Public Interest

The Evolution and Growth of Digital Marketing Over the Last Decade

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Digital Marketing

Going digital is no walk in the park. As technology evolved, so did digital marketing. It grew, expanded, and became more complex as compared to 10 years ago when it was a much simpler time. Smartphones were not as high powered and all you need to open a couple of websites to make a decision about a product.

Today, there are thousands of choices for any given product and a handful of websites providing relevant information to educate consumers on their selection. Your customers would probably know all about your company before they even contact you.

Over the years, digital marketers have kept up with technological changes and people’s relationships with devices. In this article, we’ll take a look at how digital marketing has evolved in the last 10 years.


How Digital Marketing Has Evolved


Social Media Marketing

The biggest change or shift in the digital marketing landscape would be the growth of social media platforms. According to The Marketing Helpline, in 2020, an estimated 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, but ten years ago, social media was much less crowded and complicated. There were no ads (sponsored posts) and influencer marketing has yet to be born. And within those years, social media grew from a place where you can contact friends and family to a media outlet where you can brand your business and even conduct transactions. 

Although Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, it was first introduced to the public in 2010. The image-sharing platform instantly grew in popularity and the app reached a million downloads in the first three months since its launch. Currently, there are more than a billion active users on the app. Celebrities used it to promote their brand and influencers virtually made a career on it.

Today, Instagram has evolved from being a photo sharing app. Like its competitors Tiktok and Snapchat, users also enjoy doing videos, uploading stories, and even playing games on the app.

Facebook, on the other hand, made a switch from Wall to Timeline and has undergone several redesigns throughout the years. Also, Facebook’s team has been marred by privacy issues, data leaks, and proliferation of fake news, which made Facebook work extra harder on improving their algorithm, security settings, and spam detection.

It was also in 2010 when Twitter launched its app. Users were only allowed to ‘tweet’ in 140 characters or less back then although now, you can do it in 280 characters. And like other social platforms, Twitter has added new features like GIF and video upload, and favorites (stars) were changed into likes (hearts). 

Vine, a video-messaging platform introduced in 2012, also grew in popularity for quite some time because of its six-second video content feature that sparked creativity of its users. It was eventually bought by Twitter to combine short video content strategy with short texts in tweets. But the competition was too stiff and Twitter had to pull the plug on Vine when Instagram introduced the video feature in 2016.

Snapchat (2012) was the real turning point of social media when they introduced Stories content that disappears 24 hours after it was posted. The app immediately reached a million daily active users leading to Facebook and Instagram creating their own versions of Stories and Filters. Snapchat is still one of the most used social media platforms to-date. 

Probably, the newest addition to the trend is TikTok which made its way to the market in 2016. It is a music video platform that embeds music in a 15 to 60 seconds video; something which no other social media platform has yet to do. In 2019, TikTok reached a billion installs and it is still growing ranking just behind WhatsApp and Messenger when it comes to downloads.


Content Marketing

Content marketing has transformed into more than just blogging. Looking back, the term content marketing was just a decorative phrase used to describe blogging. 

Today, content marketing is publishing content as a whole regardless of its form whether it is an article, podcast, video, or social media posts. The way people consume content has exponentially changed over the years. As a marketer, you must keep up with the trend to ensure you’re reaching your target audience at the right place, at the right time.

The types of content posted have evolved as well along with how users change their way of engaging with online content. Since people are using different social apps, specific content is expected from brands in every niche. 

For example, we understand that Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform. Therefore, it is a place to showcase art and creativity. Restaurants and tourist spots with an artistically appealing vibe are now described as ‘Instagrammable’. 

While Facebook leans more on general entertainment, visual media like images and videos still is the highest generating engagement content on the social network. Therefore, posts should be more on providing information and entertainment to Facebook users.

Marketers should also consider catering to individuals on the go when publishing or creating content. People are busier than ever and they demand content that can easily be incorporated in their tight schedules. Podcasts are an excellent choice for people who spend hours commuting. Audiences prefer to listen to podcasts while driving off to work or when they are doing their morning run.

Although video and short text content help you gather higher engagement, long form, good-old fashioned blog posts are still the best asset to have for businesses looking to increase sales. In fact, high-quality posts are 13x more likely to increase ROI versus other content forms. Regular blogging can help your business generate up to 67% more leads.


Search Engine Optimization

From spamming to PR, SEO or search engine optimization has become more sophisticated over the past decade. In 2010, Google didn’t really have anything specific to eliminate keyword stuffing and spammy link building strategies. It was only when they launched the Panda update in 2011 that Google finally labeled black hat SEO tactics.

Today, if you want to rank better, you have to make your audience trust you. And the only way to do that is to provide them with valuable content. The more people share your content on social media, link back to their own websites, or merely stay on your site for more than 4 seconds, the better your website looks in the eyes of Google.

With Panda, Google started rewarding businesses that provide value for their audiences. SEO is about producing relevant content now and those who publish such win the top rankings on SERPs. 

The way you build links also counts. Google rewards marketers who create high-quality, relevant relationships with content publishers. Back in the day, you can throw links to practically anywhere online without thinking if it’s related to your niche. Today, if you’re not careful, Google may penalize you and ban your website for good in their search results. 

Local SEO also became one of the main focuses throughout the decade and Google’s 2014 Pigeon update reshaped local search for good. With the growth of mobile web use, Google was able to improve its location-specific searches and location-based mobile browsing.


Where to Start with Digital Marketing

Though the game has seriously changed over the years, It’s never too late to start your digital marketing campaign. If you need help, contact us at Public Advertising Agency for quick consultation. 



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