Well, 2015 is nearly done and dusted and it has been a very eventful year in Digital Marketing. With new social media platforms cashing in on social advertising and saying goodbye to the much loved Google+, to the future going mobile and regicide of content, this Ricemedia blog looks at some of SEO’s biggest moments of 2015.

So settle in, tell your loved ones you’re stuck in traffic and turn off your phone as we rattle off our Top Digital Marketing Moments of  2015.

 

Instagram & Pinterest Joined the World of Advertising

With more brands using social media to develop and engage with their community, earlier this year Instagram & Pinterest announced that digital marketers can use paid advertising through their platforms with the addition of ‘buy it’ and ‘shop now’ buttons.

A subject we’ve covered before, the visual social media platforms opened up and allowed paid advertising, with Instagram’s advertising controlled through Facebook making it easier for advertisers to take advantage of both platforms in one go.

A massive game changer for social media managers and executives; while being a fantastic way to engage and promote your brand, these new opportunities will only grow in 2016.

 

We Said Goodbye to Google+

I just need to get my one Google+ joke out of the way and then I can get on with this.

Why did people forget Google+’s Birthday? Because it wasn’t on Facebook.

Okay, I’m done.

It was announced this year that a Google+ profile will no longer be your identity in all your Google products, starting with Youtube and, essentially was Google’s way of acknowledging that the platform was dead. 

Future Mark Zuckerbergs and Tom Andersons can learn a lot from Google+’s short existence about UX for social media. Mainly, you can be as big as Google but you can’t force people to fall in love with your social media platform.

 

Referral Spam Ruined Google Analytics Data

This is something all marketers have experienced this year and it’s become a complete bug bear. In 2015, digital marketers and SEOs found their data littered with referral traffic from sites such as semalt.net, ilovevitality.com or see-your-website-here.com.  The data is being counted as a Referral site within Google Analytics, even though the visit is fake.  If you click on the site you’ll be redirected to a spam site!

Sites like these poisoned our data, the data we’ve spent so long gathering and refining, but luckily Google is aware of this and has promised action. Something we’ve covered in a blog post earlier this year as well as looking at how to stop referral spam traffic.

 

AdWords Introduced Customer Match

In September, Google announced the release of Google Customer Match for Google Adwords. The service is a new way to leverage email addresses to connect with your customers and prospects on the web. It’s been compared to Facebook Custom Audiences or other medias.

A great resource and a game changer for marketers, this helps them enhance their Adwords campaigns and extend their reach. 

 

Google Panda 4.2 Reared its Head

Google Panda 4.2, almost 10 months since the last update, reared it’s bamboo munching, penalty-giving head and has slowly been rolling out for the past few months.

The slow, panda-like roll out is something new, when in the past SEOs were met with either significant increases or declines in your Google traffic quickly and notifications of penalties straight away: this major update saw a lot slower of a rollout (it’s still impacting people today)!

 

Google Trend Updated for the First Time in 3 Years

Google trends updated for the first time in 3 years and every digital marketer has sighed, and muttered “About bloody time.”

Now, Google trends will give marketers real-time data on what people are searching for. This update will give you ranked, trending stories that are gaining popularity in Google search, bringing you data faster and from wider sources. While only available in 28 countries, more locations are expected to be added in the coming months.

 

Mobile Became a Ranking Factor

It was reported earlier this year that there are more searches made on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet) then made on desktop computers or laptops. Due to this Google announced in April that mobile usability would become a ranking factor.

This has led to SEOs and marketers optimising their websites for mobile search.  This could be as simple as editing the content to suit a mobile screen or creating a separate mobile site to creating responsive designs, that alter the site’s shape and size.

 

Audience Stole Content’s Crown

The revolution has happened and Content is no longer the power made, despotic tyrant, which reigned over digital marketing for too long. There is a new King and that is Audience!

The term, Content is King, came about during the time where digital marketers focused on creating content to build their sites. Now the focus has shifted to defining your audience, and targeting this prime group of potential customers.

The Field of Dreams concept of content marketing, build it and they will come, simply does not work anywhere nearly as effectively as it did in previous years: target it and they will come!

 

Everyone Went Marketing Automation Crazy

Marketing automation has really evolved and came into it’s own this year with digital marketers honing it down to a fine science of nurturing prospects into customers. Before, we did not see the excellent streamlined campaigns we see today but the pieces were there. Companies were creating and developing brilliant pieces of content that was valuable and email marketing software was there but they didn’t come together.

This year, we’ve seen wonderfully streamlined marketing automation systems that nurtures leads efficiently and yield high conversion rates.

 

Google Hiring an SEO!

Yes, Google hired an SEO manager this year to improve its rankings in Google. Yes.

The job title itself is ‘Program Manager, Search Engine Optimisation’, and he or she would be responsible for, among many other responsibilities, ‘Keeping pace with SEO, search engine and internet marketing industry trends and developments and report changes as needed.’ Currently we’re unsure if anyone has filled the position yet, but if you have at least 2 years of SEO experience and are looking for work, there’s a job for you at Google!