical (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 interactions. demand will mean that it is a task which must
be met head-on.”
Richard Falconer Head of Technical Services bigmouthmedia
Only time will tell, but the advent of HTML5 may well give companies reason to consider relaunching their entire site just to keep up with technology. This will strike a bitter blow against brands that have only recently rebuilt their websites, but they certainly won’t be alone in their peril.
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 website is readable when browsed via an internetenabled television, presaging the launch of Google TV and a fresh welter of concerns to weigh down the dedicated digital marketer. In March 2011 the British Advertising Standards Authority plans to expand the Committee of Advertising Practise (CAP) into the digital arena. Whereas some user-generated content and SEO strategies are excluded from the new rules and the place of affiliate marketing is still being debated, PPC, Display and websites themselves will be affected by expansion of the regulations.
“Affiliates will play a critical role in pushing forward many of the advances we expect to see during 2011. Frequently innovative and always ahead of the curve, they have been the driving force behind many of the online sector’s key breakthroughs.”
Fiona Robertson Head of Affiliates and Performance bigmouthmedia
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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"Personalization of search results based on users’ IP will force businesses to think more out of the box and localize content. The Semantic Web will take full shape, with early adopters enjoying a significant competitive advantage.”
Susana Inarejos Head of Media Services bigmouthmedia
competitive claims they make, ensure that quoted prices are inclusive of VAT and other added charges, provide limited stock warnings and cope with increased regulation around the health, medical, gambling and charity sectors. The year 2011, I fear, will also be the fulcrum on which many other battles are to be fought as a three separate disciplines fight for control over the digital budgets. Although not a new scrap, the tussle to determine who ‘owns’ social media – is it 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 progress.
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A web without wires: the mobile revolution continues
Leanne Johnson Group Account Director bigmouthmedia
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 enabled sites and cross-platform apps as more channel over the coming year face a steep evidence emerges to prove that it represents a learning curve. Our research has shown that genuine, revenue-driving channel.
more than three quarters of the UK's big brands do not understand the value of a visitor via mobile compared to other digital channels, and many will struggle to build the campaigns that will keep them ahead of the game."
Simon Heyes Head of International Media bigmouthmedia
A slew of devices to rival Apple’s iPad is set to hit the market over the year ahead and will see tablet use continue to increase, setting a chain reaction in motion. With the investment case for mobile strengthening by the day, we will almost certainly witness growth in mobile advertising and mobile targeting strategies as usage rockets upwards.
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, it has yet to breach mainstream consciousness. “2011 is finally going to be the year for mobile, 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 type of user help that Augmented Reality can Sandra D’Onofrio Head of PPC supply but unwilling to go all the way have bigmouthmedia 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 bigmouthmedia
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 continue to raise the priority of analytics within many organisations in 2011 to match business' desire for transparency across digital channels. As companies look to optimise budgets cross digital, marketing mix reporting will become increasingly important, while long term customer value and genuine ROI will become the goal of more and more operations."
Luke Maxwell Head of Reporting & Analytics bigmouthmedia
The smart phone war has really spiked interest in optimising for mobile browsers and building the latest mobile app allowing clients to extend their reach online, and in the year ahead the user experience of these sites and apps will be paramount. We expect demand for a range of mobile and mobile app usability services to increase strongly over the coming months. Despite the fact that usability testing has been 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 reviews. Businesses are getting savvier about 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 searches in real time by adding more words to “Speed will be a critical factor in 2011. their queries.
Consumers increasingly want to get what they want even faster, and this trend will continue affecting conversion cycles, with impatient users frustrated with click-heavy sites moving elsewhere.”
Dee Miller Head of SEO bigmouthmedia
Bigmouthmedia’s usability team also expects to witness increasing focus upon customer service as an aspect of user experience. Consumers are increasingly demanding higher levels of care from the companies they do business with and as sites improve their level of optimisation and usability, customer service will become the next clear differentiator and as such, increasingly important 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 head again. All indications are that content marketing will be firmly back on the agenda in 2011, and that the blending of SEO, Social and usability will demand a fresh approach to online content diversity, quality and trust. We expect that brands will continue their move towards becoming online publishers and target their production budgets towards video creation. ComScore reports that 300 million people across the globe discover, watch and share videos each month, while Cisco predicts that by 2013, 90% of all web traffic will be videos.
“This will be the year in which the digital media is finally no longer seen as being distinct from the traditional press and broadcasters. Services like Twitter and Facebook now playing an integral role in many aspects of the popular media’s output and this process will become irreversible in 2011.”
Leanne Rinning Head of Online PR bigmouthmedia
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 selfpromotional 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 Boutiques.com, 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 'age of austerity', bringing some much needed colour back into our lives. 2011 will also be the year we begin to see brands experiment with Wii-style gestural interfaces as the technology becomes available and savvy marketers begin to test the possibilities of a whole new type of user experience."
Laura Jordan-Bambach Executive Creative Director LBi
With content increasingly seen as the key to online success in 2011, we expect competition to intensify as the videos, reviews and personalities emerging online begin to occupy a more central role in the overall media mix. Digital media is poised to strike at the heart of traditional outlets. With the BBC’s early adoption of twitter and bloggers into their TV programmes, we 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 this are Film 2010, where a film blogger appears as the co-host. In turn this will elevate social media’s profile and entice more users to start blogging and tweeting.
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. 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. More metrics: As advertising measurement improves, advertisers will engage in more guerrilla marketing and viral techniques as Twitter introduces more advertising options. 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. 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. 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. Power shifts: The Yahoo and MSN search alliance has experienced delays in the US, but it could mean serious competition for Google in 2011. 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. Highly targeted: Digital advertising will become increasingly more personal with improved targeting becoming a feature of every aspect of search, promotion and performance.
3. 4. 5.
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
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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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