New year brings new exciting challenges. I have been lucky enough to spend some time off work and catch up with my reading on the online sphere. Based on my personal experience and what other people are writing I will contemplate a few moments on the various online channels. These channels affect our revenues big time and keeping a close eye on them is critical.
Mobile area is super hot! During 2012 it literarily exploded reaching a critical match of people having smartphones with decent online connections. I definitely think that the operating system will become even more important and Google does some really interesting stuff lately. They are truly focusing on making your phone be your best friend giving you real time information based on what you do. This will open new markets and companies focusing just on the mobile. The problem with mobile is that the user behaviour is changing fundamentally. Small screens are hampering online business but also create new opportunities. Most online business needs to figure out how to handle this channel. The good news is that the channel is still evolving and not many have cracked the code yet, which is also true for our business. I need to figure this channel out. How can we capitalise on this? What works, what doesn’t?
TV is the last resort. Smart TVs have not done it yet and content will be the king once it gets started. If Apple or Google manages to something here they might revolutionize the whole industry and open for a new way for digital managers to capitalize on yet another channel. As someone said the fun in creating ads will return since creativity will be central in the creation process. I think it will take a while until we see TV as a direct sales channel. We are currently doing a lot of advertising and programs on traditional TV and I think that this will benefit our sales positively but it will of course take a while.
Figuring out how to sell on social media will continue. The area is still in its infancy. When it comes to our efforts we cracked the code just before Christmas. Now Facebook is our second most profitable sales channel. A few months ago it was non-existent. Like many others I think social media holds incredible potential but each business needs to find its own social dna.
AdWords will hold its importance as one of the most profitable online channels. As a digital marketer you need to figure out how mobile will affect your adwords volumes and find a strategy to counteract the development. For us the challenge will be to expand our adwords channel and my aim is to double it within the next six months.
I think that banner marketing will continue loosing its appeal as more and more people figure out that it does not work for direct sales. The argument for brand building is there but you need to be in it for the long run and combine all your channels until you reach the critical brand status. Banners are also moving towards the behavioural retargeting, but the waters are still muddy. Making this channel profitable will be a challenge and I personally think that this area is nothing for us.
Affiliate marketing is an important area. Depending how you define your affiliate program and in what area of business you are active within the changes can be small or huge. Some affiliate marketing will continue to survive while others will struggle especially the ones that are dependent on Google. We are currently setting up an affiliate program and I hope it will generate at least 10% of our total revenue.
SEO is a critical part of any business and will keep to be but it is also a declining expertise since the changes in the search engine algorithm is hitting junk sites extremely hard. For our part it is interesting to notice that the SEO area has not had any importance in our business. The brand is so strong that 95% of our traffic is branded keywords.
Position services are still in its infancy. For companies in general to make money from this service will depend entirely what the phone software will allow and of course the regulation involved towards this type of marketing. I think the business case is still weak to consider at least for us.
The Integration of Channels
Google is the dominant force within digital marketing and I expect them to continue to push the integration of adwords, banners, retargeting, affiliate, social media, mobile and offline marketing. Since the mobile development are a strong threat to their revenue stream, they will push hard reposition them towards the coming mobility society. For us I think that the tighter integration between the channels will be the key to build a sustainable online presence. We just need to figure out how to loop the traffic between the various channels and make them convert.
Well that is my five cents for the coming year. What do you thing will be your challenge for 2013?