Closing the gap between dreaming and doing, digital has made our lives easier and faster. We live in a world of posts, likes and shares, and brands cannot ignore the importance of this medium if they want to grow exponentially. The conversation on the social media platforms has moved beyond mere ‘likes’, with brands looking at creating content that is relevant and engaging.
In a country where 600 million people are below the age of 25 years and increasingly consume digital, either additionally or alternatively, it is logical that agencies have to think about digital to connect with the young audience. The share of digital in the entire marketing mix is increasing and spends are catching up with consumption and by next year there will be a balance coming out in terms of spends.
At the IMPACT Digital Power 100 conference, the digital stars predicted the top five trends for 2014.
The rise of short-form videos
The year 2014 will witness the rise of short-form video as marketers are increasingly targeting the youth, who prefer to watch short-form videos on their mobile devices. Looking at the success of Twitter’s Vine, which enables its users to create and post short video clips, marketers have started creating short videos to drive engagement. While short video storytelling format gained importance in 2013, 2014 will see this format becoming increasingly important for brands.
Emerging trio of location, mobile and commerce
With increased proliferation of devices and the internet, there is a huge scope for location-based marketing. Marketers have been targeting consumers through apps such as ‘checking-in’ through Foursquare. They can use location patterns to deliver customised messages based on their eating and shopping patterns. Google AdWords has made targeting much more structured and comprehensive. 2014 will see a massive explosion of connected devices so location-based marketing will be paramount for brands.
Boom in branded content
The year 2014 will see the rise of branded content. It will become inevitable and brands will have to launch their own content platforms similar to Coke and P&G. There is a need for creating content that engages people so that they can share and recommend it. In the digital world, it is also crucial to co-create content and make the conversations much more participatory. The year 2014 will see more branded content on various media platforms.
Dominance of hashtags
Hashtags will become the most important search tool in the online world. They have gained a strong momentum online, especially on Twitter, Instagram and Google+. People have started searching for specific topics using the hashtag. It helps in finding relevant content in an easy and faster manner. Hence, 2014 will see a marked increase in the use of hashtags by people online and make it the most preferred search tool.
Emergence of mobile
2014 will also see huge budgets being allocated for mobile because of its wide reach and cost-effectiveness. With many Android devices set to be rolled out in the range of Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000 in 2014, there will be an explosion of devices across strata. There are many people who will access the internet on mobile for the first time. So, the medium has immense untapped power and in 2014, marketers will increasingly target consumers through mobile. It can be called as a year of the mobile.
Marketers are also likely to start looking beyond Facebook and opt for other platforms because of the fall in organic reach. Another interesting trend is that by mid to end of 2014, structured online reputation management will become very big.
One will have to wait and watch to see whether these predictions come true or fall by the way side in the year ahead, but experts believe it is certain that digital will be at the centre of most successful communication strategies in 2014.