As we get a couple of weeks or so into 2013, most of the “predictions” columns, articles, and blog posts have made their way out onto the web. This annual tradition is one that most of us either love or hate.
I tend to take a non-biased view to start, but there does come a time when there are simply too many of these out there. This can cause the good ones to fade into the background, as the volume of prediction-focused content that floods the web has become rather immense.
This year, I waited as long as possible to even bother with these sorts of material. After doing a rather extensive survey of what is out there, here are some of the high points I found. Hopefully this helps you get to the good stuff without having to pore over 30 blog posts of otherwise unremarkable content.
It’s Time To Take Mobile Seriously
Every year, there’s some bandwagon that the majority of predictors jump on, and this year it’s mobile, including smartphones, tablets, ebooks, and similar devices.
Advertising Revenue Trending Upward
According to eMarketer, as reported by Mashable, mobile advertising spend looks to have eclipsed $4 billion in 2012, and is on a pace to surpass $7 billion in 2013. If there is that much spending, then clearly there is value to be had for companies of all sizes. The chart to the right illustrates the momentum in growth that we should enjoy over the next 3-4 years.
Complexity Increasing As Well
With all of this growth, mobile marketing stands to also increase in complexity. Meanwhile, it has been shown to impact over half of brick and mortar purchase decisions by consumers, according to Deloitte Digital.
Big Plans for Big Data & Analytics
All through 2012, Big Data was a huge topic among IT, networking, and database types. As the volume of information grows faster than we know how to process it, it is crucial that we figure out a way to catch up.
Big Data For Marketing and Other Business Functions
The conversation moves over to other functions of the company heading into 2013. In fact, 2013 marks the first time we will hear real, applicable discussion about aggregating sales and social data to better understand how the two are interrelated.
Big Data Requires Housekeeping
A big part of Big Data involves data hygiene. Particularly for B2B, where the target audience moves from company-to-company, and even from career-to-career, at a rapid pace, continual scrubbing of data accuracy has become a must.
The biggest concern is that everyone now knows the need to figure out Big Data. If you sleep on it, you will fall behind others who jump in headfirst to enlist the tools and headcount they need for it.
Perfecting Multi-touch Attribution
Gabe Dalporta, CMO of LendingTree, claims that attribution should be a key priority to get sorted out in 2013.
According to Search Engine Watch, more companies will start to get lead attribution right, which will finally put a nail in the coffin for the long-standing but short-sighted use of last touch attribution. In their own words:
Marketers who leverage robust attribution frameworks will have more successful and efficient marketing allocations and better results and return on investment.
Social Media On Steroids
The predictions for social media are as diverse as they are numerous.
Social Media ROI
According to Angela Bandlow, VP of marketing at Extole, marketers will finally figure out the secret to measuring and prioritizing social media activities according to ROI.
Perhaps she is correct, but I have strong doubts that we are equipped to justify ROI for social media in traditional fashion. Eventually, we will figure out how to attribute clicks from it, how to value traffic at early stages of the buyer’s journey (from social, of course), and whether that translates into revenue.
The tough part, though, will be connecting the dots between initial social interaction and the word of mouth chain that eventually leads to a purchase. What was that about getting serious with Big Data again?
Inbound Marketing and Social Media for All
As the chart below illustrates, inbound marketing is squarely on the to do list of any marketer worth their salt. It has surpassed marketing automation as a priority, which is saying a lot given the huge hype we’ve seen about automation the past few years. This is a big deal folks.
Facebook for B2B
Facebook is ready to make a mark in B2B. For a long time, a majority of B2B marketers remained skeptical about Facebook because of a lack of ROI. If you are still of that mindset and sell to other businesses, it’s time to reconsider your opinion.
Continued Onslaught On SERPs by Google
While we do not know exactly where Google will focus their attention in the never ending effort to curb black hat SEO, they will stay the course indefinitely.
Major Updates Coming?
Will they push out major new updates with animal names, a’la Panda and Penguin? Larry Kim of Wordstream thinks so.
So does Darrin Peppers, who originally broke the rumor “From sources at Google” that we would see a “Zebra” update attacking manipulation of social media. That is either a clever ploy at building backlinks, or spammers on social media are in the cross hairs of the next algorithm update. Be sure you aren’t one of them.
Social Media Poised For Major SEO Impact
SEO thought leader Bruce Clay concurs that social media is the next major focal area for Google. In his predictions column, he also expects the SEO Tools industry to shrink due to Google’s latest tightening of API rules, and he advises that the Knowledge Graph will take on an increasing role in search over time. If you have never read Bruce’s work and have any stakes in SEO, go check him out.
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz agrees that social and search now overlap. He recommends moving on from on-page to focus on content generation, inbound / social marketing, and a more holistic SEO strategy.
I am a big believer that social and SEO have already started to dovetail, and this is just the beginning. Give a read to some of our related content, linked from below this blog post, for more information.
There you have it – some of the more insightful opinions on the web about what this year has in store for us. What did they miss? Would you dispute any of these ideas, and if so, why?