At this point, it’s basically a cliché to talk about how often things change in the digital marketing landscape. And yet, here we are again to reiterate that very concept. So it bears repeating that change in this industry is constant, and without some vigilance, you’re going to get left behind.
To this end, there were a number of major changes that happened toward the end of June and in early July. Marketers are only now starting to see the full breadth and scope, but these changes are highly relevant for local SMBs all around the nation. Here are four of the biggest ones.
Google’s Algorithm Change Has Been Shaking up the SERPs
Near the end of June, marketers had noticed major fluctuations in search results, indicating that Google apparently had rolled out an algorithm update. As with most of Google’s most recent updates, it targeted websites with “obvious quality issues,” including thin content, generic content, overabundance of ads, indexing issues and more. It also rewarded sites that have been addressing their content issues in recent months.
Although some marketers had been speculating that this may have been a result of the much-awaited Penguin update, Google’s John Mueller confirmed in early July that this was not the case. As Glenn Gabe observes in a detailed post on the update, the SERP changes more likely are attributable to a Panda or “Phantom” update.
Takeaway: If your site has anything that could be considered as an “obvious” content issue, then now would be a good time to address them. These quality updates are becoming more and more frequent, and there’s no end in sight.
Facebook’s “Friendmageddon” is in Full Effect
In the final days of last month, Facebook announced that its Newsfeed Algorithm would begin placing more value on stories published by users’ friends. In effect, this meant that many fan pages would experience even lower reach and referral traffic from their organic efforts.
During the following weeks, our own testing and reporting have confirmed that this is indeed the case. With the exception of a few high-affinity brands, organic reach is down across the board. Given that organic reach has been trending consistently downward this year, this move by Facebook is hardly a revelation.
Takeaway: Brands will need to focus more than ever on creating valuable, shareable content if they want to achieve any level of organic engagement. But this just underscores that Facebook is a “pay to play” proposition. Fortunately, Facebook produces an excellent ROI for the investment, so businesses can feel confident in putting their ad dollars here.
Angie’s List Becomes Free for Users
In perhaps the most significant move for businesses in the home services industry, Angie’s List officially removed its paywall in July. This move, announced back in March, is expected to put it on par with review sites like Yelp and Google My Business.
Even with its paid subscription model, the site was already a powerhouse in the residential services space, boasting millions of online reviews and more than 3 million users. The site has tons of offline prominence and the domain is heavily trusted by Google. All indications are that Angie’s list will become a major factor almost immediately.
Takeaway: If you’re a residential service provider, you’re going to need a strategy for acquiring, monitoring, and managing Angie’s List reviews. Search Engine Land’s Brian Patterson observes that review monitoring tools probably won’t work for the site yet, so for the foreseeable future, it may even be necessary to routinely check for new reviews.
Mobile Video Ads are the Most Effective Mobile Ad Unit
Marketers and advertisers have long suspected that video would eventually become king when it came to mobile. But now it’s official.
According to Smaato’s quarterly report, “Global Trends in Mobile Advertising,” mobile video is the most effective mobile ad unit. Growth for mobile video, in fact, has outpaced other advertising formats by more than 1000 percent.
Takeaway: When an ad unit grows by orders of magnitude over other types of ads, it’s best to take notice. With video production solutions becoming more affordable by the day, now is the time to start taking advantage of mobile video ads.
Having trouble keeping up with all these changes? The LeadBuilder® digital marketing team can do that for you. We keep tabs on the latest developments in the digital advertising industry, and our strategies are adjusted continually to ensure our clients’ campaigns continue to perform at a high level.