July 2013 - The Top Digital Marketing & Media Trends for 2013

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The Road Map for InfoTrends’ Digital Marketing & Media Trends revealed the biggest factors that will affect how marketers, advertisers, publishers, and technology and service firms grow their businesses in 2013.

 

Big Data Gets Bigger, Smarter and Easier
The whole “big data” phenomenon may be overstated in the business and tech media at this point, but for good reason: Companies are proving time and time again that a data-driven approach leads to smarter business decisions and can develop a competitive edge. As a result, more businesses — even small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) — are turning to solutions that help them harness the power of big data to help them do everything, from more accurately tracking inventory to listening and engaging with relevant online social conversations.

As the data universe continues to grow exponentially, tools are rapidly being developed and deployed to analyze larger and more diverse data sets to make it easier to make quick, actionable decisions. Marketers and advertisers are shifting their spending to digital channels, which means more metrics but also more noise in an already-noisy media landscape. Technologies and services that help marketers filter out this noise to capture actionable insight, while also automating manual tasks in intuitive ways, will deliver the most value and, as a result, find the most success.

 

New Marketing and Advertising Data Regulations are Imminent
Consumers definitely know their personal information is more readily available for companies to use than ever before. While this type of data can be used to give consumers more personalized experiences from the businesses they use, they still do not have a lot of insight into the scope of personal data floating around in tracking cookies or in third-party marketing databases. Similarly, they do not have a lot of power to control how this information is used and shared, which now happens in real-time and can be influenced by each user’s specific web activities.

While the marketing and advertising industries successfully deflected major regulations in 2012 through intense lobbying efforts, new regulations in 2013 are highly likely to be passed due to the sheer number of bills and other initiatives currently in the works, along with the need for laws to catch up with the fast pace of innovation in this area:

Following the release in March 2012 of a two-year investigation on consumer privacy in the digital age, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission endorsed legislative action around data privacy, including the creation of “do-not-track” mechanisms in web browsers that help consumers opt-out of online behavioral tracking and targeting. Efforts by the industry to self-regulate DNT were stalled at the end of 2012; the consequence may lead to legislative action on the issue.
Retiring Democratic Senator from West Virginia, John D. Rockefeller IV, launched an inquiry into information brokers like Acxiom, Epsilon and Rapleaf last October to better understand their practices and determine if they are handling consumers’ personal data appropriately.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) recently released a draft bill called “The Application Privacy, Protection, and Security Act of 2013,” or the APPS Act, targeted at creating guidelines for data collection, retention and sharing practices of mobile app developers. With other initiatives at various stages in the works, expect more attempts — and some successes — to introduce new marketing and advertising regulations in 2013.

 

Mobile Influences Experience Design for the Better
There is no doubt that mobile is now table stakes for marketers, advertisers and media companies. The sheer size of the mobile audience, along with the diverse capabilities and immediacy that modern mobile technology can deliver, has prompted organizations to go back to the drawing board with their website and application designs to account for the unique features of mobile devices. Smaller screen sizes, touch interfaces, push notifications, location services ... they are all pushing practitioners and technology firms to rethink their approach to design to help them reach their audience in a clear way.

It should be noted that the “large screen” desktop interfaces are not going away anytime soon, especially in the workplace, meaning that design ultimately needs to be multi-modal. Some companies are approaching this issue by building responsive layouts that automatically adapt depending on the browser or screen size. Others are taking a more piecemeal approach by designing for a particular channel or, in the case of mobile apps, designing for a particular device or operating system.

Interestingly, some of the design elements born out of the necessity to create usable interfaces on smaller screens are now becoming common in designs for larger screens. The interface of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 OS is probably the starkest example of this phenomenon, but there are plenty of others. Forms are becoming less dense and easier to use due to the lack of space of many inputs and large drop-down menus, and icons are being designed and implemented in more meaningful ways to reduce interface clutter. In other words, mobile is driving more simplicity in interface design, which is a step in the right direction for creating more user-friendly digital experiences.

The Road Map for InfoTrends’ Digital Marketing & Media Trends (DMM) Consulting Service helps companies understand how to harness the power of interconnected media effectively to meet their business objectives. To read the full DMM report, visit www.infotrends.com.