As the final hours of 2014 tick on by, I would like to share some of my predictions for 2015.
1. Content Marketing Will Become More Important for Jewelers
In order to understand why this will be important, you first need to understand what Content Marketing is. "Content" is anything that you publish online with the intention of influencing a customer's buying decisions. Written content is usually absorbed into Google and Bing and returned in search results, while all other content (photos, graphics, videos) are shared socially.
Instead of focusing on a single task like blogging, I expect that the overall process of "content marketing" will become the buzz phrase of choice that everyone will be talking about in 2015.
2. Facebook Will Take Away All Free Services for Jewelers
Throughout all of 2014, Facebook declined the usefulness of free posts so only a miniscule number of your fans will see your posts. Rumor has it that Facebook will completely prevent people from seeing all non paid post from a business page. This will force jewelry stores to pay money.
3. Growth of Instagram Popularity Among Jewelers
According to this report
, Instagram is the most important social network for young users. Although Instagram has become important for jewelry designers, it hasn't caught on as an important network yet for retail jewelers.
However, jewelers do have to follow the money, and every few years there are new attempts to capture the attention of the young audience that's entering the self-purchase adult years. Those who capture the young audience's attention early have the potential to gain lifelong customers.
4. Growth of YouTube as a Paid Marketing Channel
Google is improving the AdWords advertising platform every month. Although it's complicated, the jewelers using it are able to tap into several methods of paid advertising, including YouTube. YouTube now reaches more adults aged 18 to 34 than any single cable TV network (see this report
), and advertising on it is far less expensive than the air time on TV.
While Facebook forces business to pay-to-play, Google AdWords and YouTube advertising will transform into a highly successful media, eventually replacing TV advertising.
5. Resurgence of Interest in E-Commerce
After we see the final online sales numbers from the 2014 holiday season, there will be a renewed interest of jewelry e-commerce websites. Even though the setup and maintenance of e-commerce is still laborious, new website software and easier to use cameras are making the process more reasonable.
Within the next 12 months, I expect we'll see many new e-commerce sites run by smaller retail jewelers, most of which will open their digital doors in the Fall of 2015.
Paid ads through Google Shopping will bring success to these young sites and the retail stores that launch them.
6. The Year of Attempted Foot Traffic Measurements
Internet marketers have been searching for the magic bullet of measuring foot traffic that's directly attributable to online activity. In December 2014, Google announced that they were testing ways to measure "Store Visits" as a metric in AdWords. This will lead to many other companies trying to come up with their own methods of measuring foot-traffic results.
7. Mobile Will Become the Dominant Platform
For the last 4 years, I've been tracking mobile usage from 20% through its current 45.33%. During the holiday season, we always see a surge of mobile traffic that then drops down in January. But that holiday level eventually becomes the normal level by July of the following year.
The 45% mobile usage I'm currently seeing on retail jewelry websites will become the normal average by July 2015. I then expect to see mobile usage within the jewelry industry to surge past 50% in November and December 2015, and then be the normal by July 2016.
These mobile trends have been true for the last 4 years, and although other vertical markets already have more than 50% mobile usage, the jewelry industry lags behind.
Users are getting fatigued at all the pinch-zooming they are doing on non-mobile compatible websites and will reward retail stores with truly mobile friendly sites.
8. Continued Cognitive Dissonance Regarding Security
Even though massive data breaches continue to happen
, very little is being done to sure up our own protection against hackers. Adobe, eBay, Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase, and now Sony have been the targets of major hacking over in 2013 and 2014.
The credit card companies could have prevented the attacks at Target by upgrading U.S. card swiping equipment to the technology used in Europe for more than 10 years. They chose not to even though the equipment deployment could have been slow and with minimal cost.
Even though Adobe caused a lot of problems for 152,000,000 people, very few people actually changed their passwords. The problem with personal passwords is that most people use the same password for all their accounts. A hack like Adobe should have forced people to change their passwords everywhere, but most didn't follow the urgent suggestions issued by Adobe.
The Sony hack revealed in December 2014 doesn't directly affect the average person, so no one will consider a change in passwords or beefing up security.
Hacking will continue, but it will take a major event to bring the majority of the internet population to pay attention and invest in what it will take for security infrastructures to be overhauled.
How good will these predictions be? We'll find out a year from now when I revisit them again!