Each December, digital marketers around the globe take a look back at the trends that shaped (and reshaped) our strategy over the last year. Then we use that insight to plan for and predict the coming year.
As the editor of the Simply Measured blog and co-writer of our network studies and reports, this trend-based prediction process is one of my favorite parts of digital marketing. Analyzing themes found in data, identifying the possible triggering events, and drawing insights from this process is a huge part of my day-to-day, so naturally I love it when you all publish predictions and do my work for me.
As the digital ecosystem and the social media space has grown, so has the diversity of topics and themes we see in predictions.
This is a double-edged sword. While it’s easy to get caught up in the unfounded, uninteresting, and unoriginal predictions, if you can make your way through the noise, the directional advice is solid.
Simply Measured employs (and partners with) some of the biggest experts in the social space. In our new #SocialMarketing 2015 Planning Guide, Lucy Hitz interviewed several experts, from power influencer Jeff Bullas to our own CEO Adam Schoenfeld and SVP Michael Walton, about the trends and changes we’ve seen in 2014 and how they’ll impact 2015.
3 Themes For 2015
As I read through the predictions, advice, and the events from 2014 that inspired them, I noticed a few central trends that can help inform your social strategy.
1. Targeted Efforts: Social marketing was young and without best practices for a long time. Marketers blanketed every audience with broad messages and universal tactics hoping something would stick. As the space has matured, the tools, resources, and tactics have gotten more effective, and social has begun to operate under the same principals as other digital marketing channels. This means a stronger focus on the buyer’s journey and personas. It means a well defined strategy that spans many networks and audience segments, but doesn’t treat each one the same. It means understanding the full scope of your paid, earned, and owned efforts. In 2015, the more holistic your understanding, the more possibilities you’ll have to drive real value from your social programs and zero in on the audiences, networks, and tactics that work.
2. Mixed Media: When Netflix releases full seasons of original shows at once, the Serial podcast goes viral, and Facebook video goes crazy, it’s time to take a step back. Mixed media has become a staple of social marketing, and this brings marketing teams closer together. Microsites have become integrated with social strategy, content marketing bridges advertising and organic social programs, and audiences are constantly hungry for more to consume. As users become more diverse in the types of media they’re engaging with, marketers will need to be more willing to try different tactics and approaches.
3. More Focus on Content: You’ve seen the stats. Marketers are spending more on content programs every year. As a content marketer myself, is this a plug for you to keep me employable? Absolutely. But, it’s also a reality. Content marketing is a valuable way to drive qualified leads, attract customers, and retain those customers because they understand why they need your product or service. In the year to come, you can expect to see a more sophisticated approach to content marketing. The old tactic of “more is better” doesn’t hold up in the longterm, so marketers are getting smarter about the way they think through content strategy, creating content with clear goals and objectives, and tying everything back to overarching business goals.
For more predictions, and tips on how to plan for 2015, be sure to download our #SocialMarketing Planning Guide for 2015 by clicking the button below.