Summer 2018 was wild in the digital marketing community. Anyone dealing in the online sales and marketing space has felt the effects of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal and Google’s (constant) disruptive algorithm changes.
As an online business coach, I’ve seen clients and colleagues struggle to stay up to date with these changes. We’ve all heard the old saying, “Change is the only constant,” and that goes double for the digital landscape. That’s why it’s vitally important to diversify your lead generation and marketing channels to prevent catastrophe.
What Were The Major Marketing Changes In 2018?
The first big shake-up to the industry came when the GDPR went into effect on May 25. The specifics of this change are extensive, but for most coaches and marketers, the most notable was the requirement for businesses operating in Europe to receive explicit permission to collect users’ data and do things like send newsletters. So no more auto-checked boxes to grow your email list without a purposeful opt-in by the client.
The second change came from the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, when it was discovered that data from millions of Facebook users was harvested and misused, setting off a chain reaction that culminated in Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress. This eventually resulted in Partner Categories and loads of priceless behavioral data being purged from the Facebook ads platform. Invaluable information — such as users’ purchasing behavior, where they shop and what kind of cars they drive — and the ability to track whether an ad was seen on a different platform is no longer available to marketers.
Overall, this is a good thing for people, but it’s been kind of a hassle for some marketers. Privacy is an extremely important aspect of our progressing digital life, but many marketers and business owners felt that we went from a data flood to a data desert. This isn’t really the case, of course. Facebook is still loaded with useful targeting options, such as the ability to target your competitors’ fans, but the loss of this data had a great impact on many.
The third major shake-up came courtesy of a series of changes to Google’s algorithm. Google does this all the time, and it often causes a major impact on your traffic. In March, Google launched something called mobile-first indexing, which means that Google looks for a mobile version of your site to index and rank first, and if one isn’t found, it will go check for a desktop version. Companies dragging their feet on optimizing their websites for mobile use have been most affected by this change.
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