Naturally as we begin to ponder what is install for us in 2016 we take a look back at 2015. To say it was momentous would just be touching the surface. For small to medium sized businesses everywhere 2015 was the year of digital. If you’re not online, then you’re missing out. It’s not just younger generations who are comfortable spending online anymore, and as more people throughout the population become attached to their smartphones, 2015 was undoubtedly the year of mobile. Here I have collated the top ten most momentous happenings to have occurred in the world of business – how does your business stack up?
1) Micro-Moments from Google
It was the buzz-word of 2015 and paints the scene of the new battleground for businesses everywhere; Micro-Moments. There are several steps you can take to strategise your plan of attack. The best trick you can utilise is through developing a ‘Micro-Moments’ map. Your next step is to take your Micro-Moments map to an online marketing specialist, who can then devise an integrated marketing strategy to help you and your business leverage these moments.
2) Google My Business
The significant changes Google have implemented for the Google My Business platform has transformed how we manage Google+ pages and locations. With greater flexibility for adjusting business hours and a new-look dashboard and navigation panel, Google are going to great lengths to make managing Google My Business work in-tune with our busy schedules. For business owners it means greater visibility to important business details when potential customers are interested in your business.
3) Google Analytics Report Interface
The new Google report interface allows us easily put together graphic reports, pie charts and other visual reporting methods for many different aspects of the campaigns that we manage for small to medium business owners. The reports provide a great visual tool for clients to see at a glance what’s working and what’s not. For our clients, who are all very busy business owners, it means they can easily interpret the data to inform other business decisions.
4) Search Remarketing (RLSA)
Google announced in a blog this year that marketers can now leverage over 200 analytical dimensions to build unique audiences for your remarketing needs. There really is no excuse to not lure customers who have not (or have) converted back to your website. For those businesses suffering from ‘shopping cart abandonment’ issues, remarketing is the online tool they need to bring those customers back to convert. It is also a great tool to bring back loyal customers with suggestions of products they may want to purchase.
5) Video Content Across All Online Platforms
Sure, we all enjoy the videos of cute cats, but to be serious for a moment; video content is so much more than that. The increase in video content consumption, coupled with the increase in video content creation and with mobile device usage growing, you either have a video content strategy or risk falling behind! Why is it important? For businesses who are hungry to greater exposure, video content will put them front and centre in front of the people who matter – your customers.
6) Facebook Gets Visual
From a milestone point of view, Facebook’s push on their video platform and getting around eight billion views daily, along with the one billion daily users’ benchmark has been phenomenal. From an advertising point of view, the implementation of Instagram ads and the video push are equally as big. Both are big news and really show how the future of media is on hand-held devices. It all comes back to the importance of having a secure mobile marketing strategy in place to meet customers where they are spending their time.
7) Material Design as Graphic Design Increases in Importance
Even though Google released Material Design last year, it really only became widely used this year. Codenamed Quantum Paper, it’s a design language which, “synthesizes classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science”. While the impact for business owners is not instantly recognisable, with the growing importance of visual content, using a Graphic Designer who knows their industry inside out is crucial to producing and using visual content you’re happy to put your brand name on.
8) Google AdWords for SMEs
Google advertising for small businesses has become a lot more accessible and it doesn’t require an enormous marketing budget either. Small businesses can market their brand alongside big name brands on Google because their AdWords Pay-Per-Click (PPC) system has levelled the playing field. As a Certified Google Partner we get access to the latest Google releases and tools which mean the small businesses we manage get first access.
9) Mobile Optimisation
If you work in the world of online marketing, it’s likely that you circled the 21st of April on your calendar this year… numerous times. Yes, we were all waiting with bated breath for the Google mobile-friendly ‘mobilegeddon’ algorithm update in April this year. We now know just how important mobile is to business performance, and mobilegeddon was only the beginning. 2015 has been the year of mobile, so for businesses who are yet to optimise for handheld devices will want to hop to it.
10) Mobile Devices – The Remote Control for our Lives
Handheld devices are now the device of choice for people who search the Internet. As the ‘remote control for our lives’ increasingly becomes a tool we all feel dependent on, ensuring that people’s experiences on their mobile devices is increasingly important for web developers. If people can intuitively interact with a website on a tablet or smartphone, then people will bounce off the site, and our clients clearly don’t want that to happen. It’s so common now that any website we create is mobile friendly by default, but this has only happened this year. So for business owners who have had a website for a while need to update.