Online Marketing Themes That Small Businesses Can’t Be Ignored

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Online marketing is clearly the most effective and efficient method for branding and promoting a small business. Small businesses are significantly increasing their online investments, according to the 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll. Social media, blogging and interactive advertisements -are the way of the future and staying abreast of new technologies is not only good business but has become crucial to remain competitive.

In fact, 66 percent of small businesses plan to invest as much or more in digital marketing than they did last year. According to the poll, a vast majority of small businesses will also expand their online and digital presence through their company website and through email marketing in 2013.

“U.S. small businesses see incredible value and opportunity in digital marketing and are clearly increasing their presence as a way to gain access to new customers,” said Kate Martine, AT&T Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions. “With a variety of digital tools such as email, websites and social media, coupled with the ability to both deliver and access them from mobile devices, small businesses are building new connections without borders.”.

New online marketing themes that small businesses can’t be ignored, and technologies to stay competitive

1. Facebook is changing the game, again. Now that Facebook is through the turmoil of its IPO and can get back to work, 2013 will a big year. Focused on expanding its advertising ecosystem with new formats, better attribution, and, of course, more targeting, analysts predict Facebook advertising will grow by bounds in 2013 and that the opportunity for early adopters is huge. CPMs are low, new formats are incredibly effective (see below), and the opportunities to drive significant business outcomes are improving.

2. Mobile advertising has been dominated by search (Google), display (ad networks), and a few rich media options like iAds. EMarketer announced recently that surprisingly, Facebook has taken the lead in mobile display, almost overnight. Additionally, Facebook shared that its mobile ads, which are primarily promoted posts in the mobile newsfeed, are 42 percent more effective than its standard display ads, and the performance increases when richer post types like photo, video, and interactive are used, and eMarketer found the same thing.

It looks like social just became the best way to reach your mobile customers.

3. Rich media is back. Rich media ads on traditional websites are well-established. But as consumers increasingly move toward social and mobile – and away from websites – we’re seeing ad technology shift as well.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, became more focused on richer content. More photos, more video, more interaction, all right there in the streams. This trend, according to Forrester and eMarketer, will continue in 2013, improving the opportunity for marketers to get more value out of their growing digital media budgets.

4. Video, video, video. Much of the growth in digital media in 2013 will be because of the expanding video opportunity. As shared above, social and mobile are fertile ground for video, but we’ll also see innovation from YouTube, Vimeo, and others in the video ad world well beyond pre- and post-roll, interstitials, and pop-overs.

Keep an eye out for vendors creating innovative new solutions for online marketing via social streams across both desktop and mobile.

Badgeville makes it easy for web publishers, media sites, communities, marketers, and brands to increase user loyalty and engagement.

CARTfm Loudbounce’s marketing solution, automates advertising for small businesses by broadcasting ads continuous targeted ads to niche-websites, marketplaces and personal social network pages.

Storify allows you to turn what people post on social media into compelling stories. You collect the best photos, video, Tweets and more to publish them as simple, beautiful stories that can be embedded anywhere.

Gripe is a free location-aware mobile app that uses the power of word-of-mouth to share complaints or cheers about any business or service provider. Like Yelp, this could become a tool for businesses small and large.

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