The Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends Of 2015

In 2015, digital marketing became more and less. The data analysed became larger and more focused. The precision of who adverts reached and how they were designed became more tailored to the ideal demographic. But the devices we focused on were smaller in size, and the web design we favoured was simpler and less cluttered. With all that in mind, there’s one thing that doesn’t change – ActiveWin’s position as leaders in digital marketing. Here’s our list of the 10 Digital Marketing Trends which defined 2015.

1. Mobile took the lead

In early 2014, something happened in the United States which had long been predicted, but still caused ripples for businesses across the world, not least in marketing. This unprecedented incident was internet use on mobile overtaking PC for the first time in history. And this year especially, the focus for businesses had been on optimising mobile.

From the creation of simpler, mobile-friendly websites for customers to quickly and easily make transactions on, to ad banners optimised for mobile and, of course, the creation and marketing of smart things and wearables, it’s been a bumper year for marketing on Mobile. Small devices were big news in general – and companies like Betfred took advantage of the fantastic app possibilities of the Apple Watch.

2. We embraced sleek, minimalist web design

Partly due to the simple, clean aesthetic needed to make mobile sites work, and partly due to a move away from the cluttered and garish sites of the past (you know the ones!), forward-thinking businesses everywhere chose clear text and simple, striking visuals over complexity.

White was the predominant colour of many of the year’s most sleek and stylish web pages, adverts and even bespoke Emails. And here at ActiveWin, we lovethis clear and classy design.

3. (Good) Content is still King

With SEO-friendly copy and Google page ranking still a big focus, on search engines filled with immense amounts of content, it’s as important as ever for copy and content writers to be engaging, fresh and relevant in both the way they write for each individual client, and in the key search terms they choose.

But it isn’t just their own content writes whom marketing companies are relying on. User-generated content is becoming increasingly popular. It’s cost-efficient, generally considered to be unbiased, and encourages customers to build an affinity and bond with your brand. What’s not to love.

4. Sponsored Posts Were Everywhere

Many companies are turning to this most popular form of ‘Native Advertising’ to get their brand publicised in a way which connects that advertisement with the type of entertainment that person is looking for. Sponsored posts also allow companies to show a different face to their usual brand identity, and can tailor this to fit with the site that the post appears on.

Buzzfeed have been one of the most high-profile pioneers of this trend, with their reputation for lighthearted fun. At the time of writing, crisps-giant Walkers, pharmaceutical company Novartis and Transport for London have all had ‘promoted’ posts on Buzzfeed during the past few days. Aside from Buzzfeed, promoted tweets and posts on social media have been a popular route for companies in 2015. But marketing on social platforms has gone far beyond just promoted tweets…

5. Social Media Strengthened and Developed

A recent survey from socialmediatoday.com showed that over 70% of marketers believed Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be essential for advertising. And it’s easy to understand why. These platforms offer targeted banner advertising, the aforementioned promoted posts, and are a way to quickly reach potentially vast numbers of people interested in your brand (‘Likers’ and ‘Followers’) without the expense of traditional methods like TV adverts.

The traditional powers of social are, though, being challenged by new social networks. Tsu, for example, offers revenue sharing on popular posts, meaning that creating something which goes viral could be more rewarding than ever before.

6. We Relied on Big Data

For the unitiated, ‘Big Data’ is the umbrella term for collective data sets so big and complex that analyzing it by traditional processing methods is difficult. Getting information in such great detail and numbers (of individuals) allows companies to build increasingly specific and accurate campaigns for targeting potential first-time or returning customers.

Inc.com believe that instead of businesses’ needing to rely on relationships and loyalty, big data means that “sales and marketing can finally become more about math(s) than magic”. It’s perhaps an exaggeration, because marketing will always need creativity and persuasiveness – and not everyone can afford all this big data yet – but there’s certainly a sense that mass information, and with it precise, scientific campaigns are the future.

7. Improving Site Speed – Not Just a Quick Fix

In a contemporary online landscape, where people expect quickness and convenience from websites, improving site speed is vital in keeping users on your page and to stop them from drifting away to your competitors.

Not only is it important to ensure that your site loads quickly, so that you don’t get people clicking off or away from it, but also because Google favours sites which are quicker. Luckily, there are ways of avoiding slow loads. Unoptimised images (a common issue), bulky code and an excessive number of ads are among the worst offenders – so try to avoid those traps.

8. Marketing Automation was Major

More a case of efficiency than creative direction, Marketing Automation is a software category which streamlines, automates and analyses your marketing output so that your company or client can become more efficient and build revenue quicker.

It’s especially handy for larger companies, whose size means that they don’t have the time to manage all their work via standard documents and spreadsheets. Automation makes it easier to connect different ways of contacting people – for example, through social media and Email marketing. Automation also allows individuals and companies to quickly and simply send personalized, 1:1 targeted Emails to others. And connected to Automation in general…

9. Programmatic Advertising Saved us Time

Back in the day, it was a complex, expensive and time-consuming process to purchase digital advertising. That all changed, though, with the advent of programmatic advertising. This technology utilises automation to help marketers buy advertising space without having to go through the often protracted personal negotiations needed in the past. This has enabled people in the industry to spend their time working on sophisticated, targeted campaigns, as opposed to having their time swamped by trying to buy advertising space.

Unlike certain other entries on this list, programmatic ad buying is in its infancy, but 2015 has seen the start of a boom in this cutting-edge programming, which looks set to reduce costs and increase efficiency across the marketing landscape in 2016 and beyond…

10. Augmented Reality Offered us New Horizons

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology which blends extra information into existing visuals. One of the most common examples of this within marketing is products which have item info displayed over an item, such as a fuller description or the item’s price. That’s all helpful and impressive, but it’s no longergroundbreaking.

However, the technology is continuing to advance and offer customers a truly interactive experience with something which was previously inanimate. McDonalds, for example, recently enabled customers to connect their smartphones to a graphic on their fries’ containers, which fired out a visual of a football, which consumers could try to flick into the goal. Finally, after years of being considered gimmicks, AR and VR items and hardware are becoming more affordable, and AR is becoming a more common and seamless part of marketing.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the biggest and most innovative digital trends of 2015. ActiveWin are a marketing company which prides ourselves on continued innovation, whether in content creation, web design or developing engaging, effective marketing strategies for you. Chat with us to find out more.