Gini Dietrich

Six Digital Marketing Trends for 2013

By: Gini Dietrich | December 19, 2012 | 

It’s time for the annual Spin Sucks predictions for next year! You thought I forgot, didn’t you?

I like writing this, mostly to see if I was right at the end of the year (and because it’s awesome for SEO).

In 2010, I wrote eight social media and communication trends for 2011. We did, indeed, see the rise (and fall) of group buying sites and mobile began to make a run for prominence in our lives.

Last year, I wrote eight social media trends for 2012. While most of the trends I predicted did come to life this year, I don’t think they’re at their full potential yet. For instance, we still don’t have adoption of using our phones for commerce. And the tablet hasn’t completely taken over print (yet).

But all-in-all, my crystal ball still works.

Let’s see how it does for 2013.

  1. Native Advertising. You’re going to hear me talk more about this next year. Native advertising integrates high-quality content into the organic experience of a given platform. This means the content is so complementary to the user’s experience on the platform, it doesn’t interrupt the flow. People are willing to comment, like, and share because it feels like it belongs there. It definitely blurs the lines between advertising and communications even more, but (in this case) it’s a good thing!
  2. Augmented Reality. As easy as some companies – such as Layar – make augmented reality, I’m surprised it’s not a hit yet. The majority of us are visual learners so providing videos or photos to augment your stories in the publication has nothing but success written all over it. Vanity Fair does a decent job with incorporating other mediums into their print publication. You can listen to interviews, see a photo gallery, or watch a video.
  3. QR Codes. Is this the year of QR codes? When I was in Holland last month, they were everywhere. Want to know what time the next bus is coming? Download the QR code. Want to get into a club without waiting in line? Download the QR code. Will they finally hit the U.S. in mass?
  4. Virtual Offices. Alright, this one might be a little selfish because we like to think we’re setting a trend by going virtual more than a year ago. But it seems the small business experts agree with me, calling for the remote workforce to go mainstream.
  5. Mobile Payments. I called for this one last year and you can, indeed, pay for some of your purchases via your phone (Starbucks, cab rides). But there is a company cropping up called Isis, which is a PIN-protected mobile wallet. This will allow you to pay for more and more things via your phone. While it simply stores your credit cards right now, the next iteration will do away with those, as well.
  6. Owned Media…and Mobile. This one isn’t new to those of us in the space and it complements the first trend – native advertising – really well. But this is the year owned media (or content) becomes more sophisticated. Your blog may have worked for you in the past because no one else kept with it, but in 2013, you’ll have to take it to the next level as more and more marketers understand how content delivers top-of-the-funnel leads and guides them all the way through to conversion. In fact, if you aren’t considering how your content is read on mobile devices, you won’t survive 2013.

Now it’s your turn. Which trends do you think I missed?

(Ignore this, I’m testing something with SEO. Connect with Gini on Google+.)

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • belllindsay

    I despise QR codes. Of all the things I have “despised” and changed my mind about (helloooo, Pinterest…??) this is one that I will never shift my thinking on.

    • @belllindsay You’re missing out. They can be one of the most effective tools for capturing customers in the moment…

      • @KenMueller  @belllindsay I agree with Ken. I’d MUCH rather scan a QR code and have everything at my fingertips than to try to remember to enter it into my phone or visit the business online when I get home. I also really loved having the bus schedule in Amsterdam with a simple scan of a QR code. That way I knew where to be and when if I wasn’t walking.

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich  @KenMueller …or having beer bottles lobbed at your head?

        • @belllindsay  @ginidietrich hmm. QR codes in the red light district could be brilliant….

        • @ginidietrich@KenMueller@belllindsay
           I want to like QR codes. I see the potential. Maybe this IS their year! However…
          Please tell me I am not the only one who took an embarrassingly large number of pretty pictures of QR codes before realizing an app was needed?  And recently… this happened recently!  Cameras on mobile devices should automatically detect them if they are to be ubiquitous! If only to restore my dignity!
          Also I think they need to reward customers with something…like an instant coupon or as Gini describes, specific information about what I’m looking at that couldn’t otherwise be accessed quickly.
          Big ugly codes on subway station ads are such a bad use of them in my opinion — but sadly that’s where I have seen them most!

        • @dalicie  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller  @belllindsay I’m with Lindsay on this. Marketers are in love with the PROMISE of QR codes, but they simply are not there yet in terms of adoption. Even worse is the ridiculous, often abusive ways in which idiot marketers misuse them – sending users to non mobile sites, placing them on existing web sites or billboards. Ugh. Dumb, Dumb. Dumb.

        • @dalicie  HAHAAAHAHAH! LOL!!! That made my morning. LOL!!

        • @ginidietrich So. Many.

        • @Sean McGinnis  I use an example in my Vistage presentations that shows a QR code on a billboard. It’s totally ridiculous because you can’t scan it while driving! I also hate the ones that you to their home page. I don’t care about your stinking home page! I wouldn’t have included it here, but there were EVERYWHERE in Europe. You pretty much can’t get through Heathrow without one. Why are they so widely used there and not here?

        • @belllindsay  @KenMueller It was more at my side than my head.

        • @ginidietrich Because Europe and Asia have MUCH better cellular networks than we do due to their population concentrations – making them much more advanced users of all things cellular? My best guess.

        • @ginidietrich  @Sean McGinnis There are places where a billboard works. Times Square for instance. Places where the billboards are more for pedestrian traffic than auto traffic.

        • @Sean McGinnis I don’t know if that’s it. They were still on 3G in Holland.

        • HowieG

          @Sean McGinnis  @dalicie  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller  @belllindsay The problem with QR codes is it takes effort to scan and go to a website only to find…it isn’t mobile formatted. I can press the magnifier on my android and use voice search faster.
          What QR codes should be used for is to destroy the 4SQ’s and Facebook Places etc for check ins. If the code is in the store it knows you are in the store vs a mile away. Secondly smart stores will start tracking your purchases and use custom pitches. Like say I go to the sporting goods store and I scan the code looking for deals and it says ‘We see you bought a tent 4 yrs back. If you buy a new one you get a free camp lantern click this link to see the tent specials’ and you can then go to the tent aisle and click each special and have Vanna White describing the Tent via a video showing the easy set up and break down and allow you 1 click buy’
          That is how they should be used. @belllindsay  would become addicted especially after she loads her A-D expense account info into her phone’s payment system.

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich  @Sean McGinnis Europeans are way more civilized than we will EVER hope  to be.

      • JodiEchakowitz

        @KenMueller  @belllindsay Ken, I absolutely agree with you. One of my clients uses QR Codes for mobile business cards. Everyone’s business cards have a QR Code on it that links to their personal contact info. With one click, people can then download the info into their contacts, link to them on social channels, etc. Just one of the smart ways I’ve seen them being used.

        • @JodiEchakowitz  I absolutely love the idea of using QR codes on business cards this way. It makes a lot of sense!

    • AmandaMagee

      @belllindsay I loathe QR codes, in large part because they have so far been like FB a few years ago. Everyone seems to think they need them but they are poorly executed and not yet adopted by audiences here. If they take off, great, but if they don’t I’d love for them to go away.

      • belllindsay

        @AmandaMagee I don’t know anyone who actively seeks them out and uses them, while shopping, eating or otherwise.

    • @belllindsay Kinda in the same boat with you on this one. I go back and forth because I havent yet see consumers – not marketers – actually know what they are or what to do with them. There has to be some standardization. You cannot have some QR codes you can take a picture of and some that require an app – it needs to be universal. We also need to have some sort of play that tells people what the heck they are. Rarely do I see a QR code that has some sort of direction for the consumer to tell them how they should interact with it. Seems more like a fun novelty to me at this point but maybe this is the year.

      • belllindsay

        @C_Pappas Exactly. Plus, they’re ugly. 😉

    • @belllindsay I totally agree with you. QR codes take too much effort. I have download an app, find the QR code, scan it correctly and then hope it takes me to the correct place. Not worth it.

    • KyleAkerman

      @belllindsay Recently heard Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) do an awesome rant on QR codes. Best quote: “Friends don’t let friends use QR codes in marketing campaigns.”
      I should mention that he is not really against the idea of QR codes as a marketing tool. But he is REALLY upset with how poorly they are used here in the US.

  • The native advertising thing is actually kinda cool and a throwback to the original days of broadcasting. This is one of the things I’ve been writing about for a side project.

    • @KenMueller I’m really excited about it and you’re going to see lots more here about it. The content has to become more sophisticated and this will force it to do so.

      • @ginidietrich The funny thing is, if you look at the history of advertising, there is one specific person you can blame for the move away from native advertising: Sigourney Weaver’s father, Pat Weaver. Best known as the creator of the Today Show for NBC, as well as the Tonight Show (Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, etc), he completely changed the face of broadcast advertising, making it an interruption into programming.

        • @KenMueller Wait til you see the guest post for tomorrow. It doesn’t talk about this specifically (which I didn’t know and is VERY interesting), but it does talk about how we got to where we are and how it’s going to go back to where we started.

        • @ginidietrich That’s one of the first things I speak about when I talk to groups of small business owners. None of this is really new, other than the technological aspect of it. The whole LIttle House on the Prairie factor.

        • @KenMueller I loved Little House on the Prairie.

        • @ginidietrich I think I knew that. I think we had this discussion once before in the comments of one of my posts when I wrote about it.

        • @KenMueller It was the only TV my mom let me watch. So I watched a lot of it.

        • @ginidietrich Yeah, I remember that. We DID have this conversation.

        • HowieG

          @ginidietrich  @KenMueller Sigourney Weaver is guest posting?

        • @HowieG  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller You know who’d be great to tap for a guest post on native advertising? benkunz

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  • HowieG

    This is America @ginidietrich and it is an immigrant nation that loves immigrant advertising. You know I love the peanut butter photo on this page…I see it is packed with protein and the good fats. Great for energy. Is that Lindsay and you discussing peanut butter in that side video? Hmmm I am going to download that coupon from the link. I love Spin Sucks!

    • @HowieG You are insane.

      • HowieG

        @ginidietrich I am the resident commenter who  gives real life examples to your posts.. Why I am not paid in cupcakes I have no idea.

    • belllindsay

      @HowieG  @ginidietrich I love peanut butter. With Fluff.

      • @belllindsay  @HowieG Mmmmmm….I love peanut butter, too!

  • I agree 100% with virtual teams. Our company has been virtual from the beginning (7 years ago) and it has worked incredibly well for us. We can tap into the exact talent that we need, regardless of where that person might be located. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to run my company any other way!

    • @TaraGeissinger About two years ago, a fellow Vistage member said to me, “You’re not cut out to manage people. You have to figure out how to run your business that suits you.” And figure it out I did. The virtual thing works REALLY well for us!

      • belllindsay

        @ginidietrich  @TaraGeissinger Really?? You’re a great manager! Maybe it’s the distance….. 😉

        • @belllindsay  I’m not a great manager. I’m a good leader, but I’m a terrible manager.

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich Hair splitter.

  • Hansjörg Leichsenring

    Very intersting

  • I’m about to dive into your Native Advertising article. Looks interesting!
    I’d love it if QR codes went mainstream. I keep hoping we will follow Europe/Asia’s lead, similar to how we followed their lead with texting. If I remember correctly, they were texting YEARS before we were.

    • @John Fitzgerald I think you’re right about that. It’s funny to think we’re so far ahead in some things, but so far behind in others.

  • Items 3 – 5 I can definitely see. I just don’t know enough about augmented reality to comment on that.
    However, items one and six are dependent heavily on content, and that’s the problem. The simple fact is most companies (including many agencies) don’t do content well. I am of the mind (perhaps wrong, but I doubt it) that the key to any content-based marketing is quality content.
    However, quality content takes investment. Will there be a corresponding trend in 2013 toward investing in higher quality content?

    • @ClayMorgan Totally has to be high-quality. When I spoke today, I kept driving home that the content can’t be how great you think you are. It has to be information that is valuable to your audiences. Just like you write content that is valuable to your readers, we must do the same.

  • I absolutely despise QR codes, even more then Google+.  I’m very excited about native advertising and mobile payment.

    • @stevenmcoyle More than Google+? Wow. That’s a lot.

  • The virtual office? Let’s hope we who have always been virtual can get others going virtual to get clients over the fact that you don’t have to have a water fountain in a hallway to be bona fide. Yeah; looking forward to that. 
    And, already have clients using PayPal to circumnavigate extra charges for outside vendors. Mobile payments hot, for sure!

    • @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing This year, we’ve had only one prospect tell me she wasn’t comfortable working with us because we don’t have brick and mortar. I am surprised it wasn’t more, but in our business I don’t think it matters so much anymore.

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  • Damn, I was hoping to see the prediction that 2013 would be the year the Cubs win the series and I win a million bucks. Well the good news is I have as a good a shot as the Cubs do.
    Anyhoo, I expect to see more mobile payments in place and am wondering when the panic about mobile security for our smartphones comes.

    • @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Sigh…I know better than to bet on the Cubs.

    • belllindsay

      @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes @ginidietrich  The Jays are taking it this year. KA’CHING!!!

  • The Return of Ginidamus means we’re approaching the one year anniversary of my readership… that’s what you should really be focusing on here!!!
    Who am I to disagree with you on these? You are, after all, the smartest person I know on Google+ but I’ll go ahead and try anyway.  I’m not buying into QR codes going mainstream. Nothing against them, but Americans don’t like extra steps.  Maybe we’ll have someone scan the QR codes for us.

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  • KevinVandever

    I’m not so sure that QR codes will take off here like they have in other parts of the world. I think they’ll gain a little more traction than the metric system did, but we’ll then move on to the next thing; maybe near field communication (NFC) or something like that, but I don’t know, yet. 
    I hope you’re right with number 4, even for larger companies. I commute so much that y body is starting to take the shape and posture of how I look when I drive. I’m afraid it could become permanent.

    • @KevinVandever Could you send me a picture of that?

  • nico_de_haan

    Nice trend spotting though I tend to disagree with the QR codes one. I live in Holland and don’t think many people use them. I believe the current form in which QR codes are presented is ugly and too complex (on many devices you need an app in order to be able to read them). I do see other forms of quick-directing people (ao. through unhearable sounds) take off much sooner.
    Also, I am missing interactive TV. I think this needs to (and will) start growing up in 2013. Both in terms of offering (apps, channels), possibilities (interactivity), integration and extension of experience through multiple devices and -further down the line- more tailored advertising. Curious to see where that will go.

    • @nico_de_haan It’s interesting to hear that no one uses them. I saw them EVERYWHERE while I was there. I’m with you on the interactive TV…I had that as one of my trends last year, but it still hasn’t hit the masses.

      • nico_de_haan

        @ginidietrich well, wouldn’t say no one in NL uses QR, but it doesn’t seem to be highly popular. They indeed are to be found everywhere. But so are the icons on (print!) posters behind the words ‘follow us on…’ withouth mention of QR and/or link. Guess it’s the typical marketing mistake that we see something sexy, shiny and new and think it will be a magic bullet for our marketing purposes…
        QR codes -in their current setup- are way too complex to use in a world with very short attention spans and where many things are fewer taps/clicks away. A push-form or less complex (more beautiful) form of QR might be much more interesting.
        I also think that QR codes might not be used in the best way either currently. I mean: to just direct people to a site… There’s few to win for them. To promise e.g. the first 1,000 visiting through QR a special discount -or other concrete WIN-situations- would make people willing to go the extra mile to actually scan, visit and ‘convert’ (whatever the goal is). I also believe offering great enhanced experience through Augmented Reality might make people willing to do that effort. It’s also a WIN situation.

        • @nico_de_haan  @ginidietrich Boom.

        • @nico_de_haan I agree with how marketers are not using them correctly. It makes me nuts when I scan one and am sent to the company’s home page. There is no call-to-action. Nothing for me to do.

  • We are months / years behind so I look like a visionary genius when I push this stuff…. 😉
    Tough for me to comment hence on likely more… But one thing is sure (cheese alert)…. You guys “OWN” media…..
    At Amsterdam airport heading back to NYC for Christmas fattening procedure…

    • @Nic_Cartwright The Amsterdam airport is so strange. Go through security to get into the airport and then again at the gate.

  • A certain prediction is that disastrously addictive music will rise gangnam style….
    I give you

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  • I saw a demo of a product called TagWhat (out of Boulder, CO) a couple years ago – amazing stuff!
    As for QR codes, I’d like to get one for my phone, so people could just scan it vs expect a business card (which I rarely carry).
    Of course, I’m selfishly hoping for even more monitoring/sentiment analysis as part of digital marketing strategy in 2013.

    • @dbvickery What is TagWhat?

      • @ginidietrich It is an augmented reality product. If I remember, you can hold your camera up…pointing down a street…and you can see tags that other people left behind like “comment bubbles”. So if you were in an entertainment district with a lot of restaurants, you would see the comment bubbles from other patrons. Pretty cool demo!

  • These all sound plausible. I suspect that something is going to enhance content created specifically for syndication and its tie to our home properties so much that there will be a scramble to improve our “home bases”. People who don’t pay attention to trend #6 now will miss out.

    • @Tinu It kind of stresses me out. Just a little bit.

  • @timbo1973 We’ve been virtual for a little more than a year and it is fantastic! I’d like to see more people worry less about where employees are and more about productivity by allowing them to work wherever it’s easiest for them.

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  • I hope you are right about #1, because it seems that FB is going in the opposite direction – we’ll call if Foreign Advertising.

    • @AmyMccTobin Poor Facebook. They had such a good thing going. The pressures of making money are finally getting to them.

      • @ginidietrich Ha.  They ARE making money… just not enough.  And perhaps I’m naive, but I think there are a lot better ways to monetize that network than promoted and sponsored posts.

        • @AmyMccTobin The thing that bothers me about their “business model” is they want us to be both the user and the product. Google has figured out we’re the product so we get everything for free while they build as many users as is possible. Why don’t they use that same model?

        • @ginidietrich US as in the user, not the businesses, right?  I still think they should charge a user fee BEFORE they make our feeds spam central. And yes, I know that Spam is different than paid ads, but it sure feels like my feed is full of spam.

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