“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
Looking back at 2014 we saw some trending topics and technologies that will change for sure the way we communicate, interact and invest in advertising. Based on our observations, connecting the dots, we give you our 10 Online Marketing trends, and our 5 Technology trends for this year and the years to come.
Online Marketing trends for 2015
1. Mobile presence it’s a “must have”
In Romania we already have 7,5 million active smartphone users, that’s around 37,5% of our country population. In 2014 business owners realized that they couldn’t ignore 40% of their clients or potential clients, so they started to think mobile. In 2015 we expect to see new online shops that enter the market with responsive websites, and the web shops that already are responsive will look for developing their own mobile apps.
2. More quality branded content
As the social landscape becomes more crowded with many commercial messages, but lousy content, smart companies will invest in differentiate them selves creating quality branded content. This will bring a big opportunity for storytellers to do some magic and show that Social Media does a good job at bringing new customers and nurture the best ones.
3. The fight for video content in social media landscape
Last year Facebook introduced auto-play for all the videos on the platform. In consequence companies and publishers alike started posting their videos directly on Facebook. This created a huge opportunity for Facebook to sell more video ads, and for brands to get more reach by creating video content.
This started a “war” with YouTube. We expect also Twitter and LinkedIn to join the fight for video content.
4. Companies will look for new Social Media channels
As we know and noticed, Facebook changed the newsfeed algorithm and this reduced significantly the reach for organic posts from Facebook Pages. This is not a very good news for brands.
In 2015 companies will be on the look for the next big (free) thing, or at least will invest more in growing their owned communication channels: blog and newsletter.
5. LinkedIn will become more of a business-publishing platform
Have you tried the new “Create a post” functionality? It’s awesome! Any LinkedIn user can now write personal posts that look very similar to blog posts. When someone is writing a post, all his/hers connections get notified about the post. We expect that in 2015 this functionality will be made available also for business pages on the platform.
6. Facebook @ Work
Facebook started working on a business collaboration platform to rival LinkedIn. Maybe we will see a beta version in 2015.
7. Omni channel becomes more important
Today a regular consumer uses between 10 and 20 sources of information before making a decision on what to buy. Searching is the norm, friends opinions are gold, and offering a product experience is the new marketing. Companies can’t afford not to invest in online marketing and will invest more and more in integrated advertising.
8. Companies will spend more on Social Ads
The new Facebook algorithm is forcing companies to invest in Facebook ads to reach their fans with their status messages. Doing this, companies will find out that Facebook Ads are very easy to create and precise to target, are cheap and offer extra interactions for free. This is a very good deal for any brand, so we expect to see more ads on Facebook, and maybe on other social networks too.
9. Companies will spend more on video ads
Considering that Millennials (or Generation Y) don’t watch so much TV and spend more time browsing the web, big brands will be reschedule a part of the TV ad budget to online video ads.
But as we know, in the online advertising space you don’t need big budgets to advertise, so now any company affords to deliver fancy video ads to their customers. We experimented last year with the Facebook video ads and the results were surprisingly good, so we expect to see more video ads on our PC, mobile and tablet screens.
10. Companies will start retargeting
In 2014 we saw few examples of retargeting campaigns. This year we expect to see more smart retargeting ads and more brands joining the bandwagon.
As a conclusion to Online Marketing trends we believe that 2015 will be the year of the mobile commerce, quality content, social and video ads. The consumers will be more targeted, more entertained and more informed on any platform he uses.
Tech trends for 2015
11. Health apps and wearables
This year we think that the big technology companies will push to consumers to buy more wearables. The problem with these devices is that there are few apps for them and this makes them not so cool. One thing could save them: Health Apps. Having a wrist smart watch can help us to know vital information about our bodies.
12. Virtual Reality
If 3D movies were a big thing when everybody could test them in cinemas, Virtual Reality could be the next hit. Oculus rift is already something that any geek will die for to own and be integrated in video games.
13. Mobile Payments
In USA people can already use Apple Pay and Google Wallet. It’s said that is the next thing in payments. In Romania we are still trying to educate the consumer to pay online with the credit card, so maybe Mobile Payments won’t be implemented very quickly in our country.
For marketing purpose beacons offer a big opportunity to know more about the consumers and give them relevant content and advertising. We expect to see more development with this technology.
15. Self-driving cars
The most important news from CES 2015 was about self-driving cars. Audi sent an A7-based research model on a self-driving journey from the San Francisco Bay Area to Las Vegas. The A7 made it to Las Vegas without incident. BMW and Mercedes-Benz also are making big steps for this dream to happen.
We are sure that this year will be a memorable one for the IT and Marketing industries, and it all depends on us to make the best of it. Enjoy it! Connect the dots and for sure next year we will be talking about how 2015 was the year of cool technologies, smart people and social marketing.
Digital Director, Loopaa
This article was written for Today Software Magazine