Web Predictions 2014: The Future of Internet Marketing

With the start of a new year, it’s about time for some more predictions.  Like we did last year, we are going to put our foresight abilities to the test to see who among us might be a little bit psychic (disclaimer: CO does not actually claim to possess psychic future-prediction abilities).  We’ll recap how we did on our last predictions, then dive into what we see happening next in the world of internet marketing!

Andy Waldrop, Marketing Multi-Threat

Last year I predicted Apple would buy Yelp for a sizable figure. My prediction was… WRONG.  I still think the acquisition is a nice one for Apple, and I’m not alone in this. I still believe it might happen, but last year proved to be too much with the transition from Jobs to Cook at the helm. Google is still heavily invested in location data, search, mobile software and mobile devices. In 2013 Google acquired social GPS app Waze and has been adding so many location specific features with Google Now, better Google Maps customization and synchronization across devices with Google account users and even augmented reality games like Ingress.

For 2014 I predict that this will be the year of video. I expect to see as much as double the amount of video content and video advertising. Facebook has announced plans to offer more video advertising space and has very recently updated the video behavior to autoplay on mobile more similar to Vine or Instagram who rode the video wave through 2013. Even 1 to 1 videos are more popular than ever through chat messaging or SnapChat. As mobile internet speeds accelerate so does the usability of video especially on mobile.

Video remarketing through Google and YouTube has seen steady growth and the marketplace is much less crowded compared to Adwords search ads or the display network. This will continue to grow especially for businesses with a sales process longer than one day.

Josh Kinney, Search Sherpa

I was at LEAST 50% there with my prediction, maybe even more than that.  I’ll go ahead and take the full 100% credit, what the heck.  Last year I said that Google would release the next huge algorithmic update, and that did happen!  Google’s latest big update dubbed Hummingbird was rolled out August 20th.  There’s my guaranteed 50% correct.  Now, the other 50% is not so clear.  I went on to say that this update would have a big impact on local business.  I should have stopped at “big algo update” because of two reasons 1. local impact can be difficult to measure and 2. Google Places also started updating into Google+ in the same timeframe, so is that part of the hummingbird update?  Well no, likely not, but it is there!  Ah ha! There’s my other 0-50% credit.

Moving forward into 2014, I foresee Facebook losing ground faster than ever.  Right now the highest rate of signups by age range is by people over 60.  Overall, users are leaving.  The social media landscape will become more fractured than ever with younger generations flocking to the next great thing/s.  Marketers will have to be nimble, and will have a bazillion apps on their phone as they research each platform.

Wait a minute, I’m seeing something else…

Ah yes, security.  Security concerns could have an impact on the platforms people choose.  Snapchat and the like will thrive with the youngins knowing their privacy will inherently not be shared with the world.

As another offshoot prediction, I think that Google will yet again re-brand it’s partners/edge/engage platform.  ;)

Scott Horner, Ranking Adjuster

Google’s purchase of robotics company Boston Dynamics means that Google Maps is about to get a lot more extensive.  We’ve all seen the “Google Mobiles” roaming the streets, but this new line of robotics technology will now turn “offroad.”

Robots will be turned loose on the countryside.  It will begin with extensive data collections of parks and public lands but soon turn to the land developers prospecting commercial and residential sites.  Watch out Zillow…

Can you imagine being caught on the appalachian trail in a rainstorm?  Pull up your exact location on Google Maps.  Order your required equipment from Amazon.  Boom!  30 minutes later a drone delivers your goods.

Want to know the best hills for sledding in your area roaming around in the latest snow storm?  Google it.

Want to adopt a family displaced by the civil war in the Congo?  Have meals and supplies delivered directly to their safe location.

The possibilities are infinite – and potentially scary (ahem…SkyNet) – but 2014 will again redefine our real time expectations for online information and commerce.

Collin Jarman, Master and Commander of SEO

Last year, I hit my prediction pretty spot-on that Bing was going to go social.  This year, I’m going to build on that.  Moving forward, we’re going to see a divergence in Google and Bing and what types of results they serve.  Google, as always, will remain focused on content relevance, quality, and PageRank.  I think Bing is going to forgo that in favor of embracing social in a very big way.  2013 was the test for social, in 2014 it’s going to get ramped up.

People keep discounting Bing as a random little project by Microsoft that is an inferior product all around, but Microsoft needs Bing.  It might not be a powerhouse on its own, but take a step back for a minute, and try to look at the long game (the really long game).  Look at what Microsoft is trying to do with it’s Operating Systems (embracing the cloud).  Look at what Microsoft is trying to do with Social (Facebook + Twitter partnerships).  Look at what Microsoft is trying to do with the Xbox One (whole-home media, plus social).  Alone, these 3 groups may as well be individual businesses… but Bing is the glue that holds them all together.  It’s not just a search engine, it’s the infrastructure to Microsoft’s entire world… a world they’re trying to unify with Bing the way Windows unified the personal computing world.

If their plan works out, expect people to refer to Google as the search engine for content, and Bing as the search engine for all things social (friends, reviews, events, and who knows what else).

Nick Miller, Website Whisperer and Legal Eagle

When I, Nickstradamus, peer into my crystal ball I see many things and I see them in the form of a poem. Behold!

“Marketers market many things, but fear numbers more than words, but in 2014 Big Data forces us all to be statistics-savvy nerds!

Reputations matter online, just see the comments of YouTube, and in the coming year a start-up will emerge to separate the expert from the rube.

Bitcoins, bitcoins everywhere and not a bit to spend because in 2014 this bubble bursts- kaput, the end.”

The crystal ball has gone hazy and now only a ghostly image remains that states simply “(not provided).”

Holly Edwards, Social Media Master

We’ve seen short-form video storytelling become bigger this year, but I bet it is going to be even bigger next year. With apps such as Vine, Snapchat and Instagram, it makes it extremely easy to create and share a 5-15 second video with your friends and followers. More and more .gifs are being created and shared every day, and it seems that video is going to make a huge comeback in 2014.

I think online messaging is also going to make a big comeback next year. With Facebook messaging, Skype messaging and Gmail messaging, people are going to be talking more online next year, than ever. Even dating apps are taking on messaging services, such as Tinder.

Curtis Edwards, Web Wizard

I’m not buying into Nickstradamus’ prediction. In fact, I’ll take Nick’s ‘Bitcoin burst’ and raise it: I believe Bitcoin will see success. Considering that Bitcoin has been around since late 2008 with little to no publicity, it’s popularity should only rise in 2014. Currently there are limited products, services, and traveling options that are accepting the payment. However, with the increase in publicity in 2014, the availability to where and how to spend Bitcoin should increase as well. There has been a number of cases that shows it’s uprising, including a $200,000 Lamborghini being purchased, a 7.85 million dollar mansion being sold, and even $24,000 sent to a college student who waved a sign on television. All of these cases just in the final two months of 2013 shows me Bitcoin is indeed a promising currency of the future, and you can take that to the bank!

Cornelius Gloria, Chief Technology Ninja

Big year in wearable technology has come and gone with updates to many fitness trackers such as the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, Fitbit Force, etc as well as new smart watches from Samsung, Sony, and various Kickstarters namely the Pebble. With CES pretty close by I won’t be surprised to see improved technology being incorporated into what’s out now. Flexible batteries, conductive fabric, and Bluetooth LE is pointing to our wearable tech not being some widget or gadget accessory but sensors literally embedded into our clothing. The quantified self is getting more and more mainstream, see latest styles in upcoming fashion shows!

Google Glass is expected to hit sometime in 2014. With their recent acquisition of Boston Dynamics, maybe we’ll be seeing robots/drones being controlled with Glass? Another step toward SkyNet and the Singularity anyone? Microsoft is also working on their own Glass competitor which will likely tie in with their current ecosystem. As the only Windows Phone 8 (Nokia 920) user in the office I’d love to see that integration come to light. With my Xbox 360/future Xbox One, Windows PC and Microsoft’s Kinect Technology I can see a completely immersive and new take on how we interact with our tech. If it’s truly augmented reality I’d love to be able to just my phone in my pocket and just use hand gestures to answer. With the Xbox I’d want to have the chat built into the glasses. With the PC and Kinect, I’d love to see a truly immersive “Minority Report” type interface with all those flat digital squares just floating about. I’ll give that another 5 years.

The Internet of Things has been growing with more and more devices getting connected to the internet. With home devices like Nest, Canary, Phillips Hue, Belkins WeMo, etc your house is getting smarter and I won’t be surprised when IFTT will tweet you if you’ve left the stove on, or your toast is ready, or if you’re out of milk. Or you finally figuring on who keeps leaving the toilet seat up.

I’m with Web Wizard on Bitcoin’s future. I’m seeing more and more new, enterprising, and risk taking businesses and institutions using it. The only issue I’m seeing with it is lack of general knowledge of it’s existence, they need to get more engaged on the local level(or exact opposite ie Walmart) I think for it to work and gain traction as outside of the tech world, Bitcoin sounds just like a random app or game.

tl;dr – Is that big data in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?, Google Glass drones, Microsoft’s SmartGlasses for the masses, tweeting toasters, Bitcoins at your local farmers market. You stay classy 2013.

That’s all, folks!

So there you have it.  Our predictions for the next year.  It should be fun to see how things turn out!  Any predictions of your own, or things you think we missed?  Let us know in the comments below!