Think 2018 Is Too Late to Get Started with Digital Marketing? Think Again

Published on January 17, 2018

“Isn’t Twitter kind of dying as a platform?”

“Does anyone actually even read content anymore?”

“I just don’t see how I’ll have the time to focus on a new website, let alone content.”

“Digital marketing sounds great! But I think I’ve missed my shot at it…”

We hear thoughts like these from business owners here in Chicago and around the country all the time. For some, digital marketing still seems like an unattainable pipe dream that they’ll never get a chance to reach.

For others, even those who recognize the incredible value of digital marketing, there’s another belief – that the best days of the web are already in the past. That SEO, social media, email, and other digital marketing channels have already passed their expiration date.

To both of those groups, we have one thing to say: Digital marketing success is always within grasp, and it’s never too late to get started.

In particular, it’s important to realize that digital marketing isn’t going anywhere. The concepts behind it and the platforms on which it operates may be changing, or in a state of flux – but if you look at the history of email, social media, or search engines, you’ll see that this has always been the case. Indeed, you could say that, on the internet, the only real constant is change.

In fact, there was evidence that 2017 was actually the best year ever for digital marketing – and that 2018 is poised to continue the trend!

The Digital Marketing Stories You May Have Missed

For instance, did you know that internet ad spend topped $200 billion for the first time last year – making it surpass TV ad spend for the first time in history? Or that Google updated its search engine algorithms to make it easier for small and local businesses to rank?

Perhaps you heard from a friend that content marketing was on its way out. But did you also hear that 70% of companies report that content marketing today is “somewhat” or “much more effective” than it was even a year ago? That 60% of B2C and 63% of B2B brands report that they are “very” or “extremely” committed to content marketing? That most brands use three channels to promote or distribute content, and that blogging remains the strategy that most B2B and B2C companies rate as “most critical” to their marketing success?

Maybe you read some of the news stories in 2017 that highlighted what a turbulent year it was for social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. And there’s no denying that these companies (rightly) faced their share of controversies!

But did you also read that Facebook’s user count topped 2 billion, and grew at its fastest rate since 2012? That Instagram topped 800 million users over the course of 2017? Or that, despite the political and cultural controversies surrounding social media, nearly 70% of Americans plan to keep up their current social media diet in 2018?

The takeaway? Simply put, the sky is not falling. In fact, it keeps getting higher and higher!

We’re nowhere near the ceiling of what digital marketing can accomplish for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’ve been online for a decade, or you’re a total digital luddite who’s been waiting to get started, there is still a ton of value to be attained from digital marketing.

What’s In Digital Marketing’s Bright Future?

Times may be changing, but our strategies are changing with them. With that in mind, it is important to stay active and engaged, and to consider what the year(s) ahead may have in store for SEO, social media, email, and the other moving pieces of any successful digital marketing campaign.

So, what advances can we look forward to in the digital marketing realm? Here are a few ideas:

Paid Social Advertising Will Continue to Grow In Importance
While the bar to entry with social media is still quite low, the reality is that actually getting these platforms to work times time, skill, and, yes, money. Organic reach on social has declined precipitously over the past few years; at the same time, more and more businesses have begun to carry out paid promotions using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter’s in-house Ads features.

What can you do to keep up? Research the science and artistry behind great Facebook ad content. Consult with a marketing firm that can help you understand and implement bidding, targeting, and creative strategies tailored to the social media platforms of your choice.

Thinking Will Shift From Desktop-First to Mobile-First
The reality is that most marketers and digital publishers have been emphasizing a mobile-first mentality for some time now. More and more, people are consuming content, shopping, researching, and living their digital lives on phones and tablets, and our online ecosystem is adapting to reflect that. For instance, Google has altered search rankings to promote mobile-friendly sites over less responsive ones, and social media platforms are consistently unveiling featuresthat emphasize mobile, over computer, use.

The action items you should consider? Update your website to ensure that it’s totally responsive and beautiful on mobile. Rethink your social media imagery. Consider creating more “portrait”-style videos and images. Make sure your digital newsletter works on mobile devices.

Visual Content Will Continue to Diversify
You may have heard that “video” is the word to watch in the years ahead, and that’s certainly true – consumers are watching more video content online than ever before. But don’t sleep on other types of visual content, which are also experiencing booms of their own. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences may increase in importance for some brands, given the increasing accessibility of powerful operating systems and key hardware. Similarly, Instagram and Snapchat Stories have already proven to be a powerful tool for marketers, as have infographics, slideshows, and personalized email content.

Is that enough to whet your appetite, or what?

Ready to talk shop and see what a successful digital marketing campaign might look like for your business? Curious about what kinds of benefits you’ll see?  Want to build a content strategy resilient enough to weather any change in the digital tides? The Geek team is here and always excited to help! Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!

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