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A year of digital maturity

Digital strategies have shifted away from SEO to embrace rapidly evolving social media during 2012.

Nishma Robb

Nishma Robb

  • Nishma Robb is chief client officer at global digital marketing agency iProspect

Taking a glance back at 2012, it occurs to me that it was a pretty momentous year with some outstanding creativity and innovation, some major winners and also some losers. A number of brands and retailers stand out for the way they have embraced digital and integrated it seamlessly within their marketing strategies – businesses such as Asos, BrandAlley, John Lewis and Burberry are leading the way and reaping the rewards.

Some significant milestones have been reached this year – in May, Facebook went public and, despite concerns that its shares were overpriced, it has continued to grow its user base and now connects about one seventh of the world’s population, with over 40% of its users accessing it through mobile devices.

The focus for search has shifted away from on-page SEO tactics towards high-quality content that gets shared through social channels. Social, content and SEO will start to be seen as one rather than segmented practices.

Mulberry, Urban Outfitters, Asos and Gap are showing how image-sharing website Pinterest can successfully engage consumers and drive sales. They have recognised the opportunities to create a sense of community with open boards and shared content that interacts with and inspires its users. Pinterest broke into the top 10 most-visited websites in the US this year, clearly showing that social continues to evolve at a rapid pace. With the introduction of business pages in November, we can expect to see more brands including it as part of their social media plan in the coming year.

We’ve also seen the iPad become the de facto in-store kiosk, suggesting the death of in-store TV and the growing importance of a multi-screen strategy to drive offline as well as online sales.

Gazing into my crystal ball, 2013 is going to be about…

Going even more mobile There will be a huge expansion in the ownership of mobile devices and the importance they play in the developing multichannel purchasing process.

Convenient deliveries Amazon Lockers are set to be rolled out UK-wide in 2013, bringing click-and-collect into the mainstream.

Search and social optimisation Google is likely to have a big focus on qualifying the value of authors and their content. So rather than thinking in terms of the value of the site/page the content is hosted on, the real value will be in who has written it – working with expert bloggers, fashion commentators and stylists offering unique content will improve your search rankings.

Social and TV We will continue to see ad campaigns using social media as an extension to TV. Brands can make their spend go further by moving viewers to social media channels during and after TV shows or ads. Zeebox will be the app of choice.

Big data This is going to be the year of big data – and being less wrong. We are going to see a lot of marketers trying to get to grips with the potential offered by big data. The key will be about focusing on what we are actually about – the customer.

Twitter crashes When the new royal baby arrives, the tweeting frenzy will crash the website.

The year of me The customer of 2013 has high demands. We don’t want to be targeted with random content; we want sites that are easy to navigate, optimised for different devices and personalised for us.

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