14 tendances social media pour 2014

Bringr, l’outil de monitoring des réseaux sociaux dresse le bilan de cette année 2013 et un panorama des grandes tendances pour 2014:

  • le temps réel qui devient la norme grâce aux réseaux sociaux.
  • la méfiance face aux formats publicitaires classiques et la nécessité de créer du contenu publicitaire engageant.
  • l’importance des contenus courts : Vine, Instagram…
  • la domination de l’image.
  • les contenus éphémères sont amenés à se généraliser
  • la nécessité pour les marques d’écouter les réseaux.
  • rationaliser sa présence sur les réseaux sociaux.
  • l’importance de LinkedIn en tant que canal de vente B2B.
  • Twitter qui est de plus en plus tourné vers la pub.

5 Companies That Transformed Advertising In 2013 – Forbes

5 Companies That Transformed Advertising In 2013 – Forbes.

The convergence of social, video and mobile technology is rapidly changing the face of advertising. Just over a decade ago, search and display ads were all a company needed to reach their target audience online. Search-related ads accounted for43 percentof total U.S. online ad revenue in the second quarter of 2013, with display-related ads constituting 30 percent. In today’s evolving online ad environment, companies need creative and out-of-the-box approaches.

A countless number of startups have emerged to meet the demand, many in the native advertising space. In fact, many industry and business leaders are hailing native advertising as the next big thing. A recent study found that users viewed native ads 53 percent more frequently than display ads. Below are five companies whose innovations helped shape the native, and overall, ad space in 2013:

BuzzFeed – Sponsored articles

BuzzFeed is a news and entertainment website which offers a selection of original reporting, as well as paid-for posts, covering everything from politics and fashion to food. Sponsored posts, which are created by a client-facing team separate from the editorial department (which reports on politics and other items), are central to BuzzFeed’s business model and have proven to be an effective advertising channel. Not only did the site get 140 millionuniques in November, according to VP Ashley McCollum, but additionally it is estimated that once BuzzFeed content goes viral it gets as much as 34 times the traffic it ordinarily would. While some have criticized BuzzFeed for blurring the lines between journalism and advertising, recent hires like former New York Times journalist Lisa Tozzi indicate that BuzzFeed is becoming increasingly serious as a news source.

Taboola – Sponsored recommended content

Taboola is a content recommendation and distribution platform that helps consumers discover new content likely to be of interest. The platform powers an average of three billion daily recommendations to over 300 million monthly visitors across publications such as USA Today, TMZ, The New York Times and Huffington Post. Content recommendation platforms have long been criticized for their lack of transparency. As a result, Taboola recently launched Taboola Choice — letting users flag content they don’t like — and has added “Sponsored Content” and “Promoted Content” indicators to its widget, all as part of a company strategy that aims to promote user empowerment and content democratization.

TripleLift – Sponsored images

TripleLift is is an image-based advertising platform which aims to replace banners with meaningful and engaging native image-based ads. The TripleLiftplatform repurposes a company’s images from social networks like Pinterestand turns them into ads which are designed to blend in with the other images on a webpageTripleLift tracks the popularity of different images on social networks and repurposes only the most popular images. On the average day,TripleLift analyzes over 24 million images from brands such as Martha Stewartand H&M . Currently these native image ads can be found on sites like Foodgawker and Pictacular among others. Gucci also used the platform to launch its Fall/Winter 2012 digital campaign.

Disqus – Sponsored link

Disqus is a commenting service platform which can be integrated seamlessly into websites and blogs for interactive and engaging discussions. The Disqus platform adds a feature-rich comment system to sites, offering a host of community management features including social network integration and advanced administration. Disqus also offers a Promoted Discovery feature which appears in a box below the Disqus comments section and highlights other articles readers might like. This feature increases the number of pages viewed on average by 56 percent and time spent on pages by 166 percent. The platform has been well received and is being used by companies such as MTV ,American Express AXP +0.24%, Citibank and Intel to advertise their brand.

Songza – Sponsored playlists

Songza is a music platform which provides listeners with playlists tailored to their mood or current activity. In this way, Songza hopes to provide listeners with the best music for any particular situation. The tailored playlists are compiled by Songza’s team which includes music journalists, critics, DJs and musicians. Songza also offers a unique advertising channel which it calls Branded Moments, where any brand can sponsor a life moment such as driving or working out. Some of these life moments have already been sponsored by companies including Nissan, Samsung, Victoria’s Secret and Colgate. By sponsoring a playlist, brands are inadvertently interacting with consumers and getting them to associate positively with the brand.

The online browsing experience is becoming increasingly sophisticated and personalized. Online ads that hope to engage users need to adapt accordingly. The reality is that there is increasingly less room for intrusive online ads. These and other startups are beginning to usher in an ad revolution.

« The Next 10 Years » : 9 innovations présentées par France TV (LeWeb13) | Meta-media | La révolution de l’information

« The Next 10 Years » : 9 innovations présentées par France TV (LeWeb13) | Meta-media | La révolution de l’information.

Pour la conférence LeWeb13 à Paris, le groupe France Télévisions s’est projeté en2025 pour présenter neuf innovations et services technologiques qui devraient, pour la plupart, devenir des usages courants d’ici une dizaine d’années.

Comme l’an dernier, ils émanent d’entreprises françaises : des lunettes connectées à la voiture sans chauffeur, des technos 4K ou 5G inédites à des applications concrètes de connectivité par la lumière en passant par de nouveaux écrans surprenants.

 Démos cette semaine sur notre stand !

1 Première mondiale : des images vidéo 4K via Internet en P2P

streaming-ultrahd-P2P-4K-francetv 

L’Ultra-Haute Définition (U-HD) pourrait arriver plus vite que prévu. Par internet et en « Peer to Peer » (P2P), une technologie de partage en première mondiale sur notre stand.

A la fin de la décennie, 90% des téléviseurs seront en Ultra-HD (appelée souvent 4K), avec une qualité d’image époustouflante, quatre fois meilleure que l’actuelle haute définition.

Restent des obstacles majeurs : le prix – qui va baisser- et le poids d’images lourdes à transporter.

Pour décongestionner la bande passante, la start-up Streamroot (issue de l’incubateur de l’Ecole Centrale de Paris) a conçu un lecteur qui ne se contente pas de lire un contenu issu d’un serveur distant, mais y ajoute une intelligence d’échanges de données entre utilisateurs d’un même programme.

Plus il y aura d’utilisateurs de vidéos utilisant le « Peer to Peer Ultra-HD », plus le système sera vertueux en soulageant les réseaux des opérateurs. Cette voie nouvelle pour le streaming Ultra-HD devrait intéresser les constructeurs d’équipements grand public en y intégrant ces nouveaux lecteurs intelligents.

(Streamroot est accompagnée par l’accélérateur de start-ups parisien Le Camping et l’incubateur de Telecom Sud Paris). France TV s’est également associé au françaisATEME, société experte en compression vidéo, pour l’encodage des vidéos en Ultra-HD.

2 Les lunettes connectées, nouveau « must have » de la vie numérique 

 Après les téléviseurs, ordinateurs, smartphones, tablettes, les lunettes seront probablement le prochain important écran connecté de notre vie numérique, avec une vraie techno de rupture.

Alors que Google refuse toujours de nous montrer publiquement ses Glass en France, le français Laster, dont les lunettes à réalité augmentée sont développées à quelques kilomètres de Paris, les proposera mondialement dès le 30 décembre autour de 300 €, avec l’aide de la plateforme de financement participatif Kickstarter.

Déjà fournisseur de secteurs industriels et militaires, Laster et ses lunettes dotées de caméra seront en démo autour de contenus de Télé 7 Jours (ajouts de bandes annonces vidéo pertinentes de programmes France TV). D’autres démos pour enfants seront montrées autour de notre sapin !

 SONY DSC

3 Les prochains écrans autour de vous : les vitres intelligentes ! 

D’autres écrans se profilent aussi grâce au vitrage dit intelligent qui affiche des contenus sur baies vitrées, fenêtres, pare-brises, vitrines. Experte en interaction sensorielle, la start-up français Sensorit et France TV, aidée du coréen LG pour la simulation, les ont imaginées pour nous.

Les vitres de la fenêtre d’une chambre vont nous comprendre, nous écouter, réagir à nos gestes,  affichant températures extérieure et intérieure, taux de pollution, infos de services de proximité du quartier.

Les enfants pourront lancer leur dessin animé sur les vitres par effleurement de la fenêtre et à condition de dire « s’il te plaît ! ». Les stores vénitiens, même opaques, seront virtuels mais actifs !

vitre-intelligente1 

4 La voiture électrique française sans conducteur

Link and Go, concept car électrique autonome, est fait pour totalement repenser l’usage de la voiture et vous permettre notamment de continuer à regarder la télé en toute sécurité ou à vous connecter à Internet dans vos déplacements !

Développé par Akka Technologies (Groupe Européen d’Ingénierie et de Conseil en Technologies) et l’Inria, financé en partie par le Conseil Général des Yvelines, ce véhicule électrique étonnant se conduit et se gare avec ou sans conducteur.

Intelligent et communiquant, il est connecté aux réseaux sociaux pour favoriser le covoiturage, équipé de lasers pour découvrir son environnement, de caméra stéréo, de centrale inertielle, de réalité augmentée, d’interface de commande gestuelles, d’écran tactile, etc.

La voiture sera sur notre stand !

 LinkGo_LR

5 La télévision enrichie, plus cultivée.

Leankr, jeune société française déjà identifiée par de grands acteurs américains, permet de repérer en direct les contenus télévisuels, de les confronter à Internet (Wikipedia …) ou à de grosses bases de données de contenus, et de fournir en quelques secondes sur une « time line » élégante (en responsive design sur n’importe quel écran connecté) enrichissements, compléments et réponses aux questions que vous vous posez sur les éléments d’un programme.

En langage geek, cette techno à base de savants algorithmes de traitement, s’appelle« traitement automatique de métadonnées de description tirées d’analyse sémantique temps réel ».

TV et tablette LeWeb13

6 De la publicité enfin vraiment interactive !

Des start-ups et des annonceurs ont imaginé avec nous ce que pourrait être la publicité interactive et personnalisée de demain.

Sur le téléviseur connecté, la start-up française ClickOn, montre via le standard européen HbbTV, comment, après un spot sur un produit financier du groupe bancaire BPCE,recevoir plus d’infos personnalisées d’un simple clic de télécommande, être mis en relation physique en visioconférence et en direct avec un conseiller financier en ligne, ou comment acheter directement un coffret DVD de la série qui passe à l’antenne, la payer via une solution de paiement de la start-up S Money du Groupe BPCE, etc.

 Fais pas ci Fais pas áa - HbbTV

7 La 5G déjà en démo dans la ville du futur ! (film d’anticipation)

Et si le combat actuel sur la 4G des opérateurs télécom n’était qu’un avant goût d’un tsunami beaucoup plus important qui s’annonce: la 5G !

 

2025

Pas de panique ! La 4G n’est pas obsolète. Mais la 5G, clé de voûte des futures technos, déjà en préparation active, promet de nouveaux affrontements ! Il s’agit de standardiser entre 2015 et 2020 les réseaux mobiles et sans fils pour y fixer dans une sorte de panier des « croisements génétiques » de technologies et de fréquences numériques. Est même envisagée l’utilisation de ressources et fréquences inutilisées, les fameux « White Spaces » (dont la conférence annuelle se tient aussi à Paris cette semaine).

Le tout pour permettre, avec des débits vertigineux, des nouveaux usages révolutionnaires, les dialogues « machine to machine », entre véhicules, équipements électroménagers, de santé, le téléchargement de films en quelques secondes sur mobiles, et beaucoup de nouveaux services inventés d’ici là.

Avec la société bretonne Siradelspécialisée dans les modèles de conception des réseaux numériques mobiles mais aussi dans l’ingénierie de la ville du futur et ses besoins pour ces nouveaux type de réseaux communicants, nous avons réalisé un petit film d’anticipation en images de synthèse hyperréalistes.

Il sera diffusé via un étonnant projecteur Laser (Hecto LG) sur un écran de 2,50 m de largequi nous immergera dans les rues françaises de 2025.

L’Europe encourage ces projet en finançant la recherche : une cinquantaine de millions d’euros y sont déjà consacrés (projet METIS), mais de sommes bien plus importantes — au moins 10 fois plus — sont investies en Chine sur ces sujets.

5G

8 Le Li-Fi, un an après : la lumière pour nous guider et enrichir notre vie connectée

Un an après notre présentation au Web12 du Li-Fi (transmission sans fil de données numériques par la lumière) par les laboratoires de l’Université de Versailles St Quentin en Yvelines avec la start-up Oledcommdes partenaires industriels comme EDF et laSNCF montreront sur notre stand des concepts tout juste sortis de leurs labos de R&D :

  • Application Open Source pour smartphone,
  • Guidage d’usagers dans les gares jusqu’aux voitures des trains par de nouveaux éclairages Li-Fi.

 LiFI EDF

Oledcomm est en appui pour fournir la technologie à ces grands groupes accompagnés des industriels de l’éclairage comme Thomson Lighting et Thorn (UK), également présents, avec plusieurs démos :

-       l’éclairage Li-Fi de l’abris-bus de la Smart City saura télécharger via un envoi de SMS une vidéo de notre appli Pluzz en quelques secondes sur mobiles.

-       bornes de téléchargement de programmes ou de vidéos dans les futurs kiosques numériques (« digital mall ») avant de prendre le train.

SmartLighting

Des investissements colossaux sont injectés sur cette technologie liée à la lumière en ce moment en Chine et de nombreux laboratoires de R&D de grands groupes industriels travaillent dessus.

9 Rien sans le design, crucial !

Nous espérons que la « Smart City » de France Télévisions de 2025 vous fera rêver. Et dans 10 ans, peut-être vous souviendrez vous que c’est à nos côtés que, pour la première fois, vous avez découvert des concepts, devenus entre temps bien familiers.

Mais ces concepts ne seraient rien sans le design, si important aujourd’hui. Pour échanger avec des professionnels de ce secteur, une grande école spécialisée dans la formation des métiers du design, le Strate Collège, a accepté de nous accompagner pour LeWeb13.

Vous pourrez découvrir comment les designers participent à la conception des dispositifs qui structurent notre quotidien et comment ces environnements artificiels et complexes du numérique influent sur notre perception du monde et modèlent discrètement nos modes de vie. Mais aussi comment le design des objets, des interfaces de commande, des menus des services proposés, est réfléchi dans les moindres détails.

Car bien souvent la capacité de séduction du design des objets numériques précède souvent la découverte des performances techniques embarquées.

 Strate Colläge

Rendez-vous au stand France TV ! 

Bernard FONTAINE

LinkedIn Has More Monthly Unique Visitors In The US Than Twitter

Twitter and LinkedIn use different metrics to report activity on their sites, measuring monthly active users (MAUs) and monthly unique visitors (MUVs), respectively. This makes user growth comparisons between the two social networks difficult. 

However, comScore tracked MUVs in the U.S. for a number of top Web properties, including Twitter and LinkedIn, and from this, we can get a sense of how their traffic (from those ages 18 and older) stacks up against one another: 

  • LinkedIn had 63.4 million adult MUVs from the U.S. in September 2013, an increase of 35% from one year ago. 
  • Twitter had 62.6 million adult MUVs from the U.S. in September 2013, an increase of 10% from one year ago. 

So not only has LinkedIn surpassed Twitter for unique visitor traffic among adults in the U.S., but it is also growing at a much faster rate. 

Keep in mind, comScore’s focus on Internet users ages 18 and older does not play to Twitter’s strengths. Twitter is favored by younger users, whereas LinkedIn is primarily used by adults

Nonetheless, it’s an important side-by-side comparison of how two major social networks stack up in the U.S., where a substantial share of social media advertising is purchased. The snapshot among adult Internet users is also useful since many advertisers target this group because of their spending power.

comScore’s Vice President of Industry Analysis Andrew Lipsman told us they track site traffic using MUVs because it includes traffic from non-registered users and excludes visitors who register multiple accounts (thus duplicating the number of active users). 

From an international standpoint, things look much brighter for Twitter, compared to LinkedIn. We know that Twitter is adding new international users at a faster rate than U.S. users.  International MAUs grew 41% year-over-year in the third quarter, compared to 33% in the U.S., the company reported, and reached 232 million global MAUs.

In its third quarter earnings, LinkedIn reported 29% growth in global MUVs over the previous quarter. comScore’s data helps us pin some of that growth on the U.S. market. We attributed LinkedIn’s strong third quarter visitor growth and earnings to an uptick in mobile usage, as well as the success of LinkedIn’s Influencer program, which non-registered members/users can access. LinkedIn averaged 184 global MUVs in the third quarter. 

Gartner’s 2013 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Maps Out Evolving Relationship Between Humans and Machines

Gartner’s 2013 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Maps Out Evolving Relationship Between Humans and Machines

2013 Hype Cycle Special Report Evaluates the Maturity of More Than 1,900 Technologies

The evolving relationship between humans and machines is the key theme of Gartner, Inc.‘s “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2013.” Gartner has chosen to feature the relationship between humans and machines due to the increased hype around smart machines, cognitive computing and the Internet of Things. Analysts believe that the relationship is being redefined through emerging technologies, narrowing the divide between humans and machines.

Gartner’s 2013 Hype Cycle Special Report provides strategists and planners with an assessment of the maturity, business benefit and future direction of more than 2,000 technologies, grouped into 98 areas. New Hype Cycles this year include content and social analytics, embedded software and systems, consumer market research, open banking, banking operations innovation, and information and communication technology (ICT) in Africa.

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report is the longest-running annual Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that senior executives, CIOs, strategists, innovators, business developers and technology planners should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios.

“It is the broadest aggregate Gartner Hype Cycle, featuring technologies that are the focus of attention because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that Gartner believes have the potential for significant impact,” said Jackie Fenn, vice president and Gartner fellow.

“In making the overriding theme of this year’s Hype Cycle the evolving relationship between humans and machines, we encourage enterprises to look beyond the narrow perspective that only sees a future in which machines and computers replace humans. In fact, by observing how emerging technologies are being used by early adopters, there are actually three main trends at work. These are augmenting humans with technology — for example, an employee with a wearable computing device; machines replacing humans — for example, a cognitive virtual assistant acting as an automated customer representative; and humans and machines working alongside each other — for example, a mobile robot working with a warehouse employee to move many boxes.”

“Enterprises of the future will use a combination of these three trends to improve productivity, transform citizen and customer experience, and to seek competitive advantage,” said Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner. “These three major trends are made possible by three areas that facilitate and support the relationship between human and machine. Machines are becoming better at understanding humans and the environment — for example, recognizing the emotion in a person’s voice — and humans are becoming better at understanding machines — for example, through the Internet of things. At the same time, machines and humans are getting smarter by working together.”

Figure 1. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2013

Gartner Hype Cycles 2013

Source: Gartner August 2013

The 2013 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle highlights technologies that support all six of these areas including:

1. Augmenting humans with technology

Technologies make it possible to augment human performance in physical, emotional and cognitive areas. The main benefit to enterprises in augmenting humans with technology is to create a more capable workforce. For example, consider if all employees had access to wearable technology that could answer any product or service question or pull up any enterprise data at will. The ability to improve productivity, sell better or serve customer better will increase significantly. Enterprises interested in these technologies should look to bioacoustic sensing, quantified self, 3D bioprinting, brain-computer interface, human augmentation, speech-to-speech translation, neurobusiness, wearable user interfaces, augmented reality and gesture control.

2. Machines replacing humans

There are clear opportunities for machines to replace humans: dangerous work, simpler yet expensive-to-perform tasks and repetitive tasks. The main benefit to having machines replace humans is improved productivity, less danger to humans and sometimes better quality work or responses. For example, a highly capable virtual customer service agent could field the many straightforward questions from customers and replace much of the customer service agents’ “volume” work — with the most up-to-date information. Enterprises should look to some of these representative technologies for sources of innovation on how machines can take over human tasks: volumetric and holographic displays, autonomous vehicles, mobile robots and virtual assistants.

3. Humans and machines working alongside each other

Humans versus machines is not a binary decision, there are times when machines working alongside humans is a better choice. A new generation of robots is being built to work alongside humans. IBM’s Watson does background research for doctors, just like a research assistant, to ensure they account for all the latest clinical, research and other information when making diagnoses or suggesting treatments. The main benefits of having machines working alongside humans are the ability to access the best of both worlds (that is, productivity and speed from machines, emotional intelligence and the ability to handle the unknown from humans). Technologies that represent and support this trend include autonomous vehicles, mobile robots, natural language question and answering, and virtual assistants.

The three trends that will change the workforce and the everyday lives of humans in the future are enabled by a set of technologies that help both machine and humans better understand each other. The following three areas are a necessary foundation for the synergistic relationships to evolve between humans and machines:

4. Machines better understanding humans and the environment

Machines and systems can only benefit from a better understanding of human context, humans and human emotion. This understanding leads to simple context-aware interactions, such as displaying an operational report for the location closest to the user; to better understanding customers, such as gauging consumer sentiment for a new product line by analyzing Facebook postings; to complex dialoguing with customers, such as virtual assistants using natural language question and answering to interact on customer inquiries. The technologies on this year’s Hype Cycle that represent these capabilities include bioacoustic sensing, smart dust, quantified self, brain computer interface, affective computing, biochips, 3D scanners, natural-language question and answering (NLQA), content analytics, mobile health monitoring, gesture control, activity streams, biometric authentication methods, location intelligence and speech recognition.

5. Humans better understanding machines

As machines get smarter and start automating more human tasks, humans will need to trust the machines and feel safe. The technologies that make up the Internet of things will provide increased visibility into how machines are operating and the environmental situation they are operating in. For example, IBM’s Watson provides “confidence” scores for the answers it provides to humans while Baxter shows a confused facial expression on its screen when it does not know what to do. MIT has also been working on Kismet, a robot that senses social cues from visual and auditory sensors, and responds with facial expressions that demonstrate understanding. These types of technology are very important in allowing humans and machines to work together. The 2013 Hype Cycle features Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communication services, mesh networks: sensor and activity streams.

6. Machines and humans becoming smarter

The surge in big data, analytics and cognitive computing approaches will provide decision support and automation to humans, and awareness and intelligence to machines. These technologies can be used to make both humans and things smarter. NLQA technology can improve a virtual customer service representative. NLQA can also be used by doctors to research huge amounts of medical journals and clinical tests to help diagnose an ailment or choose a suitable treatment plan. These supporting technologies are foundational for both humans and machines as we move forward to a digital future and enterprises should consider quantum computing, prescriptive analytics, neurobusiness, NLQA, big data, complex event processing, in-memory database management system (DBMS), cloud computing, in-memory analytics and predictive analytics.

Integrated vs Specialist: have agency models changed in 2013? | Econsultancy

Integrated vs Specialist: have agency models changed in 2013? | Econsultancy.

dans la catégorie: ce qui ne nous tue pas …

Over the last 12 months, we’ve started to see some significant shifts in the agency model and client-agency relationship. Having been involved in working with and running a number of agencies since 2003, I thought I’d share the direction I see things heading.

In some way this is a series of mini-posts, so you might want to grab a cup of tea first! But it should go to show the challenges agencies face in order to keep evolving and stay on top of their game.

What does the perfect digital strategy look like?

Rather than starting by looking at agency models, I always find it more useful to look at the bigger picture of what brands are doing and what they need.

Try asking yourself “if budget and restrictions/internal bottlenecks were no object, what would the perfect digital marketing strategy look like?”. Presumably this is likely to include the integration of owned, earned and paid media:

Owned, Earned and Paid Media

And then you can work backwards:

  • What are the main goals you are looking to achieve?
  • What marketing channels can help you to achieve your goals?
  • How can the channels work/integrate together?
  • What type of people do you need to get involved?
  • What can you manage internally vs. using external expertise?

Ultimately it’s taking a budget and spending it where it works best, with short, medium and long-term goals in mind.

It’s not about SEO, PR or content marketing, it’s simply being able to share your brand’s story to your target audience and converting them into customers.

Once you’ve figured this out, you can then define everything else afterwards. It’s important toknow the budget you have to work with early on, so that you can set targets and control realistic expectations from the outset. 

Otherwise you’re unlikely to ever win if those expectations aren’t clearly aligned.

If you flip the question of “what should an agency offer in 2013?”, to ask “what does a client need in 2013?”, you can start to build the right approach to match those key requirements. Otherwise, you run the risk of offering services that aren’t as useful or valued.

Integrated or specialist agency?

To succeed in 2013, brands really need a multichannel approach. This means they have two choices:

  1. Work with an integrated team (either in-house or externally – usually a mixture of both) who can bring everything together under one roof.
  2. Work with a number of specialists in each area.

Of course, there are pros and cons to each. You might lack the in-depth quality a specialist can give you in a particular area.

But, in that approach you may lose the bigger picture and miss out on many efficiencies of being able to work together more closely as an integrated team. There’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s important that you maximise the synergies between channels such as SEO, PPC and social media:

Search synergies

We’re finding we’re more often talking to brands who are looking for digital marketing partners to work alongside their team, as opposed to managing individual channels with separate agencies. This means supporting them with:

  • Skills they don’t have internally – perhaps it’s content production, blogger outreach, social media marketing campaigns, SEO expertise, PPC management.
  • Training internal teams – for example, making sure the content team is aware of SEO/PR/social media marketing best practises.
  • Strategic consulting - to reinforce ideas or get internal buy-in with advice from a neutral party.
  • Assistance to build their own team – working alongside brands in interim management positions to identify where they need new skills/job roles and help them recruit key personnel to strengthen their teams.

It always varies based on the client – larger brands often prefer to work with a number of agencies with different expertise and specialisms. Even then, each team still needs to be fully aware of other activity outside of their own campaigns that can make an impact and be used.

I’ve always found holding agency days to be incredibly valuable too, as that helps you to understand other areas that are being worked upon in more detail, one I attended showed some great demographic profiling information from a CRM agency which I was previously unaware of, and then able to put to use within content and search campaigns.

Plus, getting to know everyone involved allows you to build a relationship outside of the client – which can be very useful if you need to get things done quicker by communicating directly with different agencies/suppliers, without the need for client to be involved in every step.

Surround yourself with talent 

Online marketing has become so integrated that clients will often need a digital partner to support and challenge their internal team and goals. That means as an agency you face a situation where you can a) look to bring in new talent, or b) you have to accept that there’s a range of services that you just can’t offer.

I’ve never been a fan of starting as a full-service agency, I’d rather be great at one thing than average at 10. But if you can find ways to build up and bring in key skills/people into your team which can complement your client campaigns, that has to be an option worth pursuing.

Scaling with quality is always the biggest agency challenge, and in this game everything is about people – so good recruitment and team building is vital.

I’m not the best person in my agency at everything we do (or arguably anything!), and neither do I want to do be. No one wants to be a big fish in a small pond, that way you’ll end up making it all up yourself and have little choice but to learn from your mistakes.

Alternatively, if you’re surrounded by great PPC specialists, bloggers, designers, SEOs, PRs etc you can all learn from each other and create a solid strategy where the whole is much greater than the sum of all parts.

We’ve done this recently, by acquiring a paid search agency to compliment and combine our service offering into an integrated approach. I expect to see more agencies doing the same before the end of the year – and of course, like any agency, we’re always looking for talented people to join us and add to the team.

Ditch the silos

Everyone has known for years that there are efficiencies in combining paid and organic search strategies into a single team. That is true – but it doesn’t really happen until you really start tobreak down the silos. It’s even more important now, with so many overlaps in search, content, social and PR.

Team building and improving efficiencies is one of the biggest learning curves I’ve faced, but it’s undoubtedly my proudest achievement too by being able to build great teams and individually see people grow and succeed. We’ve made a huge effort in our team to get everyone working together, this means internally the SEO strategists are working in combination with outreach, social media and paid search specialists and supporting each other.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting them to sit next to each other – other times you need to bring them into internal/client meetings, brainstorming and projects.

By ensuring that we act as a team, share knowledge and have a set of individual skills it means clients benefit from this multichannel approach, but you’re all working towards executing a single strategy, just from different angles using a mix of tactics.

Having that single and clear strategy, operating across multiple channels using different tactics, means you’re less likely to hit bottlenecks further down the line – because you’re all on the same team and working together.

In my opinion culture can often be looked at the wrong way. But to me this is what culture is all about, it’s getting everyone enjoying their work, learning every day, contributing as part of a team with the support of others and working on clients they love/sectors they are passionate about and willing to put the extra work in when it’s required.

Then you can add in all the free fruit and coffee afterwards, but on it’s own that’s not the important bit.

Team integration also helps to get around the issue where quite often an agency is hired, only to end up dealing with one person at that company.

That means it’s almost a freelance arrangement, and not quite the service that means you get access to a range of different specialists and have the security in a backup of people who know and understand your brand and what you’re trying to achieve – especially in the case that a key contact is unavailable, on holiday or leaves the company.

Make content central to your brand

Content Marketing

In 2013, there’s no longer an argument on if content is important, everyone can now see themarket growth is clearly there, although surprisingly that wasn’t the case even 12 months ago.

Not many people would disagree now that brands are becoming publishers and that whether you’re involved in PR, social media or SEO – content is crucial towards marketing your brand. That’s why brands like NetflixRed Bull and Virgin Mobile are now taking content marketing so seriously.

As a result of this growth, the job roles that agencies are now hiring are much more content-based. This means writers/bloggers/authors, social influencers, graphic designers, videographers and creative PRs are much more highly valued than they probably were this time last year.

In order to succeed, brands are investing in content and building a brand to integrate with all of their marketing channels – this a much longer-term vision to grow their audience and sustainably increase market share.

No one understands your brand better than you

Our job as agencies is to understand the clients we are working with as much as we can, in order to execute a marketing strategy and get the best results possible.

That said, no one is going to understand your brand better than you. Which is why the move towards working as an integrated digital partner makes a lot more sense. That way you’re not just telling an agency to manage everything, instead they are there to support and work with you.

This is where the best results come from, the days are long gone where clients just sign 12-month contracts and you have free reign, with the client only asking to hear from you 11 monthsdown the line to arrange a review meeting. And yes, I have seen that happen!

Now the task is to support and work together with in-house teams, planning and executing a strategy to combine the skills and resource of both to hit targets.

Brands have huge power in data, knowledge, information & relationships

As agencies – we need to use the full strength of a brand. And for content marketing, for example, there’s a huge amount of value in the data, information and knowledge that brands have available to them.  Most of the time they don’t even realise this can be used for marketing purposes, so we need to work on digging this out and turning their data into content, stories, news, PR.

We all can be guilty of being too stubborn to admit we could benefit from a clients help, or their PR agency’s (and vice versa).

But brands have a huge amount of power in the relationships they have – if you want to create a social media or outreach campaign to leverage influencers, it makes sense to start with those contacts you’ve build strong relationships with already – so leverage what you’ve got!

The time to be innovative & forward thinking is now

You can debate as long as you like about the impact of Google+, but some agencies (and brands for that matter) can be very reactive and sit back on what has been tried and tested to work for years.

That’s all very well if it works, but if it has diminishing results, it doesn’t matter how good it was in the past, it’s time to move on. Plus there’s lots of opportunities and slow-moving brands that you can take advantage of by moving quickly and being ahead of the curve.

Sometimes it just needs a leap of faith on something that you believe is going to become increasing important – so that you are being innovative and investing in the future – without taking your eye off the ball today.

This is one of the most forward thinking SEO articles I’ve read in a long time and if you can get a head-start on things like responsive design, schema and semantic optimisation then you’re likely to be in a very strong position versus your competitors – you can leave them chasing the algorithm while you build for long-term success.

Of course, you won’t always get it right, but if you’re going to be spending time on Google+ for example, don’t hang around waiting until the audience is there – the time to do it is now. Then when the audience is there, you can be one of the authorities and thought leaders within your industry.

Really your business strategy and marketing strategy should be as closely aligned as possible – which is why so many people are encouraging CEOs to become thought leaders to promote their companies via blogging, speaking etc.

They are the ones responsible for setting the company vision and are likely to have the strongest relationships and know more about the industry/market than anyone else, so they should be best placed to bring it all together when it comes to being innovative and predicting where their industry is going next.

Being agile and quick is vital

Which leads on to being agile. In 2013 there are so many newsworthy and topical trends that are great marketing opportunities. Here’s 26 just to name a few!

Econsultancy CEO, Ashley Friedlein wrote an excellent post recently on the importance of having a 70:20:10 approach. That 10% is hugely important – as by being agile and quick to move, you’re likely to be taking advantage of opportunities where perhaps your competitors are slower to move.

In this case, for once it’s not always about quality either, it’s about being quick! I really like the concept that you have something fast, quality or cheap, but you can’t have all three, pick two! In this case, fast is the vital ingredient and then you decide if you prefer quality, or if cheap will do the job.

The ability to be agile shouldn’t be underestimated, we’re in a situation now where we’re telling clients that we’re going to create them x pieces of content, but we have no idea what it’s going to be about. That’s a big shift in mind-set and even a year ago, people would have laughed at that!

But now, because it’s so important to be topical, we have to be quick to react and provide the content that people are tweeting about and searching for in almost real-time – otherwise you’re too late.

You only need to see the results that Oreo got by being agile during the Superbowl to see that agile can yield huge results and brand visibility.

It’s important to have a consistent model, so balance is key. Allow yourself enough time to be agile, but have that clear plan and strategy that it can work alongside a planned digital roadmap to get the best results.

Otherwise, you’ll end up just chasing the latest fad, you should be using agile to compliment the parts that already work – not replace it.

End of Day Rates?

Pricing models in digital are hard to get right, it’s all about providing value at a fair market rate. 

In every situation, you have to make it win-win. If the client doesn’t get results they’re not going to be happy, and if the agency doesn’t make a profit, equally that’s unlikely to be a good relationship long-term.

Traditionally, the way to do this has been day rates. You know how much time you’ve spent, the margin you make after considering overheads and from an agency perspective you know where you are.

But it doesn’t reflect value. Just because an audit took 10 days to complete, it doesn’t mean it’s any good!

If anything a day-rate often incentivises the task to take longer! Hopefully not, of course – but you always have to be aware of the dodgy car mechanic. This is especially true with tasks like blogger outreach – the expected results from time spent is vague at best – it’s results that matter.

I can’t speak for other agencies, but I would be interested to hear – personally, other than consultancy time or training, we haven’t charged anything as a standard day-rate for at least a year.

I would expect this is a common trend as more productised and performance-based agreements are much clearer to set expectations and charge clients/reward agencies much more fairly.

It also means the pressure is on the agency to deliver as the client knows exactly what to expect in terms of key deliverables over the course of a project, with a much higher emphasis on client re-education towards quality over quantity. Focusing on the long-term gain, not the quick wins.

But, it also means that if you are a client with higher than realistic target/deliverable expectations at the outset, that you might get more agencies refusing to work with you now than has happened in the past too.

We want to build our clients into great case studies and success stories – but if a potential client doesn’t share that same drive and determination to get things done, it probably makes sense to pass early, rather that drag out what is likely to be a forgone conclusion.

Summary

In a lot of ways the agency task hasn’t changed at all, it’s about supporting clients goals in the best way possible to achieve results.

It’s also about having a proven model that works and you can stick to, no-ones wants to constantly change, but at the same time you need to evolve in order to cater for what the market needs and learn what strategies and team environments yield the most success.

What has changed, is the fact that the lines are becoming so blurred between marketing channels, which means operating in silos is no longer effective.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t be a small specialised agency – but it does present a new challenge, for those agencies such as ourselves, who are looking to bridge the gap between small specialist consultancies and the big media agencies.

I believe the way to go is almost to do both – build an integrated team of specialist skills in each key area, then you can bring them in and out as you see fit to support the growing needs of clients across multi-channels.

It’s simply the process of supporting them in that task and taking a marketing budget and spending it where it works best!

I’d be very interested in hearing from other agency owners on their challenges and how they’ve adapted strategies and their positioning based upon the changing market – let us know in the comments.