As we wrap 2016, it’s a good time to look back and reflect on the fact that there have been more updates in the past year in terms of SEO, Google, Facebook, Twitter than the past 3 years combined, all which affect how we market and do business on the internet.
Platforms such as Google and Facebook have introduced new tools that take digital marketing to the next level and that makes reaching our target audience a whole lot easier.
In today’s Marketing Drive we’re not talking about the 2017 trends but rather the 2016 changes and how that will affect how we think about our activity in the digital marketing industry. These are my personal observations from my day to day work and client work that span these different digital marketing platforms.
2016 has been a great year for Honeypot Marketing, thanks to everyone for subscribing to The Marketing Drive YouTube channel and podcast. Happy New Year!
In The Marketing Drive Episode 22 we’re talking about:
- The 2016 digital marketing changes that make an impact on how brands and companies need to communicate online.
- Google’s introduction of the new indexing infrastructure ‘Caffeine’ and the Mobile First Index.
- Facebook’s updated pixels and updated video features – how these tools can connect you to your audience even further.
- How Twitter real time moments will be the newest way to consume the latest news on politics and society.
Welcome to the marketing drive. I’m Dan Nedelko and it is the end of the year. On today’s marketing drive I wanted to talk a little bit about, not trends because I don’t like the word trends. But for 2016 especially, in the world of digital marketing, there has been full of changes this particular year from my observations.
Working day to day in digital marketing on client work, our own projects, using all of the different channels in the platforms that we use, this year has seen some really substantial changes. Now you can probably look back every single year and say the same thing but I feel that this year there was a huge maturity that happened on a lot of social media platform.
Starting with the big ‘G’, Google introduced the caffeine platform. I’m probably going to miss a couple of these milestones, such as Penguin 3 and Penguin 4, but I think how I’m going to hit on the generalities of it. So we saw the caffeine platform which really underpins Google’s infrastructure roll-out and that really put an end to your “google update”. Since that happens now in almost real time, those rankings move around.
There are thousands of thousands of PageRank algorithm updates that happen. They’ve said over a thousand, so I actually would trust that would be the case given the size and scale of the search engine itself, and the number of people working on it and the platform is running on.
What I would say is very effectively and I have been involved with a number of projects who you know we’re living in a state of denial about what penguin means? Why is content important? Why SEO and just site development best practices are extremely important? And they got penalized for it. A lot of old-world thinking about what content means? Is content important for the user? Which it absolutely is and the holistic approach of SEO which I think is often forgotten.
- Search engine optimization is not a thing that is completed, it is a process that takes the user into account and as such it’s more closely aligned with customer experience and user experience. Information architecture is more than architecting the physical structure of the site, but how the information flows back through to the user. If Google can understand your site, then a human being can understand your site. So take the time to consider the user in terms of their understanding of your site, your product, how they interact with it, what stage of interaction there at with you.
- What we saw with penguin, caffeine, and now google mobile first is that we’re seeing a massive shift where Google’s algorithms are really becoming more and more closely aligned with what I would call the customer experience. You have to adjust your search engine optimization strategies, for example, to work in line with that. If you ignore that and continue to develop pages that have content for the sake of having content, you’re going to be spinning your wheels without the definitive plan of what you want to have happened someone lands on your site through a search engine. Beyond direct is still the number one source of traffic for almost every site that we work on and we work very hard to make sure that that happens.
- In November 2016, Google’s mobile first index came out and what that really means is that there are in fact two different Google indexes now. When you visit on a mobile device, you will see different search listings and different results than you would see if you’re coming from a laptop, desktop or even the tablet device. Mobile first is extremely important because it is the growing channel people have to interact with you online. Again the simple analogy is you may be watching this on your phone – if you’re not watching this on your phone, I’m going to bet that your phone is no more than arm’s length away from you. So that shift late this year heralds a lot of big changes.
- Our entire content strategy needs to be shifted and adjusted to really work with a lot of that maturity especially on the google side, so your content has to change and the way that you design a site has to change being mobile-first, possibly even custom app development which is the primary way that people interact with sites and applications on their mobile devices.
So that’s google, it’s going to be mobile – mobile first, mobile app development, search optimization in app. So iTunes Store, Google Play, taking into account that google now has google pixel which is going to be a probably a rising kind of star for google, but again just on the mobile front is really tailoring a mobile experience primarily rather than secondarily, and moving into the app development space, and really understanding when you design pages specifically on your site whether they’re lead acquisition pages or information pages or anchor pages, the device is important for the layout of your content and how people interact with that.
Obviously, screen size is a massive issue. Smaller screen sizes should have content tailored for people and understanding how people use devices. When you’re mobile you’re typically on-the-go. You’re not going to read a five-page document right. You may watch a video it needs to be scan-able all of those types of things.
The next biggest player in the game, in the industry, is Facebook. Facebook has come a long way in 2016 in particular. Facebook went from having, what I would call a fairly embryonic advertising platform into having something very sophisticated and obviously they’ve been pouring tons of resources into it.
- All of the different channels that are available on Facebook now, in particular, how Instagram interaction works within the Facebook environment, which is actually very powerful. It’s powerful brand and it’s powerful for conversion. It should not be dismissed; it is an integrated part of the Facebook experience whether it appears that way on the front side or not it very much is.
- Facebook released their advance new pixel which can be installed on sites and then you can gain additional advanced levels of information about your users, about how they’re interacting, how you can remarket and retarget to them. How you can build up those custom audiences and refine those custom audiences and also how visibility works on the Facebook platform. All of those things have accelerated more in one year than they probably have in the combined three years before that.
- One of the biggest changes for Facebook is the roll-out on stripe and PayPal payments being accepted via messengers for e-commerce retailers on Facebook specifically and Facebook will not be charging a fee to do that. So that means that your customers that interact on Facebook will then have the ability to pay you via messenger using stripe and PayPal so that really accelerates the importance of how you could use things like a Facebook Messenger to interact with your customers for resale, for purchase and actually accept the payment in a seamless way.
- The next big thing for Facebook will be, Facebook doubling down on video. One of the biggest things that I think people don’t know or haven’t noticed is the Facebook now has a very similar media library to YouTube. It’s obviously not a YouTube, YouTube is still kind of the king of video, but Facebook again has the ability to create and move people into the platform very quickly that is going to be interesting to see how that pans out. I see video becoming more and more important. The ability to cross-post between two brands seamlessly is extremely important for partnerships because digital marketing in 2016, partnerships have become more critical and more welcomed by everybody in order to reach the right audiences.
- Facebook is going to continue to double-down I think on new ways for businesses to interact with individuals which will then allow them to kind of filter out the noise of Facebook, that’s always been kind of a big thing since the Facebook brand page was introduced. Making it even more critical for you as a brand and as a marketer to connect with the right individuals, not the most individuals.
Twitter had an interesting year and fascinating to watch. We weren’t sure where Twitter was going to end up but it has turned into a media outlet for politics and current events. It gave Twitter a snowflake status, and no it’s not going to “beat Facebook”, they’re just two different things altogether.
- Beyond the finances of that company they’ve got smart leadership, that’s really savvy and they are an extremely valuable part of the media communications landscape in particular in politics and world events.
- Twitter released moments and it’s actually a great way to consume news. A lot of changes in how users can interact on Twitter to see threads and conversations.
- Twitter has some work to do because of things like anonymity, verified profiles, bullying and cyber-bullying, those mechanisms that have been issues for twitter in the past that Facebook is actually done a very good job solving.
Continue to double down on the vertical video world and continue to expand to the millennial crowd. I think we are going to see a lot more brands and brand engaging stories and I’m hoping Snap will work n their distribution model for smaller and medium size businesses to make it worth it for them in interact there.You’re also going to see Snapchat introduces features that will allow the brand to interact and schedule content on snap channels would be a very welcome thing.
5. Bing and Yahoo
I’m not entirely sure. Your going to see Bing with the maturity of Windows 10 and Xbox
- Google double down on mobile, definitely a theme for them.
- Facebook double down on being able to reach audiences using the extended information they have available to them through the open graph and the ability for brands to connect with more people and the correct audience.
- Twitter doubling down on real time moments and news, current events, social. The revenue stream may include possible more interaction more like a NY times type of channel.
Again, no trends! These are my observations that I think you will see happen in 2017 in a real tactile way. Happy New Year and happy 2017. It’s been a fascinating and great year at Honeypot Marketing. You’re going to see the introduction to the Knows Network and I’m super excited about that. We are going to start doubling down on our own projects and community.
I’ll be covering the latest and greatest marketing, business and start-up tips every day from the road.
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The ups, the downs of agency life. How to build your agency successfully.
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