1.Mobile-only/Mobile-first will be the rule, not the exception.
In 2015 every website must be mobile-ready because everything's shifting mobile. What's more, according to Ovum, one billion people will use mobile as their only form of Internet access in 2015. 93% of users on Facebook are accessing the internet via mobile in SA - that’s more than 10M people!
Fun fact: there are more SIM cards than people in SA…
Our mobile-only and mobile-first users will influence online media in so many ways. User experience (UX) is everything and the focus must be on sophistication and simplicity. Companies spend so much time and money perfecting their brand story and brand DNA, only to have it overlooked in three seconds by a complicated, or lazy mobile UX.
EVERTHING changes on a smaller screen. Don't allow your brands to simply import their website to mobile, or take an already shoddy mobi site and convert it into an "app" - you will lose points immediately with consumers if your fonts are tiny and it’s hard to navigate. It's too easy for consumers to move on to another brand that 'gets mobile' and leave your client wondering why they only see a 1% conversion rate.
Mobile payments will ramp up in 2015 (in US first, the rest of the world will follow), with the battle for the backend processing heating up between Apple Pay and CurrentC. Is there an ad unit in there? Probably. Watch this space.
2.Pre-targeting is the new real-time.
Pre-targeting and pre-targeted ads use big data to predict a buyer's preference with relevant and smart messaging while they're in the buying phase, not after it.
In 2015 we'll see many big data efforts finally pay off and move from being a "black box mystery" to a benefit for consumers. At Cannes Lions earlier this year, Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer, took a stab at summarising what this might mean: "We talk a lot about big data, but what this is, is big insights with real consumer benefit."
He was talking about Unilever's YouTube page, 'All Things Hair' (there are over 11 billion annual searches for 'hair'). In partnership with Google, Unilever uses data to predict a trend before it actually happens. Google then forwards these patterns on to a team of video bloggers who create instructional pieces of content. The Unilever/Google team says it can predict with 90% accuracy what the next big trend is three months before it happens. Using this information, the CPG giant started a YouTube channel called 'All Things Hair' featuring popular video bloggers. Launched in two markets in 2013, the channel became the number one hair care channel in those markets with over 17 million views.
This is big data, nothing over the top, simple and really straight forward use of data (research) to mine insights. The term has become something used to delight and confuse but it really isn't anything to be scared of. Traditional strategists have been using data for generations already; this data just came without 'big' attached to it. All we need to do now is overlay data from digital campaigns/sources and then we will start to see 'BIG' results and insights.
3.The democratisation of content changes everything
2015 is shaping up to be the year when everyday users begin to harness the amazing capabilities of technologies like GoPro and Hyperlapse to produce truly awesome content. The ease of use of these tools and the spectacular, high-quality content they can produce could turn the content marketing world on its head. Visual storytelling, the 'secret sauce' of agencies and brands, is now in the hands of everyone.
Agencies and publishers will do well to act both as creative director and content consultant to harness the power that is this content creation 'thing'. They’ll also need to have a good working knowledge of how these new visual tools work - especially in the hands of consumers.
Next, they should help clients think through how to strategically use these new technologies to increase interest in their brand. GoPro's own marketing strategy proves that tools in the hands of a brand advocate - whether an amazing athlete or a regular user - can produce marketing gold.
As Fast Company reports, "This is the new media reality … regular customers have become advertisers on a smaller scale, shooting high-quality video, loading it onto YouTube and social networks, and advertising the capabilities of the cameras to friends, family, and complete strangers."
4.The IoT and wearables are about to get really interesting
No question that the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are changing our personal and business lives. From smart light bulbs to TV's, consumers are fascinated with managing their own ecosystems with their connected devices and smart phones.
Businesses are reshaping their processes and ramping up everything from improved supply chain management to efficiency on the hospital or manufacturing floor with smart, connected devices and employees.
2015 will see the addition of wearables into the mix in a big way globally.
It will be interesting to see what the penetration into the local market is like, I have a feeling, just like with all new tech, SA users are as keen as the rest of the world but are often put off by the ridiculous prices we have to pay for early adoption.
Everything from glass apps on the shop floor, to smart watches, to fitness and health devices, consumers seem ready to incorporate technology into their everyday lives with wearables. And companies like Salesforce are early proponents. This summer, Salesforce announced a developer initiative called Salesforce Wear, which, according to Datamonitor is "a new initiative designed to fast-track the development of apps that link wearable devices to the company's market-leading business cloud ecosystem. The aim is to build contextually-aware, frictionless apps that complement the unique user experiences (UX) that wearables provide."
5.Advanced analytics become the norm in Digital Media.
In 2015 we'll see smart media companies adopting data-driven strategies that move beyond just accessing 'big data' to actually integrating data into everyday marketing decisions, product development and campaign planning.
Two things are coming together: A robust growth in data sources, and the need to turn that data into actionable insights. According to Gartner, in 2015 a full 65% of packaged advanced analytics programmes will come embedded with Hadoop, an open source programming framework for large-scale data analysis that's especially adept at analysing poorly structured data, text, behaviour analysis and time-based queries.
Bottom line is, this means that big data and advanced analytics can be used to drive sales growth through more effective marketing and advertising. Identifying the right prospects and presenting them with the right offers and prices - at the right time - is the holy grail of advertising.
Bring it on, we're ready!