Mobilegeddon, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Search – just a few of the top digital tactics that have come out in just the first six months of this year have (if you’re already on top of them) or will (if you aren’t) change your entire marketing plan for this year. Here’s a recap of the game changers that will change your marketing plan – and if you’re a good marketer, you’ll change it now, not later.
- Mobile First. Mobile search surpassed desktop search earlier this year – and then, on April 21, Google released an algorithm update that penalized non-mobile optimized (or responsive) websites. ‘Mobilegeddon’ as it was called, was a flurry of marketers scrambling to figure out how to either; (a) bite the bullet and redesign their website in a responsive / mobile optimized format – or – (b) find a workaround to appease Google in the meantime.
- Impact #1 – Google continues to release algorithm updates that reward sites with a great user experience. Get it right now, or scramble to catch up with the next update.
- Impact #2 – Mobile is in the lead for certain metrics, but remain device agnostic. When in doubt, keep user experience and audience interests at the forefront of all marketing decisions).
- Impact #3 – Channel strategies should shift to accommodate more mobile targeted tactics: Paid Search Campaigns skewed to mobile devices, ramp up Facebook advertising (knowing that Facebook also is a ‘mobile first’ company), optimize for Local Search, and the list goes on.
- Social Advertising & Content. Social platforms continue to open up new targeting methods with advertising options, and they’re only getting better. Pinterest now allows advertising, animated (‘cinematic’) pins that can be optimized in the same way you optimize for search (Pinterest’s search team is from Google, so you can imagine there’s some similarity in their search algorithm there). Instagram is opening up advertising options to more advertisers, and can pull in Facebook Advertising targeting capabilities. Facebook Advertising is now critical (and one of the only ways to get in front of your audience), and targeting strategies are getting better, all while advertising costs rise (so get in now, while the gettin’s cheap-er!).
- Impact #1 – Shift advertising budget allocation towards social channels (not next year, now) to ensure that you’re getting highly targeted visibility in a new channel, while the ‘channel clutter’ is low, and taking advantage of a low-cost awareness and conversion platform.
- Bonus Point – Social signals still count as a factor in search rank, even with Google’s latest algorithm update.
- Impact #2 – Optimize your social content both for search engine and native search indexing. We’ve created a culture of ‘searchers’, it’s up to you to connect searching consumers with your brand.
- Impact #3 – Create relevant content. Start first by defining the specific channel audience, then the targeting capabilities, and develop the most relevant social content possible for that audience.
- Twitter Counts in Search. Now that Google & Twitter have a deal to index tweets again, this easy content channel can turn into a long-tail search dream.
- Impact #1 – Reconsider Twitter in your social channel mix. Consider it as a SEO aide and a social channel, with a focus on driving visibility for long-tail terms and converting that visibility to traffic.
- Impact #2 – Optimize Tweets. Look to your SEO Keyword Research / Plan to help guide your Twitter content calendar by incorporating target keywords into topics and tweets.
- Impact #3 – Run Twitter Advertising Tests. There is a solid correlation between highly visible tweets (via retweets, audience size) and the likelihood that your tweet will show up in Google search. Consider running Twitter advertising tests to help boost channel visibility, followers and select tweets.
- Content is More Than King, it’s the Kingdom. Search, social and paid advertising channels can’t run without content. Yet, if siloed, content development becomes very segmented and inefficient. It’s time we rethink how we look at content as an afterthought, and make it as important as digital marketing is to a business. Reconsider how you look at content. Is it an afterthought, or the leading thought?
- Impact #1 – Create a master content calendar that aggregates content needs and output on all channels: SEO, Blog, Social Media, Paid Media, Email, PR. Find content gaps where there are missing holes between the ideal customer content experience and what you currently have. Then create the right content, and make it user friendly. If you wouldn’t watch / read / share it – why would your audience?
- Bonus point: Create a content repository, if you don’t already have one. With needs for content growing, staying organized will be key.
- Impact #2 – Invest in rapid, high-quality content resources and partners. Content can’t take forever to develop any more, and it doesn’t have to. The right resources and partners can enable you to produce more content that is valuable, visible and trackable. You have to feed the beast, and he’s hungry.
- Impact #3 – Make content accountable. Every piece of content should have a set of performance metrics attributed to it. Some content will perform better than others, and that success path should be tracked. Consider content like shooting arrows out to your audience: you’ll want to see where they land, and figure out what you did to land the good ones.
So – if you’re following the digital marketing plan that you set in place last year, it’s already out of date. Follow the plan that will work, now – and use an agency to tell the difference.