Yelena Petic
December 1, 2021

How Digital Marketing has Changed in the Last 10 Years

10 years ago in the digital marketing world, things were fairly uncomplicated. Just think about the fact that there were only a few smartphones to choose from and the world wide web really wasn't as wide or connected as it is now.

The information pool was nowhere near where it is now. To be able to make a decision about purchasing a product or service was not as hard because the options to do so were so limited.  Now, just around the corner fast forward to 2023 and you literally have thousands and thousands of website options to help you decide on any one product or service.

Over the last 10 years, the digital marketing industry has had to keep up with the constant state of evolving technology and how people are evolving with the technology, essentially changing how people function around their reliance on the internet. 

Let’s take a look at what has shaped digital marketing since 2013.

Social Media

10 ten years ago social media was more about keeping in touch with friends and family. It was not complicated and was an excellent way for people to stay connected. Facebook was a baby and the word influencer didn't have meaning in the social media world.

Jump ten years later and it went from a place where you connect with your friends and family to a full-blown media outlet where multi-million dollar businesses are branding themselves and selling what they got to offer. Social media has become a platform where the everyday joe can turn into an influencer and be paid to endorse every single type of product or service to their followers.

We can definitely say that social media changed the world and how people see it. The influence of social media began to compromise elections around the world. It started protests for change in many countries as well as social reform. People in almost every country could watch, read and connect to everything happening globally because of social media. 

It all started with Facebook then Twitter and so on. Everything from back in the day like Vine and Youtube to today’s short-form video sensations TikTok and Youtube Shorts and so many more social media platforms have changed how businesses function including LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Social media platforms affect how digital marketing functions and provide services to customers globally. Social media has become an integrated part of digital marketing strategies. With more than 4.74 billion active monthly social media users worldwide. The opportunity for brands to reach their target audiences and more will only continue to rise and grow into 2023 and beyond.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Only a decade ago, SEO was a completely different operation than the one we are used to today. 10 years ago there wasn’t anything specific that Google could do to eliminate keyword stuffing. Things changed with the Panda update in 2011 when Google finally labeled Black Hat SEO tactics.

The Panda update started rewarding companies that provide value for their audiences. SEO became all about content and companies that publish the best content to win the top rankings on Google. Following Penguin 2.0 that came out swinging at spam harder than ever.

Google, as the authority in the search engine industry, regularly changes its algorithms. These changes are more beneficial for companies that execute SEO strategies properly. SEO needs patience and finesse. It really is a never-ending process.

Local searches also became one of the main SEO focuses throughout the last 10 years. With Google’s Pigeon update in 2014, local search was changed and reshaped. Google started rewarding well-optimized websites with an advantage over its competitors in local SERPs.  This also improved location-specific searches and location-based mobile browsing.

In 2014, Google algorithms also started to prioritize HTTPS websites. Since encryption guarantees data integrity, and the user’s confidential information, HTTPS became a positive nexus with higher search rankings on Google’s SERPs.

Mobile-First and Gen Z

In 2018, Google started deploying mobile-first indexing, which means that Google now sees the mobile version of any website as the primary version of that site. To stay competitive, businesses had to adapt to these changes. With the mobile-friendly updates, Google started to rank optimized websites that deliver a well-balanced UX for mobile users.

Generation Z is genuinely the mobile-first generation. This puts tremendous importance on personalization and the interaction with data-dependent smart devices. Gen Z is the people now entering the workforce. This is a huge number of consumers and that plays a valuable role in any business's digital marketing strategy because these are the people you want to target and attract.

The Power Of Digital PR

The growth of social media has changed the way reporters and traditional media (TV, newspapers)  interact with their sources, for example, journalists no longer need to wait for brand/company representatives or press releases to get information about a brand. To find information about any organization, they can follow them on social media today.

In this day and age, reporters are using social media channels to their advantage, which is why PR professionals should also be using them. By monitoring social media profiles and digital news, you will gather valuable knowledge to help you gain an edge.

Transparency Became A Necessity

Transparency is key these days if you want to attract anyone to your business and brand. In general, people trust people they know, and they highly value recommendations. In today's digital age, it's more important than ever for brands to earn the trust of consumers. Facebook, for example, suffered a huge scandal because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal for failing to protect the data of its users, this was something that was unimaginable ten years ago.

Now that customers search for products more intelligently and faster, they are comparing brands and reviews and learning all about the products at the same time. 

It's crucial to engage with customers transparently in this age of customer control, building real relationships and brand loyalty in the process. The more transparent you are, the more you will enjoy the rewards of being open with your users.

In Conclusion

It will be exciting to see how much digital marketing will continue to grow in the next few years. Over the last decade, the number of companies with web and social presence has grown dramatically, which means you must stay up-to-date on best practices, and constantly develop new digital marketing strategies. As a brand, you must remain responsive as things in digital marketing are evolving faster than ever because there are always more opportunities to adapt your business and strategies to continue to grow your business within its marketplace.

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