Digital marketers often take the opportunity at the start of a new year to not only look back on the previous year’s digital accomplishments, but also to predict important strategies for success online in the coming year. Recently the 2015 State of Marketing Report was released based on detailed survey results compiled from over 5000 of the top digital marketers worldwide. The report included evaluations of the current digital marketing field as well as a landscape of the upcoming year. One thing was made quite clear – 2015 will be the year of social media marketing.
The report stated that these are the top five areas for marketing budget increases in 2015:
- Social Media Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Engagement
- Location-based mobile tracking
- Mobile Applications
Out of the 5000 marketers surveyed, 70% said they are going to spend more money on social media advertising in 2015. In fact looking at the top five list above, it is clear that social media and mobile optimization are the two key avenues marketers are focused on delving into in the coming year.
Social media accounts are still on the rise worldwide with no ceiling in sight. In 2014 active social media accounts grew by 12% over the previous year, creating an additional 222 Million user accounts worldwide.
This past year was a banner year for digital advertising on social media sites. In 2014 social media advertising became integrated into most social media platforms. Twitter and Facebook both introduced Buy Buttons giving the opportunity for brands to monetize their followers. Pinterest implemented the option for promoted pins, and brands experienced a 30% increase in engagement from this form of advertising. On a smaller scale, Snapchat even released its first video advertisement, opening up new opportunities for in app social media marketing ventures.
As Facebook advertising space is getting more expensive, brands are beginning to look to for advertising opportunities on other social media sites. A recent poll by Social Media Marketing Industry estimates 42% of marketers plan to increase their use of Instagram in 2015. Instagram grabbed the attention of advertisers with its option for in-feed video advertisements.
Social Media Marketing Innovations
Users in 2014 averaged over two hours a week on social media sites. In order to tap into this engagement, top social media brands are finding opportunities to stand out from the competition by being flexible and timely with their content calendars. KitKat created a timely social media post to go along with a trending hashtag (#BendGate) about Apple iPhones’ bending. Their quick mobilization of social media content that aligned with a current event online resulted in increased social engagement and a growth in their number of followers. It is expected in 2015 that more brands will attempt to connect in a similar fashion with their followers online.
Entering 2015 marketers are noting that we are in the midst of a mobile revolution that is expected to impact the way users consume social media and interact with brands in coming years. Over 80% of users engage with social media through their mobile device, a number that is expected to hit 90% by 2018. Now more than ever it is a crucial time to properly optimize your company website and advertisements for mobile users.
An increase in mobile opens up opportunities for growing social engagement, unique app developments, and social media conversions. For this reason, 84% of marketers surveyed will be increasing their budget on marketing technology for this coming year.
While blogging is still a useful way to draw users to your website with unique content, expect to see image-centric content in 2015 and an increase in social videos.
One of the biggest social media surges seen in 2014 was on Instagram. Currently Instagram hosts 300 Million active users each month, a metric that caused the mobile app to leapfrog Twitter. With a growth of over 50% in the past year, it is clear that users prefer creative content online through the photo-sharing app to text-based tweets.
Although the user base it not nearly on the same scale as the social media juggernaut Facebook, it is important to mention that Instagram hosts much higher content engagement rates. Users are commenting and favouriting Instagram photos 18 times more than they do on Facebook, which makes Instagram’s growth in users something brands should pay quick attention to.
Video Is On the Rise
Gone are the days of text only posts, as Facebook video posts are getting three times more social interactions than text-only content. In 2014 we saw Facebook surpass YouTube for the most desktop video views (more than 1 Billion per day), a milestone that was accomplished through their introduction of auto-play videos in newsfeeds.
Micro-video apps such as Vine, Snapchat, & Instagram on are the rise with a focus on creative content. In fact in 2014 Instagram rolled out its in-video advertising options to a select few companies with the understanding that advertisements need to be stylized to meet Instagram’s user base. To be successful on theses sites companies cannot simply repurpose television ads, but instead need to look to mimic the creative style of each app.
Brands are pairing with top users and influencers on social apps to help them promote products in entertaining ways which will spark social engagement. We saw this exemplified in 2014 when HP partnered with top Viners to turn 6 second vines into a 30 second television spot #BendtheRules.
In order to succeed in digital marketing in 2015 it is important to pay attention to the increasing trend of investments in social media marketing strategy. Whether you are a large company hiring top users on social sites, or a smaller company ensuring your posts are image-centric and timely, make sure you keep up to date on current social media advancements, because 2015 is going to be a big year for online business.