Digital Trends for 2013

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This is the time of year to start planning your digital strategy for 2013.

In our trend predictions 12 months ago, our crystal ball was on the money, so here are our top picks for the coming year.

1. Search Engine Trends for 2013

Personalisation is the ‘keyword’. With Google’s search algorithm under constant refinement to deliver the most meaningful results there are significant changes taking place. Panda and Penguin updates are now in full force, which has cleaned up much of the rubbish returned in searches.

We anticipate that Google+ Authorship tools are a key indicator that social link building to ‘real’ content will be given preferential treatment in the coming years. Relying on the general public to recommend solid, original and fresh content is nothing new, in fact Google’s winning search formula invented over 10 years ago was to use the number of ‘backlinks’ as a key measure of popularity and rank performance. But with the increased number of automated techniques to build backlinks, Google has had to find smarter, more human ways to produce meaningful results. Linking personalisation with location on mobile devices will result in a much more refined result delivered to your device, desktop and living room.

Personalised search is dividing popular opinion but it’s the way we are headed like it or not.

So what do you need to do?  Implement a Content marketing strategy that produces content people want to read, link it to your Google+ Profile using Google Authorship tools, then distribute your content across the social sphere.

2. Pay-Per-Click (SEM) Trends for 2013

Remarketing has become a popular and highly effective extension to Google Advertising. It allows you to deliver specific ads, depending on what people view on your site.

For example, say KND run Google ads on web development, SEO and iPhone apps. If someone is particularly interested in our SEO webpage, we can continue to deliver our SEO ads to them rather than the others. This not only occurs in Google searches, but across the whole Google ad network including Gmail. (here are some more examples)

With the ever deceasing customer loyalty and tendency to shop the web for the best deal, using remarketing allows you to have another crack at directly advertising the product that they have already shown interest in. Very clever stuff!

3. Web design trends for 2013

1 in 2 Australians now own a smart phone. Your website MUST be usable on small screens or you are missing a huge opportunity. Designs that adapt to all screen sizes are called responsive designs.

Phones, tablets, the various new screens available as well as Windows 8, to name a few all have different screen resolutions. This obviously adds a huge level of complexity in the delivery of flexible visual design.  Options are needed to give users a pleasant experience when visiting your company online.

Responsive Design is still an emerging art form, which will continue to evolve throughout 2013. Businesses should be prepared to invest in this area to keep your mobile audience happy.

4. Multi-Channel eMarketing (using Silos)

For those who are participating in the social conversation, you would have already seen how Facebook is monetising its network. You won’t see as many of your favourite fan pages appearing on your page as you used to. Facebook wants businesses to pay for this now through Sponsored Stories and advertising.

It has recently introduced a fee for businesses to promote a status update, collecting a fee for both client/prospect acquisition and for content distribution.  This significantly changes the rules of affordable advertising options for business on Facebook and re-enforces the notion that business shouldn’t put all of their eggs in the one basket (or one channel) online.

A multi-channel strategy is now key to success and this will continue into 2013. Advertising budgets should be distributed across social, SEM, SEO, video, content and email marketing strategies that drive traffic back to your core purpose.

5. Cloud Trends in 2013

There is now very limited negative press about business pushing data into the cloud and business owners are now embracing cloud technologies. Accountants are even recommending using cloud accounting systems – this was possibly a tipping point.

We currently use about ten cloud services to make our business lives easier, from sales and marketing to customer, project and support management to document and data storage and backup. It still comes with all the complexities of desktop software, but makes for a very flexible workplace.

Trending into 2013 and beyond will be cloud ‘integrators’ – tools that specialise in connecting cloud software to each other and to older desktop software.

Conclusion

So that’s the top 5 hot tips for the coming year. Digital is a very exciting space at the moment. With business conditions gradually improving, we anticipate some exciting developments emerging next year as advertising and digital expenditure continues to grow and creative firms cut through the online clutter.

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