2014 has been an interesting year for the internet and social media. We have seen things such as the ALS ice bucket challenge take off, continued attempts to filter the internet as well as e-sports taking off in such a big way. An interesting end to the year came with the release of ‘The Interview’ movie which got an instant VOD release which we haven’t really seen before with major movie releases. According to some, it has made over $15 million online so far. This makes me think that we could see earlier theatre to VOD transitions now that the potential has been proven for new releases available online. With all that being said, what technology and digital marketing changes can we expect to see in 2015?
Apple Watch, Facebook and the Oculus Rift
It’s going to be a big year for social media with the release of the Apple Watch and the Oculus Rift both expecting to gain popularity this year with expected improved integration with Facebook, particularly the Rift which is now under Facebook’s ownership. It’s not hard to imagine a Facebook app that works with the Rift allowing users to see posts in a virtual environment introducing a new way to share and view videos, photos and status updates.
YouTube can surely expect to see a more likely release of new movies to its digital rental service and more videos supporting 1080P at 60 frames-per-second will also become the new standard.
Increased popularity is to be expected for Vine after having a successful 2014 and continues to grow since its successful launch. Micro Video has played a big part in a lot of social successes in 2014 and it’s only going to keep increasing in numbers and popularity along with Twitter.
Instagram also has seen success with its Micro Video functionality and has recently included ads into timelines which seem none-intrusive and fit the theme of Instagram well so far. It will be interesting to see if Vine takes the same approach although a lot of businesses have been using Vines to do exactly that – make ads.
Twitch was acquired by Amazon in 2014 and so far, has remained unchanged although some leading users of the service expect 2015 to be the year when things change (hopefully for the better). Better handing of VODs and highlights is to be expected as well as more broadcaster controls over their content and channel.
Elsewhere online and in tech
Responsive web design and web standards
In the last year, mobile internet usage has grown by 67% whilst desktop internet browsing has seen a 17% decline in users. It will become more important for businesses to make sure their websites are mobile and tablet-friendly, not only because users expect it but also because Google expects it – for more information on Google this please read on below.
Over the last year responsive web design (often shortened to RWD) has become the de-facto design process for making websites adapt and display well across a wide range of devices and screen resolutions. Unlike separate desktop and mobile websites, those built using a responsive approach only need one piece of content, one codebase and one URL – and this works across desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
We love RWD, in the second half of 2014 we’ve seen some incredible responsive templates and frameworks become available and we only expect this to continue in 2015.
Google search updates and penalties
Google has also made it clear that responsive web design can have significant SEO benefits and have even developed tools where users can test the mobile readiness of their website and its speed, including Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insights. You can find more information by following Google mobile site guidance but it’s clear that mobile is becoming a more important factor in Google’s search algorithm.
We’ve seen multiple Panda updates and the Penguin 3.0 rollout in 2014 and all of the signs are pointing towards significant updates in 2015 regarding mobile sites, potentially even penalising websites that don’t meet the needs of mobile users.
It’s very likely that Google will continue to look for new ways of identifying ‘link spam’ with further and more frequent updates to Penguin. On the flip side we also expect to see Google revoking penalties for businesses that have cleaned up their link profiles and and rewarding those that have focussed on their customer’s needs, user-experience, social media and other quality-driven marketing strategies.
The internet will continue to be the target for politicians calling for more filters with SOPA variations likely. No doubt we’ll hear that it’s for our own protection and our kids protection which seems to be the go-to excuse when these things are suggested. Hopefully we will see sites like Wikipedia, reddit and Google take a stand against these suggested changes and ensure the web stays fair and open.
What about good old Microsoft?
Microsoft’s new operating system ‘Windows 10’ is set for a 2015 release and early previews have been mostly positive. New features such as improved data security with two-factor authentication (2FA) are coming standard on enterprise versions of the OS. One anticipated feature is a Siri type assistant built in to help complete basic tasks, and remind you of upcoming events, again, much like Siri.
More information on the new OS can be found here.
Please let us know about any changes you foresee in 2015?
Image credit – Thomas van de Weerd
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