Facebook and other social networks are re-organising how consumers experience the web, centring it on their personal connections and activities.
This is blurring the lines between branded content, paid advertising, and consumer conversations.
Marketers therefore need to integrate owned, paid and earned social media strategies.
In the same way that Beyonce flung out her fifth album unexpectedly last week, Google UK has just fired its 2013 zeitgeist list into my inbox without so much as a word of warning.
Although it has almost no impact or relevance for ecommerce and digital marketing it still gives a fascinating look into what have been the most popular topics of the past 12 months, and as such I have no qualms about publishing it here on the Econsultancy blog.
Last year it turned out that people in the UK couldn’t get enough of Gangnam Style, Gary Barlow and Kate Middleton, but nobody cares about those guys anymore.
So what have proven to be the most searched terms in 2013? Here’s a run down of the most popular queries, as well as those that shone brightly for a short period of time and therefore make it onto Google's 'trending' lists...
As always, there was lots of comment-worthy developments in the world of digital marketing this year.
Here's my summation of 2013 in quotes, from changes at Google, to acquisitions and mergers, and developments across social networks.
Got other quotes worthy of inclusion? Do leave them in the comments section below.
Here is my 'expert' opinion are the best Vines created by brands in 2013.
Although seeing as Vine has only existed for approximately 11 months, here are the best branded examples from the entire existence of the service. That sounds far more impressive.
What makes a good branded Vine? Well, I'm glad you asked...
As we're fast approaching the end of the year it's time to round up some of the most interesting stats from Econsultancy's Q4 reports.
In the past few months we've published surveys on customer experience, mobile marketing, and conversion rate optimisation, as well as best practice reports on marketing automation and digital transformation.
To find out more tasty insights from our 2013 reports, check out my round ups of stats from Q1, Q2 and Q3.
And to really indulge yourself in a statistical feast, download our Internet Statistics Compendium...
For anyone thinking of buying online between now and Christmas Eve, one of the biggest questions will be 'can this retailer deliver in time for Christmas?'.
However, many ecommerce sites are still way too vague about this information. This means that people will either decide not to order, or will press ahead and risk disappointment.
With the example of children's onesies (which seem to be like hen's teeth this year), I'll be looking at the approaches of different sites.
Let’s face it, in 2013 Gov.uk has featured in the forefront of many people’s minds as a flag bearer for great design and digital change. Continuing this trend, Thursday last week saw Gov.uk release the next section of its alpha style guide.
If you don’t have a style guide, or you have a fusty old copy in a shared folder no longer in use, or even worse, just a printed copy in a folder, well now is the time to update it and watch standards soar.
This style guide (part of GDS's seven wider design principles) is still being optimised but now includes sections on ‘writing for Gov.uk’, ‘writing for the web’, ‘style points for various content types’ and a ‘transactions style guide’.
It's interesting that Gov.uk realises the style of the guide itself is important. Continuous work on improving navigation and keeping content up to date is as important for the style guide as for the wider site.
If information and guidance isn’t up to date, or the guide is not easily engaged with, errors carried forward will persist.
Let’s take a look at the new style guide and see why it stands out, as well as what you can appropriate for your own organisation’s style guide. I hope you'll agree with me, that when a style guide is done well, it's actually a lot of fun to use, with more prescriptive advice on grammar reading as dead pan as a Stewart Lee gag.
Predictably John Lewis currently retains the highest social engagement for Christmas ads, but for how long?
As of 10 December 2013, the John Lewis ‘The Bear and The Hare’ ad has achieved 10.3m views, and just over 1m engagements (likes, shares or comments).
However, its engagement-per-thousand-views (EPM) has dropped to 101, from 393 in four weeks.
This seems logical. The more popular and ubiquitous a video is, the less likely that people will bother sharing it as they feel they’re just adding to the noise of what we’ve already seen.
Interestingly though, this viral complacency may lead to a pre-Christmas upset.
Beyoncé’s self-titled new album, Beyoncé (I feel like I didn’t really need to say that), has destroyed the internet this weekend in a pre-Christmas gamble which has seen the ex-Child of Destiny installed as the new monarch of pop.
Picking the penultimate weekend before Christmas goes against all traditional new album release logic. Mid-November to Mid-January is a barren wasteland of Susan Boyle, greatest hits compilations and swing albums by nice young men your mum likes. Nobody good releases new music at this time of year. Nobody.
But then the Carter family rarely have been ones to stick with traditional record release logic, just look at Jay-Z who released his last album Magna Carta Holy Grail through a mobile app earlier in the year. (Read more about that in six musicians embracing app technology)
Over the past week I've been asking a bunch of content marketing folk about the trends in their industry for 2013, the best examples, and looking ahead to next year.
Here, I've asked about the most effective formats for content. In 2012, it could be argued that infographics were king, but I think the sheer volume produced has diluted this particular tactic.
Other formats are working well though: video, immersive storytelling, slideshare, scrolling sites, and good old blog posts.