A Look Back On 2013 In Digital Marketing

This year was all over the map in terms of consumer optimization and conversion trends. Crowdfunding was propelled into the next stratosphere and mobile maximized every moment in our lives, while apps and couch commerce exploded, thanks in part to a semi-restored global economy that gave billions even more disposable income to toss around — and shifted emerging markets to the (almost) top of the buying food chain.

It was an amazing year for marketers, no doubt. We shopped from our phones and from our couches, and we consumed content in every imaginable way. Cheers to what was a great year for innovation and optimization — and here’s looking ahead for bigger and better in 2014.

Mobile Goes Shopping

While everything about mobile seemed to make waves this year, it was the surge of shopping apps that proved truly revolutionary in 2013. Apps like Wanelo (short for “want, need, love”) give users an insight into what’s trending in real-time and enable multi-store browsing plus links to buy. There’s definitely a level of Pinterest-esque interaction and engagement, but with the buying power of the big boys.

And speaking of the big boys, there’s perennial frontrunner Amazon, of course, which has really blown the competition out of the mobile commerce water in the last 24 months. With the unbelievably consumer-friendly “buy-in-two-clicks” functionality, massive inventory, and access and proliferation of “showrooming” (browsing in store and buying on Amazon), the e-commerce giant dominated consumer engagement and conversion in 2013 and is set to knock it out of the park again in 2014.

Beyond shopping, of course, mobile was all about hypertasking — sharing while buying, socializing while navigating and messaging to epic proportions. It was about a wholly organic, entirely seamless and completely on-the-go existence, especially for the under-30 set. And 2014 will no doubt see even more of this uber-connectivity phenomenon.

The Rise Of Couch Commerce

Like mobile commerce, tablet shopping was truly a game changer in 2013. Tablet-specific experiences were on the rise from both new and established brands and offered a unique departure from the on-the-go nature of smartphone — mobile stands for on-the-go, while tablet came to represent on-the-couch.


It’s no surprise, then, that tablet usage outpaced even mobile adoption this year and continues to chart a meteoric path for the months ahead. Globally, websites garner more traffic from tablets than smartphones and users view 70% more pages-per-visit from the larger format device, with retail websites getting the most tablet traffic.


While mobile commerce continues to accelerate, tablets naturally provide marketers more real estate and a more positive consumer experience opportunities than smaller devices. What’s more, because of their “couch” designation, they’re becoming part of the evening/weekend experience — namely, shopping from your tablet while you watch TV. See something you like in a commercial? Click to buy on your tablet. Liked the preview for a new movie? Order tickets — or queue up in Netflix — right now.


With such a strong connectivity to traditional broadcast engagement and the boom in adoption, marketers will need to look for meaningful ways to align broadcast messaging with tablet engagement in 2014.

Content Is Still King—And It Was Everywhere

While content and content marketing remained king in 2013, the demand for multi-platform distribution took off. In short, not only did you need the content, but you needed it in every format, everywhere for every device. That doesn’t mean, though, that content needed to vary from point to point — if anything, 2013 was the year of repurposed content.

Adaptive content strategies rose to the foreground and content went from the traditional to the integrated, the standard to the personalized. What’s more, content co-ops and partnerships, cross-media marketing, and the integration of the Chief Content Office and Content Strategist unequivocally re-crowned content. The upcoming year will likely further the convenience and connection while looking to integrate more of a multi-screen focus along with video — and even traditional players like print — to make a splash.

Looking back, there’s certainly some level of cohesiveness among the trends: 2013, it seems, was one part inevitability and one part unbridled opportunity. There were winners and losers, innovators and industry-leaders and plenty who are already paving the way for 2014. So, what defined the year that was for marketers? It was almost inevitable that 2013 would be all about apps, tablets and content, content, content. Now on to 2014 — and what will that look like?

Source for mobile stats and images: The State of Mobile Benchmark, Q2 2013 (Adobe Digital Index) (PDF)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Retail | Marketing Land’s 2013 Digital Marketing Year In Review | Marketing Strategies Column


About The Author: is the Director of Conversion Product Marketing for the Adobe Digital Marketing Business Unit. Kevin leads the marketing efforts around solutions that help businesses optimize digital experiences for maximum customer engagement and conversion.


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  • http://www.conseaair.com/ John Brown

    When you look back you might see some pitfalls as well as good things around. But when you look ahead you see nothing but dreams and hopes. Let us hope for the best in 2014.


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