Every year we are inundated with predictions of the newest and best Internet marketing trends, and 2013 is no different. Yet, even with all of the buzz, not every trend ends up being an industry standard – nor should they be, if they don’t optimize conversion. So while businesses are looking towards trends to platform their latest marketing schemes, they have to pick wisely or be seen wearing the online equivalent of last season’s shoes.
With that in mind, we’ve weighed the top trends’ value and longevity against the hype:
1. Beautiful Design Matters, Some
While experts are extolling the lure of gorgeous websites, like Pinterest and Apple, the truth is the top visited websites in the world are a fairly even split between clean design and cluttered hot messes. Yahoo! or Craigslist, anyone?
That’s not to say that design doesn’t matter. Designing for conversion is an art form that is different from just making a website pretty. The lesson here is that design does matter, as does valuable content. The lasting trend is in how you combine the two.
2. Parallax Design with Caution
This newest design technique allows background images to move slower than foreground images, creating a uniquely interesting depth of design. It’s already being used by many automobile websites and companies, such as Whiteboard.
This design will continue to take off in 2013, but those who use it need to be certain it fits their goals. It’s easy to wander into the realm of visitor confusion with Parallax, making content that needs to be simplified unnecessarily distracting or muddying the effect with bad design. It’s best use is shown on news sites, like ESPN, where the design aids the storytelling. Not every page of your website may benefit from Parallax design.
3. Visual Marketing
From Facebook to Pinterest to LinkedIn, social is focusing on visual communication. Given the success, many marketers will be tempted to do the same. However, individual testing by some has proven that while visual may be more social, it doesn’t always inspire fans to click over to your website and continue the conversion like a link and thumbnail would. Always keep your social marketing a healthy mix of content formats and test for what works for your brand.
4. Smarter Social Media
More and better user analytics are going to continue to be a hot marketing trend in 2013 and beyond, without a doubt. In part from marketers looking for further insights into what motivates fans and followers, so they can produce more content that generates a desired movement through the sales funnel. But most of the call for these tools will be to justify social marketing budgets to CEOs who aren’t sold on the value and are demanding proof of ROI.
5. Mobile Strategy
Five billion people worldwide use mobile devices and this number is only getting bigger. If your business doesn’t have a mobile marketing strategy, then you actively trying to fail. In addition, your website should have a responsive design that works across any medium on which users try to view it.
Which Internet Marketing trends have you heard the most about this year? Do you think they live up to all of the talk?