It’s a thing to do every year. Every expert in every field publishes their own personal projections of what the coming year’s trends will be.
The top 5 digital marketing trends for 2015 are:
- Content Marketing Optimisation
- Marketing alignment at all levels (between tactics and internal company departments)
- Generating ROI from “Big Data”
- “Mobile first” will be put into practice
- Influencer marketing will finally become something real and important
#1 Content Marketing Optimization
Content marketing took off a few years ago now but it’s in 2015 that this discipline will become main stream for most organizations. Those that have already started will seek to exploit those contents they own to the fullest, in every possible way.
It is predicted by many that brands will start acquiring publishers to extend their influence through those organizations that already have this competence. Others will become full-fledged publishers despite it not being their primary business. In a sense, they will start competing with the publishers they’ve counted as partners for a long time.
Narrative science will become important among marketing teams, helping them tell better more interesting stories. Brand stories that exert influence on the reader, through a “soft sell” technique will be seen more and more.
Native advertising will finally be understood and properly used according to its platform and environment.
#2 Marketing Alignment at all levels
More and more organizations are learning to adapt best practices to their own sector and context. They realize that all internal departments must not only be coordinated but perfectly aligned with marketing for them to see success online.
Accessibility and real usage of web and ecommerce analytics data is at the origin of this movement. We are seeking now to move away from preconceived notions and towards actual consumer behaviors as per what the data reveals to us.
Why? Because we wish to offer better customer service and increase client satisfaction at every step of the buying process. It is so that every marketing effort works towards the same goal.
At the same time, we see a generalization of the modern digital marketer. He or she must now be knowledgeable in social media strategies, content marketing (trend #1), inbound marketing, digital public relations, SEO, web programming, attribution, analytics and big data usage (trend #3).
#3 Generating ROI from Big Data
Data is available from a multitude of sources. Digital data is used for marketing, communications and advertising purposes. This is what we call “big data”. We’re always finding new treasure troves of data to tap into. However this invariably leads to data blindness, or data overload. We find ourselves inundated with tons of interesting data, but what truly has value? We are now seeking to generate some measure of ROI off of this data which costs a lot of money in infrastructure, software and specialized man-power.
A lot of this data is used for advertising targeting including among other tactics behavioral, profile and retargeting. These past two years have seen a lot of talk in the US for the “do not track” movement. Marketers must understand the differences between first party and third party cookies – most importantly, in which circumstances an organization’s 1st party cookies become 3rd party cookies. Do not track affects primarily third party cookies.
There is a growing demand for personalized advertising as advertisers understand the full potential of all the targeting options at their disposal given that ad inventory is almost unlimited. The more an ad can be personalized for a user (while respecting privacy laws and best practices), the more chances there are that it will actually be paid attention to that ad and be influenced by it.
#4 “Mobile First” will be put into practice
Yeah, yeah! It’s the year of mobile, for the 10th consecutive year! But that’s not what mobile first means.
Considering mobile first in your marketing strategy isn’t yet the norm but it should be. Look around you and unless you are presently isolated, there is someone near you on their mobile device at this very moment. These devices have almost become as essential as the clothes on our back and the air that we breathe (I’m barely exaggerating and you know it). Despite this knowledge, many organizations think they can afford to wait a little longer before investing in mobile. When has ignoring your consumer’s behavior become intelligent business practice? I don’t recall getting that memo.
Your marketing strategy must be applicable universally regardless or screen size and device used by your clients / users. This goes for smartphones, tablets, computers and Smart TVs (yes, at the other end of the spectrum is this huge screen that’s more and more used – are you ready for that?).
We see a dramatic drop in mobile specific sites. Not because they’re no longer important, and not because they are replaced by Apps. Mobile specific sites are being replaced by responsive and adaptive designed sites. One site that delivers the right brand experience across all screen sizes – one site is simpler to manage than multiples.
Let’s not forget mobile SEO – yes, there is such a thing. Google and Bing both place a lot of attention on this. Your site may have great SEO but that doesn’t automatically carry over to mobile.
#5 Influencer Marketing will finally become real
Influencer marketing will finally take off in 2015 because of the attention content marketing (trend #1) is receiving and strategic use of big data (trend #3). What’s involved with influencer marketing? It’s identifying your brand ambassadors among your fan / client base and feeding them exclusive contents, experiences and knowledge so they may pass these along to their own fans and friends (i.e. free advertising).
This is nothing really new. We were discussing this at the very start of social media marketing many years ago. However, too few companies actually put this into practice. Most preferred to do social media their own way, the wrong way, focusing on direct response and driving sales. Now companies are realizing what social really is about (conversations and influence). If you cannot convince your whole clientele to follow you on your social accounts, it becomes easier to then empower your biggest ambassadors so they may influence their fans in their own way, for your benefit.
More attention and importance will be place on Google+ reviews, regardless of the social network this is trying to be, because they are right there at the top right of any brand search results. They cannot be ignored.
Digital public relations teams will exploit this trend to the fullest for their clients.