10 Digital Marketing Predictions for 2015
It’s that time of year again; I’ve been looking back over the highlights and surprises of 2014 and compiling my annual list of New Year digital predictions. The past 12 months have seen a number of milestones and 2015 is set to be even bigger.
1. The rise of smart watches
There’s been a lot of buzz around wearable tech this year, with many (including me) predicting 2014 to be the ‘year’ of wearable gadgets. Since Apple’s event back in September, the world has been waited with baited breath to finally get their hands on an Apple Watch. The tech giant will have some competition though, with HTC and Lenovo also expected to bring out their own smart-watches.
One big snag that the wearable tech industry will continue to struggle with is the battery life of the gadgets. Few products on the market last more than a few days, and although it’s unlikely to be a problem that will be solved in 2015, whoever cracks it first will be making a lot of people very happy.
2. Conversational search will be big
Google is continually tweaking its algorithm and there will no doubt be numerous updates to SERPs throughout the upcoming year. Some of Google’s own engineers say that they’re working on making Google search far more natural and that the current search box offers a “sub-par user experience”. This will have big implications for SEO, as marketers will have to adjust their strategy to adapt to these changes and be aware of how they will affect rankings.
3. More internet security breaches will take place
The past 12 months saw a shocking number of large-scale online security breaches, the most memorable of course being the iCloud hack that led to a number of celebrity nude pictures to be leaked online. As mobile payments are set to become more mainstream, we expect hacks involving personal information to continue; highlighting the importance of proper online security both on a personal level and corporate.
4. Cross-device attribution will come of age
I expect cross-device attribution to finally become the norm as connectivity between devices gets more fine-tuned and advanced. In order for marketers to target their messages properly, they must understand what role mobile, and other devices have in the conversion funnel and how they work together. This understanding is going to grow massively in 2015 as the amount of data available to us increases and we become less reliant on click-through and cookie-tracking data.
5. Google+ will die out
It seems that even Google is giving up on Google+. The end of Google PageRank seemed to be the final nail in the coffin and I expect the social network to disappear sometime in the next year. Chris Messina, a former Google+ employee and inventor of the hashtag said himself that “it’s so far behind, how could it possibly catch up?”
6. More niche social networks will appear
I anticipate an increase in social networks that have a unique ‘hook’, like Ello with its lack of paid ads. Despite this, I don’t expect many of them to last very long and some will be unlikely to see the start 2016.
7. Audio will explode
Serial – the podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig – made a lot of people finally understand what podcasts are, so they’re bound to hit it big in 2015.
8. Personalisation will become essential for online retailers
The demand for a personalised online experience is greater than ever; whether it’s email, in-store, social or content. A study by IBM found that customers are happy to spend the time to register their interests and information to get the higher level of personalisation they’re missing.
2015 will be make-or-break for brands; those that can use this information to tailor messages and content to give customers what they want will definitely come out on top, which will lead to…
9. Brand websites become content ‘hubs’
The above shows the importance of tailored content, so transforming websites into hubs where customers can access it is the logical next step. Users want interactive platforms that they can share and view interesting images, videos and articles. Not only does high quality content show a company’s expertise, it has fantastic SEO significance and provides the foundation for engagement and conversation with your fans.
10. Consumer lifestyles will rebalance with a focus on getting outdoors in nature fuelling the trend
The interest in health and adopting healthier lifestyles (note Apple integrating the Health app in iOS 8) has been a key consumer trend in 2014 and it doesn’t appear to be dissipating. 2015 will see an increasing emphasis on exercising and spending time in nature, which inevitably means less screen-time. A move to quality away from quantity perhaps and the rebalancing of lifestyles which have become increasingly screen centric in recent years.
Social networks and platforms that fit in with this new trend will rocket in popularity. Sites like Facebook and Twitter may well find that daily usage decreases and platforms that are suited to reflecting an outdoor lifestyle will benefit. Podcasts that can accompany being outside or travelling are an obvious choice and I continue to predict the success of Instagram. The latter’s format is ideally suited to being active outside and quickly recording it, without taking hours of screen-time to update. 2014 saw Tumblr take over as fastest growing social network but I expect Instagram to snatch back their crown in 2015.
As ever, do let me know your thoughts and feedback on any of these predictions and have a very Happy New Year!