Coincidently, this is the final Daily Golden Nugget for 2015 and it falls on a #ThrowbackThursday, giving me the perfect opportunity to check back in on my 2015 predictions from last year this time. Was I right, or very wrong? Let's find out...
Content Marketing Will Become More Important
My specific prediction was that the word "blogging" would be replaced with the phrase "content marketing" by the end of 2016. Blogs are limited to posting on a website while status updates, images, and videos are posted to social media. It's all content and it's part of an overall content marketing strategy.
What I've noticed is that the word blogging is being used less, but those non-marketing professionals are hesitating when they try using the phrase "content marketing" in its place. Businesses are now hiring content marketing experts to create visual content and write blogs, but now the idea of blogging is also linked to low-quality spammy content.
I suppose I got this one right, in that "content marketing" was a buzz phrase in 2015, but like most new buzz phrases, few people understand what it really means.
Facebook Will Take Away All Free Services for Jewelers
I predicted that business pages would have to pay to have all their posts seen by fans because Facebook organic reach would not be available any more. Thankfully, this prediction didn't come true exactly, but clearly jewelers who pay at least $1 to boost every post are seeing better results than those who don't.
Growth of Instagram Popularity Among Jewelers
This prediction was more of an insight than a guess. Although I've seen a lot of jewelers joining Instagram, most have yet to partake. Obviously, this growth trend will continue for several years to come.
Growth of YouTube as a Paid Marketing Channel
I predicted that more jewelers would participate in YouTube ads, which includes banner ads and interstitial commercials. Although I have seen a few banner ads, I have not directly seen jewelers making the commercials. This prediction was completely wrong.
Over the last 12 months, YouTube became much more aggressive in how they display their ads and force you to watch the first few seconds of every commercial, if not more. There is a lot of opportunity in this paid marketing method yet to be tapped by the jewelry industry.
Resurgence of Interest in E-Commerce
I predicted that retail jewelers would be more interested in ecommerce and prepare for the 2015 holiday season with plenty of gusto. That didn't necessarily happen as planned, at least not to the full extent of ecommerce.
Several jewelers took steps towards building larger online product catalogs, but they stopped short of full online selling. Shopify also grew in popularity as many jewelers are preparing for future ecommerce and want easy platforms to manage their system, and use built-in tools to pevent online purchase fraud.
The Year of Attempted Foot Traffic Measurements
Oh... Complete failure of this prediction. The idea of measuring foot traffic is still a distant dream for most. Measuring foot traffic is one part of what's now known as the "Customer Journey," which starts online, traverses social media, and eventually results in an online purchase or an in-store purchase.
It took 5 years for the predictions of mobile dominance to come true, and I have a feeling that limitations in technology and the high cost of measuring a customer journey will delay this prediction as well.
It will happen. Large companies are already doing this; the technology is just not in reach of the independent retail jeweler.
Mobile Will Become the Dominant Platform
It's safe to say that mobile devices are the dominant platform now. Yay! This finally came true.
Continued Cognitive Dissonance Regarding Security
Throughout the first 9 months of 2015, all the credit card companies, banks, and ecommerce shopping cart companies were frightening business owners with the need for EMV card swipe equipment by October 1, 2015. Then they relaxed their stance after the deadline date since very few companies met it. All payment cards were supposed to have smart chips by October 1, 2015, but as I write this, in my own wallet, only 2 of my 7 cards have those chips.
Payment card security standards in the U.S. are still quite low. Even cards that do have the chips still require signatures instead of the PIN usage. As a refresher, payment cards with smart chips are supposed to replace the frequent fraudulent signature authorizations. The encoded chip is only supposed to be unlocked when you enter a PIN, therefore bypassing the need for the signature.
Bottom line, the continued cognitive dissonance of payment card security still exists, and it's not going away any time soon in the U.S.
That concludes 2015 for me; I'll see you next year...