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Where's Digital Marketing Heading in 2010?

Where's Digital Marketing Heading in 2010?

Ken Mallon and Duncan Southgate / AdAge

In our discussions about what will happen in the digital marketing industry during the next 12 months, one overarching trend emerged: The basic rules of brand building are just as important for innovations in the digital space as they are for traditional forms of communication.

Using new technology won’t in itself bring success; your digital communications still need to be creative, engaging and relevant if they are to cut it during the second decade of this century. Here are the first five of our top 10 trends for 2010.

Online display: Don’t be blinded by the shiny and new. In 2010, advertisers will experiment with new, larger ad formats. These formats may be initially attractive because they are different, but the basics of brand building beyond awareness shouldn’t be ignored. Most of the new formats perform very well in the short term. Dynamic Logic has previously reported the high performance (brand impact) of video ads when they were first introduced. They found that video ad performance, relative to average ad performance, declined over a two year period following introduction as the novelty wore off. We’d expect this to be true for most of the new, larger ad formats and their progeny.

Ultimately, over the next several years only the fittest for these larger formats will survive. If they prove too intrusive, they may make people less favorable toward the advertised brand or the website on which they are served. Other advertisers and agencies will use these formats more cautiously, taking note of creative best practices gleaned from prior work.

Viral video will move from art to science. Asonline videoconsumption continues to rise, advertisers increasingly value viral viewings as a clear and visible sign that their campaigns are engaging audiences. In response, viral video analytics are becoming sophisticated. YouTube has enhanced its video analytics offer, and companies such as Visible Measures and Unruly Media are providing comprehensive viral monitoring services across multiple online video platforms.

This information will fuel a more scientific approach to viral campaign planning. Rather than just place videos online and hope an audience will come, advertisers will invest in viral seeding strategies. They’ll promote their videos via online influencers, Facebook video-sharing applications and targeted, paid placements. Advertisers will also become smarter about developing and selecting ads with the most viral video potential before they employ the seeding. A recent calibration exercise for Millward Brown’s Link pre-test, for example, identified the creative factors which explain most of the variation seen in levels of viral viewing.

While there are likely to still be more misses than hits in the viral space, the opportunity of being next year’s T-Mobile “Dance” orEvian’s roller babies is something many marketers will plan for.