The 4 Digital Trends to Use Right Now

Marketers look forward to a lot of things each year. Super Bowl ads. Big product launches. And obviously Santa (what, we can’t be humans too?).

One of the others on this list is Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report. Every year, Meeker, who runs digital investments for venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, gifts the marketing world with this breakdown of who and what are winning the web.

For those who don’t have time to dive into the full report, AdWeek graciously outlined the top 24 things marketers and techies need to know to succeed this year. And because we really like to be that kid who has to one up you, we’ve broken it down even further, outlining the top takeaways people like us – the behavioral nerds – need to know.

1. Mobile is non-negotiable: With smartphone addiction soon to be classified an epidemic (we’ll bet money on it), presence on mobile web is not a maybe but a must. It offers unprecedented ways to increase efficacy– giving people the information they need to take a desired action at the moment they’re ready to act.

For us, that means making mobile goal setting a part of our process when building websites. This could manifest in a few simple ways. On the simple side, when we set out to help busy educators access and share news in their field, we enlisted responsive design to make sure the website was highly mobile-friendly. On the not so simple side, when we wanted to help people get more active, we built a mobile app to help them find active fun, based on the price, location, or even people they wanted to bring along (dogs included).

2. Whenever possible, tell a story: The new online ad trend is painting the picture of your brand with multiple ads at a time. That’s what Pinterest’s New Cinematic Pins and Facebook Carousel Ads do.

What does this have to do with behavior? It’s a prime opportunity to tell a story. Storytelling is a powerful way to do something all marketers want to do– leverage emotions. Emotion plays a much greater role in your behavior than logic (just think about when you decided to cut your own bangs after that breakup a few years back). Now, online ads have caught on.

Chances are you’re not a retailer who needs to show off your summer swimwear line, but if you’re a local nonprofit focused on food access, what would happen if you used these ads to show the impact that a healthier diet had on a local resident over time– showcasing her personal story of success with your target behavior? That gets you exponentially farther than just “telling” people to eat a tomato once in a while.

3. Make a video. Share. Repeat: Meeker’s report makes it clear that video is king. Think about it– it’s the epitome of fun, easy, and popular. They reward you with quick entertainment (fun), they are simple to digest (easy), and those aforementioned qualities allow them to spread like wildfire when shared (popular).

The best part is that these days, the most valuable videos are quick (as in seconds). That’s good for budget, time, and the ever-elusive concept of being concise.

4. If you’re targeting Millenials, find them on Snapchat. During author Nir Eyal’s presentation at this year’s Habit Summit, we realized Snapchat is insanely popular amongst Millennials because it leverages 4 determinants for the price of one. Users always have anticipated rewards when logging in– they never know what they’ll find on the site but they know they’ll find something fun or interesting each time. It also gives them control like no other social media site– they’re in control of what they post, but the associated risks and penalties are very low. When every post self-destructs in minutes, you throw caution to the non-existence online wind.

So there you have it. we’re planning to leverage these trends in our work this year, and unless you want to be referred to as “sooo 2014” you might consider doing the same.

Meisha Thigpen is a Creative Director at Marketing for Change.