With 2015 just around the corner, marketers are beginning to look at what to expect from the year ahead.
There has been so much change in 2014; some of the more noticeable ones for the property industry include the rise of mobile technology and the push to be present on social media, something that was arguably more of a luxury (if you had the time) than a necessity in previous years.
Social networking has been at the forefront of discussions on promoting brands and business to the right audience in 2014, but how will it develop and change in the next 12 months?
Many new and exciting features are currently being developed for business on social channels and mobile technology is becoming increasingly important; here we look at the digital trends that are likely to come into fruition in 2015 and what they could mean for your property business.
Making payments on mobile
Imagine going to a restaurant ordering your food on your mobile device and paying for it without having to ask for the bill? That’s where mobile payments are said to be headed in the next year; in fact research suggests that 70% of restaurants will accept mobile phone payments in 2015.
Mobile payments didn’t really take off in 2014; partly believed to be due to privacy concerns and partly due to the much awaited release of Apple’s iPhone 6, and people wanting to wait and see whether it would possess the technology to effectively facilitate transactions on mobile devices. The technology to make contactless payment has in fact existed for some time, with the likes of NFC (near-field communication) and QR codes, but now the Apple Pay ecosystem has arguably made it more accessible and exciting. The general consensus among experts in mobile technology is that this advancement from Apple will be the trigger to boosting mobile usage for instant payments going forwards into 2015.
The latest Forrester report says, “Apple Pay will influence every discussion of mobile payments through 2015” and predicts the market for US mobile payments will expand from $52 billion in 2014 to $142 billion by 2019.
The likelihood is that this trend will start with small within the retail and restaurant industries, but who’s to say that as usage increases and it becomes the norm that it won’t be the case for larger purchases such as property?
Advertising on social media platforms
One particular trend that is certain to grow and improve is advertising and making direct purchases via social media. Both Twitter and Linkedin have as of late developed advertising options similar to those available to businesses on Facebook.
It makes sense for more direct marketing to be moving into social networks, it’s a natural progression to where people are actively communicating. Companies used to advertise in the paper because it was the main form of communicating news and current affairs and you could be sure it was being read by a large number of prospects. Then major advertisers moved to radio or television because they became the main communication tool, and now social networks have become the place we apply a large portion of our attention to, and therefore prime location for advertising.
Despite many businesses being averse to paying for advertising on Facebook and concerns on the actual audience reached with Facebook ads and promotions, the social media platform has undeniably broken down barriers for direct sales via social channels - something the other networks are making clear they want in on. Twitter has already made a start with Twitter Ads, but industry experts expect say that’s just the beginning, and predict that users will soon be able to make direct purchases from promotional tweets.
In addition Pinterest has launched sponsored pins and now allows certain themed photos to sell products, and Linkedin is now offering CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per thousand views) campaigns. Even Instagram are beginning to introduce advertising by offering targeted sponsored photos and videos.
All of this indicates that within the next year businesses, including those within the property industry will be significantly turning to social media to not only raise awareness and market their brand, but to also offer direct product purchase.
The rise of wearable tech
Wearable tech it seems follows a chicken and egg type supply and demand pattern – we want access to more information more immediately, so technology becomes smaller and more portable, the smaller technology becomes the more instant and portable or wearable we want it to be, and as a result smartwatches and Google Glass were born.
Not only is this technology becoming more popular as we move into 2015, it’s becoming cheaper; Google Glass will soon be available at consumer prices and with Samsung, Apple and Sony all creating their own competitive versions of smart watches, allowing owners to make calls, have online access to the internet and update social media accounts, more and more people are able to stay connected whilst on the go.
Forrester says, “Apple is poised to drive the smartwatch market and, once again, catalyze a new category of products and experiences.” Forrester estimates that 7% of US online adults (15 million) are ready to buy an Apple Watch.
How long will it be before we ditch mobile phones all together, and prospective buyers contact agents or view properties on the face of a watch?