The Biggest Trends that Impacted Digital Marketing in 2015
As we give a final salute to 2015, it’s fun to look back at the biggest trends that have impacted digital marketing. Many of these trends will continue in 2016, which is why it’s important for businesses and marketers to be aware of them. Being one step ahead is the best way to seize every opportunity for your business and ensure that you are marketing your business smarter, not harder.
Let’s recap some of the biggest trends that emerged in the martech field in the past year.
It’s no secret that more people are using their mobile phones to search the web. Plus, Google has made it obvious with their Mobile-Friendly Test that brands need to have mobile-friendly websites, otherwise they could be penalized. But there’s more to being mobile friendly than just having a responsive website. As brands have discovered in 2015, they also need to create a mobile-friendly user experience that includes mobile SEO, search functions, pay buttons, appropriate CTAs and more.
With the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear on the market, we are on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Just as mobile devices are mainstreamed in society, so will wearable devices. This shift is supported by the Internet of Things, where all things are connected to the Internet. In the coming year, we can expect to see more people purchasing wearable technology because of its intuitiveness and convenience. For brands, this means that they will have endless data that can be used to connect to their audience.
Pinterest and Instagram have both launched visual ad platforms that are pretty cool. On Instagram, for instance, brands can show an ad in the form of a picture or video. A recent Toys R Us ad for the holidays showcased some of the hottest toys for Christmas. Rather than just looking at a standard photo, the ad displayed a handful of products that were rotated through. Instagram ads also include a call to action. We’re expecting to see more brands take advantage of these highly visual ads.
Facebook Lookalike Audiences
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could target new audiences that were similar to your current customers? With Facebook’s lookalike audiences, you can. This feature is another branch of targeted marketing that has become very important for businesses in 2015. Facebook’s custom audiences has proven to be a great feature for building a following, and you can further segment these audiences based on demographics, interests and more. With lookalike audiences, you can market to people who are likely to be interested in your product because they’re similar to your customers.
There’s no doubt that you’ve heard about the power of storytelling this past year. Some brands have been very successful in sharing their stories, while others are still trying to break from the mold. Thanks to 3D graphics, HD quality videos and a demand for more engaging user experiences, the framework for successful storytelling has been established. Storytelling can take place in many forms: on a website, in a series of ads, on social media, in blogs and more. As long as visuals, motion and sound is included, you, too, can engage in storytelling.
Buy Buttons on Social Channels
If you want to sell your products on Twitter or Pinterest, you now have the option of adding buy buttons to your products. This allows customers to buy the things they want right from their social feeds rather than having to leave and visit your website. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to browse and buy directly from their social feeds, the place where they spend most of their time.
Although modular design, otherwise known as grid-based design, is nothing new, it has gained more traction over the past year. It shows users a variety of pictures in a card or tile form, which is ideal if you have a lot of images you want to share without having a cluttered website. At the same time, a modular design is user-friendly and looks great on a number of devices, so it’s perfect for mobile users, too.
From a UX perspective, it makes perfect sense to create a single page website. People naturally start scrolling as soon as they enter a website, so you can easily create a beautiful, seamless web design that people will absorb right away. For some brands, this is better than having multiple tabs that users may not take the time to explore. Plus, a one-page website steers clear of being redundant, something that users don’t have time for.
Twitter and Google Integration
Google and Twitter struck a deal this year that has worked out quite well. Google now has access to crawl Twitter’s real-time content and integrates this content into their search engine. This way, if you’re searching for something that’s being discussed in real-time on Twitter, you’ll get these results in your search. It’s a cool feature that reminds us that we’re just at the beginning of the vast opportunities of social search. As it becomes more commonplace in 2016 and beyond, brands will have to make smart use of hashtags and industry-related keywords.
It certainly has been an interesting and exciting year for digital marketing, and we can only begin to anticipate what the future holds. If one thing is for certain, it’s that marketing is getting more personalized, engaging and time sensitive. That’s where high-quality visuals, storytelling and the Internet of Things will really start to shine. Needless to say, we’re excited to see what the future of digital marketing and design in 2016 brings…
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