Digital technology has been transforming the marketing industry for a number of years, and it is increasingly important for brands to be ahead of the game. So, how will companies, and marketers, make best use of technology in the months to come? To try and answer this question, I’ve put together a trend-spotting guide – coming soon to a campaign near you!

1. Geo-Locators
LED technology currently being used on select London cabs will progress over the coming year to incorporate systems which will continually feed the taxi’s location back to headquarters, allowing the advert to be altered depending on the location the cab is driving through.

A similar stunt was already a reality during the summer of London 2013 when Magnum used heat sensor technology to only display adverts when the thermometers hit the 19C mark in any given location.

2. Meshing
Meshing refers to content that requires the simultaneous usage of multiple devices. For example, you’re watching the Great British Bake off on TV, while holding an iPad. In the future, an app on your iPad would automatically bring up the recipes from that week’s programme without you having to search for them.

US cookie brand Oreo recently exhibited a grasp of simultaneous media when they tweeted “you can still dunk in the dark” during a blackout on a SuperBowl broadcast. Retweeted tens of thousands of times, this was a great use of the principle behind meshing – that you should think in terms of several platforms, not just one.

3. Micro-Videos
We’ve seen these made popular by Vine and Tumblr. For the short term the web will continue to be dominated by micro-videos, but how will brands capitalise on them? Facebook video ads, or promoted twitter video ads over traditional TV advertising, perhaps?

4. Paid-for content
Over the past few years, some big websites have begun putting their content behind paywalls – the News International newspapers being a famous example. With websites and online newspapers now reaching maturity, most are now expected to turn a profit, and many may conclude that a paywall might be only way to do this. So what is next? It’s not certain, but one possibility could be the Mail Online.

5. Internet currency
BitCoin, Dogecoin and Coinye – there is a lot of talk that 2014 will make or break these alternative currencies. Often sneered at as the province of IT geeks, anti-government conspiracy theorists and drug users, it is possible that the wider public may begin to slowly adopt digital money. But this is far from certain; the Mt.Gox debacle – where $400m worth of bitcoins supposedly disappeared – will no doubt long continue to cast a shadow over the safety of virtual currency.

6. Shifting
We might see an email on our phones from Virgin Atlantic, but then complete a purchase, enquiry or similar on a desktop or laptop device. This is shifting – where an action takes places across several media. In the future, it will be non-negotiable for brands to have adaptable web content across all platforms.

7. Niche Social Media
Yelp, TopTable, MapMyRun, TripAdvisor – these very popular sites collate reviews from users to share with others. These sites are not largely targeted by marketers in the same way as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram are, but expect this to change in 2014 as brands try to infiltrate these niche platforms.

8. Private Social Media
Snapchat, WhatsApp are two examples of private social media – methods of peer-to-peer communication, fenced off from the wider world. How will brands tap into these apps in the future? Given that Facebook, a company looking to make money, has bought WhatsApp, it will be interesting to see how they will alter the app, and what opportunities this will create for brands.

9. Wearable Content
Nike is currently testing clothing woven with flexible LED thread and flexible processors which can deliver messages and capture data. This is a longer-term trend that could – in its most extreme permutation – turn us all into individual adverts.

With an ever-increasing number of tools and platforms by which brands reach consumers, what trends do you expect to be popular in 2014?

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