Digital marketing trends – What to look out for in 2015!
Written by Bruno Berthezene, Country Manager at Solocal Group UK – Tuesady 16th December
From multiscreen to ubiquitous internet devices
The recent years have seen the rise of the multiscreen / multi-device trend: from desktop through laptop, console, mobile, tablet to phablet, each UK consumer uses an increasing number of devices sometimes simultaneously (second screen, third screen). Mobile and tablet have become the dominating source of traffic for many internet brands but the customer experience provided on these devices is still not always adapted to the form factor. Additionally, the fragmented usage of devices has been an issue for businesses to have a single view of the user and therefore makes it difficult to attribute conversion to a specific interaction. In this context:
- 2015 will be the year wherebrands move to provide the same experience on mobile devices that consumers receive on PCs and in store.
- In 2015, we will begin to see mobile payment take off as a result of m-payment service launches such as Apple Pay.
- 2015 will see progress on multi-device tracking through the development of emerging cross-device monitoring techniques, including ultrasonic contactless technology.
- There will be a booming wave of smart devices, such as wearables including connected glasses, smartwatches and Internet of Things enabling devices. Whether all of these emerging connected devices will prove to be successful in 2015 is not certain, but those that are will considerably enrich our lives and make the internet even more ubiquitous in our lives due to the relative simplicity of smart devices.
Content and social meets advertising
- Growth in display advertising will be mostly driven by the growth of mobile devices, especially tablets, and the explosion of video as an online advertising platform.
- Ads will be more relevant than ever given the targeting possibilities provided by data that allow advertisers to push messages only for what the consumer is most likely to be interested in. However, at the same time, advertising will face the emergence of ad blockers, browser extensions downloaded by users and disabling display ads. As a result, 2015 will be the year where even more relevancy should be look for, allowing advertisers and marketers to better use the untapped data to its full potential which will therefore make users happy that they are being reached with relevant content. After retargeting, the new wave of data use in display and search advertising will be pre-targeting, which can be defined as pushing ads with messages based on a customer higher propensity to purchase a product/service, this being based on behaviour data cross-analysis.
- While 2015 will see advertising attribution improving (see above), advertisers and publishers are both looking for a better evaluation of the engagement of users generated by display advertising. More relevant than the cost per click, more universal than the cost per action, time-based display offerings (by which the advertiser will only need to pay if the user has been exposed to the ad or has stayed on the landing website for a minimum amount of time) will see a great traction.
- While advertising is transitioning towards more relevancy, content appears as a natural alternative to reach users. Native advertising and branded content, which can be defined as inserting commercially oriented content in an editorial environment, are emerging and will develop in 2015. A risk, if it develops too much, might be a commercial content overload for the users, resulting in the same rejection from a part of the users as for internet advertising. However, Facebook has already shown that significant revenue can be driven out of paid content amplification in a social media environment, warranting visibility of sponsored content within organic content, and Twitter seems to be going the same way.
Taking the multichannel customer journey seriously
The purchase funnel is being increasingly looked after. In the past decades, with the rise of digital, it has become more much complex with the rise of multiple touch points, from ‘discovery’ through ‘research’ and ‘engagement’ to ‘conversion’ into purchase and post-purchase actions. This means that taking the customer right through from the start of the journey to the purchase is more challenging than ever and when that happens, there is another challenge for marketers and that is the attribution of the purchase between the different touch points.
- 2015 will see the development of marketing automation techniques that bring more sophistication in the optimisation of the conversion. The increasing capacity to exploit the potential of data is obviously at the core of this evolution towards real-time, behavioural, marketing.
- Most of the purchases do not happen online but in-store so the challenge of optimisation, attribution and marketing automation go beyond the online activity. There is still much work to do on web-to-store journey optimisation as many brands still don’t provide some of the basics that customers have begun to expect. The most striking gap relies on the disparity between customers’ expectations of simple store and product location tools and the poor level of store locators on many brand websites, not to mention the lack of mobile optimisation or the scarce existence of a product locator. 2015 will be the year when a large number of brands still lagging behind on mobile will catch up to finally propose a mobile customer experience that will boost conversion, online (m-commerce) and most importantly offline (mobile-to-store).
- Personalisation and optimisation of in-site search and navigation will also be growing trends, thanks to the increased use of consumer data.
- Once the customer has arrived in-store, technologies like beacons or ultrasonic tracking will help with attribution and marketing automation.
- Stores, whether independent or part of a chain, will provide an increasingly innovative in-store customer experience, with digital tools (virtual trial, advice, queueing…) being used more and more, a trend called phygital merging another trend called storytailing (examples of recent innovations in retail can be found on the Local Ideas blog).
The rise of the seamless transaction
- The sharing economy, illustrated by companies such as AirBnB and Uber, has paved the way for a world when buyers and sellers, professionals or individuals, can connect and transact in a seamless, real-time way. Car and house sharing, food, professional and local services, there are no limits to what this model can apply to. And this is only the beginning as an overwhelming number of new services are following the trend, positioning themselves across all possible niches you could imagine.
- Hotel and restaurant booking has been around for a long time but other service sectors are now realising the potential that they can also tap into through online appointment booking too. 2014 has been the year of acceleration for online appointment booking and 2015 should been the year where this service really explodes into the mainstream. This is true for a diverse range of sectors, such as health and beauty, car maintenance, banking and finance and insurance, but also for the fashion and luxury sectors due to the rise of personal shopping.
- Making the delivery quick and easy will be another growing focus of pure online plays or bricks and clicks. Click & collect has shown to be very popular and players such as Amazon, Google, eBay are already testing and beginning to implement quick delivery services.