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!

Summary
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The 5.1 Big Digital Trends for 2015
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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.
Author

SEO Survival Tactics for Small Business and Freelancers

SEO is tricky to navigate, especially for small business owners and freelancers. SEO Survival Tactics for Small Business and Freelancers is our attempt to help you see through the fog of technical terms used by experts.

While medium to large companies can afford to buy expert knowledge to optimize their websites and social media sites for search engines, small business and freelancers lack the time or deep pockets to compete, andseo2 are often squeezed out of the market when it comes to SEO. Repercussions from this mismatch include both minimized presence on the Internet and limited lead generation from searches on Google or Bing.

Think global, act local

But, even if small businesses don’t have the same budgets as medium and large companies to compete for top rankings on search engines, they should remember a few things:

  1. A website is a basic part of marketing these days, and to be successful it requires both upfront and ongoing investments.
  2. Although the Internet is worldwide, your business is regional or local, so you need to concentrate on being found in local and regional searches.
  3. Websites are always evolving and your key words and key phrases need to do the same.
  4. Search engines try to provide the best answers to a query, so if you do not provide relevant content, they will ignore your website.

The Internet can be your greatest marketing tool if you stop acting like a fool

So how can you stretch your company’s small budget to include effective search engine optimization? Luckily, the situation is not hopeless. As an entrepreneur, you need to

understand that the Internet can be your greatest marketing opportunity, if you stop acting like a fool, hoping to learn everything you need to know about SEO in a few hours. As is true with anything in business, success is all about putting in the work – a lot of work.

A two-hour seminar is not enough. Anyone who can think a bit logically and is not a complete technophobe can teach him or herself enough SEO to bring their websites and social media entities up to speed. The web contains a lot of literature on the topic, including plenty of blogs and online tutorials. But beware that trying to read all of the information you can get your hands on can cost you more than just your time, it can also draw focus away from your core business.

So where should you start?

If you operate a local business, a Google Places listing is a good first step. Registering your business will create a connection between your physical location and your website that search Local SEOengines, makes it easier for them to find your site and place it higher in any local searches in your business category. This simple step can increase your search results in a fairly short time frame.

Another thing you can do is to create meaningful headlines on your website. These will providing Google and other search engines with relevant key words and phrases from your site’s content that can then be used to provide useful search results. Use keyword tools such wordtracker.com or übersuggest.com from Google.

A more costly alternative is to use Google Adwords. Although effective, make sure that you have a clearly defined budget and understanding of which key phrases and words are effective for your business before you embark on this path. But, if you are very disciplined with your budget, this option can generate a lot of traffic and leads for your business or website at a reasonable ROI.

Leaving SEO to that friend of a friend can cost you more in the long run

SEO for Non-SEO specialists is a bit of an uphill battle, but you can master it and succeed if you have are tenacious. But, keep in mind that you are competing with a well-honed online marketing industry with a successful track record of helping medium to large business succeed. Running effective internet marketing campaigns are not easy – or free – and that friend of a friend who can help you out could cost you more in the long run.

Summary
Article Name
SEO Survival Tactics for Small Business and Freelancers
Description
SEO is tricky to navigate, especially for small business owners and freelancers. SEO Survival Tactics for Small Business and Freelancers is our attempt to help you see through the fog of technical terms used by experts.
Author

Testimonial – one-two-five

Testimonial from a happy customer…

Brandmelder provided clear objectives and strategic insights when building my website, as well as suggesting an aggressive timeline for the execution to launch of my project. And most importantly, I had fun working with them!

– Jane Ravenshaw, President and Founder, one-two-five Inc.

Summary
Article Name
Testimonial - one-two-five
Description
Brandmelder provided clear objectives and strategic insights when building my website, as well as suggesting an aggressive timeline for the execution to launch of my project. And most importantly, I had fun working with them! - Jane Ravenshaw, President and Founder, one-two-five Inc.
Author