Everyone knows that digital is the fastest growing channel for marketing and communications, right? Because it is growing fast, it is also changing fast. And we need to keep up with its pace if our brands are to remain top-of-mind and relevant to our target audiences. Here are the five things we are watching and planning for now.

All About That Content

With Google continuously adjusting its search algorithm, it is only possible to show up in relevant search results when a site has powerful content on it. It is no longer about keyword stuffing and duplicate content. It is about real, valuable and relevant content that is updated regularly. But, by 2020, the amount of information on the web is expected to increase by 600%. The challenge of cutting through that overwhelming information density is the marketing challenge for the next few years. source

Build Your Owned Community

Facebook’s ever-changing “rules” have been hurting businesses for several years now. Facebook is now a pay to play channel if a brand wants to use this platform for communication. As a result, we are going to see businesses boosting their website content, organization and functionality to draw “fans” to a business-owned community where brands can “own” their fans. We will have to keep working all the social channels (and as marketers, we need to plan accordingly with increased budgets for social media advertising), but the goal will be to “sign up” those who love us so we can communicate without Facebook someday. And don’t forget: Twitter and LinkedIn are already aggressively pursuing advertisers, advertising is coming to Instagram and Pinterest, not to mention Snapchat and, most likely in 2015, Whatsapp as well. source

Mobile Only

79% of smartphone users have their phones within arm’s reach for all but three hours of the day. If you counted all of the people with smartphones who are shopping at Walmart stores right now, like a city population, “Walmartville” would be bigger than San Francisco proper. Mobile communication is not longer optional for brands: it must be first and foremost in how we design, deliver and maintain our communications. source

Wear The Message

Did you see yesterday’s demo of the new Apple Watch? It is a communications device. Wearables just became a real channel for marketers to use. Can you say “Minority Report?”

And All That Data

Social channels are stepping up and giving us access to analytics (they have to convince us to buy advertising now, right?!). Google Analytics, email platforms, online advertising – we are swimming in numbers. It is past time to be using these numbers and not just for performance. For optimization. Daily. Every person in a marketing department should know how to access and read the numbers and act on them. Is a social post underperforming? Boost it, or post something else and make a note about why that post might not be performing: topic, time of day, world event, etc. Website email sign-ups lagging or dipping before a big promotional push? Create a refer-a-friend incentive email to the existing database, post a sponsored tweet, or change out the paid banner campaign to an email sign-up call-to-action. Marketers have to be fast on their feet in today’s technology and data-driven environment.