The best and worst of 2014 – and what to look forward to for 2015
We asked some industry experts to give their opinions on 2014 and their forecasts for 2015 – some of them even got back to us. The panel consisted of specialists across different fields of the digital industry including:
Graham Charlton, Chief Editor, Econsultancy (@gcharlton)
Christ Lorimer, SEO Manager, River Island (@Chris_T_Lorimer)
Sam Silverwood-Cope, CMO and Co-Founder of Pi Datametrics (@scopey123)
John Barker, Head of Social Media (@JohnTBarker)
Best campaign of the year 2014?
GC: Virgin Airlines Blah campaign – and here is 18 reasons why.
CL: Our #ImWearingRI has been a real success for us. The Scottish No campaign, the scaremongering message got them what they wanted. I obviously have to mention the ice bucket challenge. It seemed it was all people were talking about at one point. And the Samsung Oscars selfie.
SCC: My family and colleagues will tut at this, but the John Lewis advert was truly superlative. I have worked on Christmas advertising in the past, usually in the middle of summer – and it’s bloody difficult, these guys nailed it.
JB: I really like the AirBnB promotional short film made entirely of Vines. But i’m a big fan of anything Lord of the Rings related, and Air New Zealand recruited a load of people associated with the Hobbit movies to take part in its in-flight safety videos. It’s well worth a watch.
Best App of the year 2014?
GC: I’ve been reviewing fewer apps this year, as retailers tend to be going for responsive design instead. Amazon and eBay remain best in class for ecommerce, while I use the iPlayer app a lot, on tablet and mobile.
CL: In fashion, Instagram is the rising star. Everyone would have read that Instagram have recently overtaken Twitter with over 300 million users now. Our followers have really grown this year. We now have over 700k. We have some catching up to do on Topshop though who have over 3 million!
SSC: I don’t really have one. But, being a dad, what I loathe is children’s apps with adverts and extra things to buy. These apps are made for 3 year olds, what are they really thinking? Delete.
JB: Probably one that no one has mentioned… ever, but it’s the Brighton & Hove Bus app. I simply top up my account show the driver my phone and thats it. Brilliant.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat?
GC: Twitter all the way for me. It’s incredibly useful in this job, and can be a lot of fun while watching major sports / TV events.
CL: I love Twitter and Snapchat is good fun. What about WhatsApp though? It’s how I communicate with all my friends in a group chat way now.
SSC: I’m with Twitter. It’s full of nutters and angry people but I love the way you can approach someone (in a good way) and befriend them by having a similar interest (then leave quietly when you realise you don’t). It’s actually a better networking tool than Linked-In. Facebook seems tired and a no-go waste of time for B2B – but still a good photo album.
JB: I’m torn between Twitter and Instagram. If you ask me what I go on the most, it will always be Twitter, but I actually upload more content to Instagram. But i’ll go for Twitter as I use this for my first port of call for news.
Best new product of 2014?
CL: Google Glasses. I haven’t tried them yet but would love to. I haven’t seen any Glassholes walking the streets yet. I am very sceptical about the idea of using them in everyday life. Do you really need to check your emails every 30 seconds? I do however like the idea of using them whilst I am cycling. I often have to stop whilst I am cycling around London, to make a call or to look at maps because I am lost. I wouldn’t pay £1,000 for the privilege though.
SSC: I have to say Pi Datametrics. But other than that no new phone or game station has really impressed greatly this year.
JB: Well besides Pi Datametrics, I’m really impressed about what i’ve heard about the Tesla Model S car. I haven’t driven it or even seen one… but I know I want one.
What’s alive and kicking?
GC: Email, despite the various pronunciations of its impending death over the years. Our surveys still show it to be one of the top performing channels for ROI.
CL: Record players. I read recently that over a million vinyl albums would have been sold by the end of the year, the first time that would have happened since 1996. My friend recently gave me his old one and I am really looking forward to going through my parent’s old collection.
JB: It’s probably been mentioned loads, but Reddit is back from the dead…. I love it.
SSC: Reddit seems to be very alive and kicking. A few years ago it looked like it was on its way out along with Digg and Stumbleupon. But it is definitely back stronger than ever. Though hosting stolen nude images probably isn’t a good idea for the future.
What’s now dead and buried?
GC: QR codes, finally. There were and still remain some decent use cases, such providing further info, video etc in museums. However, most uses were ill thought-out, some were downright stupid (other side of tube tracks, on vehicles etc) and for most a URL or phrase to search for would have done the job just as quickly.
SSC: Amazon’s moral fibre. I really don’t understand why people still purchase from them. Price surely shouldn’t be everything. Also Mashable – they were pioneering in the industry a few years ago, now they seem to be a less humorous Buzzfeed.
CL: Linking building
JB: Google+! I know it’s not completely dead yet, but with Google now stopping to show authorship results in Google Search, and no longer be tracking data from content using rel=author markup. I believe it’s the start of the end for Google+.
Buzzword of the year?
GC: I’m not a fan of buzzwords at all. I despise terms like ‘learnings’ and ‘holistic’. Looking at the most popular topics on Econsultancy this year, responsive design has been pretty big, though I think there is a growing realization that it isn’t necessarily a panacea.
CL: It’s still Selfie isn’t? And “Fail”. I am 30+ so you will never catch me saying it! In marketing – gamification and big data.
SSC: There have been many hashtags that went viral for example – Ice Bucket Challenge and Bring back our girls. It’s sad in a way that they were so big and now weeks later the thoughts behind them are almost forgotten.
JB: It probably has to be ’selfie’. The Oscars this year made it massive, as well as a number of charity campaigns based around it. Also a mention for ‘Big data’ too.
Biggest Mistake of 2014?
CL: There was the US Airways tweet of a toy plane in a place where it really wasn’t designed to be. I can’t really say anything more about that though!
There was also the Pay Pal director who got drunk at a work party and took to twitter to abuse his work colleagues. “Christina is a useless piece of shit” was one of the tweets. Hilarious.
JB: Twitter CFO Anthony Noto slipped up and tweeted a message that was meant to be a private direct message. The tweet read: “I still think we should buy them. He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16–we will need to sell him. i have a plan.” The message is thought to have been referring to Twitter’s plans to acquire the selfie app Shots. At the same time a number of people are complaining how difficult it is to send a direct message via Twitter.
What’s going to be big in 2015?
GC: I’d never predict some kind of revolution in marketing, just that certain trends will develop further into 2015.
The continuing growth of mobile will be key, as will some sort of solution to the mobile payments problem. Frictionless payments are the key to mobile commerce, and this is what benefits Amazon and eBay with millions of customers signed up with saved payment deals. Perhaps Google or Apple may solve this issue.
CL: Gamification and big data.
Utilising Instagram in new smart ways. Big brands have already produced some really innovative campaigns (Red Bull is one) and I am sure there will be even more of that next year.
SSC: Google Tax. We’ll see how it impacts on the market in general. But major players such as Amazon, Google, Ebay and many more will have to pay their share, this could have an impact on their offerings as well as their dominance – but I won’t hold my breath.
JB: I think it’s been big this year, but I believe everything related to ‘The Cloud’ is going to be even bigger next year.