The evolution of digital marketing in the last decade

3 March 2020

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The rapid advancements of technology and the internet in the last ten years have completely transformed the way growing businesses market their products and services online. Many of the key digital marketing tools and techniques recommended to businesses in 2009/10 are now hugely outdated, confined to the history books, in favour of newer ground-breaking methods to help brands gain exposure in the major search engines and via social media.

As we embark on a new decade, the time is right to look back at the evolution of digital marketing for online businesses between 2010-2019:

The rise of social media

It’s impossible to ignore the rapid rise of social media platforms. At the turn of the last decade, the concept of being a ‘social media influencer’ hadn’t even been considered. In the last ten years, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and newcomer platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have evolved from being solely a place where friends can stay in touch to genuine media outlets that allow brands to grow and reach out to new customers.

Today, each social media channel has its own purpose when it comes to social media marketing. With Facebook, advertising campaigns can now be just as targeted as Google AdWords, allowing brands to make meaningful connections with prospective customers whose interests are aligned. Similarly, organic and paid Twitter marketing can push marketing messages and related content to drive sales and brand advocacy.

Newer, more visual social media channels like Instagram have also been utilised as a digital marketing opportunity, particularly for businesses with goods and products that are visual, helping to maximise sales and promote the personalities of brands.

Content marketing is now so much more than blogs and guest posts

Less than a decade ago, businesses and brands could write blogs and guest posts targeting relevant search terms and phrases to gain almost instant exposure in the major search engines like Google. Various loopholes to manipulate search engine algorithms have been closed as the years have ticked by, requiring businesses’ content marketing campaigns to be more sophisticated.

In more recent years, the mediums for content consumption have expanded exponentially. It’s not just blogs where people consume content these days. There are podcasts, social media live streams, frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages, user-generated content and reviews, as well as dedicated video content. Consumers’ attention spans have declined during the last decade too. Delivering marketing messaging in the most direct, succinct way possible is therefore more crucial than ever before.

Search engines have matured in their approach to SEO practices

The integrity of major search engines like Google has improved immeasurably. Gone are the days of ‘black hat’ marketing techniques that could yield short-term success for brands and marketers. Today, it’s all about sustainability; doing things naturally and solving problems for consumers.

First and foremost, the 2011 Google Panda update put paid to black hat SEO tactics, forcing brands to place a bigger emphasis on the breadth and quality of their on-site content. Three years later, the Google Pigeon update placed greater emphasis on localised search, recognising the shift in consumer searches for businesses, goods and services ‘near me’. In the same year, Google also started to reward brands with secure HTTPS websites with improved search engine rankings, penalising those that don’t offer secure, encrypted connections for users.

Seamless and responsive mobile experiences became a necessity

The smartphone revolution has also changed the face of digital marketing. The proliferation of apps and mobile-specific web browsers has meant websites have had to tailor their content and user experiences. In 2015, Google made the mobile-friendliness of a company’s website a ranking factor and three years later, Google’s mobile-first indexing meant that its crawl bots now view the mobile version of any website first before the desktop version, to help Google rank well-optimised websites that offer a well-balanced user experience on all smartphone and tablet devices, as well as desktop and laptop.

Personalisation is now key to influence buying decisions

Thanks to the arrival of ‘Generation Z’, the world’s first mobile-first generation, there has been an increased onus on brands delivering personalised user experiences, utilising the power of data-dependent smart devices to create unique experiences for consumers, strengthening relationships between brands and their customers. User-generated content is also increasingly popular, with millennials increasingly leaning on user-generated reviews and feedback to influence their buying decisions.

Do you feel bamboozled by SEO in 2020? Whether you want to drive more local consumers to your business, expand your consumer base nationwide or target multi-national sales online, at Unity Online our digital marketing experts can implement innovative organic search marketing campaigns that enhance your brand visibility and credibility for the long-term.

To arrange a free consultation on your brand’s digital marketing strategy, start taking a different digital path with Unity Online by calling 01473 350 485 or drop us a line using our online enquiry form and we’ll do the rest.

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