As 2013 came to an end and we have entered into the new year of 2014, the number of digital bloggers and writers pushing out their predictions for 2014 have been cropping up across many sites and my Twitter feed. Even we fall victim to creating this popular piece of content with our 2014 Digital Marketing Predictions iProspect TV video. When you’re working in the world of digital that is forever changing, we are forever looking forward to the next innovation or update so who can blame the world of digital for anticipating 2014 by hoping, fearing and predicting what will happen.
I thought I would take a look at one of these prediction pieces that is a little more closer to home, Shane O'Leary's 'The Irish Digital Outlook 2014'. Shane O’ Leary, a digital and media enthusiastic I would call him took it upon himself once again to create this great piece of content that pulls together relative insights and content from an Irish context. He has taken what he calls a ‘pulse check’ of the Irish digital sector.Shane created another great report earlier last year which pulled together statistics to paint a picture of the Irish Digital Consumer. I wrote about that report too.
I thought at first the report would contain a compilation of statistics about the current digital marketing sector in Ireland which Shane would base his predictions on. However, the report which is spruced up by various instagram photographs looks more at the current overall digital landscape which Shane has cultivated his own predictions from. However, what Shane has done is interviewed over 20 top Irish influential people in this space to share their thoughts and predictions for the digital landscape in Ireland in 2014. The influencers share their thoughts on trends for 2014, some state what they think of the future of print media, give advice for graduates and thoughts on other areas specific to them such as UX, education and technology.
In the report Shane analyses the social, media and wider digital space. He doesn't go into a huge amount of detail here but he is backed up with over 20 influential people in their short interviews.
We can all agree that our social networking feeds are becoming increasingly flooded with more and more ads coming at us in all directions. Shane makes a great point as he questions ‘How do we maintain our service, not piss off users but allow brands into the circle?’ This question he believes is key for social brands in
2014 while the battle of organic reach between Facebook page
owners and Facebook will rage on into 2014. As for Twitter, as they are slowly moving towards a larger monetisation model like Facebook through opening up its advertising services to SMBs and launching retargetting. Shane rightfully states that 2014 may be the year of monetisation for Twitter but they need to ‘walk the tightrope between monetisation and annoying users with suffocating ads’.
The link between content and social is rightfully backed up by Georgina Bowes, Head of Online and Digital at UPC as she appears to be almost yelling with enthusiasm ‘content, content, content for social media.’ What she hopes will happen in 2014 is to see brands really cracking the content nut. She provides some great advice as she believes that ‘if your content is bland and boring it really doesn’t matter what platform you’re on’. Content marketing is definitely an area many of the influencers touch on for what will happen in 2014.
Stephen O' Leary, Social Media analyst at Olytico sees the acquisition of Topsy by Apple just shows how valuable the social media analysing and monitoring area is becoming.
2013 was often dubbed as the ‘year of mobile’ and the report believes that mobile growth and integration will and if not should grow in Ireland as 50-60% of all visits to Irish sites like RTE and Irish Times are currently reported to be from mobile or tablet. So therefore, Shane sees traditional brands continuing to innovate and improve mobile sites. Hugh Linehan, Digital Development Editor at the Irish Times is anticipating that 80% of visits to the Irish Times site will be mobile by 2016 and sees this as a huge opportunity as the level of engagement and loyalty he sees from users via smartphone
apps and tablets are higher compared to desktop. Littlewoods Ireland M.D is also seeing an increase in mobile and anticipating more growth as 45% of Littlewoods Ireland daily sessions are now mobile and conversion is improving all the time. We all know that mobile is on the rise but these first hand statistics really show the level of Irish mobile usage and with the help of 4G, mobile is set to explode at a mighty fast pace.
Native advertising is an area to look out for in 2014 Shane reports on, while Alan Coleman from Wolfgang Digital believes Facebook are really eating into native advertising and will eat into display.
The areas which mentioned within the wider digital space include areas such as streaming services, content and programmatic buying. These are all areas that many of the ‘2014 digital predictions’ which I mentioned are also featuring for 2014.
Shane touches on the rise of ad blocking services he believes may cause challenges in 2014 while streaming services will continue to grow and perhaps the streaming wars will escalate.
Content marketing was a big one mentioned throughout this report. Shane states that increased personalisation will be a big trend and Irish marketers may finally begin to embrace content marketing. We have all heard about the importance and set growth of content marketing in 2014 and this is strongly backed by many of the influencers in this report. Kieran Flanagan, Marketing Director EMEA at Hubspot sees companies starting to rely and invest more on earned media rather than paid. Video content is an area which Geoff Scully, Littlewoods Ireland feels will undergo an explosion, brand generated content specifically.
I have just touched on some of the thoughts that have been shared by many Irish influencers within the Irish Digital Outlook 2014 report by Shane O'Leary. What do you think about some of the predictions and outlooks mentioned? If you haven't read Shane's 'Irish Digital Outlook 2014', make sure to by downloading it here.