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Latest research and digital marketing trends

December 2013

As digital advertising moves beyond measuring clicks, this month saw the big players ramp up their display tools. Google reduced the value of adverts that are not seen by humans- potentially giving advertisers a better return on their display ad investment. Meanwhile Twitter now matches ads to users' browser history. Not to be outdone, Facebook was revealed to be working on artificial intelligence to mine its vast amount of user data.

Following its 'SEO apocalypse' - hiding all keyword data earlier this year - Google is now making email marketing analytics a little harder too, as Gmail starts caching images. This means major segment of consumers will 'disappear' from marketers stats. This month we look at what this means for email ads - and how to work around it.

With WhatsApp and Snapchat amongst the digital success stories of 2013, we also look at the 10 biggest instant messaging apps in the world and examine the implication of the Internet of Things' will have on marketing in the years to come.

Finally, gaze into the future with Amazon's flying delivery drones and Google's super-fast military robots. As digital and the real world merge, the next decade holds some exiting (and slightly scary) implications for us all...

Best wishes from all the Digital Strategy team

Danny Meadows-Klue
Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting Group

Top stories this monthTop stories this month

The biggest stories that show how your markets and audiences are changing.

Google to charge advertisers "only for ads that are seen"

Google has revamped its display ads so that advertisers pay only for adverts that are actually seen online. The new buying option lets advertisers pick ad spots on websites that meet set viewability standards. Google defines this as a minimum of 50% of the ad being visible on the screen for at least one second. 13/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Google to charge advertisers only for ads that are seen

Twitter matches ads to users' browser history

Twitter has launched a new form of targeted advertising, letting firms deliver "promoted tweets" to its users based on interest they have shown across their entire web browsing history. 06/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Twitter matches ads to users' browser history

Top 10 instant messaging apps in the world

The use of WhatsApp, WeChat, Line or Snapchat is booming all around the world. Social media agency KRDS, has produced this infographic on the top 10 messaging apps today, along with their features and their marketing potential. 16/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Top 10 instant messaging apps in the world

Email marketing analytics - Implications for marketers following latest Google changes

Google seems to be making email marketing analytics a little harder, as Gmail starts caching images. Image downloads act as the window into engagement data for email and if Gmail switches this off, a major segment of consumers will 'disappear' from the stats. Here's why... 10/12/2013 | Full story...

Top 10 most searched for social networks by country

Social media was ruled by Facebook in 2013, with Pinterest, Skype and Twitter all performing well across a range of countries, according to new data from Bing. 09/12/2013 | Full story...

Facebook working on artificial intelligence to mine user data

Facebook is working on artificial intelligence technology that will help it turn its massive trove of user data into ad revenue with better targeted automated ads. 11/12/2013 | Full story...

Internet of Things to grow 30-times by 2020: Connected devices will be standard

The Internet of Things (IoT) will grow to 26 billion units by 2020, representing an almost 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion in 2009, according to IT research and advisory firm Gartner. 17/12/2013 | Full story...

Google Robots vs Amazon Drones: Online delivery of the future?

Following Amazon's announcement this week that it plans to use flying drones to deliver customer orders, Google has revealed its own plans for automated freight-robots. 05/12/2013 | Full story...

Top Twitter trends of 2014: Football and death dominate social chatter

Twitter has revealed the top trends of 2013 on its social network, both in the UK and worldwide, with celebrity deaths and football causing the biggest buzz. 16/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Top Twitter trends of 2014: Football and death dominate social chatter

Web giants unite to demand government spying reform

Web giants Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, LinkedIn and Yahoo have united to form the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, to demand a change to digital surveillance practices. 09/12/2013 | Full story...


When videos go viral they cut through the communication clutter. Getting messages forwarded from friends is the most powerful marketing, and this is the best of what our friends sent us. Send us what impressed you!

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. To round off the year, we've put together our 25 favourite virals for your viewing pleasure. 04/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Viral video marketing case studies - the best virals of 2013


2014 looks set to be a year for marketers to focus on the multi-screen consumer and micro-videos, according to the latest predictions. Meanwhile BrightRoll and Nielsen have teamed up for video metrics and some surprising research reveals that email marketers could get more engagement "simply by sending more emails".

BrightRoll and Nielsen team up for video ad metrics

Video ad platform BrightRoll has struck a strategic agreement with Nielsen, the global measurement and information company, to help advertisers increase the efficacy of their digital video ad campaigns and maximize accountability and return on investment. 17/12/2013 | Full story...

12 digital trends for 2014: The year for multiscreen and micro-videos

During 2014, video budgets will continue to shift from TV to multi-screen and mobile media spend will rise dramatically, especially among youth-targeted brands, according to new predictions from digital ad firm Millward Brown. 16/12/2013 | Full story...

Email marketers could get more engagement "simply by sending more emails"

Brands could increase engagement and revenue by sending more emails to customers, according to a new study. 16/12/2013 | Full story...


Google's annual 'Zeitgeist' report uncovered some surprisingly popular searches in 2013, while a roundtable video shows what search experts are expecting from 2014. Meanwhile, an eye-tracking report reveals Google 'still benefits most' from linking to rivals in search results.

Top Google searches of 2013: Twerking, Pancakes and Wimbledon

The death of Paul Walker has topped Google's 2013 list of trending searches, with Nelson Mandela, the royal baby and iPhone5 also featuring in the top 10. 19/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Top Google searches of 2013 Twerking, Pancakes and Wimbledon

Search marketing predictions for 2014 (video)

As 2013 comes to an end, Greenlight has taken a look at what 2014 holds for the digital marketing industry. The marketing agency filmed their directors as they provided insights into the advancements that can be expected in SEO, PPC, Social Media and eCommerce. Watch the full video below. 17/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Search marketing predictions for 2014 (video)

Google lets users create their own DIY Street View

Google has expanded its popular Street View with a new feature that lets users create their own 360 images of locations near them. 11/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Google lets users create their own DIY Street View

More top search stories from this month:

 - Eye-tracking reveals Google 'still benefits most' from linking to rivals in search results - report


This month, Facebook finally admitted that brand's organic reach on fan pages is declining. The social network also ramped up its rivalry with Twitter as a source for real time news, while experimenting with a 'sympathise' button as a compromise for the much requested 'dislike' button.

Facebook takes on Twitter with increased focus on news articles

Facebook is making news items more prominent in its News Feed, as the social network looks to challenge Twitter as the site of choice for discussions about current events. 04/12/2013 | Full story...

Facebook admits brands' organic reach is declining

Facebook warned page administrators that the changes to its News Feed algorithm it introduced earlier this week will likely cause lower organic reach, citing the number of posts competing for space in users' News Feeds. 11/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Facebook admits brands' organic reach is declining

Facebook plans 'Sympathize' button

Facebook is considering the launch of a new 'sympathise' button planning as an alternative to its hugely successful 'like' icon. 10/12/2013 | Full story...

SocialSocial - beyond Facebook

Apple made a new venture into social media buying Topsy Labs this month, while Instagram took on Snapchat and WhatsApp with a private messaging service. To round off 2013, Tumblr took a look back at the best blogs of the year.

Apple buys Topsy Labs to track social media

Apple has bought social media search and analytics firm Topsy, marking a significant investment into social networking - an area Apple has no strong presence in to date. 03/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Apple buys Topsy Labs to track social media

10 best blogs of 2013: Tumblr reveals top trends

It was a big year for Tumblr, which was bought for $1.1bn by Yahoo in one of this year's most buzzed-about deals. Now, the blogging platform is flaunting its credentials with its first-ever breakdown of the year's hottest trends, topics and celebrities. 04/12/2013 | Full story...

Instagram debuts private messaging service

Instagram has launched its own direct messaging service, letting people send photos and videos to each other privately. 13/12/2013 | Full story...

More top social media stories from this month:

 - Twitter audience 'getting younger than Facebook users'

MobileMobile and tablets

Surprising results from the UK suggest that Samsung mobile users actually spent more than iOS users during the 'Cyber-Monday' rush. Apple ramped up its multi-channel tools with iBeacon tracking in-store shoppers, while new data suggests mobile is now a key channel to reach mums.

Cyber Monday in the UK: Samsung users spend more than iOS

iPhone and iPad users lead the mobile shopping boom this Cyber Monday, but Samsung mobile users spent most per person when shopping online in the UK, according to new research. 05/12/2013 | Full story...

Reaching mums through digital marketing channels - smartphone use is key

Latest research into use patterns for smartphones shows they are key for reaching mums through digital marketing channels. 16/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Reaching mums through digital marketing channels - smartphone use is key

iBeacon goes live in Apple stores to track shoppers' location

Apple has launched its iBeacon tracking technology across 254 US stores, providing users with information depending on their precise location in the shop and acting like a virtual assistant. 09/12/2013 | Full story...

 - Aldi rivals Tesco with budget tablet for £80

Multimedia contentMultimedia content

Spotify finally revealed its royalty payments in December, showing that artists earn just $0.007 per stream. The firm also offered its first free ad-funded service for mobile. Plus a new report shows that UK marketers are 'getting more confident with content marketing'.

Spotify artists earn $0.007 per stream

Spotify has revealed that artists are paid an average of $0.007 per play on the music streaming service, following criticism that it is underpaying musicians. 09/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - Spotify artists earn $0.007 per stream

UK marketers 'getting more confident with content marketing'

UK marketers rate themselves more highly in terms of effectiveness when compared with North American and Australian marketers, according to new research. 12/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - UK marketers getting more confident with content marketing

Spotify takes on iTunes Radio with first free service for mobile

Spotify is to extend its "free" ad-supported music service to mobile devices, in a move that will rival the lies of iTunes radio in the mobile streaming sector. 13/12/2013 | Full story...


Online gaming pioneer Miniclip is reporting success on mobile, while Kit Kat is the latest brand to sign up to the PlayCaptcha format.

Miniclip reaches quarter of a billion mobile downloads

Miniclip has passed the landmark of 250 million downloads of its mobile games on iOS, Android and Windows devices. 12/12/2013 | Full story...

KitKat uses Captcha alternative game

Kit Kat has partnered with PlayCaptcha to use a new ad format that offers an games-based alternative to traditional 'Captcha' web verification forms. 11/12/2013 | Full story...


During the festive shopping frenzy, we look at a new generation of older shoppers that defy stereotypes. As we enter 2014, we also reveal the top 5 ecommerce predictions for the year.

New generation of older shoppers 'defy stereotypes'

Older shoppers are an active, canny and tech savvy group, but their reluctance to buy online remains an issue, according to new research. 04/12/2013 | Full story...

Digital Intelligence - New generation of older shoppers defy stereotypes

Top 5 retail marketing predictions for 2014

A change in measurement metrics, shoppable content and engagement will be key developments in the coming year, according to new predictions form Rakuten Marketing. 13/12/2013 | Full story...

Mega Monday becomes 'Mobile Monday' on biggest shopping day of the year

Mobile transactions increased by 100% in the UK, over the busiest shopping weekend of the year, according to new research. 06/12/2013 | Full story...

More top ecommerce stories from this month:

 - ASOS is top UK retailer on Pinterest this Christmas shopping season


We look at the 10 biggest technology disasters of 2013, in the month that a massive hack exposed millions of social media passwords.

10 biggest technology disasters of 2013

2013 has been a busy year for tech failures, on both sides of the Atlantic. All organizations are at risk of IT disasters, which could have an adverse effect on the operational running of the business and cause significant problems. 17/12/2013 | Full story...

'Massive' hack exposes millions of social media passwords

More than two million stolen passwords used for sites such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo and other web services have been posted online. 06/12/2013 | Full story...

Martha Lane Fox steps down as UK digital champion

Lastminute co-founder Martha Lane Fox has quit her role as the Government's UK digital champion after more than three years. 03/12/2013 | Full story...

More top gaming stories from this month:

 - Rise of the machines: Google buys super-fast military robots
 - Online media traffic fraud continues to undermine media buying confidence

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