So, by my calculations, today marks the 2,000th “An Article A Day” by yours truly. That’s considerably more words than in War & Peace. If you’ve been with me since the start, 8 years ago, my thanks …and congratulations on your stamina.
Has online marketing changed much in that time? Not dramatically. The advice I was pointing to in my earliest articles included the need to design websites for conversions rather than satisfying the corporate infrastructure. That’s still a huge problem for many businesses.
But above all, the potential of online marketing is still often not being appreciated by senior management. It’s accepted that £50,000 a year or more to keep a salesman on the road is money worth spending. But getting an annual website budget of a fraction of that figure can still be hard work – never mind spending £50,000 a year to promote it. Things are changing, but slowly.
Back in 2008, our online marketing started (and often ended) with Google. It still should. Getting good search engine rankings remains critical, but in many areas, Google has changed its focus hugely. Compare the search results for ‘phone’ between 2008 and 2016:
We see some big changes here. In 2008 the page had adverts, but was dominated by ‘natural’ search results pointing to broad-ranging directories and references. In 2016, we have ads right at the top, shopping ads on the right, and maps of relevant physical locations making up the rest of the screen. Even the Wikipedia reference has been pushed out of sight. And what we see today for commercial terms like ‘phone’ will be what we see tomorrow for ‘blue widgets’.
Much of this has been driven by the rise of the mobile device. The first 3G Apple iPhone was only released in mid-2008, yet now this one manufacturer alone has sold nearly one billion units. More people check their email on smartphones than on PCs now, and email marketing remains healthy, yet a huge number of businesses have websites which are all but illegible on a mobile device. It beggars belief.
For me, the job has got better over the years. While Google AdWords has become hugely more complex, it’s also more interesting. Perhaps best of all, in 2008 we were left on our own, but now I talk to people from Google several times a month. It’s amazing what you can get done with some decent lines of communication.
Although we have over 60 clients now, the first three are all still with us, for which we’re so flattered and grateful. We love you all, of course!
If you want to browse through 2,000 articles, do feel free: there’s a full index here, with a search box.