With 2014 coming to an end and 2015 well on its way, our team was left with one question: What new digital trends do we predict will be big next year?
Madison Guerriero: Stores Will Become Digitally Decked Out
In the digital age that we live in, retail stores must try new methods to bring customers into their retail locations. According to The Wall Street Journal, retail store foot traffic was down to 17.6 billion people last November and December compared to 30 billion in 2010. Over the years, several big name brands noticed a drop in their in-store sales compared to online sales. As a result, many chose to make customers’ in-store experiences unlike anything they could have online.
In-Store Digital Accents: With the addition of unique and user-friendly technologies, stores will aim to bring customers into their brick and mortar locations. For example, Sephora uses touchscreen quizzes and even a Color IQ to identify a customer’s skin color and the products that will be a perfect match. Other brands will look for opportunities to be digitally creative and increase retail store foot traffic.
Beacons: If you are not familiar with beacons, you will be very soon in 2015. So what are beacons? Beacons allow brands to push promotions to customers’ mobile devices if they are in or near the brand’s store and have the brand’s app downloaded.
2015 is going to be another "big data" year for anyone with websites, social accounts, web apps, YouTube channels, etc. As your business ages (that is a good thing) the digital assets you own are collecting user/usage information or data. More people will continue to get on board to analyze this data more carefully. Budgets can be fine-tuned to clear success points.
Today, with website management platforms like WordPress and Magento, business owners can more easily, in real time, control their content than ever before, and real time analytics become more and more important in the goal of staying with the trends, and ahead of competition. Those who make it a priority study that data, nurture profiles, and update their sites and programs accordingly will see positive results. Businesses who were once behind are catching on, and the ones experimenting with big data are finding niche markets no one ever knew existed.
Facebook will continue to annoy marketers and brands by making it virtually impossible for any page to grow without participating in paid advertising. Upstart competitors like Ello will continue to terrify Facebook and Zuckerburg and co. will pretend to make changes that will make the platform more user-centric and less "ad-y," while making the space for Facebook ads more competitive, thus raising prices for marketers. Marketers that do spend on Facebook will find more success with boosted posts than like campaigns.
Twitter advertising, while it may have a higher cost-per-follower than Facebook, will take off. Our tests with Twitter advertising have been very positive. We've seen about $1.75 per-follower rate, but the quality of the followers have been outstanding and far better than what we've seen with Facebook advertising.
With its fantastic targeting options, LinkedIn will continue to be a great place to distribute paid ad content for businesses and brands, especially those in the B2B space. LinkedIn will continue its reign as the number one social media channel for content marketing, and its advertising platform will make it easy for brands to get their message in front of their target audience.
Pinterest and Instagram are still building ad platforms and most small business brands won't be able to maximize ad dollars using them just yet. And as for Google+? Plus will finally be taken off life support in 2015. Don't expect anyone to show up to the funeral.
Shelly Ulaj: Instagram Takeovers Will Be Trending
A new trend I see happening and that I believe will become more popular in 2015 are Instagram takeovers. It’s a fun way to change things up on your Instagram account by inviting users and brands to take over their feeds for the day. It’s not only a great way to reach a different audience but also build relationships with influencers, and hopefully gain new followers. By handing over your account, you can cross audiences and followers, showcase talent or projects that your team is working on, and reward your most loyal fans. It can even be someone on your team. For example, if you’re a nonprofit organization, it’d be great to hand over your account to a volunteer for a day and get their perspective.
Personally, Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms and I am excited to consult our clients on this new trend and implement it so that we can see the effectiveness firsthand. If you’re ready to hand over your account to someone else, make sure to set clear guidelines for those taking over. Set hashtags to keep all users consistent, be creative, and, most of all, have fun.
Cem Sinci: Mobile Payments Will Gain Popularity
With the increase of smartphone usage world wide, marketing strategies have shifted to integrate mobile devices and applications over the past several years. These various types of applications are changing how we market, making our thought process transition from thinking outside of the box to thinking like there is no box. So, now what’s next? Social media apps, such as Facebook and Snapchat, have been experimenting with swapping money back and forth between people. Facebook even allows you to buy goods. Apple Pay takes this a step farther. My guess is that it will exponentially grow in 2015. Although Google Wallet has been around for quite some time, I believe Apple will have much more success. We all know the effect Apple has had on the general population- addiction to its products. They create innovative products based off of the needs of their customers to develop sleek, user-friendly products. I predict that there will be some interesting developments for the system.
Josh Goodman: SEO Will Continue to Evolve and Be Essential to Online Marketing
SEO cannot be a stand-alone service any more. The days when an SEO team worked hard on getting more traffic and moving a site up in the search engine rankings are over. These measures of success will no longer be the sole department of SEO. In order for SEO to be successful it must be a comprehensive campaign that takes into account the many areas of the websites content and external messaging. Search can now recognize a cohesive campaign where a website takes the position of a thought leader and engages communities through direct interaction with the websites. This, in conjunction with a social media campaign, can be recognized by a search engine and lead to a dramatic increase in traffic and rankings. Over the next year, we are going to see this much more prominently in all aspects of marketing.
Content and Positioning: The traditional SEO expert or consultant within a company must now transition into becoming a content and positioning expert to excel in the ever-evolving world of SEO. With the shift in how Google rates information on a website, we need to pay more attention to the overall message and cohesive nature of outbound messaging. In addition, SEO will be an important part of any company’s ability to derive business from the internet, but it will be in conjunction with content creation and engaging media.
Mobile: Search Engine Optimization has also transitioned into the mobile sphere. In 2015 we will see a much greater emphasis on a sites ability to show well in mobile environments and search. Search engines are giving positive points for sites that are mobile friendly and reducing ranking in sites that have not gotten on board with the mobile revolution. To take advantage of the increase in usage of mobile on the internet all new sites need to be built for the mobile environment.
With all of the above items identified, SEO is still one of the best ways of driving quality traffic to a site and getting a good conversion ratio to traffic. SEO is a volatile industry that is in essence controlled by a couple big search engines. It will forever be changing. We must be a step ahead of the game in determining how these changes play a major part of any campaign. That being said, if a company does not focus on search as a sales tool it get left in the dust by its competitors. Search is life for many business and I don’t see that changing in the next couple of years.
From real time analytics to mobile payments, we can easily say digital will be HUGE in 2015. How big? I guess we will have to wait to find out. If you have any questions on how you can take advantage of the digital age in 2015, feel free to call us at 855.472.1892 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.