Media & Marketing editor Christian Ward takes a look back at the highlights of Stylus reporting in 2013 across advertising, digital culture and entertainment.
“Young people really have no media that is their own.” So said Jon Steinberg, chief operating officer of entertainment website BuzzFeed, in the summer. In 2013, we saw millennial media come of age. BuzzFeed led the way, extending its ambition beyond memes and cat pictures towards investigative journalism, and opening a London office. We spoke to editor Luke Lewis about the launch of BuzzFeed UK – see our report Five Lessons From BuzzFeed for more.
Meanwhile, business website Quartz proved to be a benchmark case for online publishing, building an audience of five million in less than a year. We took a look at the reasons behind its rapid rise inThe Supersonic Rise of Quartz. Stuart Dredge, tech writer for UK newspaper the Guardian, also examined print publishing innovation in our Evolution of Magazines report.
The biggest media shift of the year, however, was increasing mobile usage across all demographics. We examined the implications for marketers in one of our reports from Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in July, Making Your Brand Mobile. Mobile devices were also at the heart of discussions at key digital innovation conferences, including Ignition and Social Media Week.
The upsurge in mobile activity began to shift consumer engagement away from open networks towards more private, closed platforms such as WhatsApp and Snapchat. Nonetheless, the real-time revolution matured in 2013, as brand marketers began to act more like newsrooms, jumping on social media moments via a strategy dubbed Newsjacking. We saw a lot of newsjacking attempts in this year’s Super-Bowl Ads.
This was also the year that everyone became video directors. The rise of Twitter’s short-form platform Vine, alongside Instagram’s move into video, and the continued popularity of animated gifs across sites like Reddit and Imgur, drove a huge increase in shareable clips. A lot of our reporting this year focused on how brands can make the most of video, from Mastering Short Form, to The Value of Long Form, YouTube Storytelling to How To Go Viral.
We also took a look at how TV is changing in the multi-platform era, in our TV’s Digital-First Futurereport, as well as investigating the use of algorithms and data analysis in the entertainment world in our Predicting Hits: Next-Gen Audience Tracking overview.
The speed of tech innovation accelerated in 2013. We began the year at SXSW Interactive, wowed by new user interfaces and wearable tech, and ended at a series of digital conferences in Berlin, Vienna and Dublin. Dublin-based tech journalist Mic Wright reported on the latter forNew Start-Ups: Tech Trends in 2014. In between, we launched the Thinking Digitally Industry Trend – nine in-depth reports looking at all aspects of digital innovation, from Data-Crunching toSynthetic Aesthetics.
At the heart of Thinking Digitally, we explored the potential of Start-Up Thinking for brands – how to act in an agile, responsive, experimental way as a business, following the example of smaller dotcom companies. This was a theme we explored in a number of reports throughout the year, including our Stylus Q&A: Saatchi & Saatchi CEO on ‘Start-Up Thinking’, and Protecting Brand Reputation Online.
We followed up Thinking Digitally with a second series of trend reports – this time looking at ways in which brands across industries can engage female consumers. Future Female offered marketers, designers and retailers a guide to modern female demographics, including our handpicked Icons of New Feminism, and insights into Empowering Global Women from Susie Sell, writer for advertising magazine Campaign Asia. Ensuring the men didn’t feel too left out, we also presented an overview ofDadvertising – we’ll be exploring other aspects of new masculinity in early 2014.
Pop culture in 2013 was dominated by huge hits from Daft Punk and Robin Thicke (whose controversial track Blurred Lines led to a backlash we examined in New Rules for Marketing To Women). It also saw the continued rise of Korean music – a phenomenon examined by the Guardian’s digital music writer Eamonn Forde in Beyond K-Pop.
This was also the year that electronic dance music reached saturation point in America – we explored the implications of this for brands in our report US Electronic Dance Music: What’s Next For the New Pop?
It’s been an exciting year for Media & Marketing, with digital innovation sparking endless creativity from advertisers, entrepreneurs, designers and artists. I look forward to an even more inspiring 2014.