Gone are the gold rush days of the internet. Those who took advantage of the explosive growth of the internet often thrived. Now every business must be on the internet to survive. The number of web pages is now in the billions. All those informational and news websites, blogs, social media sites and business pages are all competing for that limited resource, users’ precious time. Advertising techniques that once worked quite well are often now of limited effectiveness. A natural evolution is taking place. Whether you are a business owner, content provider, or investor, here are a few trends you should watch, for modern online marketing.
The Banner Ad is Dead
Those rectangular banner ads that used to be on almost every page of the internet are falling by the wayside. They stand out like a sore thumb to web browser blocking plugins. Savvy advertisers don’t want to pay for ads that aren’t actually seen. The exception would be the banner shown on the bottom of many smartphone apps. Those are still quite common, but are beginning to wane as well. With so many decent quality apps available, that essentially do the same thing, users are discarding apps that have too obtrusive of advertising.
Organic Traffic is In
The more websites there are in the world, the more important those search engine rankings become. Search Engines like Google have changed their algorithms to give more ranking weight to site popularity and incoming links from other websites. The logic is, that if many people mention a website and link to it, then it has a better reputation than other sites with less incoming traffic. One could make an analogy to the adage, “All roads lead to Rome.” New websites can build a rapport with other quasi-related sites and trade mentions, to increase each other’s rankings. Bigger sites, with a decent budget often have armies of bloggers who write good quality guest posts, each with a single subtle embedded link. Such links must be completely relevant to the topic of the article and the article must be relevant to the website where it is posted. This type of advertising gets clicks from within the articles, but more importantly gets more clicks from search engine results.
David and Goliath Have Teamed Up
In the past, giant internet players have taken business away from small businesses. It is a bit like how Walmart moving into a small town takes business away from Mom and Pop run small businesses. Thankfully, the big players are starting to realize that helping small businesses makes them more money than putting them out of business. Amazon, now the world’s largest retailer, is offering a wide range of business and marketing services to small business. For example, small manufacturers can either sell their products directly to Amazon or they can have Amazon warehouse their products, sell, ship and provide customer service to the buyers. Groupon, another internet giant, has expanded it’s offerings to local business pages and directories, They also have coupon pages, such as this one for Zenni Optical, which drive traffic with the incentive of coupon codes.
Social Media is More Important Than Ever
More and more often, companies have dedicated employees or even teams of employees to manage the social media presence for their business. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are so valuable, because many users spend much of their free time engaging on their sites. Engaging content that creates brand loyalty and paid ads on their sites are becoming more and more important. Ironically, content providers that wish to steal business from the social media sites, must engage users of those sites, to drive traffic to their own sites. Doing so will drive more traffic their way, so their screen real estate will be more valuable.
As you plan your future on the internet, it is important to watch such trends and realize that nothing is forever. Successful businesses will diversify their marketing efforts to ensure their long term success. You would be wise to do the same.