It might not seem like a long period of time in the grand scheme of things, but a decade means a lot in the world of digital marketing, which is something we were able to witness ourselves.
There have been many twists and turns, some of them expected, some of them not so much. At this point in time, we can look back and say with 100% certainty what changed in the last 10 years for digital marketing.
1. Social Media Has Become a Game-Changer
Ten years ago, social media platforms were scarce and considerably less complex. They were an online spot for getting in touch with your friends and relatives. But, in the last couple of years, social media platforms have gone through a complete transformation.
Together with their original purpose, they are now the biggest outlet for brand marketing, growing brand’s reach, and generating potential leads. These networks are now the first to address in order to find out more about new brands.
SEO Turned Relevant – a Lot
SEM was always a thing, but other forms of digital marketing were filled with black-hat SEO. Essentially, many people were trying to cheat the system and fill up their websites with relevant keywords in order to get a better ranking.
However, in the last ten years, Google’s algorithm has become more and more advanced in order to promote only those websites that follow the practices of white-hat SEO. Nowadays, breaking the rules can result in a ban from all search engines.
Google’s Documentation and Tools Became Helpful
Back in the day, you really could spend hours trying to guess how to work Google’s AdWords tools. It wasn’t uncommon for these guides and available documentation to change by the day, as Google was also updating the interfaces of their tools constantly.
They have come a long way, so much so that using Google tools nowadays is very simple and intuitive. The interfaces have been simplified so that they are quick to grasp and you don’t need to be a hacking genius in order to understand them.
Content Became King
Publishing long, relevant, valuable, and meaningful content wasn’t always like what we expect from blogs today. Actually, most business websites didn’t even have a blog or a content strategy, while many of those who did, used this strategy for keyword stuffing without trying to provide much value to the readers.
Internet browsers have recognized the power of content and turned things around by encouraging businesses to publish high-quality content regularly, and use it to up their traffic and SEO.
Business-Focused Shifted to Audience-Focused
Businesses used to be “selfish” and this kind of marketing tactic seemed to work rather well ten years ago. But, in the last decade, the shift was made to meet the demands of users who wanted a more audience-focused approach.
A brand’s image, message, and identity still hold huge importance for successful marketing, but only when used as a way to attract the target audience in a personal and engaging manner.
Website Design Had a Makeover
Heavy websites with plenty of sizeable images without an intuitive interface, as well as the plainest blocks of text, were all part of old-school website design that didn’t seem to be all that important ten years ago. However, as business branding shifted to more audience-focused marketing, website design had to go through a makeover as well.
Fast loading pages, mobile optimization, attractive HQ images, intuitive interface, and pleasant brand-representative colours are an absolute must today.
Credibility Is Everything
Creating a trustworthy and transparent brand image is crucial for businesses that wish to succeed in today’s market. Ten years ago, when people didn’t use social media for finding information about businesses and there was almost no personality involved in business marketing, it was easy to get away with anything.
That all changed in the last decade, so much so that business behaviour online – their attitude towards customers and transparency in actions – can make or break a business today.
Buyer Personas Became a Thing
Ten years ago, marketing segmentation didn’t really exist. Marketing different products and services through various means and strategies were meant for everyone to see and click on, which only resulted in businesses losing valuable time and money.
Thanks to the possibility of segmentation and understanding of ideal buyer personas, digital marketing strategies have evolved to cater to the actual target audience.
So many things changed in the last 10 years for digital marketing that it would be rather impossible to predict what the future will bring without the help of a crystal ball. Of course, the key for business success and effective digital marketing is to keep track of the shifts and changes, no matter how slight these may be, and then incorporating them into the marketing strategies accordingly.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.