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Adapting to Changing Digital and Social Media Rules

Adapting to changing rules in social media

After a great run in 2013, digital and social media seem ready for a strong performance in 2014.

So, why are we placing special emphasis on the changing digital and social media rules?

Consider this:

Digital and social media are the fastest growing branches of digital marketing in 2014. 100% business executives use social networks for work purposes. Social media has taken on increased importance in the B2B industry.

In any digital strategy B2B brands need to consider both their Target Group (executives) and their digital/social media budget.

But, there is another crucial aspect that brands should consider while working on their digital and social media strategy. Now, what’s that?

We are referring to the frequently changing ground rules of digital and social media websites.

Brands often focus so much on budget allocation, demographic specifics and the content to be used, that they run the risk of missing the opportunities and threats presented due to the changing ground rules of social networks. As you will agree not knowing the rules of the game will lead to a sub-optimal brand strategy.

Relevant Changes in the Social and Digital Realm

Here are a few examples of changes in the social and digital world that made a significant difference to the way these sites functioned and in turn impacted brand strategies:

  • Google HummingbirdThis was one update from the search engine that made digital marketers sit up and take a second look at search efforts, analytics setup, content used and general website health. Though marketers were already focusing on all these, the Hummingbird update prompted them into making changes to:
    1. Keyword complexity levels
    2. Level of importance of user behavior in analytics
    3. Quality of content developed
    4. Strategy for an error-free website
  • Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm UpdateFacebook’s changes to its News Feed algorithm in early December last year gave a shock to marketers. With this update, organic reach reduced. According to Facebook’s director of communications Brandon McCormick, this was the site’s goal from a long time. Facebook wanted to clean up the clutter of Liked Pages that users would have accumulated over the years. If a user has liked your brand’s Page years back and hasn’t visited you since then, post this update, its less likely that your brand’s content will appear in that user’s News Feed.Brands need to focus on improving their Facebook page user experience so that their users keep visiting it and the brand page stays in the user’s News Feed.
  • Instagram AdsInstagram kicked off its advertising plan last year. Given its popularity as a ‘visual site’, this update opened the doors for digital marketers to explore online visual marketing. However, this introduction also meant that marketers had to shuffle around their media plan within the same social and digital marketing budget to accommodate one more online portal. It’s probably money well spent given the powerful impact of visuals in marketing.Social sites keep introducing new capabilities in their race to stay ahead of each other. While it may be tough to follow these constant changes, these actually provide marketers with the opportunity to fine tune their media plans to achieve their various marketing objectives better. Discerning marketers will pick and choose sites to make their campaigns more synergistic and impactful.
  • Google+ Post AdsGoogle+ launched the ability to turn Google+ posts into ads recently. A really attractive feature of this update is the ads’ ability to offer consumer interaction with the brand directly through the ad along with exposure to Google Display Network’s 2 million sites. This change is important enough to make marketers who hadn’t given Google+ much thought, pause and re-think their strategy. If a brand decides to start using these ads, it does mean tweaking its budget allocation again.

Impact on Marketing Strategies

Often these changes are designed to improve user and/or marketer experience with the site. In doing so, they mostly offer new benefits to marketers and help them connect better with their audience. Even the changes like the Facebook News Feed algorithm can serve as good warnings for brands to improve their engagement with their audience.

Keeping an eye open for changes in sites’ ground rules:

  • Helps in judicious and beneficial online marketing media planning and budget allocation
  • Helps understand user behavior better.
  • Helps avoid the negative impact that ignoring these can have on their brands.

Can you think of any other updates that have significantly affected the digital/social world recently? In what other ways do you think such changes impact brand strategies?

Team Position2

January 10, 2014

By Team Position2