Crash course in 2015 digital marketing buzzwords

The digital world moves quickly. Every day there’s a new trend or term popping up that requires us to determine its relevancy and figure out if and how it applies to our work. These terms change frequently, so we don’t expect our clients to know every current buzzword and be able to drop it into the conversation meaningfully.

Understanding what these digital marketing terms really mean, however, can reinforce the strategy of a project and strengthen the final deliverable. There are a few that are often misconstrued, but we are here to set the record straight. Here are the top digital marketing buzzwords for 2015 and suggestions for how you can use them to tell your brand story and gain customer awareness and loyalty.

Snackable content

Studies have shown that visual decisions are made in three seconds or less. To make the decision on whether to engage further, users read headlines, skim articles, and look at images. Brands have a lot to share, but it’s better to be concise. Use your three seconds wisely – offer a snack.

Big Data

This is basically just a ton of information about your customers or your market. Known by the three “v’s” – volume, velocity, and variety; big data is often overwhelming and unorganized. The complex data sets come from transactions, social media, sensors, RFID, mobile phones, locations, etc. Most companies don’t know what to do with it all. But it’s a gold mine. It’s filled with user’s desires, habits, annoyances, and more. When correctly analyzed, it can be used to predict and influence their decisions. Knowing where your user is more likely to be and most engaged helps develop successful native advertising strategies.

Personalization and Localization

The frame has moved from focusing on the millions to the one in a million. This approach isn’t just a nice-to-have, but is now a must-have for your users. They know their data is collected on a minute-by-minute basis, and they expect it to go to good use and improve their user experience. The most obvious examples are when your browser picks up on your location and provides the nearest store locations (localization), or Google remembers your shopping habits and remembers what you left in your cart (personalization). Combining the two can also be extremely useful in creating a positive user experience.

Native Advertising

This is another way of saying sponsored content. You meet your audience where they already are, present them with content that is in-line with their interests, and associate your brand with it. Not an actual advertisement of who you are, but a demonstration of how you support your customers’ interests.

Big data helps us learn what those interests are, figure out where your future and existing customers are, and present meaningful content to them. Buzzfeed is constantly working with partners for sponsored articles, Instagram allows sponsored posts based on a user’s interests and patterns, and just about every other platform is finding a way to integrate this concept. Jump in, get involved, have a conversation with your customer.


Actual real-time data feeds are a myth. If real-time were in fact, real-time, things could get really messy, really quickly. Especially when dealing with user generated content. Someone needs to monitor the feed and make sure inappropriate content isn’t going to hurt the brand.

But real-time doesn’t just apply to social media, it applies to member accounts, points, loyalty programs, even tracking your driver on Uber. Most of what the user sees is a confirmation of their expectations. But that confirmation takes time. Think a little bit about checking your online banking statements. The lag in time between pending and posted transactions is solved for in a stepped out process. As designers and developers, we know that it’s important to feel that gratification of immediate feedback for the customer, and we solve for it in creative ways with UX and UI that appeases the user while the data is fact checked on the back end.

Above the Fold

Ditch this phrase. It’s become obsolete and irrelevant. Speaking it will send shivers down a creative’s spine. Jamming all the content above the fold doesn’t need to happen anymore and here’s why:

In Q1, Google announced that they would begin to penalize any websites that did not have a mobile-friendly site and would rank them lower in search. While this might not have an immediately evident connection to the “fold,” it’s a good reminder that the Internet is accessed more and more frequently on mobile devices. Which means smaller screens and more scrolling. This signals a shift in how things have been done. Nowadays users are trained, even on desktop, to scroll, meaning the main goal above the fold is to visually hook your audience.1 The rest of your content can and will be seen below as they scroll. It might even have a higher retention rate if you have more visual rest in between headlines and images. Think about hierarchy, but never fear: content won’t get lost beyond the fold.


Being aware of what these terms really mean can impact the digital experience.


There are many other buzzwords floating around in the cloud, but these are the most relevant trends we’re seeing today. Being aware of what these terms really mean and understanding how they can impact the digital experience allows our creatives to push the boundaries and our clients to follow the path to success. Need help finding your way? Get in touch!