Who Predicted 2013 Best: Mashable, Hubspot or E-Consultancy?

Who Predicted 2013 Best: Mashable, Hubspot or E-Consultancy?

31st December 2013

It’s the last day of the year and we’ve seen a lot of articles looking back on 2013. Tomorrow a new mass – addiction starts: articles predicting what will happen in 2014. Are you ready for it?

predictionThe problem with these articles is that you don’t know which information to trust. Which ‘expert’ is usually right? We hardly ever look back to predictions made before so we really don’t know in most cases.

To help you decide, we looked at predictions of three major marketing blogs: Mashable, Hubspot and E-Consultancy. All published an article early 2013 about what would happen. We analysed the predictions for 2013 and figured out for you which source might get it the ‘most right’ when it comes to predicting 2014.

A note: the ‘maybe category’

Ok, here’s the deal: this analysis is completely arbitrary. There is absolutely NO scientific value to this. We took each prediction and looked at whether we thought the prediction came true or not. In some cases that was easy, in others it wasn’t. So we added a ‘maybe’ to it. Some predictions ‘kind of’ came true. But not entirely. So we put them in the maybe category.

These are the articles we took for the prediction analysis:

Mashable: 5 Marketing Predictions for 2013
Hubspot: 8 Insightful Marketing Predictions for 2013 and Beyond
E-Consultancy: 17 digital marketing and ecommerce trends for 2013

The ‘right’ predictions

This is what was predicted correctly by the different blogs:

Advertisers Pursue Mobile-First Strategy (Mashable)
Mobile has indeed been a focus for many brands. The term “Responsive design” has been one of the ‘hot’ terms of 2013. So this one is a yes.

Relying More on Big Data As A Marketing Tool (Hubspot)
Well Big Data sure has been one of the ‘hot terms’ of 2013, that is sure. But we have to be honest as well: how many are really using it? Only the bigger companies. But still, we can’t ignore Big Data anymore, so this is definitely a yes.

Email Lives On (Hubspot)
To be honest, this was an easy one to make and chances are always bigger something ‘lives on’, but ok, we’ll give Hubspot this one since they also say “2013 will see much more targeted, segmented email campaigns”. Which is true.

Inbound, Not Automation, Becomes Priority (Hubspot)
Again, a bit of an easy shot by Hubspot, but ok, they are right. Sort of. Inbound was hotter in 2012 than in 2013 but yes, it beast automation in 2013. The question however if that will stick around, considering the amounts of (big) data which is gathered now, automation might just be on the way back. But ok Hubspot, you got this one.

Marketing Technology Evolves (Hubspot)
Hubspot predicted that in 2013 there would be more investments in “technology solutions that solve for inbound marketing, social media management, and marketing measurement, attribution, and ROI”. This is true. Especially with the rise of mobile applications there are many more technical possibilities.

The end of the digital beginning (E-Consultancy)
It’s a bit of a vague prediction to be honest. In the piece the author says “Whilst we might be at the end of the digital beginning we are a long way from the beginning of the end of digital.”. Which off course is true, we are getting away from the ‘digital beginning’ more and more. And businesses are embracing it more and more. Not full on, but definitely more. So we are nice here and are going to give this one to E-Consultancy.

The war for digital talent (E-consultancy)
Another ‘easy scoring’ for E-Consultancy, because digital talent is scarce and will be for a few years, so a prediction like this is easy. But it’s true, you see more and more companies struggling to find the right talent and there is even talk of a new ‘bubble’. So that’s a yes.

Content marketing (E-consultancy)
Again, an easy prediction to make, but one we can’t ignore being true. Content Marketing might be the buzzword of 2013…

Mobile (E-consultancy)
Ditto actually for mobile, even though (again) it has gone slower than expected, mobile (‘mobile first’) is big and has become very important in 2013. This has to be a yes.

Interactive design and user experience (E-consultancy)
If we put ‘responsive design’ in this category as well, the design and user experience could be one of the biggest trends in 2013. We’ve seen many redesigns (including ours) and all with the focus on interaction, user friendly and responsive. That’s a big yes!

Analytics (E-consultancy)
I think if you look at Analytics you will indeed see a big shift in 2013. Especially measurement of other things than website visits has grown in this year. Social data and analytics has grown a lot. Even though the ‘not provided’ issue has set back the analytics world, there has been plenty of development in this area.

The Maybe’s

These predictions ‘kind of’ became truth

Brands and Publishers Re-Think Banner Ads (Mashable)
We still see many banner ads around on the web. Too many, if you ask me. But truth be told, more publishers are looking at different models. But to say it’s been ‘re-thought’. Not exactly.

Social & Content Influence SEO (Hubspot)
Ehm well yes and no. Social indeed influences SEO, but probably not in the way predicted. Likes or +1s still don’t give us better rankings and haven’t replaced link building by far. Social influences search in a different way, yes, but not totally. Content however, yes that does influence SEO a lot at the moment. So we’ll give this one a half yes.

Marketers Will Know Thy Customer (Hubspot)
Hubspot said “Over the next year, it will become an increasingly impordavid raab headshottant initiative for CMOs to invest in technology that compiles customer data in a way that is more easily measurable and actionable. “. This is more ‘big data’ than actually knowing the customer. And yes, there has been a move more towards this direction, but you can’t say it actually came true. Most companies still don’t and don’t know how to. But since there is a move in this direction, we’ll give it a ‘maybe’.

Focus on the head rather than the long tail (E-consultancy)
This is a tough one. In some cases it looks like marketers are looking at the short term more than the long term, but to say it’s a definite trend, no. And it’s not a good direction either. But there is movement both ways, so we’re sticking with the ‘maybe’ here.

GAFA (E-consultancy)
With “GAFA” the author at E-Consultancy means “Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon”. His prediction was that these would remain leading. It’s too easy to say yes on this. Yes, the brands are leading, but wow do they have an advantage on others. But this year also showed that there is room for others, the ‘Snapchats’ of this world, who are changing things around. And with the IPO of Twitter, the decline of youngsters on Facebook and Apple not taking the TV-world on, this one falls into the ‘maybe’ category.

Personalisation (E-consultancy)
This one also goes into the ‘maybe’ category, simply because it’s still a trend, but it hasn’t really moved that much forward in the last year except for when you look at Google, who seem to be perfecting this. But marketers still have a lot of trouble implementing personalisation.

Social media (E-consultancy)
I’m going to put ‘Social media’ in the ‘maybe’ section. This might sound strange, but Social media has been bigger in the past so it seems. It didn’t become ‘that important’ in 2013. What has become more important is understanding of how people use Social media, but to say it has been a big yes in 2013? Not really, only a little.

The failed predictions

These predictions failed (big time in some cases)

Native Advertising Starts to Replace Traditional Display Ads (Mashable)
Well that’s a no. Even though the term is being discussed a lot, the actual implementation isn’t there (yet). There is some work to do here!

Advertising (E-consultancy)
E-consultancy took it a bit broader, but talked in the same direction as Mashable: native advertising would be key. And even though the direction is set, it’s not there yet.

Looking Beyond The Total Number of Likes (Mashable)
Likes are not important. It’s what most marketers say. But at the same time most marketers are still on the hunt for as many likes as possible. Facebook is now forcing us to think less about the likes by changing their algorithm, but I wouldn’t say the marketers are really looking beyond the number of likes, would you?

Marketing Becomes More Accountable for Revenue Generation (Hubspot)
Hubspot claimed ‘Marketing will play a more critical role in contributing to revenue generation’. Eh no, not exactly. Yes the marketers WANT that, but truth be said, in companies it is far from implemented properly. Big no.

“Campaigns” Fade Out, Real-Time Marketing Is In (Hubspot)
This has to be a no. David Meerman Scott who predicted this was right in that this is the direction to go, but 2013 seems to have been too early for that. Even though we have seen campaigns in this direction, it’s merely a start, it is definitely not embedded in marketing at all.

Context Is Content’s New Best Friend (Hubspot)
Again, Hubspot is in the right direction and yes, we are seeing a shift. But again, it is far from ‘there’. The prediction that in 2013 marketers are creating personalised experiences is a step too far. But we are getting there, that’s true.

Optimized cross-channel customer experiences (E-consultancy)
It would be great if this prediction indeed had come true. But unfortunately it hasn’t. Especially not the QR-codes mentioned in the article. Yes, companies should do this more and yes, there is, as with many things, a direction in which it’s going, but no, this is definitely not come true well enough.

Internationalization (E-consultancy)
As much as I’d like to say ‘yes’ here I have to say no. Internationalization is definitely something businesses want, but they are not succeeding yet, when it comes to digital marketing that is. Even though there are big movements, it just hasn’t come of the ground properly in 2013. Maybe next year?

Connected / internet TV (E-consultancy)
“Social TV” is coming and has been coming for years. Yes, as the author predicted there are more users connecting their TVs to the internet, but to be honest, they’re not doing that much with it yet. Apps aren’t ready yet and those that are doing it are the front runners, not the average Joe’s. It’s a no for me in this case. Or maybe I should say a ‘not yet’.

The results: who got the most right?

So let’s see who had the most predictive knowledge almost a year ago. Are you ready for it? Here we go. But first:

How did we measure?

After we had looked at the number of predictions each blog had right, wrong and in the ‘maybe’ section. The maybe section only counted as ‘half a right answer’.

Since they didn’t all have the same number of predictions we then calculated the percentage they got right. And here are the results.

The scores…

The different blogs scored the following percentages:

Mashable: 5 predictions, 2 right, 1 maybe, 2 wrong. Score: 60%
Hubspot: 8 predictions, 3 right, 2 maybe, 3 wrong. Score: 62.5%
E-Consultancy: 14 predictions, 6 right, 4 maybe, 4 wrong. Score: 66.7%

According to our results, this makes E-Consultancy the most ‘accurate’ source when it comes to future predictions. However, they also had more predictions so the chances of scoring higher were bigger and there were a couple of ‘easy wins’ in there 🙂

The most important conclusion should be that at least now you know that about 65% of predictions seem to come true.

Have a great New Years Eve and good luck with all the predictions!


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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