Trends & Innovation

Digital Shift Q1 2013

By Neil Perkin, Econsultancy,

Digital Shift, a new quarterly service from Econsultancy exclusively for Enterprise subscribers, is intended as a guide to support strategic thinking.

Focused tightly on digital technologies, marketing and ecommerce, it’s about delivering actionable insight on trends that will be significant in the short to mid-term, and which can be used to generate new ideas, improve business performance and stay ahead of the competition.

The first report in this series, also available as a presentation and webinar recording (see below), explores the most notable developments impacting digital marketing this quarter. The critical shifts are summarised in this executive summary:

  • Embedded social media

The imminent launch of Facebook Home, designed to replace the standard Android homescreen, will put the Facebook newsfeed and notifications front and centre of the mobile experience. It’s a major development in the building of Facebook’s vertical stack and aims to moves its users’ focus from “apps and tasks” to people. In the context of the increased amount of sharing we all do, Home presents a real-opportunity for Facebook to keep high-volume-sharing, mobile-first users interested.

It may well be a good while before Facebook introduces new ad formats native to Home, but they could have big potential. It will only be a matter of time before inventory is opened up. If the chat heads and notifications features could be used to enable real-time and location-based ads, that could also create significant potential.

  • Aggregation and curation

This quarter saw continuing developments in one of the most talked about digital trends – content marketing, with aggregation and curation being top-of-mind. Amex took the first steps towards the use of hashtags beyond aggregation to deliver value back to users and customers via Amex Sync.

On the curation front, Flipboard has relaunched its service with a few key new features, including the ability to create custom magazines with content found within the app, the introduction of content search and the Etsy ecommerce integration. Meanwhile, new services such as Percolate are making it easier than ever for brands to utilise curation as a way to take leadership in their space and become better publishers.

  • Meme-jacking and social TV planning

Meme-jacking offers significant awareness-building opportunities for brands that are agile enough. The lessons, for brands who want to capitalise on rapidly spreading memes (such as the ‘Harlem Shake’), is to be timely, make sure you understand the meme and keep aligned with its core components, and keep it relevant to your audience and your brand.

As more brands get more agile with tactical content (see the real-time marketing efforts around the Super Bowl), the need to anticipate opportunity and plan ahead takes centre stage. There are exciting opportunities from the new layer of real-time data emerging from Twitter’s link with TV content, such as scheduling TV creative within highly social programming to create conversation and maximise shareability.

  • When physical becomes digital and vice versa

The spread of app culture into new wearable technology such as iWatch and Google Glass offers fascinating opportunities for brands to develop new services and utilities. Similarly, connected cars open the potential of reaching consumers in compelling and relevant ways with real-time, proximity-based marketing.

KLM’s personalised maps campaign proved that the personalisation capabilities of online can also be used to turn virtual world assets into physical products or services that can be genuinely charming and useful.

  • Growth hacking and collaborative consumption

The concept of growth hacking mixes engineering with marketing and utilises an understanding about how your users discover and adopt your products to build features that will help acquire and retain more users.

As products and services become ever more digitised, product has marketing baked-in, and agencies progress to creating customer experiences rather than just content, this combination of marketing and product development skills will surely become increasingly important.

With collaborative consumption already powering some of the most useful services on the web (two of the best examples are Airbnb and Uber), peer-to-peer services represent a trend that is here to stay and it’s worth considering how such models could provide opportunities for your brand.

Download a copy of the report to learn more.

The hour-long webinar recording features input from Ashley Friedlein, CEO Econsultancy and Neil Perkin, Consultant and Founder of Only Dead Fish.


  • Pdf Disabled Digital Shift Q1 2013 - Report (1.48 MB PDF)
  • Pdf Disabled Digital Shift Q1 2013 - Webinar Presentation (2.53 MB PDF)

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