If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flying? Traveling in time? Something else?
When I was ten, it was to dunk.
I know what you’re thinking, that power isn’t super.
But to a short, chunky white boy who spent hours each day trading basketball cards and dreaming about playing in the NBA, it was.
When I was fourteen, it was mind reading.
If I could only read my crush’s mind, I could get her to like me, I thought. I still wish I had this superpower at times 😉
Now, it’s predicting the future.
Imagine the actions you could take (or avoid) today if you knew what will happen in a month, year, or decade from now.
For example, if you knew the price of crude oil was going to plummet over the last six months of 2014 (from over $100 to nearly $50), you could have shorted WTI Crude and made a tidy profit.
If I knew I’d be quizzed about the characters on my niece’s blouse during my family’s Christmas party last week, I would’ve watched the movie Frozen so I didn’t embarrass myself by insisting the snowman on her collar was Frosty (not Olaf) and the girl was Goldilocks (not Elsa).
Unfortunately, I don’t have this superpower (yet).
But I do try to mimic it by monitoring tech trends very closely. It’s my duty to the projects Heine Ventures works on to spot where online consumer behavior is and to accurately predict where it will be in the future.
So when a client recently asked me, “What are the top five tech trends I should watch for in 2015?” my thoughts rolled off my tongue.
Today, I’m sharing my response with you and suggesting actions your business could take to capitalize on them if/when they materialize.
So without further adieu, my predictions…
The top five tech trends of 2015
1. Web content that wins will be longer and more visually-appealing
This trend might seem counter-intuitive in a world flooded by short bursts of information in the form of pins, status updates and tweets.
But recent studies indicate that in comparison to short-form content, long-form content gets more shares….
…and therefore ranks higher in search engine results…
Of course there are exceptions to every rule. For instance, some A/B tests have found that longer landing pages performed worse than shorter landing pages.
For instance, when more content was added to the homepage of the website marketing the contact management tool, Highrise, paid signups dropped over 22%…
1. Long form content usually outperforms short form content. As we’ve shown, there are exceptions to every rule so A/B test your webpages – especially your highly trafficked landing pages – to make sure you’re not missing out.
2. I understand that you may not have the time to create content, but I challenge you to find the time to personally create some of it and closely monitor what’s published even if your venture is large. Your content will make your company’s first impression on new visitors and strengthen relationships with returning visitors.
We’re small enough at this point that I can afford to allocate my time to writing everything on our website. But I expect there may come a day when I’ll need some help. At that point, I’ll either hire a full-time employee or a go-to freelancer.
If you have limited funds, resources can be found on Elance, Odesk, Craigslist, ContentRunner or TextBroker.
3. Don’t write crappy content. Don’t just write 2,000 words to write 2,000 words. Only hit the publish button if it’s high quality content; this content marketing checklist will help.
2. You’ll be marketed to in a more personalized, automated way
Even though Eloqua launched in the late 1990s, the marketing automation industry has experienced its most explosive growth in the last few years, demonstrated by the success of companies like Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot and Infusionsoft.
Marketing automation has primarily been a B2B tech play, as evidenced by the industry’s consistent growth in revenue…
In 2015, I believe you’ll see more non-tech companies (there was only 3% penetration in this market in early 20141) and B2C tech companies jump on board.
For years, Amazon has leveraged personalized marketing automation with great success.
Now, smaller companies will be able to follow suit thanks to off-the-shelf software becoming smarter, more affordable and easier to adopt.
If you have a larger list of customers/subscribers (5,000-10,000+), I’d strongly recommend looking into using marketing automation software, which will help your messages remain relevant to the members of your audience at scale.
3. If you want to reach your followers, get ready to pay
If you have a Facebook business page, you’ve already felt the pain of publishing a post that’s seen by a fraction of your audience.
Get out the Kleenex because that number is going to drop “significantly” according to Facebook’s announcement. In mid-January 2015 Facebook will begin filtering out unpaid promotional status updates made by Facebook pages.
This is going to hit small businesses hard, especially those that are highly dependent on Facebook as a source of traffic.
Other popular social media sites like Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest also have paid advertising options. With content being published at an increasing rate on platforms like these, the competition for followers’ attention is increasing as well.
Neither of these outlets will be as much of a “pay-to-play” platform as Facebook has and will continue to become over the course of 2015, but they will certainly move more in that direction.
If Facebook is a primary driver of traffic and/or business for your company/website, don’t stop using Facebook. It still presents your business with a huge opportunity. Instead, I highly recommend running and testing Facebook ads as soon as possible.
Hire an expert to help you with this; otherwise, you can waste a lot of money running unoptimized ads.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, prioritize recruiting email subscribers. You own your email list and will get much better organic exposure communicating via email than you will posting on Facebook.
4. Mobile responsiveness will be the rule, not the exception
A few years ago, having a mobile-responsive website was a nice-to-have. Today, it is a must-have for two reasons:
- A significant amount of website traffic is coming from mobile devices and that will continue to grow
- Search engines are penalizing sites that aren’t responsive
Mobile web traffic has grown 50 percent over the past year and represents more than 25 percent of all internet visits according to Wpromote.2
Some websites are seeing a HUGE percentage of traffic coming from people using smartphones and tablets.
I recently audited a website and discovered 60% of its traffic was mobile traffic. SIXTY PERCENT!
If your website isn’t optimized for these devices, web visitors are going to click away and you’ll miss out on leads and sales.
Google has clearly stated that one of its ranking factors is whether or not a website is mobile responsive.3 To help your website rank higher on search engine results, making your website mobile responsive is key.
This is simple: design your website so that it’s optimized to view from any device.
5. Apple Pay will pave the way to substantial increases in mobile payment adoption, which will go mainstream toward the latter part of 2016
According to retailers, a lot of people were already using Apple Pay in the latter part of 2014 even though it was released in October 2014.
The New York Times reported Whole Foods had over 150,000 Apple Pay transactions less than a month after its release.4
Being able to pay with a mobile device has been possible for years, but it hasn’t caught on. Four factors are working in favor of mobile payments going mainstream in 2015-2016…
- People love Apple, which leads to early adoption (this rises the tide that lifts all boats – i.e. Android user adoption)
- As the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch penetrate the market, mobile payments become possible and easier for more people.
- Mobile payments have been talked about for years; the masses and laggards have been chewing on the idea and are now comfortable acting on it.
- Big retailers are getting on board and they’ll advertise the service on behalf of Apple because they recognize it will speed up checkout times and might drive more Apple (ie wealthy) buyers to their store.
If you’re a retailer, consider accepting Apple Pay. If you’re a software developer, consider integrating Apple Pay into your app (if it makes sense). If you’re an investor, consider buying or at least holding Apple stock. In my opinion, Apple Pay was the biggest announcement in Apple’s history since the iPhone.
Noteworthy tech trends in charts
To close, I wanted to share four charts with you in the spirit of gaining a macro perspective on where tech is shifting in 2015.
Clearly, we’ve come a long way since the 90’s.
But as these charts suggest, there is even more growth to be realized. And the more connected we all become, the more opportunities there are for customers and businesses alike.
I look forward to capitalizing on these opportunities and trends with (and for) you in 2015 and beyond.
What other trends do you think we’ll see in 2015? Please comment below.
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