01 December 2014 - Graham Carroll

Digital Marketing Trends in 2015

Welcome to our round-up of top digital marketing trends for 2015. As ever there are many digital channels to consider but we’re going to take a quick look at the top trends we think will matter most over the next 12 months.

We’re not just looking at trends, we look at things marketers are doing more of and that you can take advantage of and use right now. Let’s start with Mobile.

Mobile 

Looking at this year’s growth in smartphone penetration and mobile traffic, having a Mobile Marketing strategy is in fact now compulsory. If your digital marketing is not optimised for mobile you are losing. In the Republic of Ireland, Comreg reports that for the 2nd quarter of 2014 smartphone use rose to 59%, a 14.7% increase in the previous period. Source: ComReg Market Report September 2014 (PDF).

Google has put a new focus on website mobile-friendly functionality. Mobile usability is now “relevant for optimal search results.” This emphasis is underpinned by the release of a new tool in Google Webmaster Tools called ‘Mobile Usability’.

Mobile Payments

Global Mobile payments will rise to $142bn by 2019, but which provider will be the dominant force in payment services?

Retale’s new mobile report offers some insight:

  • 36% have used mobile payments before, over double the 2012 figure.
  • Almost 3 out of 5 (56%) are interested in using mobile payments when shopping for holidays.
  • 24% say mobile payments are inconvenient relative to cash, credit and debit cards.
  • Nearly 30% cited privacy concerns as a potential obstacle to them using mobile payments.
  • 53% of ‘young people born between 1980 and 2000’ (there was another term here but I redacted it) have used mobile pay in-store (17% higher than average)
  • When asked to choose a mobile payment solution they would prefer to use in-store, 51% said PayPal with Apple Pay in third place with 10%.

Despite the surge in traffic, mobile website transactions account for single-digit percentages. So while customers do research goods and services with their smartphones they are less likely to use their device to pay for them.

Content

Good, relevant content is still a must-have for any digital marketing strategy. For content to work online, it typically needs to be one or more of 3 things for users to engage and share it: interesting, informative or funny.

As smartphone use continues to grow customers are consuming much more content and at a faster speed.

What does this mean for marketers?

The way that users engage content on smaller screens has shifted to a more visual, graphics led way. The rise in popularity of social apps such as Instagram, Pinterest and Flipboard and the ubiquity of YouTube.

For businesses and brands, this means a shift in focus for using photography and in particular video. With the availability of 4G services on smartphones, users are consuming video content while on the go.

In 2015, we will see more marketers planning and releasing highly visual content for mobile. More than this, because of the sheer pace of news these days, it’s important that marketers own not just the management and release of their content but also as much of the production process as possible. For example, that means taking simple photographs, making video tutorials or filming workshops.

Most people can absorb information faster and easier through video as opposed to by reading. A well-executed video of 60 – 90 seconds can do a lot more to communicate the value of a product or service than just words on a page. The technology is here now in terms of devices and mobile broadband, the opportunity is to bring that content in that can get to work quickly.

Customer Experience

Customer experience has never been more critical to online success. With the marketing shift from the old customer ‘awareness’ to awareness and also ‘advocacy’, customer experience is key to building loyalty, retention and sales.

It is hugely important to have great content and technology of course, but how we develop, measure and optimise the customer journey on top of this is key to success.

eConsultancy have recently published a new report on the Voice of the Customer. There are 3 key main steps the report talks about as best practice approach to customer experience.

Listen
Online surveys are helpful to get honest ratings and feedback on your products or services.

Measure
Use tools to help track and record information about your customers. Google Analytics, Mouseflow, Trends. Data that you get on bounce rates, devices and drop-offs can help you to optimise the CX on your website.

Act
Data and feedback are of little use if they are not used and acted on. It is important to plan and review and assess customer experience on an ongoing basis and take action to both address issues and enhance and improve.

Key reference points for understanding customer experience include:

  • Understanding how mobile users research / buy products
  • Understanding when and where customers use different devices
  • Using offline data to optimise the online experience
  • Using online data to optimise the offline experience
  • Ensuring consistency of message across channels
  • Having a clear understanding of customer journeys across channels
  • Training teams in new techniques, channels and disciplines

 

Wearables

Wearables have been a hot topic this year and 2015 will see some big new technology launches. Opportunities are still just available to those at the software/application development stage but it is important to be aware of changes. The big players are in the mix with Google Glass, Apple Watch and Oculus Rift which Facebook recently acquired.

Oculus Rift.

In good shape after Facebook’s take over, Oculus Rift hopes to launch “in months” according to CEO Brendan Iribe. Hardware is currently available for developers and there is big potential here for virtual meetings and healthcare as well as video gaming.

Oculus Rift CEO Brendan Iribe talks with Peter Rubin at the Web Summit, November 2014.


Apple Watch

The jury is out on whether Apple’s new device will fly. Its release date is set for early 2015 and prices are from around €300 and there is some uncertainty of the benefits of owning the watch and iPhone being big enough to justify having one. The potential with fitness apps is interesting and car location devices and electric power level readers such as BMW’s planned car app. Watch this space.

Google Glass

Google Glass is a piece of augmented reality technical genius right out of Minority Report. The possibilities are endless. Its biggest challenge is how to get it to work well for people who wear normal glasses. The device essentially works by projecting a semi-transparent prism directly on to the wearer’s retina.

Check out this brilliant how it works infographic from Martin Missfeldt.

Update 15/01/2015: Google is discontinuing the first version of Google Glass with a new version due later in 2015. More at Mashable.

In Summary

The big trend for us in 2015 is mobile content. The evidence is there:

  • Double-digit increases in device usage and specifically website traffic.
  • Content should be optimised for mobile first, and have a steady balance between visuals (photography, video, graphics) and copy.
  • Marketers should have as much control as possible of content strategy, management and release and engage experienced creative partners where needed.

For more facts and figures on Mobile Trends specifically, check out this interesting post on the Future of Mobile CRO by Dan Engel.