We're looking back at the top content marketing news from 2015 - plus what marketers can expect for big trends in the new year.

Rewind to the start of 2015, and you’ll realize a lot has changed on the digital marketing scene. We were introduced to new things, like Google’s mobile algorithm, a.k.a. Mobilegeddon. Tweets made their way back into search results. Instagram got ads, and Snapchat debuted its Discover feature. Google even updated its logo for the first time since 2013.

And who could forget Meerkat’s five minutes of fame? (Hint: Most of us.)

As we enter 2016, we’re taking a look back at some of your favorite posts and the top headlines from 2015 – measured by traffic, social shares, bounce rate, time on the site and more – plus some of the bigger projects we worked on, like our Content for Goals webinar and eBook series.

(Ready to move on to 2016 already? Scroll down – you’ll  see a list of our predictions and big trends for the new year.)

Top content marketing blog headlines

Is “branded content” killing your content marketing?

  • What is “branded content” and why aren’t both B2C and B2B marketers having success with this content format?
    Is "branded content" killing your marketing? Watch here.

    Is “branded content” killing your marketing? Watch here.

    Katherine explores this topic with insights and advice from CMI’s latest research.

3 Ways content can be used as a sales tool

  • A smart salesperson understands the power of content marketing, but still might be underutilizing content as a sales tool. In this piece, Max shares a few common scenarios that sales people run into and how content can be incorporated to move the sales process forward.

How to use Google Analytics for better web writing

  • For a content marketing strategy to be successful, it needs to be underpinned by data. Editor Matt Kaplan shares how he uses Google Analytics to refine his writing approach, based on hard numbers about what the audience is responding to.

Impressive examples of content marketing in the financial services industry

  • Marketers in the financial services industry are usually afraid of content marketing and social media, even though they understand how important these approaches are for success today. Lauren highlights eight examples of brands that are getting it right.

The best content for B2B tech link building

  • At Brafton, software and technology businesses make up roughly 20 percent of our client base. Through a deep analysis of individual pages on more than 75 software clients’ websites, CEO Richard Pattinson shares the results of some interesting link trends.

Top SEO headlines

How to get the most from RankBrain, Google’s new ranking-robotRankBrain_Hummingbird_Google_SERP_Algorithm

  • In October, Google announced the first version of a new method of search ranking, called RankBrain. It’s said to foreshadow what’s next in how Google search returns information, and it’s raising major implications for how we as marketers need to approach our content strategies.

3 things to know about Google’s quality guideline updates

  • If your website’s traffic has seen drastic increases or drops at the end of 2015, it may be because of the latest updates to Google’s comprehensive guideline, the new Phantom Update III. With this update, Google is punishing lowquality, irrelevant or spammy content, while enhancing the ranking of high-quality pages.

Why Panda 4.2 is such a big marketing mystery

  • When Google introduced Panda 4.2, many webmasters and SEOs were uncertain about what the algorithm targeted or if they’d been impacted. Lauren explains why.

The biggest SEO updates of Summer 2015

  • Google’s logo change. Less Wikipedia in SERPs. Is SEO dead (again)? Katherine addresses these search marketing updates from the summer.

Top social headlines

60% of companies struggle to measure social media marketing ROI

  • Virtually every brand has a social presence, but gauging success is often difficult. Research from Simply Measured showed that 60 percent of companies struggle to measure the ROI of their social media marketing.

Twitter turns ‘firehose’ back on, Google to show Tweets in SERPs

  • Twitter and Google reached an agreement that made Tweets more searchable and guaranteed users have access to real-time information as it goes live in July. We’re sharing three reasons why this update was so significant.

The truth about social media marketing for lead gen

  • Lead generation might’ve been a top goal for B2B marketers in 2015, but social media wasn’t where they were

    expected to bring in qualified prospects.

Brafton’s 2015 infographics:

b2b software marketing infographic Content for Thought Leadership Finance Infographic Snippet Title

Brafton’s 2015 ebooks:

Content for Goals Ebook Series

Looking ahead to 2016:

Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.