Trends and buzzwords that are already shaping 2015

Social media sharing that flies under the radar, information that must be broken down to be useful, branding through social responsibility—all have specific labels and huge potential.

As a magazine editor, I constantly have my ear to the ground.

I am forever on the hunt for what’s in and what’s out; what’s hot or what’s not. One of the best—and most fun—parts of this gig is that I get to listen to and report on some of the most significant trends making waves in the field of marketing and beyond.

Every day, I’m chatting with some of the brightest minds in the business. I often cull golden nuggets from those conversations about current trends and future movements—sometimes before they pick up momentum.

Some of the following buzzwords are continuously relevant from year to year; some are just picking up steam. Feel free to leave a comment about what you’re hearing.

Attention metrics

Marketers are constantly looking for metrics that matter. However, page views, link clicks, unique visitors and even social interactions—such as “likes” and favorites—just aren’t cutting it anymore.

These shallow metrics tend to measure volume rather than consumption of content. This year focus on attention metrics—measurements that track the total time audience members spend with content and their level of engagement.

For example, measure the percentage of people who play videos in their entirety. In the words of Chartbeat CEO Tony Hail, “It’s no longer just your clicks [that marketers] want; it’s your time and attention.”

Dark social

Tracking Web traffic through search engines or a social network such as Facebook or Twitter is pretty straightforward. Through methods like cookies, marketers often can tell where their Web traffic originates.

There is one major blind spot: under-the-radar social sharing, i.e., dark social.

Dark social, a term coined by The Atlantic in 2012, relates to traffic and information that are hard to measure because they’re on chat, on messaging apps and in email-outside the core of the social network realm. The Atlantic reports that most social referrals are done via dark social (69 percent) and are downright difficult to measure.


Marketers no doubt want ad views, but what actually constitutes as a view is up for debate.

Marketers worldwide invest a gargantuan amount of resources—to the tune of nearly $138 billion last year—just to make sure every ad or video served to an audience has the maximum number of viewable impressions. That investment, according to analysts for eMarketer, will rise to more than $656 billion in digital ad spending by 2018.

What exactly is viewability?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has set a standard for viewability: For viewable video impressions, IAB identifies an ad that is at least 50 percent in view for at least two continuous seconds. For display impressions, it’s a minimum of 50 percent of pixels in view for a minimum of one second.

The IAB says viewability—the metric used to determine whether an ad was seen—is intended to let marketers and advertisers pay only for media that users could possibly and truly see.

Conscious capitalism

Today, conscious capitalism—also referred to as social marketing and purpose marketing—is a method that brand marketers use to woo potential customers by convincing them that the company is indeed socially responsible and in tune with community needs.

Although it’s already a tried-and-true method, a growing number of analysts are calling it the “marketing of the future,” as study after study shows that millennials—the future of most every customer base—are interested in these do-good philosophies.

They want to make a difference, so organizations should appeal to them now with higher-purpose messaging.

The Internet of things

Researchers say a vast network of data-collecting devices—i.e., the Internet of things—will enable marketing in the future. This projected rise of embedded and wearable sensors will revolutionize marketing in homes, communities, goods and services, the environment, and even our bodies.

Organizations should step up and provide services that we might not think they would provide today.

Big data

This is a perennial—and oft-overused—term, but marketers should work to get a clear understanding of it: Big data is a large or diverse set of information that’s too massive to use in its current state, yet has useful components.

If used effectively, big data can be a major problem solver. It can improve customer experience, boost customer interaction, increase revenue, reduce costs and identify breakdowns in infrastructure and the sales process.

A version of this story originally appeared on Direct Marketing News. Copyright 2015 Direct Marketing News. Reprinted with permission.

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