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Online Marketing Trends for 2014

By Jeff Jones on December 4, 2013 in Digital Marketing

Many of us have shifted our focus to the new year as the holidays buzz by and the vast majority of our 2013 budgets run dry. The 2014 year should prove to be just as fast paced as those before it. Luckily, the online giants have given us a few clues to what they will be working on in 2014. The following list will hopefully help you navigate the trends and be prepared for what’s ahead.

The Proliferation of Responsive Design

Websites are getting smarter as they adapt to the changing world of the web. Many companies have transitioned their websites to responsive design in an effort to ensure that their users have the best possible online experience no matter what device they are using. The coming year will see the proliferation of responsive design out of necessity and not just an added bonus.

Now that over 17.4% of worldwide pageviews come from mobile devices, according to, a company’s website must fulfill all of the needs of the consumer on their mobile device. Not just a slimmed down version that many “mobile” websites display today. You would never disregard the needs of 17.4% of the customers that walked through your physical front door… why do it digitally?

Video Ads will Invade Social Networks

Instagram - Sponsored Post

The rapid adoption of short video powered services like Vine and the inclusion of video in Instagram will power a dramatic shift in video advertising in the coming year. Both Vine and Instagram, owned by Twitter and Facebook respectively, will pioneer new and unique ways for brands to engage their audiences.

Both Vine and Instagram are excellent short storytelling platforms that empower users and brands to connect with their audience. Don’t expect the advertisements to stay quietly on the apps of the respective services. Like YouTube videos, these short video clips are often embedded on other sites and social media. The ads will be embedded right along with the videos.

Expect the networks to have a swath of features associated with these new ads.

  • “Sponsored Posts” focusing only on the brand
  • “Pre-Roll” ads that play before a user’s video
  • “Auto-Play” ads that users can’t stop but can only scroll past

Content Marketing Will Rule All

The idea of what makes up a corporate website will begin a transition as our digital lives better reflect our physical ones. Your company is not a static page full of marketing wording. It is powered by real people, with actual customers, and it is constantly changing and morphing. In 2014 more and more companies will start to embrace their website as an extension of their corporate culture.

Coca-Cola Corporate Homepage

The new Coco-Cola corporate homepage is driven by stories from across the web.

For years we have been told to blog, use social media and craft the content on our sites for SEO. All of those are still vitally important. It is the combination of all of these actions that will power our home pages and help craft the story for a new user. The “About Us” page of sites of the past will be fused into every page and help tell the story again and again in new and engaging ways.

Education Leads to Conversation

Creating content to tell your story is important and one way to extend that story is to help educate your customers. Building content that makes your customer smarter makes your voice more and more important to them. When a customer finds value in your content they will naturally start a conversation and help spread the word about your services.

  • Writing a series of articles on unique uses of your product can spur creativity and help you branch into new markets.
  • A quick how-to video on a complex process can save support questions later.
  • Walking customers through the process of how your product is made can help create more value and interest.

The conversations created by your most avid fans are essential to your continued success online and will continue to fuel your content strategy. Revisit topics you have discussed before and engage your audience to help mold the conversation. Your success relies on your customers. Educate them and let them help tell your story.

High Resolution Imagery

As our society continues to move faster and faster, the time we have in-front of our customers decreases. It is imagery that helps catch a customer’s eye and pull them into your great content. Coupling a content strategy with the proliferation of smartphones with high density screens, the need for crisp and professional images increases.

Flickr Homepage

Many of the big internet giants took the limits off of their photo hosting sites within the last year. Flickr is now offering an amazing terabyte of storage for free and Google+ lets iOS7 users backup all of their photos in full resolution. Releasing the limits on file size will allow for the expansion of high resolution images to dominate the web and help tell better stories.

Investing in the ability to generate this imagery will be key in 2014 and beyond. Remember that a better camera doesn’t always mean better pictures. Investing in a photography workshop for your staff or hiring a photographer a few times a year to help capture fresh images of your products and services can help drive engagement.

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