2015 Digital Marketing: What Worked?

2014 marketing plan

This past year was a whirlwind for marketers. Changes that have been brewing for years have now crystallized to become the new reality of the marketing landscape.

While the transition has been exciting, it has also not been easy. Many companies have had the face the realities of trial and error before finding success. Here are some of the strategies they used that worked.

Recognizing the Importance of Mobile

For the first time ever, mobile and PC internet use switched places. More people are using their smartphones to browse and use apps than they do their computers.

Despite this, many companies have still failed to make the proper transition to true responsive design. They either employ half measures or ignore the mobile market entirely.

Those that did not make this mistake have triumphed. Companies are recognizing the importance of mobile browsing and app usage and have responded accordingly. Many brand websites are focusing their layouts and designs almost exclusively to mobile. Visiting the site on a PC is akin to seeing a giant, zoomed-in version of the mobile content.

This emphasis on mobile has helped organizations from being left behind. They are meeting the demands of their consumers with tightly-packed, beautifully arranged content and highly usable page layouts. Mobile users feel rewarded for their patronage when they visit sites like these.

The Rise of Content Marketing

Traditional banner ads are starting to be understood for their diminishing return on investment. In their place is engaging content that draws users in, rather than causing them to glance around it.

Sharable, viral content has become vital for penetrating your market and retaining brand recognition. Likewise, native content has been blurring the line between advertising and articles. Sites like Buzzfeed, Mental Floss and Mashable are posting high-quality sponsored articles that grab attention and encourage sharing.

Social media has also seen a resurgence in marketing effectiveness. Companies have begun to figure out how to craft meaningful content that fits in along with the types of posts users are accustomed to seeing on Instagram and Facebook.

The Evolution of SEO

Social signals have become entwined with SEO strategies, replacing the traditional “blog and wait” strategy. While viral shares will not directly affect your search rankings, they do drive traffic to other areas of your page. They also mold the keywords users search for when trying to make purchase decision. As a result, SEO becomes more about creating meaningful, engaging content than half-hearted efforts at capitalizing on keywords.

Video and Images Get Noticed

More companies have responded to consumer interest in imagery. Stock photos are no longer enough. Users become more engaged by original, creative images. Infographics are also swiftly becoming the norm at communicating large amounts of complex information in a digestible and visibly pleasing way.

Video has also helped many brands succeed. For instance, Volvo has reminded consumers of their importance in the trucking industry by cleverly tapping Jean Claude Van Damme’s signature split move to help reinforce their brand. The video saw 68 million views, many of them generated directly by social media shares.

Between these four trends, digital marketing has evolved more in this past year than any time since. The sophistication of content marketing and mobile-centric strategies has aided many brands in getting their messages heard. As we continue into 2015, those that refuse to understand the importance of these techniques may find themselves lagging behind.