Real-time marketing was a significant trend for CMOs in 2013. Some efforts were amazingly successful, other moments were less than pretty.
Two primary trends developed as the year progressed with real-time. The first was the more flashy Internet-wide attempts to respond to news and trends, sometimes referred to as news-jacking in public relations circles. The other was a more transaction oriented approach that focused on mobile phone users and niche communities.
The following are seven trends that impacted real-time marketers this year.
1) The Bad Oreos
Real-time marketing got off to an incredible start thanks to Oreo’s Keep on dunking Instagram ad at the Super Bowl. But afterwards, the world was treated to an incredible amount of bad imitators. Unfortunately, the concept of real-time marketing got wrongly tarnished by communicators trying to hijack major media events like the Oscars.
2) Major Brands Entrenched
While 2013 saw its fair share of errors, technologies advanced far enough that brands like Coca-Cola are committing to real-time marketing. According to Coke, contextual marketing is not a question of wide spread mass audience moments like the Oreo ad. Rather, real time marketers respond to topical trends that matter to communities with relevant content and initiatives.
3) Mobile ROI Gets Stronger
The movement to produce tangible mobile ROI results got stronger as the year progressed. This week’s Cyber Monday provided a case in point. Retailers went real-time and promoted via mobile phones to drive transactions, according to IBM. The results were significant: Mobile traffic grew to 31.7 percent of all online traffic, increasing by 45 percent over 2012. Mobile sales were also very strong, exceeding 17 percent of total online sales, an increase of 55.4 percent year-over-year.
4) Location Takes Precedence
Meanwhile, location took precedence in real-time marketing, particularly for advertisers seeking to reach mobile phone users. Advertisers and companies alike focused on targeting intelligently based on location identification and conversion. As the year ends, progress has been made, but more is needed.
5) Geofencing with SMS
One tool set that matured was geofencing specific locations and responding to customer behavior with text messaging. Relying on opt-in mobile phone lists, brands create deals for customers who are within the vicinity of a store location. Geofences vary in distance depending on brand input, and rely heavily on GPS accuracy.
6) Tracking Tools Improved
Monitoring news trends and chatter online became easier as new tracking tools emerged and others improved. Marketers seeking to leverage important trends as they happen use tools like to monitor keywords and participate in events as they happen.
7) Twitter Ties Real-time and Mobile
Twitter’s successful IPO validated the movement to tie real-time events and location into a successful combination. Twitter’s Amplify service allowed brands to promote themselves with video content in the moment, while its fledgling mobile ad network produced real revenue and captured investors imagination. The combination of tools holds a great promise that Facebook, Instagram and Google+ have yet to realize.
What real-time trends impacted your business in 2013?
Geoff Livingston is an author, public speaker and strategist who helps companies and nonprofits develop fantastic marketing programs. He runs Tenacity5 Media, which builds marketing strategies that satisfy stakeholders’ information needs and corporate objectives alike. A former journalist, Livingston continues to write, and has authored four books. Most recently he co-authored Marketing in the Round, and wrote the social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.