Episode 27 / January 2, 2018

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In this episode of The Redirect Podcast, the BlackTruck team broke down some key digital marketing insights from 2017 and made predictions and recommendations for 2018.


Adrienne’s Observations:  

In 2017, we realized that social isn’t *just* fun anymore – it’s complicated, ugly, polarizing and politicky.

The three biggest moments on Facebook were:

  1. International Women’s Day
  2. The Las Vegas Shooting
  3. Super Bowl LI

However, it also supported people in crisis:

  1. Mexico Earthquake
  2. Hurricane Harvey

AND, got people together in real life:

  1. The solar eclipse
  2. The Women’s March


In 2017:

  1. Facebook got “stories” to compete with Snapchat
  2. LinkedIn began lead generation forms and rolled out “mentors”
  3. Instagram got “paid partnership” tags – finally calling an ad an ad
  4. LinkedIn rolled out native video
  5. Twitter doubled its character count
  6. Facebook poll features allow for GIFs
  7. Twitter and Instagram allow you to follow hashtags


In 2018:

  1. Instagram is finally testing a “regram” button (can you hear the choirs of angels singing?) as well as the ability to archive “stories”
  2. SEO isn’t going out of fashion – be sure to let a qualified expert tackle this for you in order to optimize the customer journey
  3. We will likely see the integration of long-form content videos, think 5,15, 30 minutes, in addition to short 5, 15, 30 second videos to round out the customer brand experience
  4. More companies will integrate content marketing into their consumer journey
  5. More companies SHOULD integrate live video into their customer experience
  6. After years of Millennial attention, we need to incorporate focus on the Generation Z audience (those born after 1995)
  7. Brands should consider putting time and money into hyper local marketing
  8. Don’t forget about influencers! Focus more on authentic and real; Gen Z is watching you.
  9. Test, measure, revise is the new lather, rinse, repeat
  10. Companies NEED to focus on strategy over tactics – no more throwing shit at the wall hoping it will stick or praying for a “viral video” to lead your planning.


Patrick’s Predictions:

Home Devices Just a Passing Fad?

I predict voice search and digital assistants will fizzle. They’re not impacting life like they could or should. It’s a gimmick. It’s not ready to change to world. Siri didn’t work and fizzled, then everyone tried their own version, and now we have too many versions with their own proprietary system geared towards their own commerce. Too much competition, not enough unification. Additionally, we were all marketed to to buy cheap home units because it was “the thing to do,” but in practice, will it actually get used? (As you’ll hear in the podcast, others on the team are skeptical of this prediction, mostly since these devices have not yet reached peak adoption, but we’re all interested to see how things play out on this front in the new year.)

?A Whole New SERP…?

SERPs (search engine results pages) will become unrecognizable or be something completely different. I think there might be a correlation between descriptions doubling along with tweet lengths. We’re getting better at absorbing quick content in list form and soon we’ll get much of what we need without even needing to leave the SERP.

More Image-Conscious Search

More attention placed on visual search (e.g., improve site images) – though search trends will not change massively. Pinterest search will not spill over to Google image search completely by end of 2018. Google needs to figure out a way to stop sending these image results to Pinterest boards, as there are plenty of people who are not interested in a Pinterest result – because it is a sourceless loop that doesn’t lead to direct answers.


Jason’s Annotations

2017 brought in a number of changes. Google has thrusted us into this machine learning driver behind it’s algorithm, to a mobile-first index.

In SEO, snippets got longer. We discussed this change to meta descriptions/snippets in episode 25 of The Redirect Podcast.

In the world of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, a number of changes took shape within the AdWords platform. Google’s ever-present quest to have machine learning drive its search portfolio was also made clear in the paid ad landscape of 2017:

Double the Daily Budget Spend

Possibly the largest shakeup to come out of the AdWords machine was their October rollout of 2x daily ad spend. This change was a replacement for the legacy approach of over/underspending by 20% on a daily basis. The concept is that Google can take into account good days over bad days, amplifying your ad exposure on good days where there is a higher volume of searches and interactions, then throttling down to normal on days that might be quieter.

Display Ads Get Smart

Back in April, Google turned machine learning loose on display campaigns by creating what are known as “Smart Display Campaigns.” When we say Google turned the machine loose, we mean it. On all fronts, from creative to targeting, once you input a CPA metric, Google’s machines take action. Ironically, a 37% increase in conversions was seen by both Credit Karma and Hulu in the Google beta test.

Better Audience Targeting

Both Google and Bing offered advertisers new means of targeting audiences. Microsoft is integrating LinkedIn Graph as we speak, making it available in early 2018, while Google now offers up targeting based on life events (think Facebook), plus improvements to customer match types, including physical mailing addresses and phone numbers.


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