Which are some of the key digital trends and opportunities that you need to remember this year? Four members of our management team share their thoughts on what will keep them motivated in 2014.

“TV innovation and the multi-screen world”

By Liza Vasileva, Country Manager & Kalin Kolevski, Sales Manager, ThinkDigital Bulgaria

The number of TV sets connected to the Internet will reach 759 million by 2018, up by 147% compared to 2013, according to a recent study.  Innovations in TV technology and the ubiquity of PCs, smartphones and tablets in our daily lives are driving major shifts in marketing strategies.  Yes, TV is still (and will remain) a key ingredient of the marketing mix, however, as Randall Beard, Global Head of Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen, highlights, nowadays “we are consistently seeing advertisers turn to integrated campaigns to connect with consumers on multiple screens, reinforcing their messages strategically to maximize impact”. And that’s a no-brainer, because, clearly, this is what the preferences and habits of consumers dictate:

  • 52% of Europeans are online during the traditional primetime TV evening slot
  • 48% of Europeans are online whilst watching TV

How effective is it though? Think about it: New technologies allow advertisers to truly optimize their multi-screen campaigns. Do TV ads that are followed by online ads work best? Or is it better to combine mobile advertising with TV? Thanks to the data available, there is an answer to every question. Therefore, the potential is great. As long as we keep in mind that to succeed in an ‘always-on’ world, we must offer viewers content that’s not only relevant to their needs but also tailored to the right screen at the right time. Understanding people’s needs and motivations is essential in order to “meet” them where and when it’s most relevant. And finding the right digital partner to enable those experiences has never been more important.

“The visualization of Marketing”

By Akos Szabo, Country Manager, ThinkDigital Hungary

Visual information is an essential element of our lives in the digital world. When reading text, our mind interprets words first as images, before “translating” them to letters, then words and finally, meaning. Viewing pictures is thus, as numerous studies have shown, not only a much faster but also a more efficient process – According to this Hubspot article, visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. And this is something that marketers (and entrepreneurs) have obviously taken into consideration.

Advancements in technology have fueled the increased use of visuals online. There was a time when Facebook’s news feed contained more text than images. That’s not the case anymore, as users upload each month around 350 million photos, mostly from their mobile devices. And it’s this mobile revolution that helped Instagram reach 150 million active users in less than 3 years.

In 2013 over 90% of internet traffic was video content. Moreover, the average YouTube user views on a monthly basis 186 pieces of video content, while, on the supply side, 100 hours of content are uploaded every minute to the platform. Equally importantly, 42% of videos viewed on a tablet are over 10 minutes in duration whereas 52% of videos viewed on PCs are no longer than 3 minutes.

What do all these mean for Marketers? As content consumption has moved from text to pictures and videos, so does marketing budgets move towards more visual ad units and solutions. Last December, more than 35 billion video ads were viewed in the U.S.A, which constitutes a 300% YOY growth compared to the same month in 2012. And with the growing popularity of networks like Vine and SnapChat, this trend is bound to increase further. Visual media are here to stay. Are you ready to take the most of them?

“Mobile is a battlefield”

By Anna Karakatsani, Country Manager, ThinkDigital Greece, Cyprus & Albania

In 2012, the challenge was to create native mobile apps, as most content offered to the mobile user was an adaptation of the desktop format. In 2013, Facebook made its desktop experience feel much more like the mobile one, by implementing an image-centric News Feed design. In 2014? Nowadays, Mobile is a lot more than just a trend. It is a “war zone” out there for the eyes and the time of the always-on consumers.  But it’s also a great opportunity because, for the average user, the smartphone is the extension of her hand -14 times! That’s how many times a Facebook mobile user checks her Newsfeed per day.

Apps come and go, and no application wins them all. However, these days, 27% of USA’s total time of mobile apps usage takes place on Facebook and Instagram! On the other hand, and as Mobile is increasingly becoming like oxygen for users, niche applications like “iCow for … real cowboys” are attracting more and more fans, making a real difference for the people who use them in their professional lives.

For advertisers, the challenge is not only to secure a premium positioning on users’ screen, but also to seamlessly integrate their message with customer experience.  Therefore, it is imperative, instead of interrupting users, to giving them value. So, if you plan to create an application, make sure it is useful. And, please, don’t underestimate the importance of brand strategy.

  1. Would our customer use this?
  2. Does it add value?
  3. Does it tell our brand’s story /is it on strategy?

If you have an answer to these 3 questions, then chances are that you will come out victorious from this “battlefield”.

“The year we’ll realize what Content Marketing is really all about”

By Dannos Tsakalos, Marketing Manager, TDG

Ok, I know what you are thinking: “Content Marketing? Again? How about trying something slightly more original?” You are right, I can’t blame you! For, as this brilliant infographic shows, Content Marketing has a long, long history and, admittedly, it is a term that has been overused –in 2013, it most likely surpassed every other industry phrase as a percentage of Google searches, including “Branded Content” and “Native Advertising”.

Why do I consider it then still crucial and why am I excited about it? Let’s have a look at a popular definition that I found in this very insightful book: “Content Marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience –with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.

Now read it again, only this time remove the words “valuable” and “compelling”. Good. Now put this stat into the equation: “91% of B2B marketers use Content Marketing” (in the U.S.A., but still). Do you truly believe that the majority of these marketers are doing a good job? Are we? Are we confident enough that our message (paid or not) is so compelling that it will break through the clutter?

Let’s be honest. For once. And let’s make 2014 the year that we, digital marketers, finally understand that good Content Marketing (& Native Advertising) is not about focusing on pitching our products and services, but caring about our audience’s needs and trying to provide them with content that, as Joe Pulizzi says, “will make them stop, read, think, and behave differently”.

Let the storytelling begin!

So, what are you most excited for? Leave your marketing optimism in the comments below.

P.S. “What are marketers most excited about this year?” That was one question posed by Econsultancy and Adobe in their latest quarterly intelligence briefing and here’s a graph with the findings.