My Marketing and Social Media Predictions for 2015!!!

First of all let me take this moment to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! In this blog I’m going to highlight some of my predictions for 2015 in the social media and marketing space.

Instagram to Continue its Growth 

I recently wrote how Instagram now has more active users than Twitter and in 2015 I expect the photo sharing app to continue its growth in users. It wouldn’t surprise me if Instagram introduced many new features in the coming months of 2015 in addition to the recent ones. Also Instagram for business will increase as brands look to take advantage of Instagrams growing audience.

Social Advertising Spend

Many brands are now allocating funds for social media usage whether that’s for Promoted Posts on Twitter, Facebook ads, or investing in creative content, I expect more money to be spent on this growing trend. Brands are now spending more money on digital marketing activities such as social media, search or mobile, meaning greater focus is on these areas rather than traditional marketing.

The Rise of Snapchat

2015 should see the mobile app Snapchat increase it’s presence on the social media space. At the moment Snapchat only allows you to send photos but recently they announced plans to introduce a payment system called Snapcash, so more new features could be added to the app. I expect Snapchat to add greater enhanced features such as profile pages, more filters on Snaps and possibly a greater messaging system. Of course these are features that would enhance Snapchat’s service.

Mobile to Grow Even More

Every year we say that mobile will grow in the coming year, and you kind of think how much more can it grow?! But 2015 will once again see brands and consumers presence on mobile increase. This rise will see brands spend more money on mobile whether that’s creating or developing a mobile optimised site, introducing mobile payments or releasing an app, this sector is rising. Additionally, mobile advertising will grow as brands try to secure the screen on smartphones, as apps such as Twitter and Facebook enhance their advertising platforms. Also more people now have smartphones so brands are seeing this opportunity to advertise to a whole new audience as well as offer their products and services online.

Wearable Technology All The Rage

Wearable technology is going to rise even more as the year progresses through releases such as Smartwatches. This could see more watches that now offer users the chance to send texts, access email and other apps…oh…and maybe it’ll tell the time too.

Big Data will be…Big

Gone are the days of looking at data from your customers and ignoring it, but now these figures are becoming even more vital to gain great insights into a brands audience. 2015 will see social media and marketing managers analyse more data than ever to really find out who their audience is and what they like. This will see an increase in brands using analytics tools to see for instance what interests their social media followers are in to, where they are from, who they follow, whether they’re male or female and a whole multitude of other stats. All these demographic, geographic and psychographic insights will enable brands to create content that is more tailored to the audience, thus increasing engagement.

Content is the King of 2015

The marketing term that has been banished round for some time is ‘content’, and how ‘it is king’, and this will continue to be the case in 2015. There’s never been a more valuable time for brands to create and post content whether that’s a photo, a video or a status update which is interesting, shareable, creates awareness, is fun and of high quality. That’s why brands will invest money in developing this content whether that’s in house designers or outsourcing it to agencies.

Real Time Marketing (RTM) is the REAL Deal

More brands are now taking the opportunity to exploit internet trends and popular news stories with creative and humorous content. I’ll take you back to the summer when Apples ‘Bendgate’ was in full flight, and brands quickly jumped on the bandwagon. This is a classic example of a news story creating a massive influx of hilarity and fun from brands. I’ve previously written about how Real Time Marketing is the way to go as it illustrates to a brands audience that they’re current and at the same time keeping an eager eye on what’s going on in the news. I fully see more brands allocating time and money to creating great RTM campaigns in the year to come.

Of course, RTM isn’t always the best strategy to take as if you, and your competitors are all doing it, it doesn’t make it unique anymore. Thus it’s very important to have the first mover advantage of getting there before anymore else and getting something out quickly. However, always be aware that misfortune could happen to anyone…so it was Apple one day, it could easily be you another day…

Storytelling

When we say storytelling we aren’t about to tell you a fariytale…or maybe we are depending on the brand, but this is how brands can differentiate themselves by telling us a story of their brand or campaign. Take for instance John Lewis’ successful Monty the Penguin Christmas advert. This told us the romantic story of Monty and Mabel the penguins and their search for love and to spend Christmas together. These stories add emotion to us as viewers and in some cases make us relate with the narrative…maybe the love side, not being a penguin! Having a great story behind how your brand started or your campaign attracts the audience and creates fantastic social media content!

Personalisation

Brands more than ever are not trying to just post content that is targeted at the masses, but now is aimed at niche and specific people who can then in turn relate to it. The upcoming year will see brands trying to be much more personal with their activities. Obviously this won’t mean posting 100,000 different Twitter status’ for 100,000 followers, but a greater number of posts will target a brands audience. This comes hand in hand with big data and analysing a brands audience, as when they can see who their audience is, personalisation becomes easier.

There’s a lot of Talk about Chat Apps

One thing I’ve noticed over the past year is how much chat apps such as WhatsApp and We Chat have grown, and 2015 won’t see this stop. However, brands haven’t really exploited them yet, maybe because of their nature, but I’d be excited to see how brands in 2015 will use these as the apps audience base grows.

A New Social Network? Is it needed?

There’s always one social network that suddenly grows and takes the social media landscape by storm. 2011 was Google+ (more a drizzle), 2012 it was Pinterest, 2013 was Instagram and 2014 was Snapchat, so who will it be in 2015? There might be a growth in current networks but could an entirely new one come to our attention. But is another social network needed? I mean I work in social media and am amerced in it everyday but even I struggle to follow what’s going on, on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and all the others, so how someone that doesn’t work in social media copes I don’t know! I don’t think my life at the moment needs another social network. I’d maybe prefer it to replace a current one. However, if the new network was unique and did something completely different I might find time for it!

So there’s some of my 2015 predictions! I’ll probably be writing a blog post in December to see if any of these happened…or if my mystic meg abilities are totally wrong! if you have any predictions for 2015 please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news follow this blog, and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart .

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Top Ten Website Metrics You Need to Know

Websites are incredible. They provide us with loads of useful and great information with hours of entertainment. However, nowadays there’s added pressure to keep them updated and performing effectively. A way to improve a website and monitor how it’s doing is through website analytics or metrics, and this blog is going to provide the top ten that are most valuable to know.

(1)    Visits

The first metric is visits which is how many times a user has visited your site. So when you visit a website such as this page,  this is registered as one visit. The greater number of visits you get to your website, the more you can determine that it’s designed effectively and has efficient usability.

(2)    Unique Visits

This metric measures how many ‘unique’ users have visited your site. These users have visited the site more than once and have retuned, rather than just visiting it once, and never coming back. So we’re not talking about ‘hits’, as hits aren’t a reliable metric. The main reason for this is that a ‘hit’ indicates how many times a page was downloaded. So if you have ten images on your website, each would be downloaded, thus ten hits. However, you only visited the site once, so it’s not credible. Thus, you want to measure unique visitors instead.

(3)    Page Impressions

Page impressions is a fancy word for page views! So whenever a page is viewed by a user, this will register as an impression. Sounds ‘Impressive’ doesn’t  it?! However, just because you have a high number of page views doesn’t mean that your website is designed well or has good usability. For instance, if a thousand people visit your site but no one purchases or they leave straight away, this means your site might not be that effective.

(4)    Duration (Stickness)

It’s quite revealing to find out how long someone has been on your site for. I mean you could be on a site for an hour, and might not actually have purchased anything. Or you could be there for five seconds and left. So knowing how long the average user spends on your site provides a great indication as to how well again your site is designed and its usability. If users aren’t spending that long on your site it could mean they don’t like it! Or it could mean they actually found what they were looking for quickly.

Alternatively if they are spending a long time on it, this could indicate they can’t find what they’re looking for. Or that they’re really engaged with the site and love it! So it’s quite a misleading figure this one. It’s only when combined with other analytics that you get an idea of your sites effectiveness.

(5)    Churn Rate

This metric is usually used for email marketing and provides the marketer with the number of people subscribing or unsubscribing from their emails. If the churn rate is high then it’s probably best to rethink your email strategy, whether that’s the copy, design, subject title or when and how you send it. As a high churn rate illustrates that people aren’t engaging with your messages. Conversely, a low churn rate means you’ve got an effective email marketing strategy in place. But as ever it’s not always that easy! Just because people don’t unsubscribe doesn’t mean they engaged with the message, as they might still have just deleted it!

(6)    Attrition Rate

The attrition rate is more applied to e-commerce websites rather than your standard information only sites. This figure provides the number of visitors lost at each stage of the purchasing process. If the figure is 100% then this could  mean someone visited your site by accident, and left straight away. However, the further you go down the attrition rate, the more problems the website might have in the purchase process. For instance, someone might not purchase a product because the page loads slowly or the site has poor navigation or there are high shipping costs. Whatever the reason, the purchasing process is affected by so many variables, and this figure can indicate at which stage the buyer leaves.

(7)    Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of users that visit a site, then leave it. Therefore, they go to the website page, then exit it straight away. This means that something initially attracted them to the site, but they left as soon as they got there, possibly because they clicked on the wrong link or the design or usability were poor. If the bounce rate is high then this could mean the landing page needs to be redone in terms of its design, usability and copy.

(8)    Exit Rate

The exit rate is when a user visits your site, has a look around, then leaves. Therefore, you can see which page users are leaving from. This could be the ‘landing’ page or a ‘purchasing’ page or maybe the ‘help’ page.

So there’s a difference between the bounce and exit rates. If a user visits the site then leaves straight away this is measured as a bounce. Whereas if they look around the site and click on a few pages, then leave, this is an exit.

(9)    Referrals

This is where the user has come from when they visit your site. So a user might have visited the site from a search engine, an email or possibly a social media channel. But knowing where they come from indicates where best to invest future time and funds into. If social media is playing a big part in generating traffic then more focus could be placed on this.

(10) Conversion Rate

I’ve saved the best till last! As I feel the conversion rate is probably one of, if not the most important metric. This is the percentage of users who take a desired action on your website whether that’s purchasing a product, signing up to or registering for something. The call to action that you want them to perform can be measured from this figure. The higher the conversion rate, the more successful your website strategy is. For instance, if you run an e-commerce site with a high conversion rate, this indicates that you generate a lot of purchases and have a well-designed website with good usability.

So there we have it. There’s ten essential website metrics that every marketer should look at in order to implement and run a successful website.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please sign up to my blog or follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart