At the end of every year, digital marketers baffle about how much things have changed in just a short time, and every year it’s always true. This year, we wanted to take a look into what’s going to be happen in 2014.

Sadly, our DeLorean is still in the shop, and Professor Trelawney kept muttering nonsense about grave danger and black dogs, so we had to rely on our own noggins this year.

Image via Harry Potter Wiki
Image via Harry Potter Wiki

In no particular order, here are top 5 digital marketing predictions for 2014.

Social Advertising Spending Will Increase 35%

Facebook tweaked its algorithm  so  content from Business Pages aren’t appearing as readily in users News Feed. Twitter had its IPO and needs to show serious revenue opportunities — which it’s starting to with Lead Gen Cards, with the preliminary results from them extremely encouraging. Google+ is testing our paid posts to the poor fools who still use Google+. Even the New York Times is selling advertising based on trending topics in Twitter.

Social networking companies are tired of giving away their medium for free,  so if business still want to use them to get the same level of engagement from users, they’ll have to pony up some cash.  But instead of advertising their services, the smart ones will advertise their content.

Content Will Get Smaller

We all went a little crazy with content this year, myself included, but it’s time to scale back.

Yes, that’s right: Scale down your content.

Content will still be critically important in digital marketing, but people just don’t have the time to read  3,000-word blog posts or download 20-page whitepapers. They want quick facts and helpful tips they can digest quickly while scanning headlines over their lunch break.

There’s a place for long-form pieces, but companies will start repackaging them and pulling out the highlights for more digestible pieces, which will be more likely to get shared.

Purely “SEO” Agencies Will Start Dying 

I don’t think SEO is dead, but with the merger of all digital marketing tactics, it’s impossible to  focus on just one arena. Customers are demanding more, and users are looking to a variety of mediums before making any purchasing decision.

You need more than a technically optimized site, keywords and some backlinks to rank. Good SEO needs social signals, content and promotion strategy, public and media relations. Companies who don’t evolve with the changing definition of SEO and digital marketing as a whole are going to struggle to survive.

Location-based Marketing Tactics Will Rise

Mobile internet use is steadily rising, and Google sees anywhere from 20%-40% of searches that have a local intent. People want information in their area, and marketers have to start reaching them there. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t, especially since we’ll have access to a host of new data points from smartphones and wearable technologies like Google Glass.

“The value of location data will rise parallel to the growth of contextually relevant data about those locations,” said Aubriana Lopez, WHaM (Wireless, Hyperlocal and Mobile) lead strategist for Digital Element.  “These data sets go hand in hand and…for use cases from marketing and advertising to gaming and fraud prevention.

More Marketers Will Tie In User Experience

It’s impossible to do your job correctly without thinking about your user, and as Google focuses more on ranking sites based on the experience it’s giving to the users, digital marketing has to adjust to. UX and SEO have already started weaving together, so it’s only natural that digital marketing teams will be supplemented with user experience specialists.

User research to determine shopping and buying patterns will happen before a campaign starts. Split testing and remote usability tests will be more common in digital marketing to determine which landing page converts better.  The smart companies are already doing all of that. (Shameless plug.)


352 is an innovation and growth firm. Leading companies hire us to find billion-dollar opportunities, build killer new products and create hockey-stick growth. We bring grit and new-fashioned thinking to innovation, digital development and growth marketing.