The ability to connect and communicate with consumers based on their locations is one of those key trends that straddle the line between benefit and intrusion. Geo-fencing is an important digital advertising trend for marketers to watch, suggests Sean Halter, CEO and founder of Connectivity Marketing & Media in Florida.
"With GPS pinpointing becoming more and more prevalent, and with advances in smartphone technology, many brands are beginning to utilize push technology that allows them to push specific ads within a radius of a consumer's phone," says Halter. "So, for example, a consumer driving down International Drive in Orlando, looking on Yelp for somewhere to grab fast food might be pushed a McDonald's ad due to her proximity to that location," he says.
It's important for marketers to consider context as well as geography when using this technology, says Rob Friedman, executive VP at Digital Element, a geolocation and IP intelligence agency in Atlanta. This year, he says, is all about leveraging context. "Post codes and latitude/longitude data are interesting, but instantly knowing where the user is in terms of place and deriving contextual information from that will be key," he says. "Knowing someone is at a high-end hotel, a Starbucks, a McDonald's, [a] sports venue, a school, or even on an airplane tells you a lot about users and what likely interests them. Using Wi-Fi targeting by IP address, marketers will be able to determine a lot of this information about a user-instantly-with no opt-in."
DEPTH OF CONTENT
While sites such as Twitter have driven a focus on microblogging, some feel that consumers are hungry for more-more content, that is.
Jon Payne is the founder and president of Net Focus Media, an ecommerce holding company that operates retail websites in a number of different markets. "With all the focus on microblogging and status updates over the past few years-Twitter, Facebook, etc.-we are seeing an emerging trend back towards depth of content," he says. "Headlines and short blurbs have their place, but sometimes you need some real meat. Generally speaking, the more comprehensive and in-depth a piece of content is, the better its chances are of getting shared with others." This, he says, means that deep content pieces can be "great bait for social media campaigns." In addition, he notes: "They also help earn Google's favor too since inbound links to a website are a major factor in the search engine ranking algorithms."
Payne counters a common objection of "No one is going to read all of that content" by pointing out that while some will and some won't, "the length of your content sends an important message to your prospect-that your website or business is thorough and is invested in your industry. Whether or not I actually read your long article, the fact that you wrote it sends a strong message of credibility and competency." Interestingly, as a trend toward more words is building, a different trend in terms of the delivery of image-based communication is also emerging.
Tools such as Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat are popularizing the use of very short video clips to drive interest, engagement, and action among consumers. "I think that one of the major social media marketing trends of 2014 will be the rise of micro-video marketing sites like Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat," says Adam Lasky, based in Boston, the social media director for Spreadshirt, an ecommerce platform for customized t-shirts. "This is kind of the new frontier, now that the mystique behind Facebook marketing has been removed," he says. "Brands that can master micro-video marketing will be the one that are talked about."
Frank Chiera, VP of marketing and advertising for Flooring America, agrees. "A big trend in digital advertising for content providers is leveraging video content," says Chiera. "Videos allow brands to make an emotional connection with consumers that can't be achieved via print." The good news for marketers of any size, he says, is that they can easily integrate video into their marketing strategy using tools such as Vine and Instagram, which provide low-cost, easily accessible options. "Once video content is created, share it on your website, post it to your YouTube channel, include links to video in your email campaigns, and share it on your social platforms," he suggests.