Yet Another Predictions Blog: 3 Marketing Predictions for 2015. Read It. Skip It. Ah Whatever.

By January 7, 2015Hudge Helpers

Can you tell from the title I’m not all that hepped up on predictions. I was watching some morning business-news show and the anchors were speculating with their brilliant guest analysts on how well tech and oil stocks will perform in the coming year—and it hit me:

past events + person guessing the future = news

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it feels like 80%* of news is all speculation on past events – whether we’re talkin’ about stocks or political events, or mysteriously disappearing planes – we tune in and listen to various experts wax philosophical on the talking points.
*not a legitimate statistic; just a shoot-from-the-hip estimate

As long as Apple never launches a Siri-Enabled Crystal Ball, then all these analysts and experts will always have a gig.

Spoiler alert, though: No one knows the future.

And there is no shortage of these prediction posts, especially when it comes to marketing topics – Google and SEO, branding, Social Media – you’ll find predictions galore.

But here. For good measure, and yes, based on past experiences and trends, I’ll throw in mine.

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1) Video’s not going anywhere but up.

Surprised? I mean, really. This one is obvious all the way around.

More and more users are after video. In fact, 90% of all online traffic is projected to be video-purposed this year.

Why? Simple.  It’s valuable.  It betters people’s lives.

It can be super quick to find answers and solutions to problems (by the way, “How To” Videos ranks as one of YouTube most popular genres), but also to be entertained in the process.

To add to all the obvious reasons for online video (educational, entertaining, helpful), there’s also the essential human element behind videos; Viewers feel like— even just on some small level—they’re connecting with the storyteller or presenter.

Seems odd, right?  I mean, video is one-sided communication, however, it often feels like it’s more.

Another sub-prediction with YouTube advertising:

Just as we saw demand for search advertising grow to the point where smaller budgets could no longer bid on the really hot keywords, (knocking many smaller businesses out of the game), we are bound to see a stark rise in advertisers using AdWords for Video – as it’s destined to pick up more steam across all industries.

My advice: Get in now. The sooner, the better.

So there. Expect a continued rise in video activity throughout all industries, and better yet, let this post be that catalyst to start planning for some sort of video marketing right now.

2) Mobile’s not going anywhere but up.

Check out these the two images in this post about something looking different at the Vatican. A lot can happen in just eight short years.

We’re in an age where phone manufactures are in pursuit to offer the most functionality in the smallest and lightest package.  Think back a mere ten, fifteen years ago!  Sheesh. My iPad has more power than my first Mac.

The Vatican in 2005 and 2013, with a ton of phones in the crowd
Indiglo Blue iMac G3

This machine revived Apple in the mid-1990s – but doesn’t even come close to outperforming today’s iPad

To take a quote form Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management for Google AdWords, “It’s not about devices.  It’s about the people.”

With this lofty philosophy, the true center is kept the center.  Isn’t this always the goal?

And shouldn’t it be? … For a real person to experience the most relevant message at the most relevant time.

So to wrap this one, we’re sure to see more adaptation and evolution regarding how relevant ads appear on mobile devices – within browsers, within apps, within something else.

(Hey Samsung and Apple, keep my lock screen off-limits please!)

3) Social Networks will change things up because you’re used to things.

In the near-past, both Twitter and LinkedIn both updated the look of the profile page (seemed to take a few pointers from Facebook—big banner + a lower-left square for logo or portrait).  Facebook, its stock now trading publicly around double its IPO, has had some time to mature nicely as an online ad platform. It’s specifically matured well with native advertising.

People are guaranteed to want change

Know what native advertising is?  It’s when

  • a business/organization on Facebook
  • “boosts” a “post” and,
  • instead of looking like an ad,
  • it looks like a natural post…
  • in your timeline.

That was a smart move for Facebook. Advertisers know clicks/traffic coming from those native ads (that look like regular ol’ news feed posts from Facebook friends) have been a real game changer for many. They’ve proven to garner a 44x higher click-through-rate!

But this landscape never sits still.

Why? Because real people are the users of all this stuff. It’s always about them.

And what can you set your clock to when it comes to real people?

Well, real people do these two things:

  1. Get tired of things, and therefore,
  2. Want things to change.

They don’t know they want things to change. But they do.

How many of you are experiencing, what seems like. nothing but native ads?

  • You’re on facebook.
  • You’re scrolling.
  • You’re looking for all your friends’ pictures or videos.
  • But more and more, it just seems like your feed is cluttered with APASUs (Ads Posing As Status Updates)?

 

It’s getting that way. And people will grow jaded of it. Inevitably, Facebook will change things up again.

Think of Twitter’s evolution just in the past three or four years: Character-exclusive tweets ➜ URL shorteners ➜ images ➜ videos ➜ entirely revamped look and feel… ➜ inevitably more video ➜ inevitably fewer steps to purchase (click within your feed).

And this prediction is only speaking about how things look and feel and how Facebook (and others) can stay an effective platform for advertisers… I haven’t even touched on what others are speculating—how Facebook might enter into the health and fitness space (which, you gotta admit, could be really cool.  When was your last work out? Now, what if the right Fb-friend kicked you in the pants and got you off the couch?)

So we’ll see inevitable change. (These are publicly traded companies, they have no choice but to stay on their toes and innovate!)

Bonus: Google will gain more SMB advertisers with their new rollout of AdWords/Google+ integration.

As an AdWords manager, this got me sort of excited when I heard it.  I knew Google, in constant competition with Facebook, had to get something out there that was creative and pushed the envelope a little.  So Google will be allowing Google+ content to easily appear across the Google Display Network (millions of sites) through a clever integration with AdWords.

So here’s what this (to my understanding) will sort of look like:

Know how Facebook lets business boost posts? And how simple and easy it is? Some kind of content on the organization’s Facebook Page gets a boosted with a little cash behind it and an audience … and voila!  That content now gets to be seen by many more Facebook users.

But what about the rest of the world wide web? What about all that other real estate out there that can hold an ad?

Well, this is the answer to that. It’s called “Promoted Posts.”  This would mean Google has leveraged its very broad reach and allowed businesses to do essentially the same thing they could do on Facebook with boosted posts.  Except, in this case, a boosted post can get you seen in potentially millions of relevant websites – not just within the world of Facebook.

Bonus No. 2) You’ll see bunches of wearable tech hit the market. So what?

Wearable TechSo Google Glass has been out for a little while. It’s not realistic to be ubiquitous or take the masses by storm, especially with its expensive price point.  But what you can expect to see are more wearable tech.

Apple will launch its much-anticipated iWatch. No one knows yet (I think) what all it will do, but I’m eager to see what creative implementations will be used (or allowed to be used) considering we’re still in the infancy of this entirely new market.

Will our Google Glass or iWatch deliver ads in “augmented reality” style, switching up the message depending on when and where we are?  What would be other innovated ideas?

We have no idea about all that right now. I’ll quote another admirable voice, Karen Macumber, who claimed, “… we still have no idea what consumers will tolerate and appreciate — and that’s critical to crafting the right use case for marketers.”

To those who keep the center, centered—those that understand, “it’s not about the device, it’s about the person”—they’ll come out ahead.  Each and every time.  And the rest will take some great inspiration from the pioneers and have their own challenges.

Best to ask: how can we tell our story differently, just with new tools?

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