2015 just might be the year where the Internet matures into adulthood. The maturation process has taken about 20 years, just about the same rate that we humans mature into the adult phase of our lives. The awkward stages of childhood are now just a memory, and the web is fast, mobile and global. The Internet’s exuberant teenage years have calmed down—we don’t use wired pseudonyms likes Cat78. The World Wide Web is now in every hand, home and continent. A giant segment of the market buys online, and users increasingly buys via their smartphones. As the Internet grows up, trends change. Here are some of the most important changes for global brands marketers to be monitoring in 2015.
Content Marketing Goes Global
No one can deny that content marketing has been a buzzword for the last 2-3 years, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Earlier this year, Google changed its algorithm to favor original, up to date, shared content, making content marketing increasingly important. Traditional SEO as it was known in years past is not enough anymore, and businesses are starting to realize that.
When the Google updates occurred, global brand marketers needed to react fast. Some learned the hard way, like these top 10 global brands that were hit by short-term penalties that affected their rankings. It goes to show that there are no short cuts. Ultimately, you can try all the shady business you want, but in the end, consumers buy from brands that they can identify with, which goes to show that brands need to rediscover the basic pillars of marketing: Storytelling and authenticity.
Be Real, Be Authentic
With the development of advertorial and data driven content marketing, brand authenticity will be a key to success. Brand storytelling needs to be authentic, honest and engaging. The consumer searches, compares and visits dozens of sites and reads many reviews before buying your product, which means that you can’t lie or hide anything.
Authenticity is not an easy thing to achieve, as it requires content creation excellence, precision and honesty, but it’s well worth the results you’ll see in the end. It helps, as well, if your team is working together, and departments are able to cross over boundaries.
SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing Will Merge
Have you noticed that many social media marketers are re-branding themselves as content marketers? That, in 2013, many SEO agencies rebranded themselves as content marketing agencies? People are realizing that social media, great content and SEO all need each other—they are all aspects of content marketing, after all.
This seems simple, but it’s really a major trend, and global marketers need to jump on the bandwagon. Rather than having separate teams/departments for SEO, social media and content marketing, create a team where all of these elements work together to create the best strategy conceivable. This is crucial in both B2C and B2B spaces.
For global marketers, I’d like to suggest that you check out Reach7, which makes it easy to manage social media and share content in multiple languages and markets. There are a great variety of other social media, content marketing and SEO tools out there that are great for global marketers to take advantage of. And, of course, let’s not forget the mobile side of things.
Rationalize Global Mobile-Commerce Strategies
We work with numerous clients in the hospitality industry. One of those clients, a large, global hotel chain, recently came to the realization that maintaining an app for each brand (or each hotel) and another app for their loyalty program was costly and inefficient in terms of the return of branding and consumer satisfaction that they received from their investment. As a result, they’re now developing a unique app for all brands and hotels, including loyalty program access. This will save resources and deliver a more value to their customers, who will have to access only one app with richer functionalities.
It’s crucial for global marketers to rationalize their mobile operations and social strategies to keep driving ROI.
Get Ready to Collect That Mobile Cash!
One of the roles of marketers is to make it easy for a consumer to buy a product, right? That is especially right when you sell in different markets, platforms and shops. One way to enable the largest number of potential buyers to actually be able to purchase your product is to accept multiple ways forms. The mobile payment battle has started and all digital giants are in the game: Ebay, PayPal, Amazon, Google, AliBaba, Apple, etc.
It’s going to be a challenge for global brand marketers to implement the right mobile payment strategies in every market, and I believe that we will start to see this challenge coming more and more into focus in 2015.
Social Advertising Budgets Will Peak
To expand the reach of all the great content that will be created in 2015, social media advertising budgets will continue to grow. Many complain that they do everything they should on social media platforms, but don’t get substantial results. Organic social media marketing is tough, and most companies social media advertising budget will rise. According to BI intelligence, US ad spending will hit $8.5 billion next year and reach almost $14 billion by the year 2018.
Less Text, More Visual and Animated Content
As responsive design becomes the norm, content needs to be aligned to enhance the user experience. Larger images and videos will replace long text on many pages. The consumer appetite for high quality imagery and viral videos isn’t slowing down—on the contrary, it’s a growing consumer trend. Video advertising is booming, innovative platforms like teads are emerging and the cost of video production is going down. All of this combined will change how users consume content. Global marketers need to think about how they can produce and distribute cool visual content on all kinds of different channels and platforms.
Social Media Fan Buying Tricks Will Die
Just like black hat SEO died, paid fans will die. Just like Google brutally reacted, I believe that social media platforms will have to react to stay authentic to stay on top. Recently, Instagram made a move against paid fans and spam accounts, which dethroned Justin Beiber as king of Instagram. Just like black hat SEO, buying fans is a very shortsighted bet and cannot become a long-term marketing practice. Global marketers shouldn’t take this risk and need to stop such practices; as a result many businesses offering these services will need to find something else to do.
What do you think is a trend that global marketers need to watch for in 2015?
Enjoyed this post? Read more by Eric.
Eric Ingrand – VP Content Marketing EMEA