As 2013 draws to a close, now is a good time to look at some of the major things that have happened to internet marketing over the past year. That way, if any event happened to slip by you (when you weren’t reading this blog) you can still start 2014 with most accurate knowledge and up to date strategies. Here are the six biggest things to happen in internet marketing in 2013.
Facebook Changes Promotion Guidelines
One of the major ways marketers like to build interest on Facebook is through contests and promotions. Until recently, Facebook’s promotion guidelines made running any promotion on the network difficult and expensive. Facebook has now changed the rules so that people can use the simple, engagement-style contests that marketers and consumers prefer. For example, a simple “Like This Post To Enter” contest was forbidden by the previous rules, now they are acceptable. Equally important, Facebook dropped the requirement that a third-party app had to be used. This removes a price barrier that prevented many small businesses from using Facebook for contests.
New Legal Precedents
Modern technologies, like the internet and mobile devices, evolve so quickly that it is difficult for the legal system to catch up. This creates a huge gray area for what is acceptable for marketers. For good or ill, 2013 saw several situations where aws have been modified to clarify what is and isn’t acceptable marketing practice. For companies that market to kids through website or apps, changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act adds new protections for kids and requires businesses to obtain parental permission for certain kinds of marketing. Similarly, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act had changes that went into effect in 2013 that affects marketers using text messages and other phone features for marketing. And though it doesn’t affect people nationally, the New York Attorney General turned heads when the state sued marketing firms for posting fake reviews.
Twitter Goes Public
This may seem like more of a concern for investors than marketers, but the Twitter IPO is good news for marketers. Twitter isn’t going to just take the money they made on the IPO and stick it in a mattress. The money will be invested into the company in various ways. Without knowing the specifics, one can assume that some funding will go to advertise the platform to new audiences (which benefits people already using Twitter for marketing) and some funding will go to improve Twitter features so the platform is more accessible to people who stayed away before (which benefits current and future users). Regardless of the ups and downs of Twitter’s stock price, businesses who use the platform are most likely to benefit from the company going public.
Mobile Traffic Beats Desktop Traffic
Advances in smartphones and the mobile internet have increased the number of people who access the web through their handheld device. In many measures, mobile traffic is exceed desktop traffic. Not in every aspect yet, but some researchers believe that society will cross that mark within a few years. For an example of the milestones in 2013, 55 percent of retail website traffic is from mobile devices and for small business sites, mobile accounts for nearly 50 percent of all traffic.
Attack of the Drones
Anyone worried about a robot apocalypse may have found 2013 a little scary. The military has been using unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones, for surveillance and offensive strikes for about a decade. Now, companies like UPS, Amazon, and Domino’s are considering plans to use drones to deliver packages and pizza. Depending on how the FAA decides to regulate the commercial use of drones, 2013 may have been the start of something big in the world of automation.
Internet Video Kills the Television Star
The power of the internet became impossible to ignore in 2013 when it came to video entertainment. In 2013, shows produced by internet video giant Netflix won three Emmys in a clear challenge to TV establishment. YouTube also had a stellar year. Research released around the middle of the year showed that young adults age 18-29 watched YouTube more than any network on television. This change is important to marketers because it means they can get their commercials shown on YouTube for a lower price, with equal reach, and with better targeting.
2013 has been an interesting year for small business owners and the landscape for marketing will be very different at the start of next year than it was at the beginning of this year. Whatever 2014 has in store, keep following this blog so you’ll always be up to date.