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It’s that time again to publish digital marketing predictions for the new year. Some of the below predictions were easy to make, while others weren’t so obvious. It will take us over a year to know which predictions will be spot-on and which won’t, but in the meantime let’s prognosticate together.

1. Content promotion will have a seat at the table with content marketing.

At present, content promotion is an afterthought for many marketers. However, as the Internet continues to get bogged down with more branded content, marketers who want their content read will start to deploy more earned and paid distribution and promotion strategies.

2. Social ad spend will continue to increase as targeting gets even more granular.

With both Facebook and LinkedIn moving ads into its news feeds this year, the next logical step is to get even more granular with targeting. LinkedIn will launch an email cloning function similar to Facebook. Soon, marketers will be able to upload large lists of email addresses on both of the social networks to target people with similar attributes.

3. Enterprise SEO departments will start to merge with marketing communications departments.

There are three common silos in enterprise companies that impact digital relevance: SEO, MARCOM and PR. In 2014, these silos will start to break down and consolidation of some type will begin.

4. Bing will start to rollout encryption for search queries.

Now that Microsoft knows the NSA was breaking into its network, it’s just a matter of time before it follows Google’s lead by encrypting its network end to end. It currently only offers SSL encryption. It’s not the default.

5. Facebook’s younger demographic will continue to decline.

This could prove to be Facebook’s eventual death knell. It admits that adoption and use by younger teenagers is declining in favor of networks like Snapchat and Instagram.

6. Earning real media coverage will start to displace guest blogging as the preferred off-page SEO strategy.

Google’s Penguin algorithm and its subsequent updates make off-page SEO a riskier proposition for brands. Matt Cutts’ recent comments on guest blogging included some warnings that have many SEOs concerned.

7. Big Data use and adoption by digital marketers will continue to grow.

As marketing and sales technology continues to evolve the use and adoption of Big Data by marketers will grow. Consolidation of marketing and sales SaaS companies will continue in 2014, too.

8. SEO companies will innovate by either diversifying their offerings or becoming more specialized.

Good content plays such a crucial role in SEO today that yesterday’s tried and true “math men” approach to search will become less impactful. The ones that stick with yesterday’s status quo will struggle to keep their doors open.

9. Big brands will continue to experience growth in organic traffic at the expense of smaller brands.

Over the years Google has clearly communicated its desire to reward big brands with organic relevance. Its algorithm is getting better by the week at doing so. This trend will continue in 2014.

10. The use of cookies for tracking purposes will decline.

A new unique identifier will eventually replace the outdated cookie. Cookies do a poor job at tracking people’s propensity to jump devices. This new method will be designed specifically to address this.

So, what do you think? Do any of these predictions resonate with you? Do you disagree with any of them? Do you have some compelling predictions you’d like to share? Drop your thoughts below and let’s discuss. No matter of the accuracy of the above, 2014 is going to be another great year for digital marketing!

Image credit: pasukaru76

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