We haven’t yet come to the end of 2014, but as everyone knows within the marketing industry, success comes from being ahead of the game. So far this year we have seen some digital marketing techniques dominate the industry. Take the infamous “Content is King” for example. Content has really come into its own in the past year, increasingly being utilised by big brands to drive traffic to their sites, while simultaneously being used as link bait in an attempt to generate links for SEO purposes.

However – being good at the game may get you recognised, but planning for the season puts you on top. The industry we work in is a volatile and rapidly expanding one. The constantly changing trends in technology play such a large part in the ways we as digital marketers plan our strategies. Take the rise in mobile and tablet technology as an example. This month, a Mintel report has identified that 73% of consumers own a mobile phone, and 71% own a tablet. From this, 50% of them use their mobile as their primary device for web browsing.

bigstock-Ask-An-Expert-Chalk-Illustrati-58708733-1 Industry Experts Give Their Thoughts on the Digital Trends of 2015

This is just the tip of the iceberg, consumer behaviour is also a continuously changing element, having an adverse effect on marketing efforts. Let’s go back 10 years – customers had very little choice of where they could consume certain information and had to rely on mainstream media techniques for their entertainment. This made advertising, or at least the media selection phase, fairly simple. Yes the internet was still around and mobiles allowed you to access certain web information, but they were nowhere near as advanced as today.

So the question is, what’s next? Are there going to be further changes to Google’s algorithm, such as the drop of authorship we experienced this year, or maybe a change in the way consumers use social media?

Well, not to worry, I’ve spoken to some of the industry’s top experts, influencers and professionals to find out exactly what they believe is going to be the next big thing in 2015. So get out your pen and paper and start taking notes:

 

Greater convergence in mobile and desktop experience, and social networks continuing to fragment.

1) Greater convergence in mobile and desktop experience – desktop and laptop usage isn’t likely to go down, especially not for content creators and those using the web professionally ...Click to read more

1) Greater convergence in mobile and desktop experience – desktop and laptop usage isn’t likely to go down, especially not for content creators and those using the web professionally. For many consumer-focused tasks, however, mobile is likely to eat away at desktop share (and, from the data we’re seeing now, it’s eating away at tablets, too). That said, I don’t see mobile as changing the fundamentals of the web, but I do see mobile demanding a higher quality experience that supports mobile and desktop both.

2) Social networks continue to fragment – particularly among the young and among niche groups (think Snapchat and Pinterest). I expect that trend to continue, but also for Facebook and Twitter to remain mainstays of the social world – Facebook because it’s the default network for families/friends and Twitter because it’s central to news, influencers, and public sharing. For marketers, being early adopters of new networks that emerge can be huge for earning traction before the heavy hitters and brands enter. We saw that with Google+ the sites/brands that did invest early now have a huge advantage in personalized search and network reach.

3) Search will continue to grow – mostly because Google is creating an incredibly addictive search engine for both mobile and desktop experiences. Queries that took clicking then browsing and scrolling to answer, now take only a second, and while some of those are disintermediating publishers (by providing instant answers to searchers), the long term result is likely a bigger pie for everyone. 4 years ago, there were only ~2 billions searches a day on Google. Today, that’s past 6 billion.

Even more personalisation in content. Paid amplification goes mainstream. Real time targeting.

Brands and businesses will start gathering and integrating even deeper prospects and customer data to truly personalize both content and the entire sales process from start to finish: context is key her ...Click to read more

Brands and businesses will start gathering and integrating even deeper prospects and customer data to truly personalize both content and the entire sales process from start to finish: context is key here. To that end, Facebook advertisers will become more savvy in including and excluding custom audiences.

Content that rises to the top organically will have a more light-hearted, personal feel, including the use of selfies and micro video clips shot on location with smartphones,  giving the experience of being a “fly on the wall.”

Paid amplification goes mainstream. Companies get smarter about the exact content that really resonates with their audience and then pay to amplify only that content, ensuring paid placement doesn’t feel intrusive or interruptive. Mark Zuckerberg stated earlier this year that Facebook’s goal with ads is to reach a point where paid content is “as relevant and timely as the content your friends share with you.” (Source: bit.ly/1h47fzO)

Real-time targeting will become more popular with Facebook ads offering geo-targeting based on a certain mile radius, along with ads tailored to status updates as users publish posts.


We've past the tipping point for mobile being a required part of a company's thinking for marketing.

We’ve past the tipping point for mobile being a required part of a company’s thinking for marketing. More than 50 percent of emails are now consumed on a mobile device. Google penalizes busi ...Click to read more

We’ve past the tipping point for mobile being a required part of a company’s thinking for marketing. More than 50 percent of emails are now consumed on a mobile device. Google penalizes businesses who don’t have mobile optimized websites. 2015 will be all about businesses figuring out mobile in some form or fashion. If they don’t, they’re going to struggle.

Marketing and sales will converge in digital.

Marketing and sales are converging in digital. 2015 will be the year marketers will embrace their sales colleagues, rather than fight them about leads.
...Click to read more

Marketing and sales are converging in digital. 2015 will be the year marketers will embrace their sales colleagues, rather than fight them about leads.

Companies, organizations and individuals will embrace quality content over quantity -- at last.

Companies, organizations and individuals will embrace quality content over quantity — at last!

That means they will focus not just on the story they are telling — but how they are tel ...Click to read more

Companies, organizations and individuals will embrace quality content over quantity — at last!

That means they will focus not just on the story they are telling — but how they are telling it.

Writing will get its due respect as not just the heart of content marketing, but its liver, lungs, and central nervous system.

The next big thing in digital marketing? Device demographics.

“The “next big thing” in digital marketing? Device demographics (yes, I just watched Apple’s announcements)!

Device what?! Waaaay back in 2011, Martin Hayward defined devi ...Click to read more

“The “next big thing” in digital marketing? Device demographics (yes, I just watched Apple’s announcements)!

Device what?! Waaaay back in 2011, Martin Hayward defined device demographics as “target marketing based not on any pre-determined group a consumer fits into (i.e., race, gender, age, etc.), but rather which mobile devices they use and how they interact with content on those devices.”

We’ve seen this for a while now with iOS-first mobile app development, and we’ve just recently seen the first example of iOS-only [for now] development with Instagram’s release of Hyperlapse.

As marketers, we are always looking for better ways to understand and target our customers. Is there anyone who disagrees that the early adopter who wants to be the first person in line to plunk down their $349+ for an Apple Watch is a self-identifying persona that many B2C (and B2B!) marketers will covet?

While device demographics may have started back in the Windows vs. Mac era, the rapidly increasing amount of time we spend on all of our different mobile devices makes device demographics the next big thing for marketers to use to engage and connect with customers around the world.”

Trends in 2015? Conversion optimization.

Everyone has been focusing on driving traffic over the years, but the cost has become expensive for many businesses. This means they will either have to reduce their ad spend, or boost their conversion ...Click to read more

Everyone has been focusing on driving traffic over the years, but the cost has become expensive for many businesses. This means they will either have to reduce their ad spend, or boost their conversion rate.

Chances are, companies will focus on conversion optimization so that they can focus on spending more money on ads.

I think Facebook will continue to lose market share as people migrate to other platforms.

I think Facebook will continue to lose market share as people migrate to other platforms. Instagram and Pinterest should have ads by then and I think they will be much more effective and cheaper than Fa ...Click to read more

I think Facebook will continue to lose market share as people migrate to other platforms. Instagram and Pinterest should have ads by then and I think they will be much more effective and cheaper than Facebook ads. Plus people will continue to migrate to Google+.

Google will focus more on 'on-site metrics' and Mobile will keep getting bigger and bigger.

Mobile will be huge but you shouldn’t forget desktop. Most transactions start on mobile and finish on Desktop. In terms of social media, I think Facebook, Twitter and all other social media platfo ...Click to read more

Mobile will be huge but you shouldn’t forget desktop. Most transactions start on mobile and finish on Desktop. In terms of social media, I think Facebook, Twitter and all other social media platforms should play a part in your digital marketing efforts in 2015 but not be your bread and butter. You should never rely primarily on someone else’s network, as someday it may be gone.

In 2015, I think Google will start paying a lot more attention to on-site metrics. CTR, bounce rate, time on site, intent, etc. will play a much bigger impact on your ranking in the SERPs.

Marketers will look to social media to boost author authority and content in SERPs.

With the gradual demise of Google+ – the end of authorship and automatic Google+ profile creation for new Google accounts – marketers will continue to look for new ways to use social media t ...Click to read more

With the gradual demise of Google+ – the end of authorship and automatic Google+ profile creation for new Google accounts – marketers will continue to look for new ways to use social media to boost author authority and content in search results. They may also have to deal with moving the content they have created for themselves and their clients away from Google+ if the platform goes away altogether.

I think pod-casting and audio content will continue to grow at a fast clip in 2015.

I think pod-casting and “audio content” will continue to grow at a fast clip in 2015. More and more companies and brands will realize that audio is becoming the preferred means of content f ...Click to read more

I think pod-casting and “audio content” will continue to grow at a fast clip in 2015. More and more companies and brands will realize that audio is becoming the preferred means of content for consumers around the world–especially because audio can be consumed in a vehicle, whereas text and video cannot. With new auto technology only enhancing this further, the future is very, very bright for podcasting and audio content.

Mass media will see a drop in popularity as social takes over.

Expect to see a further decrease in the amount of attention drawn toward mass traditional media, instead brands will look even closer into social media as a way of promotion. Content is now where it’s ...Click to read more

Expect to see a further decrease in the amount of attention drawn toward mass traditional media, instead brands will look even closer into social media as a way of promotion. Content is now where it’s at. Mass traditional media will find it hard to keep its popularity given the surge and viral velocity of social content driven by the crowd.

In 2015 I see a continued shift towards mobile advertising.

“In 2015 I see a continued shift towards mobile advertising. I don’t see any innovative types of ads coming to market, just a larger volume of businesses investing in them. Ultimately, the a ...Click to read more

“In 2015 I see a continued shift towards mobile advertising. I don’t see any innovative types of ads coming to market, just a larger volume of businesses investing in them. Ultimately, the average spend on mobile advertising should have a pretty steep line upwards.

I think there will be further developments in the social media / copyright dilemma, although aside from hiring a team of virtual police or writing an algorithm that seeks and destroys copyright infringers, I’m not sure exactly what. It just seems like a massive grey area that some visionary will soon figure out.

Services that monetise social content could start to become more mainstream. It’s kind of a win-win-win-win, in that the publisher earns money, the middleman earns a cut, the social content gets some kind of protection and the consumer gets more legal choice.

I think this could be a big mover. The increasing popularity of inbound marketing has meant that so much good (and bad!) content is being published online – why not find a way of turning the overflow into cold, hard cash?”

If you have any thoughts on what may see a surge in popularity next year, leave us a comment below.

Have a digital marketing question that you’d like to discuss with us? Go on, give us a ring or drop us a line!