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Digital Marketing Trends 2015

30 cutting-edge digital marketing tools and techniques to help grow your business


It’s my favourite time of blogging year, where we look ahead to what will be the major trends in digital marketing in the year ahead. I find there’s a real thirst for knowledge amongst marketers about the latest trends in digital marketing and Ienjoy reviewing the latest marketing techniques and technologies. For the past few years I have given my recommendations on the trends as I see them, based on reviewing innovation in marketing technology through the year, plus crowdsourcing what Smart Insights readers see as important for them.

Update for 2016 Digital Marketing Trends

Well, that's us nearly into 2016, so we have a new series of updates looking at the latest 2016 Digital Marketing Trends  and we have been adding to our coverage of the latest trends:

What are the most important online marketing trends for marketers?

In deciding on the most relevant trends for marketers I don’t just look at what’s “Hot” or “Cool”, but instead I focus on what make the biggest difference to marketers, from a commercial sense, since most of us are working in marketing to get better results for our companies or our clients. Here are the digital marketing trends we identified last year. This year we again asked readers to take a poll where we asked...

Which single digital marketing technique do you think will make the biggest commercial impact for you in 2015?

So, what were the results of the poll? Interesting! Content marketing topped the poll for the third-year running and in fact was even further ahead compared to previous years since mobile marketing and social media marketing have declined in importance as marketers have implemented these changes. It's close for second, third and fourth position.  It's significant that 'Big Data' is still in second position although the hype has receded. I think this shows the potential for companies to implement more data-driven marketing techniques in 2015, which will likely be closely related to marketing automation which is in third place.

In the later parts of this post I review different types of analytics and reporting tools - perhaps not 'Big Data', but certainly to support data-driven marketing in 2015.

Digital marketing trends 2015 survey

Many thanks if you have voted, read or shared this post. I will update it at the start of October with the results of the poll and more commentary.

Trends in Digital Marketing Tools and Technology

In my discussion of trends in previous years I have explored innovation and trends in the use of digital marketing techniques at a top level, like content marketing, search, email and web development. But if I’m honest, the leading techniques don’t change that much. There is a problem of describing the “usual suspects.” So this year, when I’m presenting trends I have been taking a look at tools and services to help digital marketing.

These data-driven tools are again all focused on those that can potentially make the biggest difference. They cover a wide range from analytics tools to retail ecommerce, but the first few tools relate to content marketing since this is where I’m seeing the most useful and interesting collection of tools.

I have a full Slideshare deck featuring these tools at the end of this post.

10 key digital marketing technologies to use in 2015

Many of the trends in digital marketing involve marketers applying new services, platforms and software to plan, manage and optimise their marketing, so in this part of the post I take a look at the technologies that I think will fuel digital marketing in 2014. I recently presented these at the Smart Insights Digital Impact marketing conference and at a talk at the Brighton Digital Marketing Festival. These tools include:

#1: Content Curation Tools

With micro and visual content giving the highest impact, tools to manage the creation and publication of this content from different sources become important to fuel the content marketing machine.

Examples of content curation tools include:

#2: Content Recommendation, Personalisation, Retargeting and Effectiveness Review Tools

Even if you have won the battle to create outstanding content, site managers still have the challenge of connecting audiences with the most relevant content. Dynamic recommendations of the most relevant content for a visitor can assist here.

Site personalisation technologies have been used for a long time for targeting products and offers to visitors to customer sites, but these have not been used so widely outside the Ecommerce setting. New tools make this possible.

Examples include:

#3: Content distribution services

Here content distribution means organic and paid sharing via social networks. The tools featured here focus on organic distribution

  • Hootsuite
  • Sendible
  • Oktopost

There are surprisingly few tools to help advertise or remarket across social media. AdRoll is one of the best known featuring remarking via Facebook, Twitter, plus mobile and media sites. Do you have other recommendations in this area?

#4: : Integrated SEO, Content and Social Media Management?

There is a question mark here since this is an, as yet unachievable goal. The tools I recommend here originated as SEO told for reviewing keywords and back links, but are now expanding into social media and content management. They’re also featuring more management tools and workflow for multiple people in a tool. Analytics SEO is a leader in this area.

Examples include:

  • Moz
  • Raven Tools
  • Analytics SEO

#5: API service integration and Hubs

APIs are integrations between different platforms. They are a key consideration in any type of tool you purchase here. No examples of tools in this section, rather efforts made by platform vendors to integrate other services to add value to their own tools. CRM services are particularly strong at this as are analytics tools such Adobe Analytics (formerly in Omniture).

  • Act-On
  • Marketo

#6: User Engagement and value optimisation

Most businesses use a web analytics services to track visitors to their site, with Google Analytics most popular as a free, but very powerful service. While they can tell businesses the number of users, their source and their journeys through the site, their limitation is that most data is shown in aggregate for different segments. They’re not designed for understanding individual user behaviour, repeat behaviour by groups of customers (e.g. cohort, RFM and lifetime value analysis) or behaviour across devices (although Google’s latest Universal analytics makes progress in this area). These tools, which have been available for several years now offer a user-based, value-based focus which Google has been applying.

  • Kissmetrics
  • Mixpanel (Mobile focus plus web)
  • Chartbeat (Publisher focus)
  • Ecommera (Ecommerce)

#7: Actionable Analytics and intelligent analytics

Google Analytics and the other analytics services mentioned under #6 have another limitation. They require a good deal of experience to know HOW to apply the data they present. Users have to know the right questions to ask, how to customise the tool for their business, e.g. to show goals, find the right reports and then interpret highly complex multidimensional reports. Only skilled analysts can really mine actionable insight. Tools that present data more clearly to novice and management users and integrate action can help here. Google hasn’t evolved its Intelligence service, but new tools are becoming available including a new dashboard and recommendations service that will launch from Smart Insights.

  • Google Analytics Intelligence and Alerts
  • Quill Engage
  • Smart Insights

#8: From Conversion Optimization to Experience Optimization

We are long-time advocates of structured AB and multivariate testing at Smart Insights. But these tools tend to focus on single pages in the journey rather than overall customer journeys, but they have increased hugely in their ease of setup and use recently. Tools that support analysis across customer journeys and channels are evolving:

Most popular AB testing tools
* Optimizely
* Visual Website Optimizer
* Unbounce

Customer Journey Tools

Content management systems are now improving in their facilities to personalise and test.
* Adobe Customer Experience Manager
* EPiServer
* Sitecore

#9: Digital Channel Sales Optimisation

Ecommerce management platforms tend to focus on the serious business of getting merchandising right across home, category and product pages as described in our Ecommerce Design Bible. Clavis Insights is a relatively new, but expensive tool that presents commercial insights to retailers and brands so their can optimise their merchandising.

#10: Wearables, Augmented and Virtual reality

Finally we come to what’s cool and Hot in technology. I’ve kept this ’til last since I suspect it will make the smallest commercial difference to most companies. All of these are due to be launched in 2015, so watching the popularity of mainstream adoption and marketing applications of their apps should be fascinating!

I hope you find it useful to check out these tools, do add via the comments any other categories of digital marketing tools or examples of tools which you see as important for your business or your clients in 2015 and I’ll update the post to include them.

Share your thoughts

  • Ultimez commented on April 7, 2016

    Required post for digital marketing freshers this post helps them get in to right direction.

  • Thanks for sharing this useful post actually i was searching for this information.

  • This article is worth reading for all digitally oriented marketing heads. Getting your strategy right in the digital age is very critical

  • The chart with this article is very insightful. Businesses simply cannot afford to bypass making digital a core part of their marketing efforts. Here’s an article about some best practices for integrated digital marketing:

  • Needful post for digital marketers. If we follow the above steps, we can able to get more potential visitors to our website. Content marketing and conversion optimization is the most important techniques, digital marketers should focus on upcoming years. Simplilearn offers content marketing training online. For more information please visit

  • Its really needy for our Business, we are glad you enjoyed the post.

  • RitikaGodbole commented on August 28, 2015

    Smart article @DaveChaffey. Really a nice read. Content is the king and strategic content will continue to dominate. I personally believe that digital marketing is more of an umbrella of cross-platform tools and technologies. Your insights are wonderful. Folks searching for mix of great content management and digital marketing services can definitely visit

  • I think another really big trend will be the rise of growth hacking techniques, merging programming and sales/marketing to get embed growth directly IN the product.

    Few people can do that at the moment though, so the trend might not be there before 2016-2017

  • Shawn commented on July 14, 2015

    Excellent article! The tools and technology here you mentioned was awesome i hope this will be the trend of 2015. Thanks for sharing.

  • hairs commented on June 24, 2015

    thanks and Thanks Dave for your valuable points mentioned above. Posting fresh content will help seo rankings. Also taking advice of a digital marketing company is also very crucial.

  • Nancy commented on May 20, 2015

    Thanks for sharing this. One digital marketing trend that might be missing is ‘mobile wallet marketing’. Many marketers and agencies are starting to use this as a direct mobile marketing channel and I truly believe that this will be a trend for 2015 and 2016. You can find out more about this at

    • Hi Nancy,

      Only room for so many trends, but certainly for retailers you’ve picked an important trend!

      I see you have some big brands using the solution, so would be interested in some case studies proving the importance / discussing best practices – please use Contact Us to setup.


  • Goggy commented on May 19, 2015

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge! If anyone would like to find out a little bit more about the email marketing here is a website of software I use in my company: maybe someone wanna try their free trial version?

  • Thanks Dave for your valuable points mentioned above. Posting fresh content will help seo rankings. Also taking advice of a digital marketing company is also very crucial.

  • Rajkumar commented on April 21, 2015

    A very useful article on 30-cutting edge digital marketing tools and techniques, though the wave of digital marketing evolved in the west it is still picking up in Asian countries, however recognizing the importance, every SME and big companies are trying to integrate their existing marketing strategy with digital media for brand building, brand awareness, pre and post sale engagement. Though wast and complex its very important to learn the know how of digital marketing from industry expert/institute, one such institute in india is running by IIT Alumni who is indutry expert as well. Looking forward for the expert membership of

  • Thanks, Lee, for this excellent post. I’ve taken plenty of notes and will be implementing a lot of these into my marketing plan for 2015..

    Thanks & Regards

  • Bill Gates said “Content is King” but I would say “Content is Magnet”. If you’re making content like a magnet than all nearby iron will pull and website will be more stronger. Quality content will attract audience, here my meaning to do blogging on your own corporate. Here you have mentioned awesome points and trends that definitely help marketer like us to boost business and digital traffic.

  • rakesh commented on April 9, 2015

    The blog post is very useful me and my business and i am going to follow this blog for my own business
    thanks for sharing idea.

  • Brilliant article Dave; I really enjoyed reading it!

    You bring up some very, very good points re: the importance of engaging and informative content creation – without it your brand’s website will definitely struggle to attract traffic because of a dwindling SEO ranking.

    If anyone would like to find out a little bit more about the profound impact effective digital marketing have on your brand, please visit our website!

  • Matt commented on March 4, 2015

    Wonderful post. I appreciate the effort you have have put here to share this post.

  • sam commented on March 4, 2015

    Digital marketing is a huge platform to do many things in marketing. And trends are updating day by day. And in this article you gave useful information and tools. i had used some of from these and its really good. Thank you for this useful article Dave!

  • This is a great article. You have shared some very useful ideas. I especially enjoyed reading about SEO, Content and Social Media Management, which I found to be very helpful and inspiring and many relevant points were discussed. Thank you for sharing this article and I hope to come across more articles like this in future.

  • Pavan Belagatti commented on January 17, 2015

    So content marketing will always be on TOP of the funnel.
    I always read your articles Dave, they are up to the point.
    Thank You

  • Sarah commented on January 15, 2015

    Free Webinar event: AIS Media would like to invite you to part 1 of our new digital marketing webinar series Transformation2015, the “Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2015.” Join us next Wed. Jan 21, 2015 at 11:00am (EST)

  • Thanks Dave for the wonderful work. I do believe content marketing and better user experience will do miracle in 2015.

  • Hoi Nguyen commented on November 14, 2014

    Great article!

  • Edward Davidson commented on October 15, 2014

    Hi Dave. Great article. Re remarketing across social media, I’ve used Perfect Audience before. Pretty simple user interface and low rates; good for small biz starting to test retargeting other than GDN.
    N.b. no affiliation with Perfect audience!

    • Hi Edward – thanks so much for that recommendation – exactly what I was thinking of (although LinkedIn remarketing would be nice one day) – so one to share with others.

      We use AdWords Remarketing to good effect at Smart Insights, but have been wanting a self-service option with reach into other networks – looks like could be it!


  • Richard Taylor commented on September 24, 2014

    Dave another excellent article – and I’m still reviewing 2014! I thought that the survey at the beginning was a great idea too. Can I ask if you’ve had a good response to it as I’d love to reference the results but only if they’re significant.

    • Thank you for your comment Richard – yes it’s nice to make a marketing trends article more “interactive” with a poll. We’re just coming up to 300 votes (291) so sufficient to show popular trends. Thanks to everyone who voted!

  • Mickey Rausch - Quill Engage commented on September 18, 2014

    Thank you for citing Quill Engage as a good analytics tool to use! Anyone interested can go to to sign up for FREE and run their reports immediately on up to 10 Google Analytics profiles.

    • Hi Mickey,

      No problem, although Google provides weekly email alerts I think your emails give a clearer picture on the changes each week and I find them useful – cool to have the written narrative too.

      We originally created Smart Insights 4 years ago as a platform to offer clearer marketing decision-making through dashboards and guided analytics have been working on creating a SaaS tool based on the Google Analytics API in the meantime, but content development for members and the blog tends to take priority for us. We have a prototype up and running now.

  • Rebecca Lieb commented on September 18, 2014

    Thanks for citing my content marketing research, Dave!

    • You’re welcome Rebecca – great analysis! Is there a more recent research doc I can link to.


      • Rebecca Lieb commented on September 22, 2014

        Dave, All our research at Altimeter Group is published under Creative Commons and is freely available on our website. Help yourself!

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