December 27th, 2012 by Judith Aquino

A new year is about new opportunities. For marketers, it’s another chance to roll out better campaigns and find more ways to engage customers. Next year many of the trends that have been transforming advertising and businesses will continue to unfold as we pursue more efficient and innovative marketing strategies. Here’s what to expect from 2013:

The walls between online and offline stores will continue to melt. In the pre-Internet, pre-smartphone days, the only way to get a second opinion when shopping was to drag other people to the store with you. These days, shoppers are more likely to use a smartphone to snap and share photos of merchandise with their friends, bringing the in-store experience online.

facebookhangersOn the flip side, a Brazilian retailer, C&A, has put “real-time Facebook Likes” counters on its hangers. When someone “likes” an item on the company’s Facebook page, that like shows up on the hanger to let shoppers know which clothes are popular on Facebook. Same-day delivery options for items bought online are also becoming more common. As the battle between ecommerce sites and brick and mortar stores rages on, what we might end up with is a hybrid version of shopping.

Shoppable videos are here to stay. The next generation of video includes being able to place items that you see in the video in a shopping cart by touching or clicking on them. Barney’s, Neiman Marcus, Juicy Couture, Target and a handful of other companies have been experimenting with “shoppable” videos that let viewers do exactly that. While the technology has yet to be perfected (some videos take shoppers to another site whereas others let you save items as the video runs), expect to see more retailers giving it a shot.

Native ad placements are just getting started.
Coined by venture capitalist Fred Wilson, native advertising (branded content that blends in with a site’s content) are being touted as a way to offer relevant messages that are less intrusive than the random banner ad. While consumer backlash, such as the kerfuffle that caused Instagram to retract its advertising terms of service, has cast a shadow over native advertising, the concept makes sense. Native ads like Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are an emerging segment within the social media advertising channel, according to BIA/Kelsey. The research firm predicts the market for native ads will grow from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $3.9 billion in 2016.

Mobile advertising is still a work in progress. A day after eMarketer released its latest mobile ad spending forecast, which predicted Facebook will receive $339.3 million in mobile ad revenue this year and $1.22 billion in 2014, the social giant said it was halting its mobile ad network. Three months ago, Facebook had revealed plans to run its ads on third-party mobile apps. Those plans have been shelved for now, a Facebook spokesperson told All Things D, while the company focuses “on scaling ads in mobile news feeds before ads off of Facebook.” Facebook isn’t the only company that still needs to develop its mobile ad strategy. Only 1 percent of total U.S. ad spend goes to mobile, estimated Mary Meeker of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers earlier this year, suggesting that mobile advertising still has a long way to go.

Wanted: more data scientists. Data analysis makes innovations in marketing and other industries possible and the demand for data scientists will continue to increase, noted Gartner analyst Rita Sallem at this year’s Gartner Business Intelligence and Analytics Summit. “Analytics is the combustion engine of business, and it will be necessary for organizations that want to grow, innovate and optimize efficiency,” Sallem said. She estimated that about 30 percent of users deal with analytics today, but said that number will rise to about 50 percent by 2014 and 75 percent by 2020. McKinsey & Company, however, forecasts the data analytics field will face a shortage of professionals by 2018. In addition to hiring the best candidates, companies need to start thinking of ways to invest in the industry’s future, by sponsoring research efforts and scholarships.

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