The latest trends in digital marketing showing no signs of slowing in 2016
A look at the latest trends in digital marketing so far in 2016: including Google search updates, more organic social media advertising, AMP and Google ads changes.
One of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, said nothing is certain except “death and taxes”. Today he might also add “rapid change” as a certainty of digital marketing.
Take, for instance, the advances in social media and Facebook’s plans to take on search heavyweights, such as Google. Then there’s the relentless march of mobile Internet use and ongoing changes to search engine algorithms. These are some of the key drivers that make involvement in digital marketing a never-ending bid to keep up to date.
The undisputed leader in search engines, Google, causes marketers worldwide to hold their breath every time they announce a major update to their algorithms.
Google actually revises and tweaks their algorithm constantly. But major updates, such as that of last year when targeting websites that weren’t especially mobile friendly, are the ones that gain headline news in digital marketing circles.
A ‘significant’ update was detected early in January by search monitoring organisations such as Searchmetrics. And, while not considered a major revision, Google did confirm that it was a “core algo [algorithm] update” concerning content. Long-form, in-depth content relevant to a specific topic was ‘rewarded’ by the change.
It’s widely predicted that a major update could appear sometime in the first quarter of 2016. Codenamed, “Penguin 4”, it will follow in the series of major animal updates, such as previous Penguin iterations along with Panda and Hummingbird.
In all likelihood, poor quality backlinks will be the target along with the old perennial – content. Google wants content of an ever-higher quality and relevancy to searchers, especially as they square up to competition from Facebook and other social media.
Latest Trends in Digital Marketing: Social Media
Some 2 billion people are active worldwide in social media, so it’s an unquestionably huge opportunity that digital marketers are embracing wholeheartedly.
Social media advertising has become very sophisticated very quickly; sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter look much like organic content and are rapidly taking the place of the ‘old school’ banner ads.
Spending on social media advertising hit $24 billion worldwide in 2015 – impressive, especially when a few short years ago it was zero.
Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Changes
Search on Google and you’ll notice no ads appear on the right-hand side as previously, yet more paid ads appear at the top and the bottom with the organic searches in between in what has been described as an “ad sandwich”.
While the number of organic searches is the same as before, they appear ‘below the fold’ on the page and – because paid ads are not that easy to spot to the casual online searcher – they’re more likely to get clicked on.
This clearly benefits larger advertisers with the higher ad spends who can afford to occupy the top places. There again, some say it is a natural consequence of mobile Internet use rising and a streamlining of the interface. Thus, reflecting the fact that more people access the Internet on their mobiles.
Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
One of Google’s priorities is to improve the web experience for mobile users as discussed above. The next step is theirs and Twitter’s AMP project – ultra fast loading mobile pages – launched in February.
To help fast loading further, Google caches pages so they’re effectively hosted by the search engine giant and don’t need to be ‘fetched’.
AMP is, along with Google’s desire to respond to the fact more than half of all Internet users access the Internet on their mobiles, a key step in meeting the challenge of similar initiatives such as Facebook’s Instant Articles.
Web developers will be able to create AMP pages but there are strict guidelines to follow – particularly in the use of HTML. These pages are presently labelled when they appear in search results and a lightning bolt logo is used to identify them. This is one of the most significant of the latest trends in digital marketing.
Just the start
Bearing in mind we’re in the first months of 2016, there’s already been plenty of key digital marketing developments as discussed above. Looking ahead there’s likely to be much more with, for example, social media rapidly maturing and growing.
On the horizon, Facebook’s possible entry into the search engine arena could see an exciting convergence of social media and Internet search.
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