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What Actually Happened with Digital Marketing in 2015

digital marketing 2015

At the end of the calendar year, I like to go back and look at the predictions people made for that year and whether they were accurate or not. Therefore, I did some digging and looked up some articles that were published in late 2014 and early 2015 about digital marketing predictions for 2015.

Here’s what I found that did indeed ring true in ’15. 

Neil Patel for Forbes 

In his post “10 Digital Marketing Trends In 2015 That Will Boost Your Strategy” Neil Patel outlines “strategies that you should keep in mind over the next few months, if not the next few years of digital marketing.” Here are some of his predictions that came true this year.

Mobile Marketing 

Neil states that “mobile is the method of the masses, and should, therefore, be a priority of the marketers.” 

This is 100 percent on point. We saw a surge in the popularity of and the necessity for mobile marketing this year. Many successful campaigns kept “mobile search, mobile optimization, mobile conversions and mobile ubiquity” in mind when developing their marketing strategies.

New Payment Methods

In his post, Neil posited that new payment methods are on the rise, and we sure saw that this year. Not only do many social media sites have their own ways to pay (think Snapchat and Facebook), B2C e-commerce sites are dealing with many more forms of payment than before, and “digital marketers [need] to lead the way in reassuring, educating, and coaching customers through the transition.” 

Paid Advertising 

Neil wrote that “paid advertising is here to stay,” and we couldn’t agree more. While PPC is still important, there are so many new forms of paid advertising out there. In addition to PPC and advertising on social media, marketers can now get their messages to their target audience via paid video spots and other multimedia channels.

Marketing Automation

…is pretty ubiquitous. As Neil points out, it used to be only the “big companies with world-recognized brand names” that could afford marketing automation. Nowadays, however, it’s more affordable and easier to use, meaning most (and soon to be all) marketing agencies are using it. 

Content Creation 

I like how Neil put this: “Content, often referred to as ‘king’ is so essential to digital marketing that it can’t be dismissed as a ‘trend.’” 

He goes on to say that there will always be content and “it will always be important.” As we’ve discussed in many a blog post, content creation is essential to building your brand, raising brand awareness, amassing an audience and sending traffic back to your site.

Kim Garst for Huffington Post

In her post “7 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015” Kim Garst begins by noting that in 2014 digital marketing accounted for 25% of all marketing dollars spent and that that number was expected to rise to 33% in 2015. Here are the marketing trends she believed were most likely to dominate in 2015.

Content Value

Kim wrote that “2015 will be the year when content finally becomes about quality over quantity.” While this rings somewhat true, I still think we have a ways to go.

Yes, some marketers are getting it right and offering value to their audience with every post they publish. Others, on the other hand, still aren’t quite on board with and/or don’t understand what it means to provide value and why it’s so important.

Social Media

Kim is spot on with this one: “Brands that continue to use social media to PUSH rather than to ATTRACT will find themselves wasting a ton of time and money, and alienating their fans and followers.” 

It’s important to remember that social media should be used to provide valuable content, build a community, and attract leads, not to constantly push a product or service. I think that in 2015, people finally started to get this.

Content Marketing

Kim points out that whereas before, the SEO department was responsible for content creation and dissemination, in 2015 content marketing would become “integrated company-wide.”

As people have seen the value of what everyone can bring to the content marketing table—from the sales team knowing a lot of prospect’s frequently asked questions to customer service’s knowledge of existing client’s biggest concerns—more and more types of useful content are being published. 


While these trends will continue to evolve over time, it’s important to stay mindful of where they began and how they’ve changed. This will not only help us adjust other aspects of our marketing strategies that might be outdated, but will also keep us primed and ready for the next incarnation. 

What other trends did you see in 2015? What are your predictions for 2016?

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Lolly Spindler


Lolly Spindler

Lolly Spindler is the Content Marketing Manager at xoombi. A writer by trade, Lolly loves to make the written word work for clients by delivering high quality, engaging content to their audiences. She leads the xoombi content marketing team in executing demand generation, SEO, and copy editing strategies. Lolly is a graduate of Boston University.


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