In 2015, digital marketing became more and less. The data analysed became more substantial 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 more straightforward 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 mobile-friendly websites to ad banners optimised for mobile and the production 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
Thanks to the move away from cluttered and garish sites of the past (you know the ones!), forward-thinking businesses everywhere chose a clear text and simple 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 love this bright and classy design.
3. (Good) Content is still King
With SEO-friendly copy for Google ranking a big focus, it’s as essential as ever for content to be engaging, fresh and relevant in the way they are written and in the key search terms they choose.
But it isn’t just their content writes whom marketing companies are relying upon. 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
Brands are turning to native advertising to get their brand publicised in a way that connects the advertisement with the type of entertainment the reader is looking for. Sponsored posts also allow companies to show a different face to their brand identity, and can tailor this to fit with the site that the post appears.
Buzzfeed has 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.
Newcomers are challenging the traditional powers of social. 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 uninitiated, ‘Big Data’ is the umbrella term for corporate data sets so big and complex that analysing 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. Not everyone can afford all this big data yet, but there’s certainly a sense that mass information and 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 prevent them from drifting away to your competitors).
Not only is it essential to ensure that your site loads quickly, but because Google favours quicker sites. 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
Marketing Automation is a software category which streamlines, automates and analyses marketing output so your company or client can become more efficient and build revenue quicker.
It’s especially handy for larger companies that 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 send personalised, 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 complicated, 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. It has enabled people to spend their time working on targeted campaigns, as opposed to having their time swamped by trying to buy advertising space.
Unlike other entries on this list, programmatic buying is in its infancy but has seen a boom in popularity, since it reduces costs and increases efficiency.
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 longer groundbreaking.
However, technology is continuing to advance and offer customers a truly interactive experience with something which was previously inanimate. McDonald’s, for example, enabled customers to connect their smartphones to a graphic on their fries’ containers, which fired out a visual of a football for consumers to flick into the goal. Finally, after years of being considered gimmicky, AR and VR are becoming more affordable, and more common in marketing.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the biggest and most innovative digital trends of 2015. ActiveWin is 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.