Inbound Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2015

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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Recently, we took a look at some of the top inbound marketing trends of 2014 that shaped the field during the past year.

It is critical analysing what happened in 2014 as we embark on a new year, but looking backwards is only looking at half of the puzzle when it comes to inbound marketing.

To fully prepare for the future, we also need to use information from the past to make predictions.

As the calendar flipped to a new year, here are some of the top marketing trends that we expect to see in 2015.

Sponsored Content Will Become More Widespread

You’ve already seen these types of ads on popular sites like Facebook and BuzzFeed. As consumers are increasingly looking to use content to research the products and services that they want to buy, native or sponsored advertising that places an ad inside of this content is becoming a more effective way to advertise. Statistics on native advertising have shown that these ads are viewed 53% more than traditional banner ads.

As more popular media sites and blogs begin to follow the lead of major companies like Forbes and Mashable by offering sponsored content, this trend will only get bigger in 2015. Look out for more marketers who begin advertising through sponsored content that provides plenty of value for prospective customers, instead of the traditional banners and pop-up ads of years past. “Contextless” marketing is becoming like the “interruption marketing” of yesteryear, on which inbound marketing seeks to improve.

Less Emphasis on Keywords, More on ROI

For the past few years, many companies engaging in inbound marketing have focused on search engine keywords. Ranking highly in a specific keyword, especially reaching one of the top few listings, was the holy grail of online marketing.

Times have changed. 2014 saw some major updates to Google’s algorithm, including two big revisions to its Panda update and a brand new Pigeon update, which affected local search results. The general consensus in the marketing industry is that these algorithm updates represent an effort on the part of Google to reward sites with strong content. SEO executive Jayson DeMers wrote in a blog post for the international publication Huffington Post that sites with higher quality content that publish more often will receive the biggest benefits from Google updates.

Digital marketers need to follow suit by placing less emphasis on ranking highly in search engine keywords and more on the results of their ranking. After all, if you are ranking above a competitor in online search results, but they are doing better than you when it comes to page traffic and conversions, your search ranking doesn’t mean much.

2015 should be a year in which marketers shift their focus away from keyword metrics and towards their ROI. Research from 2014 supports this trend: the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2015 report on content marketing trends in Australia showed that only 20% of marketers consider themselves successful at tracking their marketing ROI, yet over 40% of Australian marketers report that measuring content marketing ROI is something that they want to start working on in the next year.

More Australian Companies Will Adopt Digital Marketing

You already know that digital marketing has seen a steep increase in popularity among consumers in recent years. Australian marketing research indicates that in 2014, 29% of consumers used social media to follow brands for promotions, almost double the 15% that did in 2013.

Likewise, marketers plan on increasing the amount of money that they spend on effective digital marketing tactics in 2014. In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 report, it was noted that just under half of all Australian content marketers plan to spend more money on content marketing, while nearly 15% plan to spend significantly more money on their content marketing.

All signs point to the digital revolution getting stronger than ever in 2015. Look for more companies to start blogging, setting up social media accounts, and interacting with their existing customers and prospects through digital mediums.

Professional Marketers Will be More In-Demand

Although digital marketing is becoming more popular, a closer examination of the statistics regarding Australian marketers reveals an interesting trend: more companies are beginning to outsource their marketing work.

oDesk, an online platform that specialises in connecting freelancers with businesses looking for them, recently opened an office in Australia. Matt Cooper, a Vice President at oDesk, reported that blog and article writing is one of the fastest-growing types of work outsourced on the crowd-sourcing platform. This shows the growth of price-conscious companies engaging in “DIY” content marketing.

To further corroborate the rise in demand for professional marketers, consider the biggest challenges faced by Australian marketers according to CMI’s report. The top challenge for Australia’s marketers is producing engaging content: half of all marketers report that this is a difficulty they face with marketing.

Besides this revealing statistic, consider two more facts:

  • First, the marketing challenge that saw the largest increase in prominence between this year and last year’s edition of CMI’s study was “finding trained content marketing professionals.” Nearly one-third of Aussie marketers are having difficulty with this task.
  • Second, the perception of their own effectiveness at content marketing, a critical facet of inbound marketing, is going down among Australian marketers: 33% reported last year that they were effectively using content, compared to just 29% this year.

When you look at the numbers as a whole, you can draw the conclusion that Aussie marketers are frustrated by not having access to the right people for their marketing needs, which has resulted in them feeling like their efforts are less effective. If you have never before thought about outsourcing some of your marketing needs, 2015 is a better time than ever to take the leap.

As you make plans for this year, remember to take some time to reflect on what you can expect from the marketing world in 2015. This year should be an interesting one, full of change and new developments for marketers, just like 2014 before it.

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