Marketing Year in Review
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that nothing moved faster in 2012 than Usain Bolt and the world of inbound marketing. The world of social media, search, and content marketing might even be more dynamic than the medal-winning Jamaican sprinter. From major updates, Google's search algorithm, and the purported death of SEO, the companies who saw successful inbound marketing strategies were those who took a flexible approach:
1. Google Publically Quits Disruptive Advertising
September 6, 2012, Google publicly announced their decision to just say "no" to interruption advertising and focus on digital channels exclusively. Was it a matter of not being able to afford high-price, primetime television spots? That's pretty unlikely, considering they pulled in $37.9 billion in 2011. Shishir Mehrota, Google's Video VP stated "video is increasingly going digital and users are now watching across numerous devices...(we) see opportunities to help users access web content." If you needed any evidence that inbound marketing is the way of the future, let this top story sway you. Turns out, no amount of marketing budget can make consumers want to sit through your television ads.
2. YouTube Follow's Google's Quality Algorithm Updates, Gangam Style Goes Viral
In late October, YouTube announced they'd taken a note from YouTube and started to reward quality, not quantity, in their search algorithm. Engagement is still king, and the amount of time viewers remain transfixed by video content is beginning to trump total number of views. States Eric Meyerson, head of YouTube's Creator Marketing Communications team, "These changes better surface the videos that viewers actually watch, over those that they click on and then abandon." Any round-up of major marketing stories would be remiss if they didn't mention South Korean rapper Psy's viral video Gangam Style, the first YouTube video to hit 1 billion views.
3. Pinterest Pops; Female Consumers Fall Hard
A year ago, who'd even heard of Pinterest? The news hit in early April that the fast-growing social media network was actually the 3rd most-popular social media network in the world, behind Facebook and Twitter. The network remains dominated by females, and recent surveys by women's blogging network Blogher reveal that it's also the most-trusted. 81% of online female consumers consider Pinterest and blogs a trusted source for information, while only 73% and 67% trust Twitter and Facebook, respectively.
4. Facebook Goes Timeline, Hits 1 Billion, Deletes Fake Accounts
It seems like Facebook made top headlines on major news sites every month in 2012. In April, the network acquired Instagram for a reported 1 billion. In May, the company experienced a disastrous IPO and tanking stock. The network's biggest news came in early October, when the 1 billionth account was created, and Mark Zuckerberg announced his intention to begin deleting fake accounts. Timeline became mandatory for users, and the company is hard at work on a redesign of the controversial layout.
5. Twitter Lays Low, Serves as a Highway for Major Scandal
Canadian folk music icon Neil Young (@NeilYoung) and Pope Benedict XVI (@pontifex) finally got around to joining the 140 million active Twitter users, who send an estimated 1 billion Tweets every 2.5 days. Following his reelection, President Barack Obama tweeted "Four More Years," which quickly became the most-retweeted message in Twitter history. At the time of writing, it had well over 800,000 retweets.
It's not hard to argue that the biggest Twitter stories of the year were less about the network than ways in which major brands abused the platform. Though updates to Twitter's API upset developers, most of 2012's backlash was related to users. Throughout the month surrounding the Summer Olympics in London, Greek Triple-Jumper Voula Papachristou and Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella both lost eligibility to compete over racially-insensitive tweets.
Athletes competing in cycling suffered malfunctioning GPS devices due to the sheer volume of data being submitted to Twitter by spectators. Athletes visibly protested Rule 40, a ruling against accepting sponsored Tweet contracts, that they felt interfered with their ability to make a living. One thing remained clear after the 30th Olympiad, which was that social media regulations during international competition would only be increasingly important.
6. Google Becomes Better at Searching Like a Human
It was a typically-busy year for Google's team, who spent the year developing and implementing several hundred updates to their search algorithm. The most-significant, the Penguin update to February 2011's dramatic Panda algorithm change, which was rolled out on April 24, 2012. More than 3% of websites were suddenly and dramatically affected, particularly if they were guilty of any number of black hat SEO measures. While some SEO experts speculate that next year could see a Platypus update that's even stricter than ever, content marketers with a focus on quality aren't too concerned.
7. Content Marketing Takes Off; Velocity is a Challenge
While some dismissed it as another piece of jargon that would soon be replaced, 2012 was undoubtedly the year of content marketing. Sites that had been relying heavily on keyword density or slightly sketchy link building tactics were identified and punished by Google. Companies that had focused their marketing teams on writing frequent, authoritative and engaging blog content, continued to rise to the top of search results. A Content Marketing Institute report in late 2012 found that 64% of B2B marketers consider producing enough content their biggest challenge, which can only mean good news for talented content creators in 2013.What do you think were the biggest inbound marketing news stories of 2012?
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