2013 is going to be a rude awakening for a lot of people who don’t understand that the internet and their blogs became businesses the minute they decided to sell ad space. Whether it is demanding money for backlinks, spamming sites, recommending follow me and I’ll follow you, these people are going to start to take a hit. Here are some of my marketing predictions for 2013 and some of the things you may want to think about.
Mommy Bloggers are going to hurt themselves
(This prediction is coming from a rant, here is the basic overview.)
Mommy Bloggers tend to say “If you want a link, it’s a marketing/pr piece and you need to pay”. What they don’t provide is metrics for a marketing piece like total average sales per post, visits within the first week on that specific post and demographic information on this topic. If you charge and don’t have that info, people will start pulling and you will lose your revenue. A marketing piece is salesy and promotional, a value adding post is not. When they get marketing pieces, they aren’t always happy. If they do this, they need to understand that they are going from a blog to a business and need to act like one. The rant below goes into more detail. I love mommy bloggers, love working with them and am always excited when I get to partner with another because they help me with traffic and I help them with audits, content and other things.
One thing that a lot of mommy bloggers don’t get is that they don’t own Google. When you write to some of them, they instantly write back about the cost of a link and that they are selling backlinks. Like other groups of bloggers and sites which held tremendous power in the past, (Directories, Indexes, Wikis, Article sites, Content Farms, Webrings, etc…), they all come to end at some time and 2013 is going to be the beginning of their end. Lots of mommy bloggers are legit, but many don’t get that you can’t sell links and advertise selling links (even if you call it PR or Marketing or PR friendly). If you do, Google will find out and you will get penalized. You will eventually get added to lists of bloggers that sell links which are sold to marketing firms and that’s when you get blacklisted. Once you lose that, your advertisers are going to pull from you.
The reason I am making this prediction is that not many of them know or keep track of how many unique visitors hit each new post within 1 day, 1 week and 1 month. They don’t track how many sales per niche they generate on average and they aren’t keeping track of average time on post, by category and niche. Some of them have real demographic information, but not enough of them have realized they need to gather this data and ignore it thinking they will survive the long run. Just like with social media, PR and Marketing companies will start to pull when they realize they are spending a ton of money and getting nothing in return. Mommy Bloggers are the big thing right now, just like other groups above were in the past. Backlinks from sites that sell them are next to worthless (unless the site has a ton of authority) and the smart mommy bloggers who can gather this data and figure out how to convert their traffic into sales are the ones who will survive. Those are also the ones that are starting to generate real revenue and learning that they can’t expect the world and make demands or claim things like “Their SEO” “Their time” when they aren’t writing a post and just have to hit publish. Having an alexa rank over 300K and a PR under 4 isn’t worth much. When you only have to spend ten minutes adding in links and giving a quick read over, no smart person will pay more than $10 or $20 as it isn’t a lot of time, unless your site is PR4-10.
Mommy bloggers have a lot of power and pull, for now. Some of them can drive a ton of sales, but others don’t get what they need to be able to survive in the long run. You need to track sales, time on site, quality of traffic vs. quantity. They need to learn what run of site can do vs. an individual post. That PR4 for their homepage doesn’t count on sub pages as those are normally much lower. They need to become a business because if they are going to throw terms like SEO, Marketing or PR piece instead of a quality piece of content around, they better understand that marketers and pr people are going to expect a professional media kit and actually send a marketing piece or pr piece instead of a value adding article. There is a difference and the blogs who become professional and act like businesses, instead of pretending to be them, are the ones who will survive. Look at Facebook, it took real marketers 1 month to realize it is hard to convert because people are there to play so they pulled ad dollars and went to revenue driving channels. When the company went public, the dirty secret that ads don’t convert well came out and everyone else started realizing that advertising there may not drive a ton of return and Mommy Bloggers need to start to realize this as well. If you cannot prove or provide a return on investment, you will fall off as well. Facebook learned and is now starting ad channels that can drive sales and revenue. I am working with some of them again and it is working great. I hope mommy bloggers realize this and begin to do the same.
Attribution will become bigger for Affiliates.
Lots of coupon, review and trademark bidding Affiliates are going to have a bad time in 2013. Attribution is a topic at many online shows now. Even if it isn’t at Affiliate shows, online shows bring it up and Affiliates are thrown in as the last touch point which doesn’t add value. My opinion is that Affiliates do add value, when they have their own traffic and send you new customers, or bring back old customers by referring them through their blog (but only when their sites don’t rank for your trademarks, trademark or url + terms like coupons, or are bidding on your trademarks, urls, misspellings, variations, etc…). As advertisers see Affiliate cookies being set on the site, in the checkout process or through adware, they are going to begin removing these partners, lowering commissions further and/or penalizing them or shutting down their programs 100%. For value adding Affiliates, more programs are going to open up and custom deals will be made because the attribution tools can show the value they are adding. I had a couple of programs close because of non value adding programs and they brought me in house with them and I am doing much better, have higher commissions and have an open and direct line of communication. Attribution will show that ranking for trademarks or urls + coupon, coupon codes, etc… adds zero value and any site that shows up there will be able to send the same exact amount of sales.
PPC and Media Buying
One thing I have noticed is that PPC has become more expensive in some niches than Media Buying to get a solid ROI. In 2013, smaller companies and smart marketers are going to pull parts of their PPC budgets which became to expensive and start to buy space on the sites that rank for those terms for cheaper. I have found more sales coming through, more traffic and a higher ROI. I have also then taken the amount I spent and the amount they are driving in sales and turned them into Affiliates. PPC may take a hit which means the search engines may have to start to lower their costs per click again and work on better targeting. PPC is in no way, shape or form dead or dying, but there are better options for terms and phrases that are to expensive or are not driving the return they used to.
These are three of my bigger marketing predictions for 2013. They come from me watching trends and hearing people behind the scenes at tradeshows. I also see them from different private groups I am part of and from reading a lot of different sites. If you have your own predictions, disagree with these or want to add to them, feel free to leave a comment below. I have a few for social media, but I gave those to some other people who are doing prediction posts. Feel free to leave your own below.