The digital marketing landscape
– As you explore the opportunities online marketing provides, I think it’s helpful to first take a look at the history of digital advertising and then review the current landscape.The first widespread digital advertising started in the early 1990s. Display banners for Sears products started appearing on the bottom of the screen for customers of an online service provider, Prodigy. At that time, they were much like magazine ads, visual but not interactive. In 1993, the first clickable ad was created by a law firm in Silicon Valley, and from there, things took off.
In 1994, web banner advertising was mainstream, and it stayed so until 1998, when the first search advertising keywords became available through a company that was eventually acquired by Yahoo! Google followed suit by launching AdWords in 2000, and the rest of digital marketing fell into place. From 2000 until now, we’ve watched the landscape shift to include social media, video advertisements, interstitial advertising, and an entirely new marketing methodology surrounded by the idea of promoting content and not just ads.
We’ve seen entirely new platforms catered to improving ads, tracking ads, and serving ads gain massive market share. In 2010, mobile found its stride, and mobile advertising spend has been increasing almost 90% each year. As the adoption of digital media continues to climb, we’re seeing people spend longer periods of time online, and this means that the digital channels are growing rapidly, and with it the allure of digital marketing. In 2000, it would have been extremely difficult to decide to promote yourself online, and now it’s crazy not to.
So throughout these years, we’ve really seen some incredible shifts in how people respond to online marketing, and as for today, well, we have a pretty good picture of the current landscape as well. First of all, search is the number one source currently usedwhen making a decision to purchase something, and this comes from consumers all the way up to high-level business decision makers. Your website’s visibility in search is likely the most valuable real estate online, and because searchers are expressing intent, they’re an ideal target.
Paid search is also incredibly popular. Organic results take a lot of time, but they’re valuable, so many brands wanna cut to the front of the line by paying for that opportunity. Paid search is a key piece of today’s digital landscape, and the current leader to buy ads from is Google AdWords. Email was once a marketer’s dream. A quality email list was extremely valuable in the early 2000s. Now, it’s still effective, but it must be mobile friendly. Almost 70% of all emails are opened on a mobile device, so the landscape has definitely shifted, and with mobile email, the digital marketplace demands a mobile website.
We’re also seeing a huge trend in marketing automation. These concepts involve automated bidding based on results, automatically remarketing to people who’ve visited your site, and even creating custom advertisements specific to what a user was previously searching for. Automation will continue to evolve over the next couple of years and is likely going to stay a key component in your marketing toolkit. Social media is still proving to be valuable for many brands. There has been some pushback from the consumer as it relates to advertisements in social and the way that networks are organizing their feeds, but this marketing style is still finding ways to improve, and we’ll likely see social advertising remain very popular in today’s landscape.
And finally, we’re in a mature stage of content marketing. Building high-value content for audiences is proving to generate significant ROI for those doing it well. Users are reporting interesting content as being one of the top three reasons that they follow a brand. Now, content marketing might actually be in the process of reforming again.More and more consumers are becoming weary of sensational headlines and may be responding less effectively to previous techniques. It’s important to stay in tune with the online marketing landscape.
As new trends emerge, test them out and see how they perform for your brand.