The 5.1 Big Digital Trends for 2015

Why 5.1 big digital trends for 2015? Why not!

At year’s end, we marketers can expect to be swamped with trends and predictions of the next big thing from a flock of digital marketing gurus, all predicting the future (or more likely popular sentiment swirling around in the digital ether) from their crystal balls.

But for all their prophesying, it never fails to surprise me how often the really important stuff gets misinterpreted or ignored completely by the experts.

Consumers are thinking on their feet these days – and we need to keep up with the pace of change out there in the real world. So without further ado, here is my list of trends that you might otherwise miss:

1. At 1.8 Billion Photos Shared Daily, Image is King.

Conversion rates will continue to be driven by consumer engagement, creation and sharing in 2015. Images communicate ideas 20x faster than text, meaning that users are far more inclined to click-through to content that include high quality images (including branded products and services).

In 2014, an estimated 880 Billion photos were taken. Of these, over 1.8 Billion were shared daily – an 150% increase from 2013. Nearly 10% of all organic searches are now for images, and 40% of all search results contain “some kind of visual component” (according to Bing). And, as of September 2014, image search traffic had a conversion rate 11% higher than non-image organic search traffic. When you add it all up, optimizing visual content should be priority #1 in the coming year.

2. Responsive Design Rules.

I think we can all agree that the desktop (and even our beloved laptops) have given way to a new generation of mobile devices. But, have you seen how many websites are out there – including large corporate sites – that don’t perform well on your new smartphone or tablet? As a marketer, I can’t believe how many companies (whether B2C or B2B facing) haven’t kept up-to-speed across an ever-expanding array of devices, interfaces and touch points that their clients or consumers are using. As the majority of digital traffic goes mobile, having responsively-designed digital properties – that look great everywhere – will be a key determinant of success in 2015.

3. Mobile Search will Dominate.

Mobile search has already reached the tipping point in Canada. According to IAB Canada (Dec. 2014) mobile users now claim the majority of time in Canada, with 53% of total traffic currently being spent on mobile devices, including smart phones and tablets.

What’s even more interesting is that Non-video related mobile activity stands at nearly 9 hours per week on mobile devices versus just under 4 hours on desktops. We’re spending almost twice as much time productively these days on mobile devices vs. that laptop collecting dust in their home office. The majority of spend, organic traffic and paid clicks can only increase as traditional devices become completely obsolete and are completely replaced by smart, mobile devices. It’s time to start asking: is your brand mobile ready?

4. Year of the Mobile Wallet?

Near Field Communication (NFC) is here to stay – especially after Apple’s successful push into the market with the iPhone 6 and its strong Christmas performance in 2014.

But, the biggest mobile-commerce breakthrough may come when Apple Pay’s is eventually incorporated into Safari, allowing users to purchase items directly on their touchscreen, removing the hassle of entering credit card numbers and account details with a single fingerprint.

Although consumers might still be a bit hesitant to completely embrace this payment technology in 2015, it’s important to note that people are already buying coffee with their devices, making the giant leap more of a small jump.

5. Improved UI thanks to Greater Connectivity.

As smart watches and wristband user interfaces become more ubiquitous, pressure on user interfaces to be simplified will only increase.

Similarly to the current situation, where a wide range of non-standard displays and interfaces must be supported, challenging brands to constantly re-think and redesign how their information and services are delivered to users across all these different devices.

Just as the demands of mobile devices have forced web designers to simplify things so that the UI works well on smaller screens with different aspect ratios – with a major impact on website design for desktops and laptops – new user interfaces that lend themselves to smaller and smaller devices (i.e. Glanceable UI) will become more prevalent – as designers seek to removing friction from user interactions with increasingly simplified, connected and wearable devices.

5.1 Digital Disruption!

Companies continue to adapt too slowly to digital developments, missing out on increasingly large business opportunities as their customers move out of their ‘digital reach’.

For many companies this is due to the fact that digital has become a function within the organization, rather than a tactic to be considered as part of the company’s business development strategies. CFOs and CEOs rarely get involved in digital initiatives deeply, which can create a knowledge gap between reality and the C-Suite (Think of the brouhaha after Bush Senior’s first encounter with a checkout scanner – years after they had become commonplace).

And this gap is getting worse… with Gartner predicting that 50% of digital transformation initiatives will be unmanageable due to internal skills gaps by 2016… But that’s a story for next year!

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The 5.1 Big Digital Trends for 2015
At year's end, we marketers can expect to be swamped with trends and predictions of the next big thing from a flock of digital marketing gurus, all predicting the future from their crystal balls.