We've seen lots of interesting developments in digital marketing over the past two weeks. Here's a quick review, in case you missed anything:

Facebook launches auto-play video ads
Facebook launched the auto-play feature for user-submitted videos back in September, but this is the first time they are rolling it out to advertisers.

This is exciting news for digital marketing and social media marketing as digital video ad spending is expected to grow to nearly $10 billion by 2017. Social video advertising will be a significant driver of that growth. Social advertising capabilities and expenditures have grown exponentially in 2013 and will continue to grow.

Gmail begins caching images
In order to begin to automatically display images, Gmail is now caching images on their own secure proxy servers, instead of directly from external host servers. Our own Al Iverson talks about the implications this could have for email marketing and using Gmail for email testing.

Digg founder Kevin Rose reveals new blogging tool prototype
Kevin Rose is currently at Google Ventures as a VC, but this week he released a new concept for a blog with a video prototype.

From Mashable: "During the demo, Rose explains that the idea behind the tool is to make reading a person’s blog post more personal by giving the reader a visual of the writer in the background."

Being a content marketer, this concept was pretty interesting to me. Below is his video. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well in the comments. 

Twitter is working on an edit feature for tweets
The Desk reported that Twitter is working on a new feature for users to edit published tweets. The feature seems to be geared toward news organizations.

From The Desk: "Twitter wants to enable users to immediately debunk incorrect information, especially erroneous tweets that go viral. However, Twitter wants users to be able to edit a tweet without changing the overall purpose."

Instagram launches Instagram Direct
At an event in New York last week, Instagram announced and released their newest feature, Instagram Direct, which seems to be an avenue for them to compete in part with the explosive popularity of the photo-sharing app Snapchat.

Instagram described the new feature on their blog saying, "There are moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people—an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment, or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments."

Social media marketing is constantly evolving. I believe Instagram Direct could become a unique way for brands to connect with customers on a more personal basis. 

Twitter begins to test "Nearby" tweets
From WSJ: "The short-messaging service appears to be testing a new timeline for its mobile app, called “Nearby.” It shows recent nearby tweets, whether you follow the tweeter or not… The apparent test could be part of an effort to prompt more users to share their location. That would make the network more locally relevant, in the manner of Foursquare. It also would allow Twitter to offer advertisers more precise targeting capabilities."

This could bring enormous opportunities for marketers. I predict that location-based messaging and localized content will be key trends in digital marketing for 2014.

Twitter launched the 2013 #YearOnTwitter
2013 is coming to a close and this week Twitter released their annual #YearOnTwitter. Some of the highlights on Twitter this year included #Sharknado, the VMAs, the government shutdown, #SFBatkid, #SB47, and the Boston Marathon bombings.

For digital marketing as a whole, check out our latest infographic on the 2013 Digital Marketing Highlights.

Google continues to acquire robotics companies with its purchase of Boston Dynamics
Google has now bought 8 robotics companies in the past 6 months. The question on everybone's mind is "why?". 

From the New York Times The deal is also the clearest indication yet that Google is intent on building a new class of autonomous systems that might do anything from warehouse work to package delivery and even elder care.

Twitter announced promoted accounts on mobile timelines
"Promoted Accounts, introduced in 2010, are a way for advertisers to get their Twitter feeds in front of more users. On desktop, they have appeared as 'who to follow' recommendations. Though the ads have run in a dedicated space above "Trends" on desktop, on mobile they will appear in the timeline." (via Mashable)

As with auto-play Facebook video ads, social media innovations and developments continue to focus around advertising capabilities. Look for more and more focus on social advertising in 2014.

The post Instagram Direct, Facebook Ads, Image Caching, and “Nearby” Tweets: The Last 2 Weeks in Digital Marketing appeared first on The ExactTarget Blog.