Where is Digital Marketing Headed in 2015

Barbara Siegel

Friday, September 26, 2014

An important tool of marketing, social media and digital platforms remain a key part of fundamental marketing practice. Like any new technology, social media has continued to evolve and refine its procedures and best practice for effectively communicating to customers online.

The amount of change that has continued in digital marketing is reflective of changes in cultural norms and the way that we have integrated technology and social sharing into our lives.   Social media is ingrained in everyday life, and the number of individuals who access social media daily continues to climb, according to 2014 data.

  • 74% of all internet users are engaged on social media sites
  • 71% of online adults use Facebook
  • 22% use LinkedIn
  • 40% of smartphone users access social networks

The growth of social media shows no sign of slowing down, with an increase in online community subscribers across a variety of platforms. The late adopters of social media have been between the age of 55 to 64, and the increase in the segments participation on social networks has grown 79 percent since 2012.  On Google+ and Facebook the 45 to 55 year old demographic represents the fastest growing audience.

The Social Impact of Social Media

What continues to drive engagement and involvement in social media? The cultural influence reflects a growing busy lifestyle where people are more likely to maintain relationships and social connections online, rather than in face-to-face opportunities. Interestingly, the shift to online socializing has not lead to a sense of isolation, but rather a closer knit social community online and offline for consumers.

According to a survey conducted by Pew Internet, the average social media user places meaningful value on social media engagement. It is associated with trust, tolerance, information, support, political engagement and close community ties (regionally or by interest).  Social media has become the conduit for information sharing, friendship, the evaluation of products and a powerful influence on purchase decision for products and services.

What Is Next for Digital Marketing? 

From 2009-2012 and the early years of social media marketing, content (any content) was sufficient to produce exposure for brands and services online.  The evolution of SEO and several updates to Google Analytics created a landslide change in the quality of content that was required to achieve results.  Content (blogs, posts and social conversation) went from a quantitative structure to a qualitative standard.

The shift to valuating quality content created a substantial change in the way marketers now manage websites and social media engagement.  Blogging and other long-tail content pieces (such as presentations, infographics and other linkable assets) which became a critical component of the new digital marketing strategy.

In 2015, content will continue to weigh heavily in marketing strategy as an effective tool to establish thought leadership in niche topic areas and communities.   Wearable technology (and mHealth applications) will continue to spur mobile engagement.

Community management will become even more important as additional users access social networks and look to share with and affiliate with products, brands and services.  The ‘sell sell sell’ approach will continue to be less effective than creating conversations and providing information that is useful to consumers.

Authenticity in the management of social media communities will remain important, as consumers look for community, not pressured sales tactics.  Quality digital storytelling about the organizational culture is equally important as product positioning when it comes to a purchase decision, and social will continue to evolve into less of a one-way broadcast of products and services and more of a two-way conversation.   Language will change into more warm and conversational human tones for business marketing.

How does your organization or business plan to adjust the digital marketing strategy for 2015?  Do you agree with some of my forecasts for 2015?  Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.


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