December 30, 2014 | Kayla Hollatz

You know those popular digital marketing trends that just make you want to tear your hair out? Yeah, those. We want them gone too.

Here are some of the worst trends in our field that need to disappear in the new year.

Automatic Direct Messages (Auto DMs)

automatic direct messages

Marketing automation on social media can be off-putting, especially with auto DMs. Auto DMs create marketing obstacles because they are blatantly self-promotional. If I follow you and you send me a direct message with a link to your latest blog post and a canned welcome message, I head straight for the unfollow button. Users on social media are human, meaning authentic relationships trump automated messaging. Put in the time and be unique.

Non-Mobile Friendly Designs

bad mobile website bad mobile website

According to Google Think Insights, 48% of searches start on mobile devices. With the recent rollout of the “mobile friendly” label on Google SERPs, having a mobile optimized design is more important than ever. We recommend responsive web design (RWD) which adjusts web content to fit to any screen for an optimal user experience on any device. Also, RWD earns you that nice “mobile friendly” label, something all websites will want going into 2015.

Auto Play Videos/Music

auto play music and video

Nothing is worse than visiting a website only to hear automatically played music or videos blaring from your computer speakers. I go straight to the exit button and make a mental note never to visit that site again. Give your visitors a choice to listen to music or videos that you provide. No one likes to be ambushed.

Bad Stock Photography

bad stock photography

Above are just a few golden examples of stock photos that just make you cringe. (Side note: Do people even purchase the right to use these?) There’s even a Tumblr blog that pays homage to terrible stock photos. That funny blog can stay, but the rest of the bad stock photos have to go.

Submit Buttons

submit button

I’ve seen enough “submit” buttons to last me a lifetime. The downfall of the “submit” button is that it offers little clarity on what will happen after it’s clicked, and clarity is king in opt-in forms. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons are better when they include language that is benefit and value driven. Don’t just take our word for it. Our friends at Unbounce also urge marketers to ditch generic CTAs like “submit” for more actionable language. Cut the buzzword and beef up your CTA button today.

Obstructing Social Share Bars

annoying share thingy on blog post

If you’ve ever been irritated by a social share bar hovering over a blog post you were trying to read, you’ll understand why this made the list. Social share bars are all the rage now but they must be used effectively in order to be successful. Like anything on a website, the bar should never distract from the content. Here’s our take on floating social media share bars.

QR Codes


Why are these still around? QR codes aren’t as common now, but I still see them at nearby restaurants and even on business cards. No one wants to download an app specifically for scanning these codes. They’d rather just have the URL.  Our Creative Director, Dave Dechant, once saw a QR code on a website that when scanned took you again to the homepage of the same website. These need to die out completely in 2015.


Which of these grinds your gears? Do you have any more to add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.



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