Digital Marketing Predictions & Trends for 2015

Since the turn of the year there has been an influx of articles, infographics and videos from prominent marketers and respected publications that have all taken a stab at predicting what digital marketing trends we’ll potentially be seeing this year.

Taking all of that collective information in its entirety, there is a lot for marketers to consider. Perhaps too much. So, we asked our own Envato Market marketing team for their personal thoughts on some of the latest marketing trends and to also share what key areas and innovations they felt we should be keeping an eye on this year as well.

Email Marketing by Dan Bruce

Email marketing will remain the most common means of marketing communication this year. An increasing amount of DIY tools will make it easier for anyone to build bulletproof, custom HTML email templates that look professional. Campaign Monitor’s Canvas, and the new Litmus Email Builder, are just a few examples.

The growth in email usage on mobile and wearables (like the upcoming Apple Watch) will take marketing emails beyond responsive design. We’ll see an increased focus on optimising pre-header text as a call to action in the preview pane, along with cleaner, stripped back, lightweight email marketing templates.

The Apple Watch will take marketing emails beyond responsive design.
The Apple Watch will take marketing emails beyond responsive design.

Email providers, such as Gmail, will continue to blur the lines between social media and your email inbox, with their Pinterest-style Grid View going mainstream.

New, more intuitive email tools, like Google Inbox and Paperfold, will change the way people prioritise, bundle and view marketing emails.

In 2015, response rates will continue to be squeezed, with only a couple of seconds to grab someone’s attention. That means 1:1 communication will continue to drive email strategy, with non-enterprise email providers, such as MailChimp, increasing the sophistication of their automation tools, making them more accessible to startups and small businesses. You should expect to see more direct emails based on your on-site behaviour (for example, things you favourite or save), beyond just cart abandonment.

The line between broadcast emails and triggered, transactional-type emails will blur. You only have to look at Airbnb and Uber, to see the design and tone of transactional emails closely mirroring the product experience. My current favourite in Australia is PowerShop. Who ever thought your electricity bill could be engaging!?

Who would ever had thought that your electricity bill could be so engaging!?
Who would ever had thought that your electricity bill could be so engaging!?

Likewise, the same goes for marketing landing pages. Beyond the importance of split testing and following a proven communication-flow, I think we’ll hopefully see some tired landing page ‘formulas’ broken, particularly in the B2B space, with a greater focus of beautiful UX design that support and enhances brand marketing efforts, while continuing to offer deeper content that converts.

Marketing Strategy by Alex Holmes

An increasing number of brands and stores will be using more and better content to sell their items, with quality content becoming more of a commodity, and with content ‘noise’ becoming more of a problem. Great writers (and probably some former journalists) will find their skills in demand by smart marketing teams.

Marketing teams are going to be getting more technical in nature, both focused on prioritising and optimising marketing software as well as taking lead on more design and development work towards landing pages and basic apps that build and nurture an audience.

In the world of media buying, keep an eye out for the continued growth of programmatic buying and third party content distribution services like Outbrain. The big question mark is how will publishers increase RPMs on mobile. How they choose to do this will dictate the best ways for us marketers to reach more potential customers and tell our stories better on mobile.

In terms of marketing work, more marketers will be turning to small, niche marketing agencies for individual projects rather than outsourcing all work to a single agency.

Consumption Trends by Becca Chen

Most of the trends from 2014 will continue this year, including the idea that anyone can learn anything. Lots of DIY and “teach yourself” apps will continue to spring up, teaching yourself anything from coding (possibly the most popular new year’s resolution of 2015) to AI coaches (Moov & Lumo).

The Internet of Shared Things (The Shared Economy + The Internet of Things) is still going to keep gaining momentum. The biggest sign is that established brands are getting involved, such as Audi’s Unite. AirBnB, Uber, BitLock and Lyft are all examples of companies that are growing very rapidly.

To early adopters, the internet of things is the future. A world where almost everything is controlled by a single personal device is no longer a fantasy, it is a reality“. – Niamh Corbett.

Consumption patterns are moving away from “traditional” demographic segments such as age, location, income and family status. Instead, increased access to ideas, information and resources, combined with the eroding connection between financial resources and social status is setting a “new normal“.

‘New’ status symbols may include the same trappings of wealth, but also include knowledge, connections & ethical and sustainable lifestyles. Especially online, social status indicators will be increasingly based on social connections and what you know.

Online tracking is in a bit of a contentious stage at the moment, more so than usual, due to the NSA controversy, where people are more aware than ever of being tracked. People are opting out of cookies in much higher numbers, especially with the new EU laws, and geo-blocking is being bypassed more than ever.

Tracking is pretty important for advertising however, so companies are trying to find new ways of finding out about consumer behaviour. Individual brands are trying to combat this, such as Lexus and Porsche, who are unveiling a series of intelligent billboards that tailor an ad to you. Since 2013, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook have all been working on ways to bypass cookies too.

Smart billboards are watching your wheels!
Smart billboards are watching your wheels!

Facebook may know all based on their meta-data collection, but is also relying on your Facebook credentials on third-party websites and apps via SSO. Facebook-owned apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram are also privy to your data. They’ve recently unveiled their Microsoft-bought Atlas ad platform to challenge Google in terms of ad revenue.

Logging into any of your Google accounts, IDs or Android phones ties you into the entire network. The good news is that Google’s Ad ID on their mobile devices is partly anonymous with the option to opt-out.

Apple is tracking you via iTunes, your email address, and all your Apple devices. While it doesn’t track you using third-party, Apple has created an IDFA to track you via ads it’s served. Like Google, the IDFA is partly anonymous and you can opt-out.

SEO by Saijo George

With Google taking a tougher stance on bad SEO practices with manual penalties and big algorithm changes, 2014 was a good year for real SEO consultants. In fact SEO was #5 on LinkedIn’s 25 hottest skills in 2014.

2015 should be no different, people with proven SEO skills will be in demand, especially with more and more brands building in-house teams to handle SEO.

Users will find all of the information they want from Google search engine result pages (SERP) and can now even buy products and services from there. Say you’re needing a restaurant reservation or to book a flight, or even buy a theme. (IMHO, it’s only a matter of time).

You can book a table at a restaurant through OpenTable without ever leaving the search results page
You can book a table without ever leaving the search results page.

UX (not UI) is important. It always was, but there is a renewed focus from Google on this front, especially on mobile devices. Mobile users are on the rise (the numbers might vary depending on the data source, but there is no denying that it’s on the rise). This is one of the reasons why Google has been making some changes on how non optimised sites are displayed in SERP.

Google has been making some changes on how non optimised sites are displayed in SERP.
Google has made changes on how non optimised sites are displayed in SERP.

Voice search will disrupt SEO as we know it, on page keywords in their traditional sense will have lesser significance. Semantic search will play a bigger role in SERP dominance. Google has been chipping away at this with their Hummingbird updates.

Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account.” – Danny Sullivan.

Marketers will have less search related data to work with. Google is giving a slight ranking boost to secure sites. The bad news for webmasters is that, more and more sites will stop showing referral data. So expect to see a lot more direct traffic in your analytics reports. First they take away the keyword data and now the referral data, this should be fun /s


One thing is for sure, 2015 is going to be one fascinating year for all marketers. So buckle up, things are about to get exciting!

What are your thoughts on some of the marketing predictions and trends mentioned above?

Paul Andrew

About the Author Paul Andrew

Paul is the founder of Speckyboy Design Magazine and writes web stuff for Envato. You can follow him on Twitter.