Digital marketing is poised for a big takeoff. The environment is ripe for expansion as human proficiency and technical services collide. The result will be better marketing communication delivered in a timelier manner with less strain on traditional resources. Companies lagging behind these digital trends will have a disadvantage when trying to engage visitors and increase revenue in 2015.
Follow along as we identify the top digital marketing trends of the new year. Identify those that apply to your audience and brainstorm ways to implement them into your company’s digital strategy.
- Digital Marketing Continues to Grow
It’s pretty obvious digital marketing will continue to grow in 2015. It will be growing for many more years to come, no doubt. Email sends are up, Facebook has over 1 billion users logging in on their mobile devices each month, and Forrester’s research forecasts online commerce growth of average 10% annually through 2018. By the
- Segmentation Continues to Benefit from Social
LinkedIn deserves a lot of credit for introducing marketing segmentation to the layman. The tags feature got even the most technically challenged users to connect people and their behaviors within groups unlike any program before. Twitter progressed this further by weaving the word hashtag into almost every part of our lives. All the while, digital marketers have been adding custom parameters to social URLs to subdivide traffic sources in Google Analytics. These activities have been subtly teaching all of us to segment, whether we knew it or not.
Taking advantage of this indirect education, marketers should be building a network of segmentation promoters to deliver more targeted digital campaigns. With marketing’s help, groups like sales and C-levels will understand the importance of segmentation and even begin to do their part when they recognize they’ve already been doing it on social sites.
- Sales Takes a Step Back
Corporate jargon and business terms are becoming outmoded as the competition for recruitment and new customers constricts. Standard sales practices are shifting away from the “hard sale” days of old to a customer service model that adapts to the specific preferences of each prospect.
The Annuitas Group reported that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Gartner Research predicts by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. This requires marketing to play a larger role in the sales process. As online information requests and digital commerce boom, marketers will be more deeply engaged with, and remain more involved in, the later stages of the sales funnel.
- Businesses Focus On Optimization
Performance and conversion optimization techniques are nothing new. The profusion of browsers, operating systems and digital devices is. Search engine algorithms put heavy emphasis on site performance and now Google’s “mobile friendly” tag has made it even more impactful. Companies will be clamoring to obtain the new mobile tag and develop an adaptive framework that displays websites, email and other content in the proper format across all platforms. The most competitive brands will be laser focused on optimization for page speed and user experience.
Brands will also be testing new conversion optimization tactics. Centering around UX, conversion tactics will be specific to the user’s device. Rather than simply mirroring desktop to mobile, dedicated versions of tablet and smartphone webpages will prioritize on-page design elements. The information/sales funnel will be optimized in a similar way to accommodate device-specific user preferences such as location services and call to action (CTA) buttons.
- Digital Budgets Looks Different (It’s Not Just Growing Up)
Digital budgets will continue to increase and becoming a permanent line item included in every marketing budget. They will continue to grow in size. But they will also be making strategic shifts. Where digital marketing budgets were once spent on banner ads, digital magazines and cost-per-click (CPC), the dollars will continue to shift towards content marketing, retargeting ads, social media and mobile. As consumers increasingly demand targeted and relevant information in real-time, marketing departments will bolster their budgets to deliver it.
- Retargeting is How to Say PLA
We all adjusted when Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) were discontinued this past September. But even before that marketers were moving digital marketing dollars away from PLA and into retargeting campaigns. In May 2014, the Chango-Digiday State of Retargeting Industry report stated the average click-through rate (CTR) for display ads was 0.07%, while the average CTR for retargeting ads was 0.7%. With better retargeting networks and service providers, retargeting will continue to steal budget dollars from display advertising while becoming a core part of company’s digital marketing strategies.
- The Website’s Relationship with Mobile Goes Steady
Russell Glass, head of B2B products for LinkedIn, predicts that B2B marketers will see their audiences cross over to “mobile first” for the first time in 2015 where greater than 50% of their marketing content will be consumed on mobile or tablet device. B2C is already taking part in the mobile transition. There is no doubt mobile has become a primary area of interest for digital marketers. However, technical difficulties in this channel mean opportunities are still to come.
In 2015 marketers will focus on creating a mobile dedicated experience starting with more mobile websites being separated from the desktop parent. Mobile websites will be built around the user experience and optimized for size and functionality across every platform. No more one-size-fits-all—separate mobile and desktop versions of the same website will continue popping up.
- Relevance Is Core To Content Strategy
As the volume from digital marketing rises from businesses sending messages across every digital channel, one of the most surefire ways to get your message heard is to improve relevance. In 2015, major online retailers will continue working to perfect the user experience with particular focus on delivering targeted messages at precise moments. B2B will also be on board as businesses try to find the right balance of information, sales, culture and entertainment to serve the market. Smart marketers will be scrutinizing the relevance of every touch point, including website delivery on desktops and phones, customer service and learning centers, email drip campaigns and, of course, social interactions.
- The Request for Content (RFC) Queue Piles Up
In 2014 we heard that content was king. Now relevance is a major topic of discussion. Both are very similar and interconnected. If fact it seems one leads to the other. But which is first? More important? It’s kind of a chicken-or-the-egg discussion so I’ll let you sort that out and move to my point.
People are consuming information so quickly in our modern day we have to keep our content fresh and engaging. The only way to do that is by creating more of it. However there is more to it than that. With more operating systems and devices popping up every day, content needs to be optimized for each platform. In the past, a single document was all we needed. Now we demand multiple copies in different formats. Marketers will be leaning more on internal employees, copywriters, and content creators to fill the request box pilling up in 2015.
- Your CEO Asks a Question About Marketing Automation
A long shot, and it may just be personal optimism, but 2015 will be the year the chief executive asks what marketing automation is all about. Many of the big Wall Street-types already utilize marketing automation but at the same time, many very good-sized companies and most medium-small businesses do not.
Most people recognize that big brands effectively target them using cross-channel marketing but don’t necessarily how it happens. As savvy business executives fall prey to automated marketing campaigns, curiosity will lead executives to ask how their company can apply the same technology. A good marketing team can be ready by knowing how marketing automation connects digital marketing channels and help lead the discussion about procuring automation software.
There is a lot to expect from digital marketing in 2015. Fluid’s digital marketing team will be monitoring the market, remaining up to date with all the current trends. If you would like Fluid to help your company develop a digital marketing strategy for 2015, request a free digital audit here.
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