2015 was a big year in the Digital Marketing space, especially in the analytics and data space. Let’s take a look back and see if we can’t distill it into some key takeaways.

Don’t Assume

With the seemingly infinite number of resources and market research tools out there. it’s time to stop making assumptions about what you think might work and start trying out what has been proven to work. Instead of guessing, digital Marketers should do their research and rely on trusted sources like Matt Cutts, a Google Software Engineer, or Avinash Kaushik, The Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, to provide accurate and insightful tips and analysis on the Digital Marketing world at large.

Truth be told, it’s long been time to stop making assumptions, but as is often the case with experience, we tend to think we’ve seen it (and thus know it) all.

Test All The Things

Speaking of research, even if a study has been conducted a million times before, there is no guaranteeing that it will work for you in your situation. In the digital marketing space, there are far too many variables.

From your target market, to your geographic demographics, to your product mix, there is just no way that an independent study conducted by (insert prestigious peer reviewed journal here) will ever be able to match and replicate your exact situation. Instead, find sources and studies that are close to your parameters, and test out the hypothesis on your own.

There are tons of tools out there that allow you to set up small experiments on your site against your real life actual traffic and deliver you actionable insights. We here at RelationEdge Digital Agency use VWO, but Optimizely works just as well. Either way, you’ll be able to take the research you found back in “Don’t Assume”  and start applying it to your own site.

No Mobile. Mo’ Problems.

In 2015 we experienced the Google event that was dubbed Mobilegeddon. For those unaware of what mobilegeddon entailed, here’s a quick rundown of what happened.

On April 21, 2015, Google released an update to their mobile search algorithm that boosted the rankings of websites that were deemed mobile friendly and punished those who were not. While many sites were unaffected, those whose rankings were affected tended to be those least receptive to change (after all, it was 2015 and they didn’t have a mobile friendly site).

As the web populace shifts, it’s browsing onto mobile devices and away from desktops and laptops, this type of reluctance will severely hurt companies who are unwilling to change and continue to push their rankings lower and lower down the charts.

Similar Audiences – A Digital Footprint

Google unveiled a new feature that allows marketers to target users who exhibited behavior that was similar to that of their previous customers. Let’s let that sink in for a moment, shall we?

We are now in an era where the ability to target customers based simply on age and gender and maybe income is old news. We have reached a point where your potential customers can be reached by identifying the “digital footprint” your typical customer leaves behind. The implications for this are far reaching and long lasting.

Unlike a fingerprint, which is unique to everyone and can be used to identify individuals, a footprint gives you a close idea of who left it, without invading someone’s privacy. This is great for both the consumer and the marketer. It’s great for consumers because they retain their privacy and it’s great for marketers because they can stop wasting money on people who were likely to never convert.

Facebook has long had a feature similar to this, but with the largest digital advertiser in the world in Google joining the movement, it’s clear that 2015 marked the beginning of a revolution.

These are just some of the overall trends and themes of 2015 but are by no means comprehensive. What lessons did 2015 teach you about digital marketing and digital marketing analytics? What events have changed the way you approach a campaign?  Leave us a note in the comments.

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