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2015 Digital Marketing Data and Comms Predictions

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Grant Whiteside

Ho Ho Ho

As we get into Christmas spirit and everyone digs out their crystal balls and begins to make their predictions for the year ahead, it also gives us time to think about the marketing headlines we read in 2014 and consider that, in reality, we may well put these into practice in 2015. In truth, over the past few years, we have drowned ourselves in content, opinions and ideas to the point where the majority of it falls onto deaf ears and the industry is now so time poor that we rarely action the things that we said we would do.

2014 was a great year for tools and for choices for brands and agencies, so much so, that, in many cases, we missed the point . We can measure almost anything now but, inevitably, just as soon as we had understood analytics and had formed actionable goals and agreed KPI’s, then the goal posts will change yet again ahead of 2015.

Elections and Disruptive Industries

For me, 2015 will all be about disruption. The UK have a general election looming this year, it will create uncertainty in the industry and it could slow down investment opportunities with so many permutations of how this may pan out. The marketing industry will respond to this and the backlink, social and sentiment tool providers will be quick to point out that they may have a greater grasp of what the population are thinking than the traditional ‘publishers’ with their hidden political agendas and favoured choice of polls. Our general election will be more ‘digitally aware’ and probably more blighted by opinion than ever before (after all, a statistic is simply number until you put into context). Content will become opinionated and sentiment will be realised through branded marketing messages in 2015; make sure you read between the lines, not everything will be as it seems.

Expect to see the US marketing machine limbering up for their 2016 general election next year as well. There’s a lot of VC interest in Europe from both the US and Asia currently, so I can imagine the top providers in data, tech, social and marcoms will all be watched with keen interest as the latest ‘social listening’ tools take a more prominent centre stage position. The UK general election may change how others play their game plan in the future.

Mobile Video Content and Advertising

If 2014 was the year of content, then the star of the show in 2015 will be mobile video content and mobile video advertising. Paid search will still cover more than half of the entire digital marketing spends, but it’s those niche areas like mobile video advertising that will demonstrate the massive growth as the device market grows and the content that works particularly well on it grows exponentially.

Native Advertising

‘Native advertising’ will be the most hyped, ambiguous marketing service of 2015, as media buyers try and reposition Display advertising away from the agencies that have called it Programmatic. There will be brands that will be fooled by the new sheeps’ clothing and before they know it they’ll realise that their affiliate partners and agencies have been replaced by vendors that are actually selling their media space, not their marketing expertise. In short, too many people are offering a service that people need and there isn’t enough quality digital space to go around. 2015 will still reek of mistrust between vendors, agencies and media buyers, the inevitable outcome will be that clients lose out until the industry matures and eventually consolidates.

More Penguins and more Digital PR

Google isn’t going to slow down its cleansing of the web’s backlinks so expect to see more Penguin updates and more brands crash after using short term SEO solutions. The offset of this is the growth of the Digital PR industry taking a more rounded approach between search, social, digital PR and brand messaging. We’re already seeing the gap in the market between where SEO outreach has stopped working and where digital PR has provided massive gains. SEO services will move toward this area as will larger traditional PR agencies that are actively trying to get into the digital space.

Digital Marketing Training

Good quality, In house training in SEO, biddable media, content, analytics and web build / CMS will all be on the rise this year. These niche areas of tactical expertise that take years to properly learn have left brands feeling exposed. As more brands need to be closer to their content and marketing and the outcomes of their efforts need to be understood and controlled, we’ll see a need for in-house teams demanding to be educated to a far higher level.

Similarly, as more big brands get swayed by the promises of free or cheaper digital marketing as part of larger media buyer packages, you’ll see more paradoxical problems kick in. We’ll see more company directors realising that ‘cheaper’ or ‘free’ also means ‘ less profitable’ or even ‘banned’ from Google.  Training will go from a ‘nice to have’ to a necessity for many organisations.

So, those are my predictions for 2015. But enough of what Grant the grump thinks. We have invited a series of industry experts and vendors to offer us an insight as to what their challenges and opportunities for 2015 are shaping up to be. Please, have a look, it makes interesting reading.

Dixon Jones – Majestic

Gareth Hoyle – Link Risk

Laurence O Toole  – Analytics SEO 



Grant Whiteside
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