With a brand new year ahead of us, and lots of predictions being made about what 2015 will bring us in the world of social media and digital marketing, we decided to ask the experts in Europe for their thoughts.
Their snapshot insights are outlined below, and raise multiple areas that brands must consider embracing if they are to forge stronger relationships with their target audiences and establish meaningful engagements. What do you think—anything surprising amongst all of these, or perhaps there is something that you disagree with?
2015 Social Media and Digital Marketing Trends in Europe According to 15 Social Media Experts
“Whilst 2014 saw a continued rise in content, 2015 will see more brands embracing different types of content – beyond the written word or static images – that engages and adds value to their audiences. We will see a growth in multiple forms of content from far shorter and punchier blog posts through to animated videos and even interactive infographics. Furthermore, there will be much more emphasis on mobile content – brands are starting to see the value of creating content specifically aimed towards mobile users, especially as mobile marketing is growing at a staggering rate with more and more of us reading content on our mobile devices. Indeed, taking all this further, tailoring content to be unique and specific to different social networks as well as to specific devices should also become a reality too.”
Co Founder, Comms Axis
“Big brands will truly embrace the scale of digital in 2015, with its ability to match or often beat traditional media reach. In realising digital channels can play this big broadcast role they’ll then start exploring what still makes them different & unique – the ability to carefully target different content at subtly different audiences to ensure maximum impact will be chief amongst the answers. For consumers it should mean far more interesting & relevant adverts that build personal connections with brands at scale.”
Global Digital Director at Carat
“The over-arching trend for digital in 2015 will be about ‘joining the dots’. There has been a lot of activity and investment in people, technology, data, tools, content and so on in the last few years. But it needs to work together better. Be that better channel integration, more joined up processes and capabilities, data and systems that work together more intelligently etc. 2015 will be about getting the digital engine firing on all cylinders.”
President, Centaur Marketing
“What I believe will be big in 2015 is the rise of the internal social network. For years now brands have been developing a presence on external social media, but have been missing the opportunity to allow their own staff to collaborate with each other, breaking down departmental silos and crossing geographies. The gold in developing a collaborative culture is unlocking the brilliant minds we sit next to every day, along with the network drives and local files of information just waiting to be shared.
In the future, your value to an organisation won’t be what you know, it will be what you share.”
Global Partner, Social Business – IBM
“Getting smarter about which parts of the ‘grand vision’ digital brands can land as early birds, which customers notice and will appreciate. Value exchange around customer data is a prime example. Brands collect and hoard. Customers complain about low value for the effort. This is a mind-set challenge of thinking outside-in. Not a question of ‘must have’ tech. “You already know tons about me. Use to empathise around my key situations and personalise your responses. Just needs imagination.”
Thus a hot trend for 2015 will be ‘situational empathy’.”
“In 2015, content marketing will be increasingly used by companies that need to intensify their efforts to produce quality, creative, educational, targeted content on a constant basis. More brands will run social ads to amplify and broadcast their content in their attempts to go viral and to reach new audiences. Furthermore, advertising campaigns will become more micro-segmented thanks to broader targeting options. The end of the Facebook Like Gate has sounded the death knell for massive fan recruitment campaigns, which is a very good thing as it will help to build more qualitative communities and to better collect user data. 2015 will also see some brands experiment with social commerce as new features are developed by social platforms. And finally, brands and individuals alike will continue to adapt their websites for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).”
Consultante, Formatrice, Conférencière
Médias Sociaux et Webmarketing
“Digital has been a race to innovation and for many marketers that felt late; they have invested madly in Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps and anything, which seems cool and new. In 2014 realisation set it in that this approach wasn’t working effectively – fans are not always really fans. The sense of purpose and the brand’s values will help marketers to leverage digital as a part of their global strategy. Data will help them to make better decisions, and understand their customers and audience better.”
“If 2014 has been the year of content creation, 2015 will be the year of content ROI. Continue to build content, but be smart about it. It’s hard to produce quality content in quantity, so think about how anything created can be leveraged and re-purposed. Ditch thinking about social as a free-place market. As with any form of advertising, inventory on social is limited and will go to the highest bidder. Measure the effectiveness of your investment by how your work affects your sales, not just your likes and followers.”
Chief Strategy Officer at We Are Social.
“The biggest theme for me next year is data. More specifically how to harness data-driven insight and marry that with brilliant creativity.
We must ensure that our creative output is enriched by the possibilities of data-driven digital marketing, rather than being diminished by the purely rational, data-only approach.
Success in modern digital marketing requires a blend of data-driven insight and creative flair that produces ideas that are bigger than the sum of their parts.
There will always be room for pure creativity and pure data science, but the most fertile ground for brands in 2015 will likely be in the places they overlap.”
Chief Digital Officer at M&C Saatchi Group
“2015 will be the year of the creation of value through ‘member engagement’ (brands should drop quantitative KPI to focus on more relevant content and qualitative KPI). It will also be a year of transition as the new rule will be «mobile first, web second» both in terms of content visibility and content accessibility (Facebook apps, etc.).”
Social Media Manager (acti agency)
“Even though a number of channels have changed over the past few years and will continue to change, It does not mean ‘to be everywhere at any time’ but to follow a clear target. This applies to the social media giants such as Facebook or Twitter as well as many new channels like Yik Yak or Snapchat that change the communication in social networks annually. It is only possible to keep the orientation in the new channels when one defines clearly which audience should be reached.”
“If we consider Snapchat and what it represents – the notion of impermanence – how would our thinking of knowledge management change?
The knowledge base has become the keeper of information. When something resides there, it becomes powerful, unquestioned. But the reality is that it results in complacency, it becomes a dumping ground.
But how would we think about the knowledge base if it was somehow impermanent. Impermanence would force us to make decisions, to decide what was important, what was not, what should be in, what should not.
Once we free the knowledge base, we can truly start to free the way we think. This, together with Don Tapscott’s ‘shared canvas’, Clay Shirky’s ‘one another’s infrastructure’, suddenly takes on new significance. And for me, perhaps the biggest shift may be the start of a new type of worker who recognises that knowledge resides in the individual. The question is, how prepared is the organisation for this?”
Social Customer Care Consultant
“2014 was a watershed year for measurement. There is growing realisation that media measurement should not define your business performance metrics, but that business performance management must determine your approach to measuring media and influence. The easiest trend to predict is one that has begun, and 2015 will witness the continued maturing of all things measurement. (See http://eulr.co/AMEC2014.)”
Managing Partner, Euler Partners
“Brands will truly become social in 2015. Consumers deluged with inappropriate content will fight back. Much of so-called content marketing is the equivalent of direct mail in the 90s and noughties – too often it’s inappropriate and spam. The difference between what came through your letterbox and what is served on your Facebook or Twitter feed is the volume. Our news feeds are packed with brands trying to hijack a news event or own a moment. They don’t really care about what you think, but in 2015 they’ll have to. The brutal truth is that brands which fail to engage with their audiences on a social level will be ignored.”
European Digital & Social Media Director, Ketchum
President of the CIPR
“I’ve been working with the Managing Director of Social@Ogilvy EAME, Marshall Manson, on our big trend predictions for 2015 and the main one [of the three that we came up with] is that we believe Twitter will move to an algorithmic content serving model at some point in the New Year.
What this means is that, similar to Facebook before it, brands will come under greater pressure to deploy Twitter’s suite of paid products in support of any branded content they create.
We’re calling this ‘Twitter Zero’ and, when it hits, Promoted Tweets will become a necessity.”
Social Media Director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, London
For more reading on 2015 trends, read what we at Hootsuite have to say.