As we’re sprinting to the end of the year, it’s only natural to look ahead to see what might be in store for digital marketing in 2015.
Although I don’t have a crystal ball or magic wand (wouldn’t that be nice?), I have a few ideas about marketing trends to watch in 2015.
Whether you’ve already got your marketing plan in place for next year or you’re still working on it, these digital marketing predictions will give you some ideas to consider.
2015 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch
What should you expect with digital marketing in 2015? While there are no guarantees of what we’ll see, here are my best bets:
1. Social media advertising will gain steam.
When it comes to digital marketing, 2014 may be remembered most for “Reachpocolypse”, the ever-declining organic reach of Facebook page content.
Two years ago, Facebook page reach was approximately 16 percent. Since then, it has taken a huge nosedive with many brands seeing as low as 1-2 percent in reach of their content.
As a result, companies are being forced to spend more in social media advertising to reach their fans and followers.
Although this might seem like a bad thing, social media still offers a cost-effective advertising platform. Not to mention, social media offers an incredible amount of data on its users making targeting much better than other options.
And, it’s not just Facebook.
Pinterest is rolling out promoted pins in the coming months. And because buying intent is so high on that network, advertising there could become huge for brands.
I believe we’ll also start to see Instagram advertising open more up as well.
Social media advertising will skyrocket in 2015. I think brands will begin to dump even more money into this area of their marketing efforts. And, those that don’t integrate paid media into their social media efforts will be left behind.
2. Businesses will begin to abandon social media — especially Facebook.
Remember the previous point about social media advertising and declining reach on Facebook?
As a result, I think many businesses will start to abandon the social media — especially Facebook. At the beginning of this year, I discussed whether brands should abandon their Facebook pages.
My answer then was “no.” And, it still is for the most part.
But, I think many brands will begin to throw in the towel in 2015.
Social media is no longer in its infancy. As the various platforms mature, they also are becoming more complex to manage.
As a result, I believe many businesses — especially smaller ones — will become frustrated with the steep learning curve and lack of results. And, many will quit.
The reality is that social media is not for every business. But for others, they haven’t invested properly in it to make it work. Either way, I think we’ll start to see a lot of social media ghost towns next year.
3. Businesses will become better publishers and explore new content mediums.
The other challenge of 2014? What my friend, Mark Schaefer, calls content shock.
The idea is that content marketing is becoming increasingly saturated and yet people have less and less time to consume all of this content available.
As a result, businesses will be forced to look for new and inventive ways to reach their audiences.
And the best companies will look at how to become even better publishers. Think brand journalism. Content will get more polished, professional and look a lot more like entertainment.
While the push to new content distribution channels mediums might look different for each organization, I expect we’ll see more experimentation and expansion in these areas:
- Podcasting (see point below)
- Native advertising
- Forums / closed communities
4. Podcasting sees tremendous growth.
Although podcasting has been around for a while, the medium is seeing a renaissance thanks in part to the wildly popular Serial — now the most downloaded podcast in the world. (PS — Are you listening to Serial? I’m five six episodes in and totally hooked!)
As a result, I think there could be some interesting things that happen with podcasting next year.
Here’s what I think we could see:
- Growth in podcast advertising. As Tom Webster aptly pointed out in the Marketing Companion podcast, Serial’s success could cause agencies and brands to sit up and take notice about podcasting as a viable advertising channel. MailChimp’s sponsorship of Serial has been a huge win for them. Who will be the next MailChimp in podcasting?
- More podcasts. Yes, I think Serial’s popularity could spawn even more podcasts. Serial has taken podcasting more mainstream. With more listeners, there are more opportunities to reach them. How will brands respond? What are some interesting and unique ways brands could capture attention through podcasting?
- New podcast formats. What fascinates me most about Serial is the format. It’s one story told over the course of several episodes. Although this concept isn’t altogether new — it feels somewhat like HBO’s True Detective — it’s certainly a unique to the podcast medium. I hope this encourages more inventive podcasting formats and ideas. I’m excited to see what will emerge next year!
5. More focus on high-touch, personalized marketing.
I talked to a prospective client the other day and she was saying how they are seeing their clients eschew digital contact in favor of in-person contact on the phone.
I’m seeing this more and more — people want to be heard, noticed and taken care of in a very personalized way. Perhaps it’s been this way all along, but as our society becomes more digital and even more disconnected, I think people are craving that analog, one-on-one connection.
And, even in digital media, people want experiences that are catered specifically to their own preferences.
The good news it that social media, CRMs, marketing automation and other tools can make it much easier to stay on top of customer preferences throughout the buying cycle. The challenge is that it can be more timely and costly to implement this kind of effort.
But, the payoffs can be well worth it. In a noisy, fragmented media environment, companies that understand how to engage and respond with their customers and prospects in a personalized way will win.
Personalized marketing is big and will only get bigger next year.
6. Better integrated marketing.
Perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part, but I think brands must get better at integrating their marketing efforts across paid, earned, owned and shared media.
With the growth of social media advertising, this will become even more imperative. Brands must consider how to put an advertising budget behind their content.
As technology, data and analytics continue to improve, I think we’ll start to see some interesting ways to create experiences that flow seamlessly across mediums and channels. In other words, how can brands create content that flows into earned media opportunities, advertising and all the while get talked about on social media channels?
What’s your take?
I think there are other marketing trends that we might see — such as an increasingly fragmented social media landscape. But, these are my top five marketing predictions for 2015.
Will I be right? Time will tell.
But, I’d love to know what you think. Do you agree with these marketing predictions? Or, do you have other marketing trends you expect to see next year? Share your thoughts in the comment section!