What Will Shape Online Marketing in 2014?

If there is one thing online marketing has witnessed in 2013, it is how ad formats have evolved to become more and more interactive and increase user engagement.

Ad extensions have become a factor in ad ranking and the importance of smartphones in influencing user behavior has led to Product Listing Ads being shown on smartphone devices. Twitter had a successful IPO while Google continued to introduce enhanced ad campaigns. Consumers have also been attracted to various channels and devices, and serious marketers have had to engineer their marketing campaigns based on these trends. Though it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out online marketing trends in 2014, paying attention to past behavior and gauging expectations is necessary to make the most out of digital advertising.

Ad Formats Tailor-made to the Industry

Ad formats are likely to shape themselves depending on the industry they’re dealing with. Paid search ads will provide a richer experience for the user, be more engaging and focused on the kind of customer the industry deals with. An example is the Hotel Price Ads from Google, which cater to the Travel and Leisure industry.

Hotel Price Ads from Google

More formats such as these are likely to develop for the other industries too, and incorporating features such as rates and pricing will help increase consumer engagement and ad relevance in areas such as Finance and Insurance. The increasing use of PLAs (Product Listing Ads) by retail marketers on smartphones is proof of the relevance of richer ad formats.

Optimizing SERP Ads Based on Audience Needs

Hospitals in Chicago

Audience-based search seems to be the direction paid search is heading towards. The idea behind this is capturing the intent and circumstance behind a search query and tailoring your ads to appear in the search engine ranking pages appropriately. Demographic data is one of those factors here which can help determine how users of a particular age group or geographic area search with certain kind of queries. This can help them customize their ads and keywords accordingly to ensure that the right kind of ads appear to the right kind of potential customers. Audience-based optimization of search could be a great way for advertisers to get more long-term customers.Smartphones and Tablets

Smartphones and Tablets Rule

Optimizing for mobile devices has already been a trend in 2013 but will get even more influential in 2014. People are moving more and more away from desktops and laptops towards their smartphones and tablets with which they check mail, browse interesting stuff, check news and jokes and, most importantly, perform searches and check out the websites. Let’s not forget social media too. More people now find it convenient to check updates or post stuff from their mobile phone.

So any serious marketing effort has to ensure that its website works well with the mobile phone:

  • Mobile phone-optimized landing pages and creative ads will be vital for marketers.
  • Marketers should also acknowledge that most of its potential customers could come through mobile devices.
  • For this they have to accept new technology that will enable tracking conversions down to the clicks on the mobile for which there currently isn’t any foolproof mechanism.
  • New technology will need to be adopted to integrate call tracking solutions and marketers will surely be doing this in 2014.

Social MediaGetting Social

This is the age of social media, and it isn’t ending any time soon. Advertisers would need to keep increasing their focus on social networks.

  • They should be active through their business profiles
  • Page ads should appear on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
  • Exciting or useful images or other content posts and Comments on other relevant posts will prove very useful

Your following has to increase. Google+ recommendations influence search results, so it’s important to have a major presence in that social network as well. Social media is now a significant means of driving quality traffic and ROI.

2014 could be a defining year for online marketing. To succeed, online marketers will have to be vigilant and be ready to implement innovative techniques and technologies to stay ahead of the race.