A Look Back at 5 Digital Marketing Trends of 2013

In late 2012 I created a blog post that highlighted 5 digital trends that would be prevalent in 2013. Now that 2013 is long and gone, I wanted to take a look back and see how these trends panned out in 2013.

1. Responsive Design Kills the Mobile Domain [2013 Trend]

responsive web designIn 2013 Google posted that responsive web design is their preferred method to serve content in optimized formats for both desktop and smartphone users. This statement was also reiterated at SMX East in October of 2013 by Pierre Far of Google so it’s pretty safe to say that if you have SEO and multiple devices in mind responsive web design is here to stay. 

2. Focus on Conversions Lighten Up [2013 Trend]

In my original post I referenced a 2012 SEMPO Report that showed that paid search objectives might be trending to less conversion orientated goals like, “increasing web traffic” and “increasing brand awareness.” In the 2013 version of the same SEMPO report, it looks like the responses are trending away from these goals altogether.

While previous years have seen a gradual fall in the percentage citing selling products, services or content directly online and generating leads on the agency side, the most recent results appear to indicate a change in focus on these core objectives. As digital marketing continues to evolve and best practice shifts, the way in which channels are used to reach marketing goals will continue to change.

In the case of PR and the work we’ve been doing at PadillaCRT we’ve seen the exact opposite. Over the past year we’ve continued to run more and more paid search campaigns for multiple beneficial reasons. In general we’ve found that paid search can easily help drive traffic, impressions and awareness for our clients. In fact, we’ve had such good results and ROI we’ve been putting more budget toward paid search rather than display advertising.

3. Rise of the Semantic Web [2013 Trend]

hummingbirdWe’ve continued to deploy structured data on our sites when appropriate but Google really justified this trend in 2013 with the launch of the Hummingbird algorithm. This algorithm update focuses more on the meaning and context of the search and structured data is an immediate way to be able to provide these signals to the search engine.

4. Forget Contests and Sweepstakes. It’s Time to Gamify. [2013 Trend]

Gamification-in-2012-M2R3The market forecast for deploying gamification techniques is looking very positive and at PadillaCRT we’ve begun to explore some of these concepts with our own clients. To my previous statement “it is time to gamify” although in our experience it takes a lot of effort and resources to communicate and explain this strategy/technique to clients. In 2013 we were close to launching a very in-depth Punch Tab solution for a major hospital system but ran into some scope issues with the project and the gamified approach has been tabled at the moment. We hope to revisit this solution in the near future as the solution at Punch Tab looked very promising.

5. Ads Will Continue to Follow You Around the Internet [2013 Trend]

Out of all of the trends I highlighted in 2013 I think retargeting has had the most growth during the last year. In our own experiences we’ve had success with retargeting and plan on deploying more retargeting campaigns this year. In a Chango Retargeting Survey, they found that more than half of the respondents plan to spend more on retargeting in 2014 and 1 out of 5 marketers now have a dedicated budget for retargeting in 2014.

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