How to Stay Ahead of the Game in a Fast-Changing Industry

digital marketing

At the intersection of modern technology and advertising, digital marketing is one of the fastest changing industries in the world. And to stay relevant in digital marketing, you need to be innovative. And perhaps one of the most competitive and technology-dominated industries is digital marketing.

Digital marketing is dominated by the duopoly of Google and Facebook, who receive 57% of digital marketing ad spending in the US. Globally, Google’s market share for organic search is over 90%, and more than 70% of social media consumption occurs on Facebook and Instagram.

Not only are these two companies the only game in town when it comes to reaching your audience online, but they also roll out updates at breakneck speed and change their rules frequently. At Level Up Digital, we help companies navigate this ever-changing landscape of advertising on these platforms. While it can be difficult to keep up, we believe there are ways companies can innovate and stay ahead of the game. In this post, I’ll go over some examples of how industry-leaders can end up left behind and then some ways to stay ahead:

Google Organic Search:

An important thing to watch for is when Google makes major updates to the algorithm that controls what search results appear for a given search query. Are you familiar with the Penguin, Panda, or Hummingbird updates? These are the names of just a few major ranking updates Google rolled out over the past several years.

Google makes these updates to improve search results for its users, remove spam and punish sites that aren’t conforming to their rules. When these updates are rolled out, they cause rankings to shift in a big way and this can present problems for sites that aren’t intentionally breaking the rules.

With organic search often driving a significant amount of traffic and ultimately revenue for companies, this is a big deal. When keywords that drove traffic for months or years all of a sudden stop working, the bottom line is impacted and it can be challenging to make up lost ground.

Tracking keyword rankings using a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush can help you see the impact that changes have on your rankings and respond appropriately. Additionally, MozCast gives you a daily weather report on search engine algorithm changes. The hotter the temperature, the more changes, and updates are going on.


Google Ads Platform Changes:

When it comes to paid advertising on Google Ads, changes to the platform are generally easier to track as they are announced by Google either on the Google Ads blog or with in-product notifications.

For example, back in 2017 Google decided to change the default attribution window for view-through-conversions from 30 days to 1 day after someone has seen an ad. If you weren’t aware of the update you were probably left wondering “where did all my conversions go?”

The other week, Google held its annual Google Marketing Live event and several new changes to the platform related to machine learning and automation were announced. Companies can test these out on their campaigns and see improved performance as a result.

Facebook Ads:

With Facebook and Instagram Ads, Marketers need to adapt to the changes in user behavior on the platforms. Instagram and Facebook stories are more popular than ever, and less time is being spent in the news feed. Marketers need to adapt their creative needs to reflect this change.

As a result of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, where millions of people unknowingly had their Facebook data used to target them with political advertising, Facebook made sweeping changes to how advertisers could target audiences on the platform. These changes meant some advertisers who had successfully used targeting methods for years were back at the drawing board.

As with Google, these updates are usually announced on the Facebook Ads blog, and with in-product notifications.


How to Stay Ahead of the Game:

Here are a few things to implement at your organization that can help you innovate and stay ahead of the curve with your digital marketing:

  • No matter what industry you’re in… make sure to stay current on the trends. And in the field of digital advertising… read up on marketing news.
    • Setup Google Alerts for keywords related to your industry.
    • Signup for notifications on major events like the Google Marketing Live Event that just happened
    • Find your niche; There are thousands of websites that are specialized to industries like eCommerce/SaaS or a specific type of marketing like Inbound Marketing, or PPC.
  • Create a culture of information sharing and for you marketers… look outside of the marketing department for information.
    • Sometimes the best way to hear about what’s changing in the industry is from your colleagues and friends. At your company, encourage team members to share ideas, updates and news can help everyone on the team become part of the innovation process.
  • Create an innovation council.
    • Dedicate key players from your internal marketing team and leverage innovation management software to create structure around the ideation process and keep your companies marketing on the cutting edge.

With these ideas and tips, you should be able to create a culture of innovation at your company that will help keep marketing campaigns successful into the future.


This article was a guest post by Andrew Hutton.

Andrew Hutton is the Founder of Level Up Digital, a creative digital marketing agency that helps businesses grow with online advertising.

Andrew Hutton is a New Zealand native with a passion for travel, the outdoors, and coffee. He would like you to know that a kiwi is a bird and not a fruit.

When not in the office you can find Andrew doing almost everything you can outside including mountain biking, surfing, snowboarding, and running.

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