Throughout 2014 Gravytrain published numerous articles discussing best practices and advice for SEO, PPC, Content, Social Media, Web Design, Magento and more as we are dedicated to succeeding within an industry that requires constant adaption and the adoption of highly optimised strategies.
Gravytrain has spent fifteen years working in the digital marketing industry, and since the beginning we have seen numerous changes. This is why we have decided to create our own round up of 2014 including what each member of our Search Team believes was the most prominent themes and events. We also asked each Gravytrainer what they think 2015 will bring to the digital marketing world, so if you want some exclusive insights make sure you take a look!
Even though each member of the Search Team has their own speciality, there is one thing that they all agree on and that is that digital marketing is becoming increasingly holistic. Even though some companies could benefit from utilising certain channels more than others, the reality is that the most successful campaigns are those that are intricately planned out and executed in a manner that will provide the most ROI.
2015 looks set to be another interesting year in the digital marketing world, which is why per usual we will be updating our Digital Marketing Blog regularly with information on everything to do with digital marketing and website design and development. We also have some exciting plans in the pipeline for the next twelve months, however these are strictly top secret for now. To find out more make sure you keep following Gravytrain on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram pages!
Jonathan Davies – Key Account Manager
The Paid Advertising marketplace during 2014 was the most competitive I have seen since coming to the industry.
There have been two main changes this year; the first being competition. A 50% increase in CPC was not unusual in order to maintain the same position. This was due to the volume of advertisers bidding more aggressively for the same spots in marketplaces which have not seen an increase in traffic. In fact, we have more advertisers wanting to appear in a marketplace where there were less queries compared with 2013.
The other main change we have seen is the shift in traffic per device. Desktop queries are down while mobile and tablet queries are up compared to the previous year.
My Prediction for 2015: I believe we will see more of the same, with further people wanting to pay for exposure of their businesses. This is why we have already begun ‘future-proofing’ our clients to ensure a successful year.
Adriano Cammarino – Senior Search Account Strategist
In 2014 Google announced that Universal Analytics is out of beta: for the first time it is possible to track users’ behaviour across different devices, website versions and moments. This is an extremely innovative tool as you can study how people behave on your website during the different stages of the buying process.
Another important update has been Google Authorship being removed in August 2014 after it was first announced in the summer of 2011: after 3 years Google has realised that it was not helping users find the right information in the search results.
My Prediction for 2015: In my opinion Google will try to tailor the search results even more towards user location and preference. There will not be a unique first ranking position for all users but 10 unique search results for each user.
Rebecca D’Cunha – Senior Social and Content Strategist
2014 was a revolutionary year for social media as we saw the after effects of two of the biggest social media platforms in the world – Facebook and Twitter – going public. Since then both of these platforms have focussed more heavily on their paid advertising platforms which I believe is set to continue, especially as Facebook is changing their algorithm in January 2015.
One of my biggest takeaways from 2014 was the fact that Facebook and other social media networks are becoming more like Google – they are placing an increasing amount of importance on high-quality, engaging content and eliminating spam whilst doing so. This is great as it means that we are seeing social media platforms becoming hubs for innovative content, however at the same time it means traditional social media strategies are dying out.
My Prediction for 2015: Social media strategies will start to focus more heavily on Social PPC and long-term content campaigns.
Matthew Cayless – SEO Manager
2014 saw some big shifts in the SEO landscape with several influential updates. In July Google improved how it handled local search results with an update that became known as ‘Pigeon’. This update created closer ties between the local and core algorithm, allowing for greater location clues and more accurate results.
In August Google gave a small ranking boost to any websites using the secure HTTPS/SSL protocols. However, they said that this signal may increase should the change prove to be positive.
One of the most anticipated algorithm updates came in October, and after a year of speculation and waiting ‘Penguin 3.0’ was released. This refresh impacted less than <1% of US/English search queries and rolled out over several weeks. The update was aimed at helping sites recover from previous ‘Penguin’ penalties and demote any sites with unnatural Backlink profiles.
My Prediction for 2015: Mobile traffic will finally overtake desktop traffic. As many businesses still haven’t optimised for mobile, webmasters still have a great opportunity to improve the mobile user experience and get ahead of the competition.
Joseph Volcy – SEO Strategist
Optimising for mobile was one of the biggest priorities in 2014 since Google is trying to keep up with the rise in mobile and voice search. We therefore increasingly need to keep mobile users in mind when creating and optimising websites.
According to recent research, more than 50% of mobile users want to purchase within an hour of performing a mobile search. This tells us a lot about the current situation and that mobile SEO should no longer be considered separate from desktop SEO. The priority will be to ensure that a SEO strategy should cater for both mobile and desktop users, while aligning with the overall business goals. This will certainly give an extra competitive advantage.
My Predication for 2015: Optimising for mobile will probably take even more importance in 2015 with further updates and roll-up of the recent Google local ranking algorithm update (Google Pigeon) launched in mid-2014.
Stephanie Bryant – Digital Marketing Executive
Email marketing when combined with other channels has never been so important. Email still remains the number one way of communication between customers and marketers; however 2014 was a year of transition as it was the year to really understand the data that you receive from your email campaigns.
For me it is important not to send an email campaign just because you can. It is important to really know your customers and understand what content and layout they are really going to interact and engage with. I also believe this isn’t just for email marketing, over the next few months I predict that everything will become all about the user, especially content; quality over quantity is what 2015 will bring and not just for email marketing! There is a lot of information out there and ensuring that what you are publishing is necessary, clear and precise will enable you to be distinguished from the noise.
My Prediction for 2015: 2015 will be the year of the user from online safety to only delivering messages to your users that are truly needed and not just because you can.
Cara Wagner – Digital Marketing Executive
When devising a digital marketing strategy everyone’s dream is to create something amazing that goes viral and promotes their brand, but unfortunately it is not always that simple. Being creative and designing something eye-catching can be very difficult especially if you are working in an industry that isn’t traditionally associated with ‘fun’ or ‘excitement’.
However, even if your industry isn’t considered ‘exciting’ there are still ways in which you can entice users to visit your website or buy your products. I have found that using a range of social media platforms is a great way to get your name out there; for example, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world but so many people are failing to use it to their advantage! Blogs are a great way of getting facts across, but to really entice people you need to get creative: design infographics, use colour, make your own videos and take advantage of the public holidays!
My Prediction for 2015: Digital marketers are becoming more aware of the importance of using creativity so make sure you get in there first!
Aaron Falloon – PPC Executive
2014 has seen PPC become an even stronger channel in digital marketing – one that has become more popular and competitive in various different sectors. More and more companies have begun to understand the potential PPC offers for business growth and lead generation.
Due to people’s increased knowledge, PPC is now more competitive than it has ever been and more refined strategies have started to emerge; essentially better practices and management of campaigns are happening across the board.
My Prediction for 2015: More businesses will look at PPC as a realistic marketing channel, therefore meaning a larger slice of marketing budgets will be spent on PPC as opposed to older, traditional initiatives. As a consequence, we will see a higher demand for PPC professionals and agencies. PPC will be a good place to be in 2015!