2013: The stories and research that shaped digital

19/12/2013

As 2013 comes to a close, we look back at the biggest trends that helped shape digital marketing in the year that Google became the biggest media owner in the world. Twitter went public, Facebook put 'mobile first', Yahoo bought Tumblr and the web spying scandal shocked the world. It was a year of big data and micro-targeting, while mobile marketing started to pay off big time. In this special report, we've gathered together the biggest headlines you might have missed across 9 digital categories. As an added bonus, we also look at some of the best virals, worst marketing fails and the weirdest headlines of the year...

Viral video marketing case studies – the best virals of 2013

Along with the Harlem Shakes, singing astronauts and twerking fails, 2013 was another big year for viral video marketing case studies. From the emotionally powerful (Dove’s ‘Sketches’ and Skype’s ‘Born Friends’ ) to the very risky (Durex’s ‘Fundawear’ and Kmart’s ‘Ship My Pants’) there’s been a wealth of great online marketing ads that got many people sharing. This year also saw the introduction of Twitter’s Vine videos - with Lowes and Tide leading the 6-second format with smart and engaging ads. To round off the year, we’ve put together our 25 favourite virals for your viewing pleasure…

Facebook continued to dominate social media in 2013

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More mobile: Its mobile-first strategy signalled the big shift as developers focussed on the small screen to get people using Facebook as the key sharing tool when they’re with their friends.

More commercial: Smarter and better advertising products, simplifying the formats, buying the Atlas network from Microsoft, pushing aggressively in mobile.

More mainstream: As Facebook’s grown up, it’s become more like traditional media, with strong account teams, analytics and a focus on audience quality

Social media trends in 2013: Chat apps and Chinese platforms rising stars of the year

24 most popular social networks in the world. This chart shows the top 24 social networks by global monthly active users. Facebook leads with almost 1.2 billion monthly users. Interestingly, the list features many region specific social networks such as Qzone, a China-based social networking site, which ranked third with half a billion monthly active users.

Twitter IPO could make the micro-blogging platform a serious Facebook rival for advertisers… if it can make the most of its live event–orientated audience data.

Chat Apps stole the headlines from the larger players this year, with WhatsApp, SnapChat and WeChat all getting audience figures that brands cannot ignore

Chinese Social Networks are beginning to expand to western markets, bringing with them huge user numbers and targeted demographics.

Digital advertising trends in 2013: The year of big data and micro-targeting

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Real time bidding platforms soar as advertisers finally utilise big data for micro targeting

Major retailers eBay and Amazon are becoming powerful ad networks using their vast amounts of user data harvested from their customer's buying habits

Marketing giants WPP and newly formed Publicis Omnicom Group put the squeeze on smaller agencies, while major brands ramp up spend on digital

Search trends in 2013: Hummingbirds, Penguins and the SEO apocalypse

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Despite pressure from privacy groups, Bing and regional players Baidu and Yandex, Google still rules the search landscape.

Google’s ‘keyword apocalypse’ has huge implications for search engine optimisation- marketers being pushed towards paid search for true accountability

Products like HummingBird and Google Now show where Google thinks digital is going- are mobiles and wearables the future?

Mobile trends in 2013- The wearable technology test

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Smartphones finally outsell feature phones globally as developing world switches on to Android- but Apple remains best for consumer engagement and spend

Wearable technology makes headway with Google Glass ‘explorers’ and Galaxy Gear Smartwatch- but mainstream audience demand is largely untested

Mobile advertising starting to prove its worth but brands still experimenting with best formats to reach consumers on the move in highly personal medium

Content marketing in 2013- Blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment

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YouTube ramps up contextual advertising and paid content to rival success of Netflix, as Google becomes world's largest media owner

iTunes and Google adopt Spotify model, signalling a new era of ad-funded streaming music

Marketers getting smarter with content marketing as analysts predict rise in native advertising in the years to come

Gaming and app trends in 2013: Next gen console battle hints at future of entertainment

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Microsoft and Sony locked in battle for consumer’s living room with latest next-gen consoles going far beyond gaming- but new players such as the Steam Box and Ouya target hardcore and casual gamers

App gaming is now sells more than handheld consoles- as mobile and console experience starts to merge

Marketing through gaming becomes more lucrative, with rise of freemium apps generating dual revenue from purchases and ads

Digital regulation trends in 2013: Tackling privacy issues in a post PRISM world

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Government web spying revelations shocked the world in the year when online privacy became big news

Tech advances such as Google Glass and 3D printers raise new questions about digital regulation

Marketers continue to battle regulators over ‘Do Not Track’ defaults for web users

The fail trail: 15 worst digital marketing blunders of 2013

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It’s true that a life without mistakes is a life not truly lived- but we can be sure the Kellogg’s marketing department could have lived without promising to feed hungry children in exchange for retweets. As 2013 draws to a close, we look as some of the biggest digital marketing fails of the year, from the horsemeat scandal and HMV’s live-blogged mass sackings to Facebook’s ‘Home’ flop and the Xbox ‘deal with it’ Twitter outburst. Read on, learn from the mistakes and hope your team doesn’t make the list in 2014….

Odd news: 18 weirdest technology news stories of 2013

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Forget Google Glass, this year produced some truly strange technological inventions. from mobile 'mind control’ to tactile touchscreens. In this brave new world of Google robots, Amazon Drones and Sony’s smart wigs, we celebrate the weirdest news of 2013 (NOTE: No donkeys were harmed in the making of this list).

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