FAQ: Top Digital Marketing Trends Q4 2019
Each day, professionals of all seniority levels go online to ask their most urgent queries. We’ve aggregated this quarter’s most frequently asked digital marketing questions from across the internet and compiled the answers here for you.
What is the difference between SEO and AdWords?
Right off the bat, it’s important to note that Google AdWords has been rebranded to Google Ads. With that out of the way, let’s address the difference between two of the best tools in any marketer’s tech stack.
According to Google, “SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of including content on your site that has the potential to improve your site’s visibility to search engines and their users -- in other words, it can help your site show up more often in relevant searches.” SEO also encompasses changes you can make to your website’s infrastructure and layout that will help it become more easily discoverable by Google’s search algorithm.
Google Ads is a platform that allows marketers to run advertisements across Google’s various channels. These ads can appear on YouTube, in Gmail, as Display ads across the internet and on Google Search. The latter is most likely where the root of this question lies.
Essentially, SEO and Google Search ads (run via Google Ads) represent two sides of the same coin -- organic vs. paid search ranking.
SEO consists of organic improvements that aim to make your website rank more highly on Google Search when users enter keywords relevant to your business or content.
Google Ads is a platform that allows you to pay to make your website appear to rank highly on Google Search for any keywords you choose. This is sometimes called CPC (cost-per-click) advertising, which refers to the way Google charges you whenever someone clicks on your ad.
While both tactics achieve the same goals of giving your website heightened visibility and driving more traffic to your landing pages, each should be applied in different scenarios.
Where can I find news and trends about digital marketing?
When looking for an authoritative source on anything, it’s usually best to find brands that specialize in the topic in which you are searching for information. Here are some great digital marketing news publications:
Two great websites under the same umbrella that publish tons of original content. In terms of SEO-specific news and insights, Search Engine Land is hard to beat.
Digiday is the closest thing the marketing and publishing industries have to The New York Times. Their articles are professionally voiced and thoroughly reported, especially regarding new marketing trends and emerging brand news.
It’s no secret that Ann Handley is a B2B marketing rock star, and MarketingProfs’ content follows suit. They also hold many educational online events and conferences, so marketers can keep learning about the latest trends.
SmartBrief excels in aggregating top content from across the internet. Specific newsletters created with partners like The Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau and Mobile Marketing Association give you the option to receive curated news on only the topics you care about.
Which is the best social media platform for digital marketing?
Frustratingly, the answer to this question is: “It depends.” When formulating your social media marketing strategy, start by asking some basic questions.
Which platforms do my target audiences use most?
Each platform has a user base that generally fits into a few key demographic categories, with age probably being the most salient.
For example, if you are looking to reach an older demographic, Facebook or LinkedIn is likely your best bet. To reach a younger audience, TikTok or Snapchat would be better platform choices for you.
Your final decisions should also be based on what makes the most sense for your products or services. Most companies today leverage multiple platforms, with slightly different goals for each.
What type of content should I post?
Each social platform calls for a different kind of posting strategy based on its method of serving content to users and the platform’s inherent purpose. Posts on Instagram should aim for maximum visual appeal, while posts on Twitter should be short and concise.
When posting content to social, ensure that your images, copy and post frequency are all in line with each platform’s specific guidelines to ensure maximum engagement. Reposting a 1080x1080 picture from Instagram to Twitter can look sloppy, as Twitter only displays rectangular images in organic posts.
What goals do you aim to achieve?
Like most forms of digital marketing, social can be a great option for generating brand awareness and driving traffic to your website, if you adhere to platform best practices. It’s up to you to outline goals that will best serve your business at the present time.
While lead generation and other sale-based goals are also achievable through social, be aware that users are unlikely to engage with a brand that only posts overly self-promotional materials. Give people a good reason to follow your account by providing a unique value, content stream or perspective.
In addition, it is important to differentiate between organic and paid marketing on social. Organic posting already should be part of your company's usual marketing activities, while paid marketing can be a powerful tactic to improve conversion rates and reach new audiences.
When executing paid campaigns, it remains critical to carefully consider platform-specific audience information, content best practices and overall goals. You will likely discover that different platforms work better for different campaign objectives.
As an example, Facebook Ads Manager is great at finding new audiences for companies with a wealth of first-party data. This is opposed to LinkedIn, which is better for B2B campaigns and brands with large marketing budgets.
Is email marketing the best digital marketing strategy?
It would be difficult to argue for any digital marketing strategy being the “best,” but most marketers would likely agree that email is certainly an essential component of your overall martech stack.
Consistently over the past 10 years, email has proven to deliver the highest ROI out of any other digital marketing channel. “For every $1 spent on email marketing, you get $44 in return,” according to Copyblogger.
Unlike social, which encourages continuous scrolling and is accompanied by elevated competition for attention, email is much more personal and allows you to form a better relationship with both potential and existing clients.
In fact, people spend about 5.6 hours on average checking email each day. Compared with search, social or display, emails have a much higher chance of engagement when executed strategically.
Successful email marketing campaigns should aim to garner high open rates, showcase a clear call to action that achieves the campaign goal and provide inherent value beyond the sales pitch.
However, acquiring someone’s email address in a post-GDPR world is much more difficult. This is why one cannot rely on email marketing alone.
Many modern marketing funnels work by using social, search or display at the top, then using email to bring potential clients/customers down to the bottom.
Because of its proven success in driving sales, perceiving email marketing as the “best” strategy is an easy thing to do. In reality, each channel has its place and purpose in any robust martech stack.
Do you have any digital marketing questions that are top-of-mind this quarter? We’ll answer them! Send me a tweet @SmartBrief or message me on LinkedIn. For more useful digital marketing insights, sign up for our daily digital marketing news briefing today, free.
Evan Lauterborn is manager of audience development at SmartBrief. He focuses on subscriber growth, subscriber retention, content and managing the @SmartBrief Twitter account. Connect with him on LinkedIn.