7 biggest marketing and media trends of 2014. In 2014, advertising was in the eye of the beholder.
For instance, some thought that with 400 million-plus views, Shakira’s “La La La” was the biggest viral ad of the year. Yet YouTube didn’t list it among the year’s most-viewed ads, even though the Activia brand name was well displayed.
Then there was Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie during the Oscars, a moment that was viewed by a billion or so people and engineered by Samsung. Was that an ad? Real-time marketing? Or just a goofy, impromptu throwaway moment?
As advertising sought to redefine itself, legacy media like TV and print made a convincing argument for their continued existence. Looking back, 2014 will probably be viewed as a transitional year, as broadcast TV remained the largest advertising vehicle and advertisers struggled to adapt to an always-on environment in which consumers were more attuned to your failures than your successes. Amid this shifting landscape, here were the seven biggest trends:
1. Dot-com advertising redux
Remember the dot-com era, when Pets.com, eToys and Epidemic.com all ran TV ads? After the ensuing crash, the tech industry supposedly learned its lesson and swore off TV ads. After all, who watches TV anymore anyway? Everyone’s on the World Wide Web, right?
Apparently, FitBit, Nest, BirchBox and Wink didn’t get the memo. The newish brands all ran TV ads this year. Foursquare, which had existed for five years without running ads, also launched its first campaign with outdoor ads in New York and Chicago.
Foursquare ads competed with ubiquitous advertising from YouTube, whose owner Google surmised that online video deserved the same kind of promotion that TV programs did, a lesson that Yahoo still has yet to learn.
2. Print is back!
While we’re used to reading stories about legacy magazines shutting down their print operations, in 2014 print had an odd resurgence as CNet, AIrbnb and Skift all launched dead-tree titles.
Why? As mobile keeps driving the average price of an ad down maybe print — with its finite ad inventory — is viewed as an oasis. Or maybe, as Wired‘s Brandon Keim postulated, paper is a medium “uniquely suited for imbibing novels and essays and complex narratives, just as screens are for browsing and scanning.”
As Rafat Ali, Skift‘s founder and CEO, told Mashable: “Advertisers still love print mags and love seeing themselves in it, especially if it has longer shelf life and pass-around value to their own constituencies.”
3. Real-time marketing takes a pause
What do you do after you score the biggest real-time marketing coup of 2013? If you’re Oreo, you knock it off. The social media-savvy brand wisely bowed out of this year’s Super Bowl. Other brands, not realizing that they were about to jump the shark, set up war rooms to cook up witty comments during the game. Since so many were doing it, none stood out except for J.C. Penney, whose goofy stunt — the brand couldn’t type because it had its mittens on, get it? — caused many to think the account had been hacked.
4. “We take Bitcoin!”
After Overstock started accepting Bitcoin in January, it was game on for the currency. Or so many thought. While online mom-and-pops preferred Bitcoin to credit cards, Overstock didn’t make a mint. In July, the company reported that just 0.25% of its revenue came from Bitcoin. Before the currency’s crash, though, “XX accepts Bitcoin” became a PR trope as NewEgg, Dell, Shopify and Fancy, among others, churned out press releases trumpeting their willingness to take Bitcoin payments.
5. RIP Facebook marketing
It’s been a couple of years since marketers realized that trying to reach fans with organic posts on Facebook was about as fruitless as trying to understand Zuck’s Mandarin. Yet in 2014, Facebook turned the screws further, announcing in November that it planned to start cracking down on any “overly promotional” posts from the News Feed. Even before that happened, Forrester Analyst Nate Elliott concluded that the top brands’ posts on Facebook (and Twitter) only reached about 2% of their fans and fewer than 0.1% of fans interacted with each post.
6. Hooray for online video
Watching video on your computer has been a thing since “Lazy Sunday,” yet 2014 eMarketer projected that ad revenues for online video would jump 56%. Scott Burke, Yahoo’s senior vice president of advertising, told Mashable that he believed the reason was that the industry finally came up with accurate measurements for “brand impact.”
“This is the year that marketers said ‘I really need to move my budget,'” he said.
Yahoo also doubled down on online video with its $640 million purchase of BrightRoll, a platform for selling and distributing online video advertising.
Samsung wasn’t the only marketer to discover selfies. By mid-year a selfie contest had become such a cliche that some anonymous ad agency exec created a successful Tumblr for his industry brethren called “Your Selfie Idea is Not Original. It’s Shit.”