The best and worst of 2013 – and what to look forward to in 2014

We asked industry experts to give their opinions of the year 2013 and forecasts for 2014. The panel consisted of specialists across different fields of the digital industry offering expertise in PR, Branding, Journalism, publishing all across the categories of luxury, FMCG, Technology and showbiz.

Beci Wood, Online Showbiz Editor, The Sun (@beciwood)

Vicki Hughes founder and MD at specialist technology PR firm Fugu (@vickih)

Kate Hamer, Digital Director L’Oreal Consumer Products Division (@hamer30)

Carolina Nijenhuis Product Manager at Boat International Media

Best campaign of the year?

BW: Recent Virgin Atlantic TV advert. Once again Richard Branson’s team have magic’d up a great promo. It’s very clever as there is only one tiny reference to a plane, focusing instead on their brilliant customer service which for me is very important. I’m a huge fan of travelling and they would be my No.1 choice.

KH: I loved O2’s Be More Dog campaign. I thought they did a really great job of integrating all the channels plus it’s a brilliant motto for life! Dogs are way better than cats

VH: The launch of David Bowie’s new album turned just about every traditional campaign idea on its head. And with Beyonce now jumping on the bandwagon, it would seem that the element of surprise is now a legitimate weapon for a big brand wanting to create a buzz.

CN: There are hardly any commercials that end up going viral as quickly as Volvo Trucks ‘Van Damme’ Epic Split (60m already). Van Damme stole the show in such a way that many celebrities and YouTube/Vine fanatics couldn’t help but make great parodies on it. Each one, better than the other.

Best app of the year?

BW: The Sun Newspaper of course …Great on the iPad. Flipboard is also great for compiling news from my favourite sites. My job requires me to be up to date with current news at all times

KH: It has to be Vine. And it’s got even better with recent developments like being able to save drafts and the ghost function is brilliant to line shots up. The level of creativity possible on a 6 second hand-shot film with your mobile phone is amazing. It’s uncovered so many new talents too!

VH: It should be something like Evernote for organising my life or Candy Crush for time wasting, but for me it will always be Google maps. Without it I would be lost, literally.

CN: To me there are 3: 1) LIMBO This is such a graphically impressive and challenging puzzle game. 2) Zombies, Run! There are many fitness apps out there. But this one makes you run for your life! It’s essentially a ‘running’ app mixed with a ‘Zombie Attack’ 3) SnapChat – Sharing pictures has never been easier.

Facebook or Twitter?

BW: Twitter. A quick glance in the morning and I feel I can get a quick overview of the news. It’s also a very useful celebrity news source and a way of connecting with the stars.

KH: For me it’s Twitter every time. I learn about most breaking news stories through Twitter – which is especially important when you are talking about Sheffield Wednesday!

VH: Twitter. No doubt about it. It’s so responsive and immediate and its influence is rising exponentially. It’s my main source of breaking news and it still tempts people to say what they’re really thinking. I’m also a huge fan of LinkedIn as a simple business connection and intelligence tool.

CN: Definitely Facebook. It’s a more organized Platform and it’s easier to find friends and keep track of the news without having to search through mini snippets of texts.

Best new product in the market 2013

iPad Air

iPad Air

BW: iPad air. As a fan of Apple products a new iPad release was always going to be hard to top but I love the new slim, lightweight design.

KH: It’s not totally new but the expansion of contactless payment methods is brilliant. I especially love that I can pay on the bus with my debit card – no more watching the bus go past the window of the newsagents while I’m queuing to top up my Oyster!

VH: ioS 7. Didn’t like it to start with, but worth the initial pain. I am converted.

CN: The Xbox One, Olloclip 4-in-one or the HTC One – can’t believe no one thought of placing speakers at the front of a phone before. HTC seems to produce the best sound quality for its smartphones.

Dead as a dodo?

BW: MySpace. Its failed relaunch earlier this year proved people have moved onto more user-friendly and fun social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

KH: MySpace – I might be wrong as Justin Timberlake is at the helm now. But with YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify etc and the fact that all music acts are on Twitter, Facebook et al, I just don’t think it has a clear purpose anymore.

VH: Blackberry.

CN: Nokia, unfortunately, seems to slowly disintegrate. A miracle product will need to be released to keep them afloat. It’s a shame. They used to be my favourite brand.

Alive and Kicking?

BW: YouTube. Beyonce proved the video-sharing website is still king by launching a whopping 17 videos on the site in conjunction with the release of her shock new album in December. Miley Cyrus and her family are also launching their own channel while Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, who launched his career on the site, have notched up huge views.

KH: Old school photography and filming methods on the most modern devices. Any Viner worth their salt needs a tripod and I love the lenses you can get to attach to iPhones.

VH: The biro. I love the notes system on the iPhone, but there is always a place for a quickly scribbled note on the back of my hand.

CN: I truly believe in the power of Google Glass. Or maybe I really want to believe it. Google Glass opens a new door in every day use of technology. It might not be Google Glass that wins the race, but definitely something similar to that.

Buzz word of the year ?

BW: Selfie. Celebrities from Rio Ferdinand, to Kim Kardashian and Joey Essex are at it. It’s even got an official place in the dictionary. Nina Nesbitt has even got a single called Selfie

KH: It’s got to be ‘selfie’ hasn’t it? That or ‘hashtag’. It’s crazy how much the digital language has evolved in just a few years!

VH: In my world, ’Content marketing’. Out there? Twerking (apparently)

CN: Selfies! You can hardly open a newspaper, watch a talk show or read a blog without the word Selfie in it. Which makes absolute sense. All these Photography apps and platforms are soaring high. Pretty sure everyone has taken a Selfie at somepoint.

Biggest mistake of 2013

BW: The hashtag #NOWTHATCHERISDEAD trended on Twitter after former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died but lots of people misinterpreted it as ‘Now that Cher is dead.

KH: There are no mistakes, just learnings! Things move so quickly in digital that someone is always going to have to fail so that others can learn and improve.

VH: It should be Obama, Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt taking a selfie at Mandela’s funeral. But it could have been any of us so we will probably forgive them. In reality it was any number of the people who have said something on twitter before they logged off or their PR machine kicked in.

CN: Epicurious’ sent out recipe tweets following the Boston Marathon Bombing. As a brand you cannot be more rude or insensitive. It gets worse when they initially sent out ‘apologies to people who feel offended’ tweet. That’s not a true apology.

What are we going to hear a lot about in 2014?

BW: The World Cup. Once again the expectation of the nation will be on England. They have a tough draw but hopefully Wayne Rooney can excel and help them progress.

KH: Integration. Digital channels can’t be treated separately anymore, to really engage with consumers your campaigns need to be seamless across all touchpoints.

VH: Google would love us to be talking about their glasses, and we probably will. However it would seem that if you mention 3D printing, then everybody is interested.

Google Glass

Google Glass

CN: 1) Contextual Content. Intertwining ‘Data’, with ‘Content’ and ‘Social’. 2) Last-minute/bidding advertisement tools integrating, traditional with Digital Media.

Technology most looking forward to using in 2014?

BW: I’ve been hearing a lot about Google Glass so keen to try that out. However, like many, I have concerns about it’s privacy.

KH: For me it isn’t about the technology, it’s about the benefit. I’m sure there will be new things that we haven’t even thought of yet by the middle of next year. That’s why digital is such an exciting field to be in. I expect that the ways in which we can personalise content and services will be even greater next year.

VH: Can I have a 3D printer. Please.

CN: All wearables. Google Glass is definitely high on my list. But this is quite impressive as well