In the digital space, it can be hard to know where we’ll be in a week, let alone a year. But not for our silicon seers, whom we asked: what’s on the cards for 2014?
Jason Kingsley, CEO, Rebellion
This year is going to be very big for gamers and games makers in general. At last we have the gaming hardcore returning to the fold with the two awesomely powerful consoles that are the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One, whilst PC continues to thrive and grow. Meanwhile, digital delivery is becoming the main way people get new games and an expanding player base will continue to be driven by people who have secret gaming machines in their pockets disguised as smartphones and tablets.
There is the solid possibility that the UK games industry will finally get a tax break boost similar to that given to the movie and TV industries. That will encourage investment and expansion in our export-driven business and benefit the UK economy.
Lastly, the traditional TV media will begin to realise it is now only worthy of comment when someone hasn’t played games, rather than lazily thinking gaming is just for kids or is somehow an unusual or geeky pastime. And, hopefully, the professionals who run successful computer game developers and publishers will finally stop being called whizzkids, now that many of us are leaving our 40th decade on the planet.
Steve Filler, CEO of tech and distribution, Europe, Rockabox
One of the big success stories of 2013 is programmatic pre-roll video. Many of the players in this space are seeing significant growth despite a lack of quality content to advertise on or around. This growth is likely to continue in 2014 as the market matures and brands feel more comfortable targeting audiences rather than well-known sites, although this sector will need to strike the perfect balance between targeting and environment.
The sector where I expect to see the biggest shake-up in 2014 is the video content distribution market. Many agencies and clients currently seek greater control and transparency, as they are dissatisfied with the quality of sites where social, viral and branded content is distributed. The low cost-per-view model used by many players naturally excludes quality content sites from being part of these campaigns, which in turn impacts advertising confidence.
Another area to watch is branded content production. More and more brands are seeing the value of creating unique, custom content to engage and entertain potential customers, as increasing numbers of users are avoiding standard digital advertising. At Rockabox, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of clients and agencies looking to create innovative, engaging branded content in 2014, rather than run the risk of being left behind.
Alice Driscoll, MD, pd3
As our love affair with the smartphone grows, so does our appetite for and dedication to social media innovation. The emergence of a number of key themes last year will come into sharper focus in 2014.
Transient platforms including Snapchat have challenged the existing trend of online permanence in response to a consumer demand for increased privacy. Facebook’s relentless quest for personal information is, in part, responsible for its decline in users. The arrival in 2013 of Vine and Instavideo have shown that our seeming passion for constrained media is not on the wane. Real-time marketing – in its infancy last year – has delivered mixed results, but the allure of and desire for immediacy will see the continued experimentation and maturity of this approach in the year ahead.
Finally, after a long period (in social terms at least) of consumer-focused innovation, could Twitter’s recent flotation result in a refocus on commercial rather than consumer needs? In social media terms, 2014 is at risk of being remembered for profit over performance.
Ed Weatherall, business development director, VisualDNA
This is going to be a big year for personality in marketing. It will not be a year of listening and sentiment analysis, but using data to understand people more deeply and using it to dictate how the brand behaves.
As advertising, customer services and social media converge and that data gets easier to use and understand, digital marketers are going to start getting to grips with what customers want. Marketers are surrounded by big data, and multiple dash boards full of numbers and statistics, and I think this focus on the metrics has distracted us.
Companies that matter have always used their brand attributes to connect with people on the basis of who they are; in 2014 those that move away from relying simply on the demographic box they inhabit and what their behavioural data says will grow market share. Psychographic data, combined with traditional metrics, will help brands understand their customers more deeply and create relevant experiences that engage and create cut-through. For me, it’s the year of personality and actionable data, helping companies to drive acquisition, personalisation and engagement.