Which trends will have the largest impact on digital this year?

Matthew Phelan, Director of 4Ps Marketing told us:

The integration of online and offline has become essential. As marketers, we need to integrate all the business’s marketing activities through content. Content was the buzzword for 2012, and with the shift between online and offline marketing, it is even more relevant this year.

2013 is the year Digital Marketing loses the “Digital” bit.

Marketers have the ability to analyse and track their product or service campaigns. Through analytics, phone tracking, unique URLs and landing pages, they have great opportunities to recognize which activities perform the best.

Marketing has developed on such a large scale over the past few years, both online and offline, and the disciplines should no longer be referred to as separate ‘alternating’ forms of marketing, but seen as a mergence. As previously mentioned, The Spectator Magazine is a prime example of a company that has embraced digital marketing to boost offline subscriptions. The campaign includes an element of ‘outdoor digital’, with an integrated advertising campaign taking place in and around London.

Andy Headington, CEO of Adido Ltd also focused on mobile, and underlined the need for consistency and channel integration:

Mobile is obviously still a massive trend for this year. Our advice to anyone would be to future proof your site by creating a responsive site, not a standalone mobile one. Ensuring your responsive website works at an optimum across all devices is essential to success in 2013.

Experience and consistency with a brand across all digital touch points is becoming more and more important. The consumer is in control online and if their experience falters at any point it can be detrimental to business performance. Thus, more emphasis this year will be placed on improving and developing a great user experience strategy across all platforms.

Which channels are driving progress?

While integration was a word we encountered often, many of our nominees also highlighted particular channels that are at the forefront of this shift.


Marketers seem to have been talking about ‘the year of mobile’ for a long time, but it seems that we’ve finally reached market maturity. Drawbridge CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan explained:

The single biggest trend is a shift to mobile. There are certainly some other notable trends, such as video advertising, a shift even lower down the funnel towards “CPA” (vs. CPC or CPM). However, there is no more profound shift than the amount of time and attention consumers are spending on their smartphones and tablets, and the corresponding impact on marketers.

The shift to mobile changes everything: targeting, ad serving, attribution, creatives, and metrics are all changed. There are many reduced capabilities (eg. targeting doesn’t work as well), but there are also some advantages (eg., location and device ubiquity).

As several basic infrastructure problems are resolved – for example, as payments on mobile phones become easier—m-commerce will become unlocked, which will unleash a flood of mobile advertising.

Adam Harris, the Commercial Creative Director for Time Out London agreed about mobile’s importance, and expanded on the ways it would influence other channels:

We think that the future is mobile and that there whilst there are a number of companies integrating their offerings into the mobile space there are re few that are ahead of the curve on this one.

Responsive design is an aspect of digital that should not be ignored and the development of the Facebook ‘phone is something that we will be watching with interest – it could become the ultimate engagement tool.

Channels and tech influence each other


Mark Fallows is McCann’s Director of Creative Engineering. He took this focus on new technology further, explaining how wearable tech will expand upon and unite new marketing channels:

There are transient or tertiary trends and there are transformative technologies. 

I would suggest that wearable tech and the rapid evolution in 3D printing are the two transformative technologies that all marketers need to be embracing or planning for.

Nike FuelBand, Fitbit Flex, Jawbone’s Up, Myo’s Gesture control armband, Google Glass or the Zeo Sleep manager are all buzz-worthy examples of wearable tech that are driving a transformation in how people behave in the “meatspace”. Technologies that enable us to quantify our lives and make more informed decisions or make our daily lives more frictionless will only rise. Conservative estimates suggest that the market will be worth at least 6bn by 2016.

As our interactions with technology extend beyond screens, brands need to consider how the “internet of things” can be embraced to deliver valuable and desirable consumer services or products. It’s a fact we all need to be thinking beyond digital marketing communications.

3D printing is rapidly moving beyond novelty.

With industrial printers from Stratsys or 3D Systems now becoming affordable, we need to be considering how this transformative technology can be embraced to deliver value to the consumer? We are discussing this with our clients and I’m sure all brands are considering what this means for building new services, embracing consumers to curate new products and how to secure IP in this new digital frontier.

3D printing was a hot topic this year, with many hoping they would provide a new way to deliver customized content offline:

Lucy Porter is Head of Digital at PrettyGreen:


Personalisation is going to continue to grow this year, with a focus back on the individual and customised content. Campaigns like KLM’s Must See Map are already tapping into consumers’ desire for personal recommendation, and with the growth of 3D printing we’re seeing more brands exploring creative personalisation both on and offline.

Integrated channels, campaigns, technology and measurement

Of course, new channels are of limited use if we can’t work out how to measure results and hone content to provide users with better experience.

M4C’s Sally Silver spoke about the difficulties marketers face here: 

Data, rightly, is increasingly under the spotlight. Modern marketing (particularly digital) is becoming more and more dependent on its ability to move fast, with more informed, scientific decisions.

This applies across the entire spectrum of digital marketing: mobile, social, IP-TV, DOOH – we now have more and more access to data. The complex part of processing and leveraging it is more attainable. The harder part is answering the uncertainty that exists in data, knowing what data is more relevant than others is where a lot of value will be added.

Overall, it was clear this year that marketers are moving away from siloed content and channels, and the companies at the forefront of the digital landscape are constantly looking for new and effective ways to provide great ‘across the board’ experiences to consumers.

Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Brian Macreadie summed this up for us:

I have a bit of an allergic reaction to buzzwords and phrases, so I’m going to kick myself for using a few, but optimizing the visitor experience on your website, and being able to spot and convert those online and social interactions where we know we can help a client with a particular need, are key focal points.

Turning analytics into insight lies at the heart of that, which in turn requires a big data capability. I’m not saying anything new or revolutionary there, but what is more prominent than ever is that the time for eulogising is over, and the time for delivery and proven ROI is here.

A night to remember…

The Digitals celebrate, recognise and award excellence in digital marketing and ecommerce. The awards will draw the best of the best from around the globe. It will be a sparkling display of social media maestros, web analytics aficionados, multichannel masters, sage search marketers, mobile marketing connoisseurs and ace media buffs. 

For more insight from our shortlist, and examples of the great content they are producing, check out The Digitals Yearbook. We’ll be adding more content there daily as we approach our awards night on June 27th.  

To see the entire shortlist, and to book your place at the biggest digital party of the year, head over to The Digitals official site