ADOTAS — What’s on the horizon for 2014? DigitasLBi leaders across the globe recently offered their predictions for brands and agencies everywhere. From worldwide trends to local market-level predictions, see the insights that every global marketer needs to know: the social networks that will win (or fail), how mobile will continue to change our lives, exactly how marketers will design for consumers, the technology that they’ll use, and what’s next for big data.
LinkedIn will be the big winner in 2014: LinkedIn has proven itself to be extremely marketer-savvy, working with brands to create sponsored content and influencer strategies, while using its rich data to help guide consumer engagement. And while Facebook is making headlines for forcing more pay-to-play engagement, LinkedIn has found a healthy middle between owned and paid content for marketers. Obviously platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter shouldn’t be discounted—they’re making significant progress in meeting marketer expectations—but in 2014, LinkedIn will be the big winner as it continues to develop customized solutions and profit from them.
Real-time marketing: it will get better (and bigger). Despite some recent backlash, real-time marketing is here to stay. In 2014, we’ll see deeper investment from brands and agencies both in terms of budget and time spent. And, we’ll start to see greater integration of RTM into every day brand building versus just one-off moments — or, using the newsroom analogy, think more feature stories vs. breaking news.
The result will be a substantial increase in quality content that anticipates what audiences need and want—it won’t all be reactive à la the Super Bowl blackout, but if done correctly, it’ll feel right in the moment. And though social will continue to lead the way as marketers’ choice of medium for RTM, we’ll see greater expansion into other channels as well, including DOOH.
— Anne-Marie Kline, SVP, Social Content / Managing Director, BrandLIVE, DigitasLBi North America.
In APAC, Facebook gets less social. In Asia, 2014 will see a significant shift for teenagers from Facebook to messenger services for their social interactions. It’s not the death of Facebook by any means (in fact their user base will probably continue to grow) but the level of interactions on the platform will decrease. In the APAC region, where in some markets people have skipped the purchase of a desktop/laptop altogether and gone straight to mobile, the prominence of messenger services and the adoption of sophisticated platforms like WeChat and Line will continue to grow.
— Amit Patel, PR & Content Strategist, DigitasLBi Hong Kong
The demise of Tuenti. Tuenti, a Spanish-based social network (known to many as the Spanish Facebook) has been very popular in the past amongst teenagers. But it seems destined to become the next one-hit-social media wonder. The last few months have seen a consistent decrease in traffic, with its youngest users leaving for Instagram and mobile messaging apps like Whatsapp. Tuenti has also failed to monetize their platform—advertising is extremely expensive and inflexible, with limited API availability only for Goliath-sized clients.
Everything points to Telefónica either shutting down this once-promising social platform or converting it into a Whatsapp or Line-styled messaging app, while maintaining the mobile operator side of Tuenti for “lo quiero todo papi” young consumers.
— Eugenio Sanz, Social Media Strategist, DigitasLBi Spain
Social goes back to basics. In 2014 we’ll see a rise in the simplification of the big social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Ironically, as companies invest more in their social strategies, more of them will shut down or decrease their number of social accounts: Facebook page merges, the closing and signposting of Twitter accounts, etc. Global brands will develop solutions for use in multiple markets in several languages –they’re the ones spending the most on advertising, so they’ll create tools with their needs in mind.
Facebook and LinkedIn are on the right track with global pages – this approach will hopefully be implemented across all social platforms. Consumers don’t classify themselves as living in APAC or EMEA; they just want to engage with the brand on their own terms. And hopefully this will also prompt YouTube to reopen some of the inactive usernames for brands.
— Darcie Tanner, Head of Social Media Management, DigitasLBi U.K.
WeChat takes on the world. With over 100 million users outside of China—and a whopping 600 million total—WeChat is on track to become the most popular chat app in the world. Just last month the Global Web Index declared it the fastest growing social app used by youths worldwide, with a 1,021% increase amongst that set in 2013—all without even factoring in growth in China.
What’s more is that unlike current leader WhatsApp, owning company Tencent has made a significant investment in their app’s e-commerce and marketing functionalities, making WeChat a natural fit for brands. All combined, in 2014 we’ll see WeChat head straight to the top.
— Justin Peyton, Strategy Director MENA & Asia Pacific at DigitasLBi (Singapore)
Mobile will bring your physical and digital existence closer together. Portable devices – be they phones or tablets or something new – are increasingly aware of your surroundings in a way that desktop computers can’t usefully be. Your phone knows where you are, can recognise North and can tell the time. But imagine a phone that knows when it’s dark, reacts to noises, recognises colours, and responds to temperature; a small device that knows what you’re doing, who you’re with and how much you paid to do it. In 2014, we’ll see that all come together.
Shopping will be everywhere. Flipboard allows you to be a magazine editor; Pinterest and Fab enable you to aggregate and curate content to your heart’s content. Watch as these “magazines” become “catalogues,” and every consumer becomes an “affiliate” making money off the back of a buy button in magazines they have curated. The shopping experience will start to migrate from brands and retailers to individual products, wherever they are shared across multiple social platforms and apps.
– Ilicco Elia, Head of Mobile, DigitasLBi U.K.
Mobile becomes the focus of creating loyalty. We have already seen mobile apps like Key Ring and Apple’s Passport begin to supplant physical “loyalty” cards. Moving forward, we’ll see marketers using mobile in even richer ways. As mobile becomes core to all aspects of the consumer journey, brands will focus on using mobile to create experiences that deliver value and inspire emotional connection. Mobile payments, incidentally, will get rolled out as a component of mobile loyalty experiences.
The next generation of cross-channel ad tech platforms comes from mobile. The future reality of all digital marketing will be data-rich, natively focused and cookie-less—much like mobile is today. As we see the shift of user engagement continue to flow in the direction of mobile—and in many instances in favor of mobile — the market will demand ad tech solutions that allow them to reach people across screens. These new ad tech platforms will likely be tied initially to a specific ecosystem, e.g., Google, Facebook, Twitter or Amazon. My bet is that Facebook will get there first.
— Chia Chen, SVP, North America Mobile Practice Lead, DigitasLBi
Say goodbye to cash and credit cards—mobile replaces everything in the UAE. In 2013, the Prime Minster of the UAE, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, released a mandate for all government agencies to start providing their services via mobile. Since then, everything is going mobile, from using your phone to get on the metro, to checking in at the airport, to paying utility bills—and more. In 2014, these processes will become second nature; mobile will replace boarding passes, loyalty cards, credit cards, and even cash payments. In the UAE, mobile innovation is no longer just the purview of tech companies—it’s a government priority. Businesses and tourism will reap the benefits of that.
— Roy Badawi, Managing Director, DigitasLBi MINA
More mobile bandwidth in Germany—and better social as a result. Mobile is nothing new to Germany. But with recent massive increases in bandwidth (in particular, the availability and adoption of LTE), mobile will have a huge effect on German marketers in 2014. We’ll see German brands adapt their social media strategies to mobile devices. And since more bandwidth means higher quality content, that also means greater German consumer and brand adoption of global image/video platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, etc.
– Florian Schießl, Account Manager, DigitasLBi Germany
The rise of inclusive design. 2013 was a big year for responsive design. In 2014, that trend will evolve into a more holistic “inclusive web design” approach that renews the focus on users and builds a single- or multi-platform presence for brands. The ever-growing range of devices and screens, and people’s varied usage, requires both the write-once-run-everywhere and highly specialized device specific solutions. Inclusive design will result in hyper-personalized, customized and tailored experiences, moving away from the egalitarian experience that purely responsive sites deliver.
— Rasmus Frandsen, Creative Director, DigitasLBi Denmark
The end of fake 3D. Here is a trend that started in 2013 and will continue in 2014: the end of fake 3D, drop shadows, and Apple’s skeuomorphism. The screen is flat and there is no reason to pretend otherwise. Even if Windows 8 had a rocky start, the design was leading the way. Google was first in adapting, Apple made its way with the release of iOS 7, and countless other web offerings – commerce as well as marketing platforms – are about to follow. Flat design in combination with translucency and semi-transparent is the way of the future. On top of that, higher screen resolution and larger screens will lead designers to make use of the space beyond the minimal viewport (Full Screen Design).
— Andreas Teigeler, Executive Creative Director, DigitasLBi AG, Germany & Switzerland
The best navigation is no navigation: What’s the best way to get from point A to point B? By using a single straight line, of course.
When it comes to navigation, the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” philosophy is becoming more prominent as an increasing number of websites move away from the “choose your own adventure” navigation in favor of simple, concise, controlled journeys that guide the viewer seamlessly through the experience. While this structure is not appropriate in all scenarios, it’s an increasingly popular rule of thumb that will be (and should be) much more often, when appropriate.
More appropriate typography: The movement to broaden the number of available webfonts has finally arrived. Most major type foundries now offer webfonts, including Monotype and FontShop. Even longstanding holdout Hoefler & Freer-Jones recently launched cloud.typography, which enables designers to use several of their modern classics (i.e. Gotham) in their designs.
This is a huge technological step forward. No longer limited to a small range of system fonts, designers can take advantage of nearly any conservative or expressive font that meets their needs—which will have a huge impact on the quality – and variety – of web design.
— Matthew Jacobson, SVP, Creative, DigitasLBi North America
The Internet of Me: 2013 was about the “Internet of Things,” and how everything around us can be identified and connected. Now, with everyday appliances and devices getting smarter, smaller, and cheaper, we’ll see the reality of a connected experience truly driven by behavior. Simple predictive technologies, not unlike Google Now, will become readily available across a myriad of touch points providing personalized and adaptive experiences in every part of our lives. We’ll start to see our cars, kitchens, televisions, and phones think ahead of us and anticipate our individual intentions.
Agile Marketing goes prime time. While some agencies adopted it in 2013, 2014 is the year that we’ll see more and more marketing organizations take on tenets of the Agile Methodology, which includes rapid iterations, closer collaboration (consumers included), and the heavy use of testing and data. This will be driven by the need of companies to act faster, adapt when necessary, and become more predictive in their marketing and advertising efforts. Agile over traditional conventions will ultimately allow marketers to speak directly to a consumer rather than a market segment.
– Paolo Yuvienco, Global Chief Technology Officer, DigitasLBi
Touch-less experiences that you can feel. In 2013, we saw a shift for a lot of technology from the mouse to the touchpad. In 2014, more brands will move from the touchpad to touch-less experiences, experimenting with new technologies like gesture-based MYO and sensor-based Fundawear. There are opportunities here for brands and people to meet beyond screen-based interactions; now, moving forward, we’ll see (and create) more digital experiences where people control things using voice, gesture, and eye movement.
– Marcus Mustafa, Global Head of User Experience, DigitasLBi
The marriage of Chinese money and U.S. tech companies. In 2014, we’ll see China become a big investor in the tech companies of Silicon Valley, particularly those looking for their second round of funding. Following Tencent’s investment in Snapchat, U.S. tech companies will court Chinese investors for large amounts of capital, while Chinese companies will see this as a rapid path to global revenue streams.
– Justin Peyton, Strategy Director MENA & Asia Pacific at DigitasLBi (Singapore)
Print-your-own __________ 2014 will bring about a widespread proliferation of 3D printers—not just at tech companies and ad agencies, but in the home of everyday consumers. This will mean two things: as well as seeing the potentially sinister side of this technology (3D-printed guns, anyone?) we’ll also see the amazing creative possibilities of this technology. 3D printing will go to space, fabricating replacement parts, and to the developing world as a way to help provide clean water. In 2014, 3D printing on site, and at times in hostile sites, will allow us to achieve things that were once just pipe dreams.
Cyborgs for all. Next year we’ll continue to see constant and at times terrifying advances in robot technology. We are now starting to see the beginnings of what this may mean to consumers in the field of home automation, with ever more effective applications of robot technology in the form of lawnmowers, vacuums, and self-driving cars. In 2014 these technologies will become more commonplace in the home, helping with chores, completing tasks you never had to before, and hopefully ironing your clothes.
– Mark Agar, Head of Technology, DigitasLBi U.K.
Image recognition: technology that wins at mobile—and commerce. Next year when you want to look up a product on your phone, you may not need to type in—you’ll simply snap a photo. While mobile image recognition has been around for a few years now (like Google Goggles in 2010), 2014 will be the year it really takes off. We’ll see much deeper investment and more executions from retailers—like Macy’s with their Star Gifts app, or eBay with their Motors app. And the technology itself is becoming more prevalent too—CamFind passed one million downloads in October, and thousands of developers are working on apps for Google Glass.
— Nicolas Dubost, Strategic Planner, DigitasLBi France
The birth of People-based analytics (PBA). With the emergence of always-on, wearable devices (such as Fitbit, Galaxy Gear, and Google Glasses) we’ll see new types of analytics for understanding audience behavior. The ability to look at real geo-location, motion, patterned behavior not just through media consumption or product purchase but through other everyday aspects of a consumer’s life creates both new data and new uses for this data. In 2014, wearable devices will help marketers deepen their understanding of the consumer’s shopping process, product consumption, and offline social interaction—and with that, they’ll find countless opportunities to add utility to their products and to the lives of their audiences.
The death of Media Mix Modeling. Cross-media integration relies on ongoing optimization at the consumer level. The growth in cross-media, multi-touch attribution in 2013 (and more-so in 2014) signals the imminent extinction of Media Mix Modeling. With the ever expanding ability to truly integrate media into a Single View of the Consumer, the industry will no longer rely on the macro-level modeling to understand the true impact of media on consumer decision making. While MMM won’t totally disappear in 2014, marketer’s desires for consumer-level optimization will increase with our ability for consumer-level (programmatic) media buying across digital, social, broadcast, and mobile media.
— Jason Kodish, SVP/North America Strategy & Analytics Lead, DigitasLBi
The utility of mobile leads to bigger (and better) data. For years now, marketers have spoken about a post-PC digital world, with mobile at the center. In 2014 not only will we see more brands providing value to their consumers via mobile (which they should be doing already), we’ll see them leveraging bigger and better data à la Google Now. Just a few examples: public transportation apps will know and understand your personal behaviour (improving your commute), pharmaceutical companies will help you with your daily medicine intake, and more sport brands will focus on helping consumers get fit.
— Chung Chao, Strategist, DigitasLBi Netherlands
More full customer lifecycle attribution. Attribution modeling came about because of the need to manage media spend more effectively across digital channels. However, as far as maximising channel and conversion optimisation it’s only been the tip of the iceberg.
Some agencies are already doing this, but 2014 will see an explosion of attribution evaluating touch points across not only display but also social, web, mobile (app and web), multi-visit, multi-device right through to advocacy. In short, more and more marketers will be attributing across the full customer lifecycle.
Data Management Platforms (DMPs). Having been first incepted as an extension of the display advertising industry, in the U.S. Data Management Platforms (DMPs) also became a solution to data integration challenges across all channels. That trend is now moving over to Europe, with DMPs enabling personalisation, owned/bought/earned marketing consistency, increasingly complex behavioural segmentation, and ultra-advanced attribution. This space is still in its nascency here, but expect an explosion in 2014.
— Alex Loveless, Head of Analytics, DigitasLBi U.K.
Streamed data over bulk data. In 2014, the real-time data trend will intensify across Europe, with more companies gathering insights from streamed data vs. just bulk data. It’ll change the way European companies handle big data, with dedicated task forces responding in real-time to seize opportunities for brands. We already have the necessary technology available—what’s needed now is an evolution in analytics skill sets, as marketers learn how to harness streamed data in a way that provides real-time value to consumers, while staying ahead of the brands’ needs.
— Niels Handberg, Director of UX, DigitasLBi Denmark