Digital marketing is an impulsive, erratic, and volatile industry. The moment you catch the tiger by the tail, there’s a new tiger whose fugacious tail requires catching.
Keeping up with a changeable industry seems like a fool’s errand. Where is the balance between chasing capricious trends, on the one hand, and ossifying into a Luddite on the other?
Thankfully, there is an in between — a balance. If you can identify current trends, settle on an actionable strategy, and take measurable movement forward, you’re bound to succeed. I’ve identified X such strategies that you should keep in mind over the next few months, if not the next few years of digital marketing.
1. Stop relying on Google.
Don’t misinterpret this point. I’m not saying that Google is not on its way out. After more than a decade of domination, however, it may be on the decline. Up-and-comers like Duck Go aren’t anywhere near dethroning Google GOOGLE +0.68%. What their rise indicates is that consumers want alternatives — a choice not to depend on Google if they don’t have to.
Marketers should take heed. Google is one basket, but it doesn’t deserve all your marketing eggs. Search engine optimization is important, but a searcher can accomplish her goal through more means than just Google.
I advise digital marketers to rely less on Google, and engage more direct forms of interacting with their target market.
2. Mobile. Just mobile.
I wanted to say that “mobile dominates,” but that line is so utterly cliché, that I had to state it differently.
The importance of mobile search, mobile optimization, mobile conversions, and mobile ubiquity cannot be overstated. Mobile devices and our collective addiction to them are fixtures of the modern marketing era.
This article is not the place to wax verbose on the importance of mobile. Instead, my intent is to remind you that mobile is the method of the masses, and should, therefore, be a priority of the marketers.
3. Social conversion is coming.
Enough has been said about the power of social networks. Not quite enough as been said about the importance of social conversions. For ecommerce and lead generation sites, social provides a growing opportunity to improve conversion rates and gain new conversion channels.
4. New payment methods are on the rise.
With the advent of EVM credit cards (October 2015), the public is in for a new experience when it comes to payment methods. These changes will have a ripple effect on online payment and e-commerce sites.
Privacy issues are a mainstream concern and it’s up to digital marketers to lead the way in reassuring, educating, and coaching customers through the transition.
5. Paid advertising is here to stay.
Whether you like it or not, you’re going to need to pay for advertising spots. I agree with marketers who claim, “PPC is dying,” but I also see the advent of alternative forms of paid advertising taking its place.
Consider BizTalk for instance. Although they provide “organic video ads,” they are still ads. And they still cost money. Rising methods of organic/paid advertising are entering into the marketing methods of some brands, signaling a growing trend.
6. Marketing automation becomes de rigueur.
Marketing automation is nothing new. It is, however, bigger than ever. Marketing automation is now easy and affordable enough for any marketer with a budget to do it. Once upon a not-so-far-away time, the only organizations doing automation were big companies with world-recognized brand names.
Now, marketing automation is nearly a requirement for any business that wants to stay on top
Ever since Web 2.0, the writing profession has had a heyday. Anyone and everyone could become a publisher. Anyone who had a voice could also have a platform on the web.
Now? Some content experts moan that there is too much content out there. Or is there? Content, often referred to as “king” is so essential to digital marketing that it can’t be dismissed as a “trend.” While individual publishers may be overextending themselves by publishing too much, there will always be content. It will always be important.
Therefore, there will always be the need for great content creators, including writers, developers, video producers, pod casters, and speakers. Loretta Staple foot said it well in her Visual.ly article: “The need for quality content will spotlight the importance of professional writers.”
I know from experience that great writers are hard to find. But it’s no longer enough simply to find a “great writer.” You need to find a writer who knows your niche. The world’s greatest writing skills don’t count for much unless the writer possesses knowledge, ideally experiential knowledge, of his or her subject matter.
8. The algorithm will change. And change again.
The search algorithm will change. It will infuriate you, delight you, confuse you, and disappoint you. But it will change.
I’m referring, of course, to Google’s search algorithm, the almighty search machine that decides which content ranks highest in the search engine results page (SERPs). Today, however, we need to consider Facebook’s algorithm, Bing’s algorithm, and even the mashup of Twitter and Google’s algorithm.
9. Conversion optimization has high ROI.
If CRO, or conversion rate optimization, is not in your 2015 budget, I suggest you take a look at the possibility of introducing it. Conversion rate optimization is the process of maximizing the number of site visitors who convert or make a purchase.
By thoroughly understanding users and split testing changes on a website, marketers can determine what elements of a website or landing page will produce the highest number of conversions.
The process pays off. Instead of paying big bucks for ad placements and organic traffic, marketers can instead funnel more of their existing traffic into sales.
10. Growth hacking will continue to evolve.
In my opinion, one of the most fascinating trends in 2015 is the continued evolution of growth hacking. Growth hacking will continue to demonstrate its indomitable power in the face of unlikely odds.
This list of online trends might sound intimidating. In spite of your fears, go boldly forward. Wrapped up in success is always the risk of failure.
I would never advise closing your eyes and jumping headfirst into a trend. The digital marketing space is too fickle for that.