1b2bThe brand new study „Online Marketing Trends 2013“, with over 1000 test persons from the German market, conducted by Absolit Consulting, shows that the internet is used by most people mainly for three things: exchanging and sharing information with friends, getting information about products, and buying online.

The survey also shows that B2B marketers hardly make use of social and that there is more talk about mobile marketing than results.

A lot of the findings are relevant for marketers worldwide, so here‘s a summary:

Quality counts more than advertising

If today's customers are disappointed, they will write a bad review, and the next customer will decide to buy somewhere else. Even no name brands can nowadays be successful quickly if they deliver quality and get good reviews. Today there are tons of ways to comment on products and services, and in the end it‘s not the companies with the most extravagant campaigns but those with satisfied customers who are successful.

Content Marketing replaces SEO

The days when you could gain new customers merely through search engine optimization and better Google ranking are simply over since the Panda, Penguin and Venice updates changed Google’s search algorithms. The thing is, Google doesn‘t even need any further updates to its search algorithm, since it is already able to recognize those trying to influence their ranking with SEO - no chance. For years, Google has been preaching: just create pages that users will like. To realize this, the company has acquired a few companies and patents which monitor the user and recognize good recommendations. That‘s what high ranking is about: I search for „iphone5 versus galaxy s3“ and Google will recommend the page which offers the best and popular content for that.

So, there‘s only one way to get a good ranking in Google: offer the best information available on the web for a particular keyword. That‘s content marketing in a nutshell. SEO agencies are calling this Social SEO: good content = many likes and followers = good SEO ranking.

Social Media Monitoring

A lot of marketers had hoped that Facebook would turn out to be a cheap machine for viral marketing, but were disappointed. Postings by companies only appear on 10% of fan pages, and influencers are tired of being (ab)used by marketers. At least everyone has understood that Klout measures the digital influence of a person. If someone complains, you should be measuring the Klout score - if it‘s low, not so much harm done, but if someone with a Klout of 80 complains about you, this might just be the beginning of a shitstorm - if there is good reason for the complaint, 10000 friends will know.

Mobile - finally!

There are smartphones everywhere and Internet flat rates are standard nowadays. With LTE even more data can be transmitted. Mobile will finally really take off since 75% of smartphone owners use their phone to receive emails, and 13% of people online are online on a mobile device. What really should be on marketers to do list is to implement responsive design to make sites adapt to every screen.

Also, local companies, restaurants and stores need to take full advantage of the GPS in smartphones - the phone will show users what‘s interesting in the vicinity, so make sure you are listed!

Campaigns are out

A few years ago some companies made the mistake to launch successful Facebook campaigns, only to ignore their thousands of fans afterwards. That‘s not how it‘s done anymore. Campaigns are not important, but the continuous relationship with customers is what counts. This used to be called CRM, with the only difference that it‘s not just the makers of high end products who engage in the customer dialogue, it‘s also companies producing one dollar chocolate bars.

Dialogue replaces Monologue

Mere campaigns which inundate their audience with advertisements are definitely out. Technically and economically it has become possible to engage in a dialogue. Hotels are sending out welcome messages after checking in via foursquare with a coupon for a free drink, and even the Frankfurt airport sends out a welcome message. Some like this, other‘s don‘t and this is where permission marketing comes in - everyone decides by themselves what they want to make public, and what not.

Big Data and eCRM

Data is flooding us faster than we can monitor and analyze it. Many are afraid and don‘t want to get into it. But no matter what you do as a company, be transparent and explain to users what you are doing. It is a fact that a lot more could be personalized than it is at the moment. It is easier to make use of anonymous data - you should know which data has been collected online and which information this data has to offer. Data from email marketing should be put to use as well, but keep in mind - only use anonymized data, not personalize one! There‘s still a lot to be found here about customer preferences and interest, waiting to be analyzed.

Visuals are here to stay

No other platform has grown as fast as Pinterest. A lot of B2C companies are using the platform to generate leads and to reach new potential customers. The reason for this success is “using images”! "Emotional Usability" is a trend which is all about getting closer to the customer and touching people. People react better and faster and more intuitively to images than to text. Just take care not to violate copyrights. Just on new year‘s eve and new year‘s day, there were 1.2 billion images uploaded on Facebook. On the other hand there is Snapchat - images automatically destroy themselves after a short period of time here.

Automated targeting

Graphic banners now are in for what AdWords did with text ads. Advertisements will be automatically displayed to the right target group. And it‘s working. If I look at shoes on Amazon, I‘ll be bombarded with shoe ads on every other website I visit. Bid management systems are offering opportunities for companies to place affordable advertisements with good enough CTR. (Source: www.absolit-blog.de)

By Anjum Siddiqi