Three (rather ranty) predictions for 2015

For my end-of-year post, I am going to have a little rant at three areas of digital marketing that are being dragged down by impropriety.
It would be great to think that our industry is made of sugar and spice and all things nice, but it isn’t.
However, I do believe that 2015 will be a turning point for content, social and search, and if you know me, you’ll know I’m always a believer in turning negatives into positives.
So what can we expect this trio of digital mainstays to throw at us in the coming year, and what good will come out of it?

1. Content will eat itself

The trouble with buzzwords like content is that people get way too excited. If it was a physical product, there would be queues of people camping out for days ahead of launch in order to be the first to touch it, to sample it and to go on record and tweet about it. Early adopters would be doing selfies with ‘content’ in the frame and they would be bending, blending it, dropping it and filming it.

Content overload
Our heads are being filled with too much content. Image (CC): Martino F/Flickr

Just look up ‘iPhone 6 test‘ on YouTube to see what I mean.
But it’s not a physical product. It’s just a collective name for all the different types of content that brands and marketers have been, or should have been, producing for years, such as video, audio, text and pictures.
It’s a great word for that purpose, but it’s just getting far too overused. And abused too, notably by late-to-the-game service providers who think desperate businesses will queue up at their door for help if they say ‘content’ often enough.
It’s like a content Gold Rush, everyone scrabbling to create content at whatever cost – but it’s not the businesses on the ground that are to blame it’s the freeloaders inciting desperation and offering salvation. The result is poor content, content for content’s sake, diluted content, too much content, obscure content, duplicate content.
And this is a cycle that happens over and over with buzzwords, the freeloaders will only stay on the bandwagon until the money dries up, then they’ll go looking for another buzzword. This has to come to an end in 2015.
The positive: Business owners will become better at recognising the need for good quality, relevant content.
[tweet “‘If content was a physical product, people would be camping out for days’ #blogazine #predictions #2015”]

2. Social will become serious

The coming year will be a wake-up call to businesses that social media isn’t the free tool they thought it was going to be. Facebook has progressively turned down the organic visibility of page posts to increase their ability to monetise.

Playtime's over – it's time to get serious with social
Playtime’s over – it’s time to get serious with social. Image (CC): Radley J Phoenix/Flickr

That has ruffled feathers in the maketing community and Facebook advertising has been met with mixed feelings, but people are coming to terms with it.
Twitter will be hard on its heels. Instagram and Pinterest are following closely. Social advertising is here to stay and I think it’s a good thing.

  • It will put an end to the moaning about Facebook trying to capitalise on its membership.
  • It will bring seriously needed clarity to ROI (return on investment) in social media, as businesses will be able to relate expenditure to income and quantify results they are familiar with.
  • It will make advertising on social media more acceptable.
  • It will make businesses owners think harder about the content they produce for marketing.

Next year will end with companies having a clear place for social media in their budgets, some of it will be related to the networks’ fees and some will be related to the creation of content, either internally or externally.
The positive: Business owners will finally have a measurement metric they can relate to – money.
[tweet “‘Social advertising will bring seriously-needed clarity to ROI’ #socialmedia #2015”]

3. Let’s knock bad SEO on the head

This is a hope more than a prediction. Or perhaps a plea.
You know those arcade games where little rodents pop up from random holes and you have to hammer them on the head before go back down. I discovered it’s called ‘Whack-a-mole’, but I call it the SEO game. The little beggars just keep popping up and no matter if you knock them on the head, they just keep on coming back.
They’re thick-skinned too, you can whack them with all your weight and they’re back again, sporting a smug grin, until time runs out.
Joking aside, it’s fairly widely known that Google, and indeed Bing, have done great work over the last few years at uncovering much of the bad practices that spoils user experience. But even today, there are sneaky little SEO critters popping up far too often with their shady techniques, like keyword stuffing, link farming, comment spam, etc.

Whack an SEO today
Knock an SEO mole out in 2015. Image (CC): Laura/Flickr

They’ve either been cut off from the real world or maybe they think Google will forget about them.
It won’t. Their time is running out too. And let’s hope that will be in 2015.
Moles are blind animals that live under the ground in a network of connected tunnels leaving dirty zits on the landscape and a big problem for the landowners. I’m just saying!
The positive: If you’re following best practice and industry guidelines, you’ve got very little to worry about.
[tweet “‘Whack-a-mole – I call it the SEO game, because the little beggars just keep popping up’ #seo #2015”]
What do you think? Share the article on your favourite social network and let me know.

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