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Birnbach Communications Issues Top Tech, Business, Media and Social Media Trends for 2014

Social Media Continues to Lead the Way for Traditional Media, Native Ads Will Increase, and Consumers May Suffer from Instagram Envy & Tech Fatigue

Marblehead, Mass., Dec. 18, 2013 – Birnbach Communications, Inc., an independent PR and social media agency, that partners with its clients to strategically navigate the complex and ever-changing communications landscape, today issued its top media trends for 2014. Taking an analyst’s approach to monitoring the media and social media, the agency based its list of trends on conversations with reporters, bloggers and Twitter members. 

The following are among Birnbach Communications’ predictions for 2014:

  • The media business has not stabilized.  Publishers still have not found a sustainable business model, as evidenced by approximately 1,000 newsroom layoffs in 2013 and by the counter-intuitive announcement that Newsweek will go back to publishing a print edition. While we expect 2014 to be a strong publishing year because of campaign ads for the mid-term elections, we expect more layoffs and changes through 2015. Meanwhile the need to boost online readership will likely to continue to skew coverage of celebrity, entertainment and sports, which means there may be less room and fewer resources allocated for necessary but less sexy news. (Think we're overstating this? How do you explain that "twerking" was a big story this year or that Miley Cyrus was a finalist for Time's Person of the Year along with eventual winner, Pope Francis?)
  • Native advertising will be big in 2014. Back in the pre-online days, native ads were called advertorials but now often appear under headlines as "Featured Content" to make them look like articles. The Huffington Post, Washington Post, Forbes, Vanity Fair and others have been experimenting with native advertising, with the latter two requiring substantial traditional ad buys. However, because the content isn't obviously an ad, we expect the FTC to question current practices due to a lack of transparency.  We think too much native advertising in a publication could dilute its hard-to-earn credibility while the revenue from native advertising could decline because consumers are likely to tire of native ads and stop clicking on them.
  • Instagram and Pinterest will remain important sources for recommendations and inspiration. Facebook will continue to be an important source for recommendations in 2014 but people's timelines get cluttered by a lot of irrelevant posts. Because Instagram and Pinterest offer visual images with little or no commentary, they tend to have more impact. We also expect there to be growing reports of Instagram envy, suffered by those of us who think our friends’ Instagram show a life led that’s way more fabulous than our own.
  • 2014 is the year people experience Tech Fatigue. We think consumers will show some fatigue when it comes to new apps (we're not even using most of the apps we downloaded last year), new devices that offer only marginal improvements over prior versions (we’re a bit jaded/spoiled for our own good), multiple chargers and flavors of USB cords. The fatigue results from the fact that instead of simplifying our lives, some of our new tech actually makes our lives more complicated. While there's always a market for a new app that offers something fresh, we think the bar has been raised for new app developers. We think there's also a bit of fatigue with the number of devices we still carry; it’s not just carrying a laptop, iPad and iPhone, it’s the need to keep all those devices charged and ready. And you can have an iPhone 4S and an iPad Air and need multiple cords. Birnbach Communications’ annual predictions helps the agency's clients work more effectively with reporters, analysts, bloggers, prospects and customers on social networking sites. 

The complete list is being rolled out on the PR & Social Media BackTalk,; the full set on one page is available here.

“We think that wearable technology like Google Glass and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch are too ahead of the curve for 2014. We see cloud computing remain as the big tech trend, followed by cord-cutting and big data especially as big data shapes business decisions. We and expect a lot of coverage of midterm election issues. And we expect continued change with traditional media, the convergence of online and in-store retail experiences. We continue to see a lot of 2013 trends carry over into 2014, particularly the importance of mobile technology, BYOD, and the staying power of social media – which all have an impact on how we work, access information and spend leisure time,” said Norman Birnbach, president, Birnbach Communications, Inc.

About Birnbach Communications
Boston-based Birnbach Communications, an independent PR and social media agency, partners with its clients to strategically navigate the complex and ever-changing communications landscape. The agency enables its client base of growing technology-driven companies to achieve  leadership in a crowded business communications market by helping them launch products and services; establish new product categories and drive market demand through media and influencer relations, social media, and thought leadership campaigns. Founded in 2001 with the commitment to combine the best aspects of large-agency experience with small-agency culture and dedication, Birnbach Communications brings flexible senior-level intelligence and a proven, pragmatic approach to solving clients’ business challenges. Birnbach Communications' team provides senior-level PR, social media, marketing and communications counsel and implementation across a range of industries, including financial software and services, unified communications, healthcare and biotechnology, and nonprofit and education. Connect with Birnbach: Web | Twitter | Blog | Facebook | Linkedin.

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