The 5 Most Important Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2015
That’s right, 2015 is almost upon us and it’s time to predict which digital marketing trends will matter most in the year ahead.
As you reevaluate your current strategy and budget for the year ahead, what should you be thinking about? Which big changes should you be paying close attention to? What’s going to truly impact your marketing efforts and bottom line?
Predicting the future is, of course, a bit of a fool’s errand, but we’re going to give it a shot anyway. Here are our predictions for the five digital marketing trends to watch in 2015:
1. Social engagement will come from a paid spend.
Facebook’s announcement in November that it will reduce the number of unpaid posts that appear from brands in the News Feed was a long time coming. For quite a while, the social network has been signaling to marketers that they will need to spend in order to engage its users. Now that’s a full-fledged reality.
You can be pretty sure that this trend will only accelerate in 2015. Given that a number of other networks now have a roster of paid options, it’s only a matter of time until most social engagement will have to be linked to an ad spend.
Almost gone are the days of being able to engage a social audience for free—you’ll need to pay to play going forward.
That’s actually not as bad as it sounds. The downside, clearly, is the upfront cost. However, the upside is a powerful new set of formats and targeting options that allow the right content to reach the right audience. Somewhat surprisingly, the move toward paid campaigns may actually make social media investments more cost effective in the long run.
2. The need for data and technology rock stars will be even greater.
The past few years have brought digital marketers a plethora of riches; we now have access to incredible amounts of data and powerful tools that give us the ability to do things like micro-targeting, purchasing ad inventory in real-time, and automating buying.
The problem is harnessing it all. All those insights and platforms are useless if you don’t have people who can make them work for your business. Don Draper and his ilk may have been the marketing heroes of yesterday, but the future belongs to marketers who are experts in harnessing the power of data and technology.
According to a report from Mondo, 50% of all marketing hires this year had a technical background. In 2015, that number is likely to be even higher.
3. We’ll get closer to true omni-channel experiences.
The true omni-channel experience—where the consumer is engaged effectively across the full range of platforms and experiences—has always been the beautiful dream of many marketers. It’s something we strive for and yet it often seems just out of reach.
That may finally be changing. As data becomes less siloed and technology becomes more powerful, it’s increasingly possible to message properly at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
In theory, 2015 could be the year where marketers manage to link data, analysis, and messaging together to provide rewarding omni-channel experiences.
The caveat is that consumers aren’t staying static—the platforms they use and the ways they engage change—so to make the dream a reality, marketers will have to stay one step ahead.
4. Businesses will get professional about content creation.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, some 55% of B2B companies say they will increase spending on content marketing in the next 12 months and 59% of B2C companies say the same.
Overall, that’s a great thing—it shows that marketers see the channel as effective and want to invest more in it. However, it also results in more competition. Many brands are now creating a high-volume blog posts, articles, white papers, infographics, videos, and more.
That means that content has to be of a higher quality to break through the noise. Gone are the days when an intern could handle the company blog. Professional creators—writers, editors, producers, etc.—will be increasingly important as even more content is produced by even more brands. In 2015, an English degree could be valuable indeed.
5. The rise of mobile will continue (and continue, and continue).
Finally, the biggest trend of 2015 will probably be same as in 2014: mobile.
Earlier this year, mobile apps surpassed computers as the most common way Americans access the Internet. Moreover, if you include mobile browser use, the gap is even wider.
In 2015, we should see more of the same. As phones become more powerful and networks become (hopefully) faster, consumers should continue to migrate from their desktops to their mobile devices.
Why is this such a big deal? Because it impacts every single aspect of digital marketing, from ad units to content types and design elements. A number of tech companies have already declared that they are “mobile first”—by the end of next year, businesses across many more verticals may be saying the same.
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