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The year in digital: The best (and worst) of marketing in 2014

2014 was another big year for digital marketing, with Facebook buying WhatsApp, the rise of the 'Internet of Things' and mobile growth skyrocketing. This was the year that programmatic ads went mainstream, native ads got smarter and online ad revenue overtook broadcast TV in the US. In this special report, we've gathered together the biggest headlines you might have missed across nine 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... 2014%20review%20of%20the%20year.jpg

Viral video marketing case studies: the 25 best virals of 2014

From an avalanche of ice buckets to World Cup fever, 2014 was another big year for video viral marketing case studies. As mobile sharing went mainstream, it was charities that achieved some of the year’s biggest success stories with the ‘No Make Up Selfie’ and the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ hinting at the future power of social media as a communication tool. To round off the year, we’ve assembled our 25 favourite virals from around the world for your viewing pleasure…

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The 15 biggest marketing fails of 2014: McDonalds terrifies Twitter, U2 invades iPhones and Airbnb's balls up

As 2014 draws to a close, we look as some of the biggest marketing blunders of the year. From Amazon's Fire Phone flop and Apple's U2 fiasco to Facebook's drag queen name ban and McDonalds terrifying new mascot, there were plenty of mistakes from companies that should know better. Read on, learn from the mistakes and hope your team doesn’t make the list in 2015...

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Odd news: The weirdest digital stories of 2014

From a dog translation kit to a comedy club charging per laugh, technology took us in some strange directions during 2014. In this brave new world of toilet renting apps, hacked smart fridges and emailed NASA wrenches, we celebrate the weirdest news of the year.

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Facebook trends in 2014: Free audiences collapse, “mobile-first” pays off

Facebook emerged as a mobile advertising powerhouse this year, buying WhatsApp for a staggering £22bn and following up with virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. But it was two controversial-but-savvy moves from Zuckerberg that really propelled the social network's success this year.

Firstly, by adding auto-playing videos in its app, Facebook made its newsfeed a far more compelling destination , driving up engagement with ad dollars following behind. Secondly, by spinning off its Messenger service into a standalone app, the social network created a chat app to rival SnapChat, WeChat and iMessage, with a readymade audience of 500 million- a canny move to future proof Facebook from the fast-changing communication habits of consumers.

But with added pressure to appease shareholders and boost ad dollars, the social network squeezed out free reach for brands, putting pressure on small businesses. Meanwhile, an over-zealous clamp-down on fake names led to high-profile protests and a humble apology to the LGBT community.

Finally, Facebook wants to build the next major computing platform, which Zuckerberg believes could be augmented reality and the Oculus Rift headset. He also wants to bring the internet to more people through Internet.org and its free internet initiative trialled in Zambia.

As part of our review of the year, we look back at the 10 biggest headlines that shaped the social network during 2014.

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Digital advertising trends in 2014: Rise of automated ads as content goes native

From Facebook’s first web-wide ad network to the collapse of the Omnicon-Publicis merger, 2014 was a huge year for digital advertising. This was the year that programmatic ads went mainstream, native ads got smarter and online ad revenue overtook broadcast TV in the US. As part of our review of the year, we look back at the 10 biggest headlines that shaped online advertising in 2014.

Search trends in 2014: EU squeezes Google; SEO evolution; Mobile upsurge

The shifting sands of SEO best practice continued to challenge marketers this year. Major new algorithm changes meant that low quality links, guest blogging posts and Google+ authorship were all relegated on Google results pages. However, Google felt the squeeze of EU pressure this year, as the dominant internet giant was forced to submit to ‘delete me requests’ on search results, hinting at further regulatory woes ahead. As part of our review of the year, we look back at the 10 biggest headlines that shaped search marketing in 2014.

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Top 10 social trends in 2014: Twitter troubles, mobile upstarts and the ‘dark social’ debacle

With chat apps blurring the lines between social media and mobile, the digital marketing landscape just got a whole lot more complicated. With Instagram now bigger than Twitter, China’s giants going international and still many links being shared on untrackable channels like email, marketers need to think beyond Facebook if they want to engage their target audiences. As part of our review of the year, we look back at the top 10 headlines that shaped social media in 2014.

Top 10 mobile marketing trends of 2014: Apple Pay, Android Wear and Nokia's farewell

Whether it’s shopping, watching videos, chatting or sharing on social media, mobile is fast becoming the platform of choice for media consumption. This was the year that mobile video became the fastest growing ad format, programmatic took off and publishers wised up to responsive design. From Apple Pay and Android Wear to Nokia’s farewell and the Fire Phone flop, we look back at ten of the biggest headlines that shaped mobile marketing in 2014.

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Top 10 content marketing trends of 2014: BuzzFeed booms as creativity and big data merge

In the year when US online ad revenues overtook broadcast TV for the first time, the days of TV’s ad dominance look numbered. Online video and native ads are turning brands into publishers- and they need to adapt fast. This year we saw ‘old empires’ like Disney and DreamWorks bet on digital futures, while BuzzFeed’s new publishing model gave traditional media giants plenty to worry about. As part of our review of the year, we look at some of the biggest trends to shape the content marketing landscape in 2014.

Ecommerce trends in 2014: Alibaba skyrockets, mobile dominates and Amazon takes on Google

From Google Drones, Amazon Wands and Apple Pay, the worlds of ecommerce and high street retail are becoming ever-more entwined. With more shoppers going mobile, using click and collect and ‘showrooming’, digital is offering more buying choice than ever before. This was the year that Alibaba floated on the US stock exchange and social networks turned into shops. As part of our review of the year, we look back at the ten biggest headlines that shaped ecommerce in 2014.

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Top 10 gaming and apps trends of 2014: Oculus Rift, Minecraft and Twitch join big players

2014 was another big year for gaming, with Facebook buying Oculus Rift, Microsoft buying Minecraft and Amazon buying twitch. Mobile and console games continued to converge, with Sony streaming PS4 games on its new smartphones. Old cliches were shattered with the news that women play more games than men, with apps fuelling the rise, giving marketers something to think about. As part of our review of the year, we look at the top 10 headlines that shaped apps and gaming.

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Top 10 digital regulation trends of 2014: The price of privacy rises as the cookie crumbles

After 2013’s government web spying revelations, online privacy is now a major issue for consumers and a major challenge for brands seeking loyalty. High-profile hacks like Heartbleed and the rise of connected devices hint at future threats, while web giants and governments lock horns over surveillance, monopolies and data collection. As part of our review of the year, we look at the 10 biggest headlines that shaped online marketing regulation in 2014.

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