3 Things to Watch Out For in 2015

I. Distributed Digital Experiences.

Back in the day, marketers were all about planting flags. Staking our territories though competitive positioning, and then building destination experiences (most notably websites) to “drive traffic and capture eyeballs.” The metrics were engagement metrics — things like “time on the site” “click throughs” and “return visits.” Though digital experiences have evolved from websites to social platforms, our marketing tendencies remain rooted in the prior model. We still seek to drive traffic to our social presences, with engagements metrics such as “time spent” and “likes” and “shares.” We can do better. The simple fact is — walled gardens are the antithesis of the social web. Increasingly, smart marketers are focusing on telling their brand stories in the most relevant context — where their audiences are seeking and can find value in the content being shared.

Indeed, moving from social presences to distributed digital experiences will be the most vital marketing movement in 2015.

II. The Power of the Narrative Container.

2015 will see an explosion of creativity, made possible by technology innovation. The maker revolution will be fueled by invention — what can now be made. Meaning, the discussion will be about what we call “Narrative Containers” and how these containers will be distributed across the social web (and beyond). We will move from “let’s make a video for Facebook” to “let’s fill these containers with story elements which will ensure their shareability and relevance.”

Smart units of content will be designed to be shared, and narrative containers will be less about a singular platform and more about distributed experiences into the moments and environments in which they are of greatest relevance to the audience.

III. Impressions and Reach Driven by Targeting and Focus.

The debate that’s raging now is whether social media, or content planning in general, should be about impressions and broader reach, or about engagement. It’s a bit of a false construct, in that: engagement is an elusive metric and in fact is moving target comprised of various metrics, and; the two are inextricably linked and never mutually exclusive. In fact, the best reach is qualified reach — reach with relevance, and impressions that matter.

The more specific a unit of content is — meaning, the more relevant its story is to the audience in the moment in which it’s consumed — the more likely it is to be viewed and shared.

Targeted reach (and thus broader impact) will increasingly be driven by the most specific, most targeted, most hyper-relevant ideas and content imaginable. Brands, and reach, are built bottom up vs. top down, and targeting these moments and occasions of highest relevance will be the surest path to driving greater shareability and targeted impressions. Adidas #JumpwithdRose is my favorite example — something so highly specific and so targeted yielded explosive (and almost no cost) impact and reach.

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