Advertising is a dynamic field with ever-shifting frontiers. Just as soon as a new advertising strategy is developed, the market becomes saturated and the prevailing advertising trends swing away from what worked in the past. The advertising trends that will be shaping 2014 are here already, and it's only a matter of time before they achieve fixation in the industry by crowding out experts and firms that haven't developed a winning advertising strategy for the coming year.
The first of the major advertising trends of 2014 is mobile. A decade ago, the idea of advertising or shopping on a phone was absurd. Now, however, an increasing number of customers are making purchases on their phones and tablets. This is true even of customers shopping from home where a desktop alternative is readily available. Beyond that, even purchases made in brick-and-mortar stores are often researched via mobile phone. Advertising professionals have caught on to this trend and are urging clients to make their sites and order forms more mobile friendly.
Part and parcel with this trend toward more mobile-oriented content is the shift away from advertising existing as something independent of content. A consciousness is growing in the industry that well-managed content actively searched for by the customer is far more valuable than an intrusive commercial advertisement that will just be muted or skipped. Using targeted analytics, it is becoming easier to target advertising messages exclusively to the individual who is most likely to make a purchase. The key word here is relevance. Rather than blanket the world with a message about a new car in the hope that a single person will find it useful, the advertising trends of the future will identify and reach out to those who actually want new cars.
Even better than reaching out to specific customers is having hundreds, or thousands, of interested leads reach out to you. That's what search engine optimization (SEO) is all about. SEO is a form of writing for online audiences that helps improve a site's placement on search engine results pages. In its simplest terms, a person searching for "new car" is more likely to find your client if the landing page has been identified by search engines as a good place to learn about new cars. Rankings revolve around keyword placement, the number of links to and from the page, and the freshness of content. The fresh-content requirement imposes the need to actively update and manage an online presence, which suggests the last, and one of the most important, of the great advertising trends of 2014: synergy.
Synergy is more than an industry buzzword. Successful advertising trends of the future will all have this in common—they will not exist in a vacuum. A social-media campaign will be linked with an SEO-friendly landing or order page, which will be publicized on TV or radio. The Information Age makes it possible to bring together and coordinate a multimedia blitz for a fraction of the cost of an older print-only campaign.
The advertising trends of 2014 are, in some ways, continuations of what's been going on for years now. It's the unique way these are being brought together that makes 2014's advertising trends so exciting. If current trends continue as they have been, it might be necessary to rethink the very idea of what constitutes advertising in the future.
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