For anyone paying attention to changes in the tech and online industry, 2014 was a big year for digital innovation.
Companies like Apple and Android introduced smart gadgets, ringing in a new age of wearable technology. Sites we know and love so well – like Google, Facebook, and Twitter – altered their design and functionality in order to improve user experience. We saw bigger phones, crisper display monitors, and better automation systems.
These advancements not only changed the way consumers use and interact with technology but also made it necessary that companies to incorporate digital into their business model.
As we look ahead to 2015, here are the biggest digital marketing trends you should expect to see and adopt in the coming year.
Omnichannel content marketing
In 2014, one of the biggest buzzwords in the digital marketing industry was content: why you need quality content and how to write quality content. Now, however, it’s a well-established fact that quality content is necessary to gaining customer trust and ranking well in search.
Although we’ll probably continue to see businesses steadily adopt content marketing in 2015, I see the conversation shifting away from the hows and whys of content marketing and more towards discovering faster, cleverer ways to create, distribute, and analyze content.
There will be a greater focus on creating an omnichannel content strategy that presents a unified and cohesive picture of the brand’s message across all content distribution channels in order to capture consumers’ attention and nurture their interest all the way to the sale.
Video will dominate the Web
Although videos have been around for a while, it is only recently is it being utilized as an integral marketing tool for businesses and advertisers. Already, we’re seeing an explosion in video content, and no wonder. According to 2014 video marketing statistics:
- 1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video
- 90% of users say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the deicison process
- Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video
Videos not only act as excellent brand awareness campaigns but also lead to greater visibility for businesses on search engines and social media. It is thus clear that a good idea made into a well-produced video has the power to launch a relatively unknown brand into the viral stratosphere.
Therefore, I expect that more businesses will begin using videos as their primary form of content to drives customer engagement and sales.
Advertising will become more human
If we flash back to the most viral advertising campaigns of 2014, most – if not all – of the ads attempt to pull on people’s heartstrings or make people laugh. Take these videos for example:
“First Moon Party” by Hello Flo
“Friends Are Waiting” by Budweiser
Views: 20 million
Why did these videos go so viral last year? They’re just short videos that portray seemingly simple ideas. However, based on the insane amount of press and social engagement these videos generated, these simple ideas packed a pretty powerful punch. Here’s why:
Advertising has shifted from product to story, features to ideas, reasons to emotions.
Instead of using ads to sell the product or service, businesses and marketers now use it to tell a story – on how their product or service can make you feel a certain way or help you achieve a particular goal.
Consumers no longer want to be sold a product. They want to be sold a lifestyle. Therefore, businesses will need to start humanizing their businesses in order to meet this consumer demand.
Less promotions, more branding and collaboration
Going along with the idea that we’ll see a rise in emotional advertising, I anticipate that we’ll also see more guerilla marketing tactics. What do I mean by that? I mean that we’ll start seeing more unconventional advertising in unexpected places.
More companies will sponsor articles in prominent news publishers, like USA Today’s sponsored content in Adage:
There will be also be more partnerships between brands and popular sites, like Friskies’ “Dear Kitten” collaboration with BuzzFeed:
These examples blend reality with advertising, subtly inserting the brand into native content and publishing it on sites that already have a high user following. It goes back to the idea that people would rather watch a 3-minute video of a cat narrating his life than listen to a person talk about the merits of Friskies. Why? Because it’s more entertaining without losing the brand message.
With the growing emphasis on viralness as a marker for advertising success, it is thus becoming more important to get your content in front of a lot of people. Native advertising can do that, because it essentially guarantees that a high volume of consumers will be viewing and engaging with your article.
Personalization will make or break your marketing
No matter where we go – online and off – we see a lot of content. However, not all content is created equal.
The boom in content created a lot of marketing noise, which begs the question: Are people actually interested in all this content?
Yes, they are – but only a certain type. Studies have shown that 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe the organizations behind the content are interested in building good relationships (source).
It’s clear that valuable content that is personalized to specific target demographics can inspire users to engage with your content, stay on your site, foster customer loyalty, and generate sales. Therefore, I expect that content personalization will become a widely-adopted practice in 2015.
Which digital marketing trend will you adopt in 2015?