Digital on trial: Harness 2012’s key trends to seize opportunities in 2013

Digital on trial: Harness 2012’s key trends to seize opportunities in 2013

by Richard Broughton – 14th January 2013

It’s that time of the year when we all look back at the year just gone, decide on resolutions for the year ahead and desperately try to stick to them. Brand Republic (BR), after looking back on 2012, have published a report, evaluating the facts and figures of digital marketing in 2012, establishing how we can improve in 2013, and how businesses may be operating in the future. It comes as no surprise that digital activity from mobile devices is on the up. In fact 10% of all website page views come from our portable technology. With more and more methods for accessing the Internet, mobile web traffic is rising at a rate of 78 per cent per year and it’s been predicted that by 2015, only 18% of computing sales will be for desktop machines, so it’s more important than ever for marketers to recognize this and change their strategies to incorporate these changing trends.
BR’s recent report found that 48% of tablet owners use them as their sole access point to social media accounts. The same report noted how despite its low ROI return and high-risk connotations, digital video will continue to be a key area for marketing investment this year. This fact is most true of B2B marketers. On average, marketers will be spending 67% of their 2013 budget on video content. Thinking that’s a huge investment into something that’s relatively new? According to Brand Republic, half of marketers won’t invest more than 10% of the budget in a scheme that isn’t “widely-tested,” so fingers crossed video content turns into money well spent.

Unlike video content, email marketing presented marketers with the highest ROI return in 2012, despite the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg famously quoting, “email is dead.” In 2015 it’s predicted that there will be 4.1 billion email accounts around the world. Despite the growing need to keep up with the ever-changing social media, it seems short sighted to write off email as a marketing medium, just yet.

Marketers must contend with the ever-growing necessity of speed communication, altering their strategies in order to appear on top of today’s needs. There are now 3 billion mobile instant messaging accounts, making the exchange of information easier than ever. This is just one digital opportunity marketers need to budget for. 2012 saw 92% of digital budgets heighten, the other 8% matched 2011’s financial allowance. The figures spent on digital activity will only greaten in size due to the expanding possibilities incorporated within the online spectrum.

When engaging with the online audience, creating good content is seen as the highest priority in order to make the greatest impact. As the numbers of people accessing the Internet via mobile devices is increasing, compatibility is a key consideration. If the content is not created to suit various technologies, the quality of said content will decrease in value, defeating the point of developing great copy. We have to be able to allow an individual to experience a site’s full capabilities wherever they are, using any device they choose.

Creating effective content is part of an all-encompassing, well-designed digital strategy, including evaluation of the strategy after implementation. BR’s research highlighted that 70% of marketers measure their digital marketing activity. Evaluation is undoubtedly as important as the activity itself. Without appraising the strategy and your online activity, no understanding of ROI can be obtained and no improvements can be made in areas which are not delivering an acceptable return, leaving the marketers at the mercy of the client’s belief that the campaign is working.

Evaluating or monitoring has its downsides if not implemented correctly. KitKat and Nestle famously deleted negative comments made on their Facebook page, and wrote rude, sarcastic replies on other posts. The uproar began when Greenpeace made a spoof version of their advertisement, pointing the finger at Nestlé’s lack of responsibility whilst sourcing ingredients. The video was reported and deleted, spurring Greenpeace to encourage Facebook users to bombard the Nestle/KitKat wall with derogatory comments, accompanied with sarcastic alterations of the brand’s logo. As said previously, Nestle/KitKat chose to either delete said comments or reply with posts such as “Thanks for the lesson in manners. Consider yourself embraced. But it’s our page, we set the rules, it was ever thus.” Not the best idea someone’s ever had… The brand quickly voiced their change of heart, taking to social networks to apologise for their reaction. Like most things, both good and bad opinions will arise from the crowd. Creating a comprehensive strategy for dealing with such criticism will ensure that your organisation’s voice is consistent and on brand and you don’t end up having to back track or apologise. A negative opinion on a social networking site can be turned into a positive if dealt with appropriately and consistently, using an appropriate comms plan. So, although many of us enjoy sarcasm, maybe it is best used from a position of strength and not directed towards angry stakeholders?

Engaging with publics and getting them interested seems to be the key with cross-channel marketing, involving interested on-lookers further. If responding to any comment left on a social media page, point them to the brand website, or another brand social media page. It informs that specific comment origin that you, as a brand, strive to make it as easy as possible to be contactable, along with the many other online users who will browse comments left on your social media pages.

With all of this in mind and in contrast to the phrase, ‘out with the old, in with the new,’ it may be beneficial to simply limit the old and spend more on the new. The methods of communication are not completely moving on, just simply expanding. Perhaps in the future email will be obsolete, but whilst we are still learning about all the new digital possibilities, the old methods with successful track records should not be forgotten, yet. Having said that, it’s shocking that Brand Republic came to the conclusion that 14% of marketers don’t have any form of digital strategy in place. This is not the way to go in this day and age. Change with your audiences needs and invest in digital, or you may find yourself being left behind.