Here goes with my 10 Social & Digital predictions for 2015:
Mobile clicks continue to rise
Smartphones are continuing to take market share / clicks from desktop search. With the continuing rise in mobile screen size and more sites becoming responsive, customers will continue to transfer search behaviour, and increasingly the purchase itself, to mobile.
Native advertising as seen on platforms such as Taboola, OutBrain, Twitter, Pinterest, etc will really ramp up in 2015. However there is a watch out in the shape of litigation / disclosure where a large advertising body could crack down on native advertising disclosure and with this extra disclosure we could see engagement and CTR drop.
Π Shaped People will rule the roost
Note: Check out my post on Π and T shaped people for definitions
Whilst T shaped people will rule disciplines (paid for social, SEO, PPC, Display, content marketing, etc) most companies advertising will fail to be world class if you do not have Π shaped people to pull it all together in a cohesive bundle. As we move to an increasingly multichannel world organisations need to move from keyword targeting to increasingly targeting audiences, groups and behaviours that is often driven by automation (ppc enterprise solutions such as DART and Marin) and programmatic (DSP’s) principles.
Personalisation and adaptive design will increase
With the rise in mobile clicks will come a need to make better use of mobile and specifically bringing down mobile CPA’s (as often they still lag behind desktop; more on multi device attribution below). To get more bang for your buck increasing focus in 2015 will revolve around optimising mobile landing pages. This will not only include simply shrinking down the desktop experience to a mobile but where designers truly think about the platform / customers they are designing for and increasingly using personalisation and adaptive / active design.
Cross Device Tracking
Facebook Atlas will explode in popularity in 2015 and with ongoing development in cross device tracking from the likes of Google UID and Drawbridge we will see the development of tracking solutions that underpins the justification and growth in mobile ad spend. We will also start to think more holistically across marketing disciplines e.g. uploading email and phone number CRM databases to then target on a 1 2 1 basis across Google, Twitter and Facebook.
Content strategy development & Employee evangelism
I attended a YouTube 2 day emersion session in Q3 2014 and was blown away by the simplicity of their Hero-Hub-Hygiene approach to content marketing.
More companies will adapt this Hero-Hub-Hygiene approach with more and more companies actually using a robust content strategy rather than the disjointed PR, SEO, Social, etc siloed strategy that is often the case. In saying this though you will find more companies being fleeter of foot and outreaching via social media to obtain amazing stories and engagement from the Joe Bloggs on the street and this is where SEO and Social Media listening tools will empower content marketers.
We will also see more paid amplification of content in 2015 where increasing focus will be placed on promoting the consumption of content via paid social media channels.
Employee Advocates will then help humanise and bring into the day to day the above messaging for large organisations. This tactic will be even more effective for brand advocacy and sales than traditional friend referral however will require a rethink for most organisations as to how you truly get employees evangelising about the brand they work for.
PLA’s and Comparison shopping networks growth
PLA’s (Product Listing Ads) will remain a Google focus and will be ever increasingly elevated above their traditional keyword-targeted text ad brothers.
Comparison shopping networks / engines (CSNs) are similar in ideology to PLA’s and whilst CSNs are more old skool and have fallen out of favour in recent years they will enjoy a minor resurgence in 2015. The targeting options and interfaces will catch up with Google et al and CPC’s will fall further If you couple this with ongoing integration into enterprise level management solutions such as Marin it will be increasingly easy to spread your ecommerce listings across the web with one simple feed.
The death of SEO is greatly exaggerated
Whilst I see 2015 as the transition of local search results, powered by the Pigeon update, to the paid camp, PPC search results ever encroaching on natural results and old techniques dying out (link buying, anchor text fiddling, etc) you could argue that the death of SEO is nigh. However I’m not having any of that and it will ‘just’ be the case that SEO’ers up their game and become more integrated across the marketing piste.
By supporting, and in some cases, powering activity from other discipline activity (PR, Social Media, content strategy, etc) the techniques used in SEO will be embedded into other marketing BAU activity.
In 2015 technical SEO will still be key, user intent, brand mentions and mobile usability will increase in importance and Google will continue to place more emphasis on inbound links from Social (in particular Facebook and Twitter). SEO’ers will also have to continue to monitor negative SEO techniques as without a close eye over your domain the competition will take advantage and bomb your site (e.g. where the competition builds thousands of poor quality links to your site with the intent of getting your site penalised by Google).
…Oh and if Google were to kill the natural search results then they would kill their key business model of PPC as the two are intrinsically linked hence SEO isn’t going anywhere.
Personalised and localised video ad growth
On channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google (increasingly in PPC ads as well as the natural SERPS + YouTube) we will see a growth in brand storytelling via the use of video. With the aforementioned development in cross platform and cross discipline tracking we will also see brands using programmatic principles to target those people who are highly likely to engage with the video content messaging
The internet of things
Whilst I do not see as the internet of things moving into the mainstream in 2015 this year will see a key step towards development into areas such as augmented reality (see tools such as Google Cardboard) and wearable tech. Wearable tech in particular opens up the opportunity for new ways of discreetly marketing personalised ads to consumers.
In Summary: Exciting times ahead 🙂