Spend on digital marketing will top $67 billion by the end of 2015, up 14% over 2014. But this total won’t account for the entirety of digital investment next year as marketers branch out from expected online media buys to help customers explore, use, and engage with their brands — not just discover and buy them.

According to Forrester’s 2015 marketing predictions, this desire to connect with customers throughout their life cycle will finally push publishers to embrace programmatic buying — wooed by the demand for it from top clients like Kellogg’s and P&G.

Additional 2015 marketing predictions include:

  • Social affinity data powers better marketing decisions. But as marketers’ place greater value on the database of affinity — the catalog of people’s tastes and preferences — established social vendors will struggle to prove their value. Forrester predicts that players like Hootsuite and Sprinklr will be pushed aside in 2015 by innovation-focused upstarts, unless they find new ways to offer marketers value.
  • Mobile ads will go beyond online origins. 2015 will finally be the year for mobile-first creative — as publishers offer more mobile-specific ad containers like Facebook and Pandora for marketers to plug into. In turn, a closer brand-publisher relationship will lead to increased popularity for private exchanges, emphasis on the value of first-party data, and greater investment in data management platforms.
  • Contextual marketing will drive further innovation in marketing cloud wars. Enterprise marketing suite vendors will hone processes for measurement and better data management across varying applications to prove the value of integrated marketing versus best-of-breed channel solutions. Watch for vendors to follow Adobe’s lead with its Marketing Cloud.

To learn more about these predictions, visit the Marketing Leadership blog.