At the end of last year, HubSpot posted its “2015 State of Inbound Report,” which discussed the most common challenges that marketers face. According to this report, marketers’ biggest stumbling block is often proving the ROI of their marketing activities.
But they also face some other challenges, like the fact that digital marketing is constantly evolving. Techniques that have proven to be effective six months ago might not be as beneficial today. For this reason, marketers have to progress and develop their skills and knowledge along the way.
Recently, we hosted the White Nights SEMrush Meetup, where we welcomed digital marketing experts from eight countries. During the event we had the chance to discuss the current state of online marketing with our guests. We asked them what they would change about digital marketing today if they could only change one thing.
Below you will find our guest experts’ views on the topic. Dive in to find out which online marketing trends our experts consider to be the most disappointing and frustrating, and the solutions they propose for them.
“I think Google changes every day. I don't think we need to change anything because Google itself changes every hour, and we’ve seen more than enough changes already.”
“One thing to change is the perception of businesses in general – particularly small businesses. Many businesses think of digital as a separate thing, as a special way to do communication, but don’t integrate it with their business processes. I think that creating a digital strategy means using the appropriate digital tools as well. We also have a cultural challenge; we need to help small businesses understand that talking about digital is not talking about IT, but talking about their business.”
“The social world is getting real noisy today. If you open Twitter, your feed is super-noisy. If there is any way that automation can decrease and we can go back to a more human-to-human type of communication, that would make everything much better.”
“As a marketer, I love watching the online marketing sector evolve. It's always evolving, so it's always changing. I love it, but if I could change one thing, it would be to make Google more transparent. It always seems to be hiding in the shadows. We always have to worry about its algorithms. I think a bit more transparency with webmasters and users would be great; it would be easier to work with Google. ”
“My answer is related to the news that Google has completely changed the way it provides keyword volumes in the Google Keyword Planner. It completely messes up the analysis of SEA and SEO consultants. So if I could change one thing, I would draw back to the version we had before. Now everything seems a little bit foggy because we can't exactly see the numbers.”
“Online marketing is very impersonal. We need to understand how we can do more human-oriented marketing. I think it is very important to deliver a personalized message to your users – personalization should be the first change we make.”
“I think one problem that we haven't really solved in our industry is attribution and tracking. Sometimes it’s a challenge for businesses to understand the contribution of a particular channel. For example, just because you spend money on PPC, that doesn’t mean that you can properly understand the contribution of this particular campaign.
And on a more technical note, I’d love for tracking to always remain in place. Sometimes we develop products and release new products without taking tracking into account.”
"More competition. And I guess that's in the making. But it seems like there are five big companies or corporations – I don't know what to call them – that are already running the whole show on the Internet. We need more competition; and I think Facebook will try to really get in there with Amazon and Google. But we need an external competitor. So I'm really happy that Facebook didn’t get a chance to buy Snapchat. But we'll see what happens.”
“I think the neuromarketing including the online marketing is the most important thing, because neuromarketing is the best way to understand your clients. I think neuromarketing is a great way to improve your online marketing stuff. Google is now introducing the RankBrain and machine learning, and both of them are working with neuromarketing."
“The biggest trouble we have in Italy, and not only in Italy, is what we call the ‘digital divide.’ Now, we have a different kind of connection, some have more stable connection, some have less, and when you're building a new website or new experience across the web, you need to focus on providing the same experience to both people with a fast connection and a very slow connection. We need to focus now on providing the same level of opportunity to everyone, the same experience to people with different levels of connection all over the world. We’ll get better results when we can share faster, more reliable connections.”
“We need to get more data-driven. A lot of companies want to be data-driven, but after all their end data is usually low-quality. They may monitor basic information and do a lot of reporting, but usually their reporting is not very advanced, it just doesn't provide any context. And I think the context of a lot of the things that we are doing is going to be important in the long run. And it's also going to provide more value to businesses. Better data provides better insights; and better insights help company’s make better decisions; and better decisions will bring in more money and will make it easier to achieve your business goals. Companies simply need to find better ways to work with data or, at least, to collect data.”
“I think it would be good to have more search engines, more big players. Because now we have no choice – we are overshadowed by Google, and we need new opportunities to gain traffic without depending solely on Google or Facebook. We need diversification and more competition in the search industry.”
“Today we are all very dependent on Google. I hope one day Google has more competitors, and that there’s an increase in social media platforms like Facebook, so we’ll be able to diversify our traffic.”
“If I could wave a magic wand, I would get people to stop being obsessed with rankings. The first question most people ask is 'When will I rank number one in Google?' That question is about fifteen years out of date. It's not relevant anymore, because Google will control that. All you can do to get closer to number one in Google is to build a brand that deserves to rank highly in Google. You want to appear first in local SEO results, to be the most well-known, say, restaurant in your city. Google will then pick up on that, because people will talk about you on social media, including on Google+, and they will see your website naturally. So stop trying to force high rankings, just do good marketing, and the rankings will come over time as you build your brand.”
“I believe in using Facebook as a main channel, and most of our people are focusing on Facebook. On average, users spend about 50 minutes a day there. And I think today there are too many channels that are used less than Facebook. So I would like to have fewer channels, that will do my work easier. For example, if I knew that LinkedIn works better for me than Facebook or Google, I would use LinkedIn.”
“I do not like is the way Google approaches certain things like announcing 'This is a ranking factor now,' so people jump on the boat and do that stuff. If I could, I would love to get a better communication from Google. It does certain things better than it used to years ago, but it doesn’t solve all the issues. And the other thing that drives me mad is that so much transparency is missing in agencies. It’s difficult to figure out what you got for your money and how agencies report on how and what you spent your money on. There's still a lot of room for improvement such as transparency and honesty, and I think in the long run it would make a difference. I would love to see that getting better and better.”
“Drop the buzzwords. I think the whole industry needs to drop clichés like ‘content is king.' I think it does us no favors as an industry and makes us look like idiots to outsiders. And I also think sometimes clients really too much emphasize it without understanding what lies beneath that. So I say, drop the clichés.”
“Actually, in Germany Google’s market share is over 90 percent. This is one thing I would like to change. Because there's not much competition, Google can do whatever it wants. I think it would be nicer if it had more competitors. Or, let's say, Bing would be more successful, and there would be a larger market share for it.”
It was great to receive an insight into the digital marketing industry from such experienced experts and learn what changes they would like to see in the future. We can’t wait to experience new changes and developments on the horizon of online marketing and see how it will help businesses better connect with their target audience.
If you could change one thing in digital marketing, what would it be? Let our favorite experts know by leaving a comment.