Social Media Trends, Google Updates and Forecasting – 2018 in review
Well, 6 months in, and 2018 has already thrown us a few social media trends and online marketing curve balls. Although nothing is ever a complete shock when it comes to online marketing trends (we can pretty much forecast a general pattern of online consumer behaviours, and the algorithms that follow suit), it does pay to keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground – so here’s what we’ve noticed over the past 6 months, and this is what we think it will mean for the next 6!
GOOGLE NEWS: Broad Core Algorithm Updates in 2018
As scary as they may sound, broad core algorithm updates are simply a regular part of the ‘fine tuning’ process which enables Google to refine their search result process. These broad core algorithm updates usually occur several times throughout the year, whereas the standard core updates can occur multiple times a day every day. So, you can see that tracking Google’s algorithms throughout the year is more a case of identifying a large change within the many, many smaller changes that are constantly being made. So far in 2018 (as of June, that is) we have identified 4 major broad core algorithm updates – if you’d like to know dates, names and effects of these algorithm changes, we suggest you read the excellent info contained in Moz’s Google Algorithm Change pages. [https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change]
One of these changes was the Mobile-First Index roll out in March, which we all knew was coming eventually. I mean, who doesn’t use their phone to find stuff these days? Although Google is rolling out the changes in a graduating sense, the end result will be the same for all online search marketers: your website needs to be optimised for primarily mobile use. There is a lot more going on under the surface, of course, including continuing penalties for those horrible backlinks we never liked, and of course nasty keyword stuffing (who even does that anymore? Please say you don’t. Please). Google is also starting to sit up and take notice of the redundant content that a lot of marketers are forcing onto ecommerce sites, usually at the foot end of an otherwise perfectly acceptable page. At the end of the day, we can take these algorithm changes and make some valid forecasting for the next 6 months; giving us a head start on ranking factors.
Remember: Google is learning from us: not the other way around… So, if it annoys you, and you click away, then you can be sure it will be reflected in an update soon.
Social Media Trends in 2018: Gen Z and Influencer Marketing
First of all: Generation Z are calling the social media shots now. It’s official: Millennials and Gen Z’s are the core target market, the main end users, and the highest grossing online purchasers in 2018. Why is this relevant? Because their online habits are driving all of the online changes we’re seeing (or about to see). For example: Gen Z are the first generation to purchase based on social influence over price point, according to RetailDive. [https://www.retaildive.com/] This has led to an influx of influencer marketing, with celebrities getting in behind brands and working their charm on social media. This has also directly influenced other platforms, with Instagram offering click-to-buy options, and Snapchat, WhatsApp, Messenger and WeChat becoming common communication tools for brands.
YouTube is fast becoming the online drug of choice for Millennials and Gen Z’s, with forecasters predicting as much as 80% of online traffic being YouTube focused by 2020. Augmented reality and ephemeral content (such as SnapChat) is gaining traction, while live streaming satisfies the human contact required by new age internet junkies.
Where’s it all heading? LWM forecasting for 2018-19
So where are all these threads leading to? We’ve got a few ideas:
- Social media will be more about influencers and stories
- Brands will be getting down to a more personal level with their customers
- Video will be trumping all other online traffic
- Voice queries will far outweigh typed commands
- Mobile search will overrun desktop or tablet use
- Live streaming and AR will continue to gain traction
- Google will prioritise video results and mobile-optimised results
- Organic results will ALWAYS outperform contrived SEO work
And there we have the mid-year 2018 social media and Google algorithm trend analysis – with a taste of our personal forecasting thrown in for good measure. Want to know how to ride the wave of online marketing in 2018 and beyond? Call our team at Live Wire Media today.