Planning your marketing strategy for 2015 requires being up to date on the latest trends in digital marketing, which is constantly evolving with the new technology. Online marketing has become essential for almost all businesses, whether they are willing to admit it or not. Engaging in social networks and optimizing your website for mobile users is only the beginning of this revolution. Here are some important developments that every business needs to learn about for the new year.
1. Increasing Budgets for Social Media
Marketing budgets are expected to increase in 2015 for social media allocation, according to eMarketer. It will be essential for businesses to learn about demographic profiles of their customers and to engage with them as much as possible on social networks.
In order to use social media effectively, businesses need to develop a consistent narrative and direct followers through refined and relevant sales funnels. By crafting quality web content, businesses can provide links to deeper stories on social media posts that are presented with colorful images and brief compelling descriptions.
This type of presentation establishes and enhances authority and trust with users. While this technique has already been permeating in recent years, 2015 will mark acceleration into higher quality content, which is the key to being competitive and favored by search engines.
2. Personalized Ad Re-Targeting
As social media content becomes increasingly more conversational, consumers are gravitating more to brands that come off more as human than corporate. This element of personal touch is viewed as more authentic by consumers and helps build trust with brands.
The combination of personalized content that attracts target audiences and browser cookies that track user behavior are shaping modern marketing. Ad re-targeting is the process of serving consumers with the ads they care about based on what they click online. This method of reaching a target audience is much more efficient than traditional marketing methods of interrupting the masses with ads that only a small percentage of the audience cares about.
Therefore, ad re-targeting is more effective at influencing top of mind brand awareness for target consumers. It can even influence people to make instant purchases, according to recent studies, simply through brand recognition.
3. SEO and Social Shares
Look for a more aggressive move by marketers toward “social shares,” which include “likes” on Facebook and “+1s” on Google Plus. As search engines continue to evolve to base search rankings on what internet users are most commonly searching for, there is a perception that social shares influence search rankings.
Google’s Matt Cutts, however, has stated that “+1s” and “likes” do not influence its search rankings, despite a Moz study that said the opposite. According to Cutts, content marketers are better off focusing on developing compelling content rather than chasing social shares.
Nevertheless, you will likely see marketers push the concept of social shares in 2015 since it indicates follower validation, which can influence others. There is no question that each of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) are refining search algorithms to reflect content popularity. But the most savvy content marketers also know that quantity of quality content that is relevant to niche audiences is the real key that leads to high search rankings.
Google consistently has punished sites that try to distort popularity and content quality, so it’s a good idea to avoid manipulating social shares. Businesses that fall into the black hat trap by using deceptive techniques will likely continue to get penalized.
4. Video Marketing
The popularity of YouTube has influenced many businesses to take video marketing seriously. Videos can be used to demonstrate products as well as provide customer reviews and company interviews. The key to YouTube being embraced by the business community is that visual content is much easier and faster for consumers to digest than reading. It’s a passive way for users to gain valuable information quickly.
While small businesses with tight budgets may be hesitant to hire a video production company, the most adventurous companies big and small are finding ways to make their own videos. There have been many examples of near zero budget videos using smartphones or webcams that have gone viral. Expect video marketing to increase in 2015 among the more creative businesses.
Ajay Prasad is the Founder and President of GMR Web Team, a leading healthcare digital marketing agency. He guides small and medium size healthcare practices/businesses in customizing their online marketing strategy, focused on building a loyal base of patients and improving their patient acquisition. Ajay believes in an improved patient experience as the key to successful healthcare business, which can be accomplished with the right marketing plan in place.