2014 Fireworks in Signaport

The new year is almost here. And, if there's one thing we can say for sure about digital marketing, its that a lot can change in a year. So, what sort of changes can we expect to see in 2014? Lets take a look at five predictions.

1. Native Advertising Wont Go Programmatic

Recently there's been a lot of buzz about bringing the power of programmatic to native advertising so that it can scale and make everyone a lot more money. Its a nice idea. And programmatic seems to be seeping into just about every other corner of digital marketing. Why not native as well? The answer is that true native advertising, almost by definition, cannot be automated like a programmatic campaign. Native advertising is about customization, about figuring out the voice and stylistic approach of a given publisher and then creating content that fits seamlessly into the publisher's site. And that, simply put, is a process that can never scale.

2. Flow Advertising Is Going To Get A Lot More Attention

If you haven't yet heard much about flow advertising, you're sure to hear a lot more in 2014. Savvy marketers are increasingly thinking of their ad units not as standalones but rather as a sequential chain of touch points that must be carefully thought out to increase the effectiveness of the larger campaign. Lets say, for example, that you're running pre-rolls on YouTube. Some users will watch the entire ad. Others will immediately skip the ad. That's important data that can determine your next move. Perhaps you want to retarget only those users who watched the full ad? Or perhaps you want to retarget everyone exposed to the ad but show a different creative to users who watched the full video? With flow advertising, every part of the chain is critical.

3. Programmatic Marketing Will Move Far Beyond Traditional Display

Next year will be the year that everyone finally appreciates that programmatic marketing is about far more than display campaigns. At least, let's hope so, because there's no longer any excuse for not knowing about the possibilities of programmatic. When Facebook launched its media exchange, FBX, in September 2012, it was an important turning point. Everyone now had all the evidence they ever needed that programmatic marketing was not just about showing banner ads to people who had visited your site. And just in case any additional evidence was needed, Twitter supplied it this month with the launch of Tailored Audiences, a programmatic offering that makes it possible to target Twitter users based on their online behaviour.

4. Mobile Advertising Will Take The Next Big Step

Okay, so we've been waiting for quite a few years for this one. But it now looks as though 2014 could be the breakthrough year for mobile. The above mentioned Twitter program, Tailored Audiences, could give mobile advertising a huge boost. And Facebook has already shown that mobile campaigns can be very effective and profitable. Now, the rest of the marketing world is beginning to catch up.

5. Cookies Aren't Going Anywhere Just Yet

You might have heard about new technologies that will make cookies obsolete. And, sure, it might just happen one day. But don't expect cookies to disappear in 2014. For the time being, if you want to run retargeting campaigns, third-party cookies are still your only option. And with the retargeting sector booming -- Facebook's FBX is believed to be generating a billion per year -- it's highly unlikely that anyone will want to toss out the technology that makes it all possible until there's a really good alternative.

This, of course, is just the beginning. Digital marketing will likely look very different at the end of 2014 than it does right now. Programmatic marketing is still a new industry, and new technologies keep making it better. So be prepared for these five predictions, and then keep on preparing for more.