2012 was one of the most exciting in recent memory for anyone in the Internet marketing space. We saw huge shifts in the way we do business as well as the way we advise clients to do business in a very short time.
Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest changes we witnessed in 2012 before taking a look at what that means for your marketing plan in 2013.
Google continued their crusade against lower quality websites and spammy backlinks. We saw two huge Google updates this year that really pushed the point home that the future is for authority sites, and the fly-by-night operations of days past are gone, and probably never coming back.
Enter the authority site. Content is king, or at least that has been Google’s mantra for at least half a decade, but those “in the know” always knew that content was far less important than a strong portfolio of anchored backlinks. Knowing that you could rank for essentially anything, SEO was more important than ever and it brought rise to a lot of amateur SEO operations selling links in spammy networks. This is yet another thing Google has continually warned us about, but up until recent months they’ve done very little to change. Now you’re going to see the most professional of SEO organizations thrive while the spammy ones look for the next big thing.
As marketers, most in the pay-per-click camps used Google Adwords to cut their teeth while they fiddled with things like positioning, ad copy, landing pages, and advanced analytics usage. It seems that some are jumping ship to Facebook while others still believe that people just don’t buy while reading status updates. Both are right, but that also inherently means that both are wrong.
Facebook is obviously here to stay, and they’ll need to make money now that they’re a publicly traded company. The only obvious fix is to keep tweaking the ad system until they have widespread adoption. It’s certainly not perfect, but with the recent announcement of some very exciting tracking options, it’s certainly something that’s going to remain a factor for the significant future. Those that are using it – and using it well – are going to continue to see better click prices than they would with Adwords. What’s really going to make the difference is when those from the Adwords camp evolve and learn how to use the advanced targeting options of Facebook to target the leads like they’re used to on Adwords.
Social Media ROI
Until recent years, there has always been two distinct sides to the social media coin. Some thought it was the best thing since sliced bread while others found it to be a waste of money and resources. The truth is – it’s both. If done properly there is no better (or faster) way to market your business, but in the hands of amateurs it’s probably better to focus the time and attention on something more quantitative.
The thing about social media is up until this year it was largely a qualitative marketing platform. Marketers had no real way to show the long-term value of a “Like” or a “ReTweet” so we saw numbers ranging from a few cents to several hundred dollars. A simple “I don’t know, but I think it ads long term value” is basically what these numbers told us. Not anymore.
In 2012 social media became quantitative. We have analytic tools and tracking ability that we’ve never had before so for the first time in the social media era, we’re actually able to track a real return on investment when it comes to hours and dollars spent on social sites.
Mobile & Local Search
We’ve heard people preaching for years about mobile effectively changing the way we search. For years we stored the information in the back of our minds for a rainy day. Well friends, I hope you have an umbrella.
Although we’re in the infancy of a movement that is still evolving, we’re certainly seeing truth to those that predicted the shift to a more mobile-centric web.
According to a 2012 Nielsen survey, 27-percent of all smartphone users (28-million people) attempted to find coupons on their mobile while shopping. This number shows significant growth from the 11-percent that claimed the same thing in 2011. The same survey reports 38-percent of smartphone owners looking up product information for an ad on their smartphone while watching television.
Do you know what mobile users are searching for most often? Local business. Google and Microsoft differ on the actual number, but both are reporting approximately 40-percent of all searches done on a mobile phone are for local businesses.
The On-Demand Economy
People are watching television less, at least they’re watching television less in the way it was intended and opting instead to record their favorite shows on increasingly affordable DVR devices and watching their favorite TV shows whenever they want – usually while skipping the commercials.
The print industry has been dying for the last several years, and will continue to do so in the future.
We’re an on-demand economy. We need information and entertainment at our fingertips. In fact, in the Nielsen survey referenced above, 86-percent of smartphone users have made the claim they surf the web on their phones while they’re watching television. Traditional television scheduling doesn’t work for most people anymore and print media is a thing of the past with the advent of tablets and smartphones. The death of these two mediums is no surprise to anyone, as they sealed their own fate by not evolving as the needs of the consumer shifted. What should surprise you is just how much money people are spending for television and print ads as opposed to advertising online or using inbound marketing approaches such as SEO or social media to bring customers to them. A staggering 84-percent of most offline businesses marketing budgets are spent… offline. Insane? I think so.
Well, that certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of changes in 2012, but it should highlight some of the biggest. Is there anything we missed? Feel free to comment below and let us know. Maybe we’ll include it in future posts!
Also be sure to check out our fearless predictions for 2013!