10 trends that shaped digital marketing in the 2010s

Digital marketing moves at a fast pace and a lot has changed over the past decade. We wouldn’t be where we are today if not for the trends that shaped digital marketing in the 2010s.

1. Mobile-first marketing

If there is one digital marketing trend that has completely changed the game it’s the focus on mobile friendly websites. This was driven by Google’s 2015 mobile friendly ranking algorithm update and has continued to remain a priority thanks to the mobile-first indexing that the search giant began in 2019.

2. Mobile-minded consumers

If the aim of marketing is reaching consumers where they are most often to be found then it’s no surprise that mobile has become the key focus. Mobile-forward strategies are now a must as consumers increasingly pick up a smart phone to do everything, from purchasing clothes to the weekly shop.

3. The evolution of marketing technology

Data driven digital marketing, and the creation of technology to support it, changed the landscape of business marketing in the 2010s. Martech created more efficient opportunities to increase profits and drive engagement with consumers.

4. “Near me.”

Over the past decade, search focus on “near me” has increased over 34 times. Location tracking is now much more accurate and how close the user is to the business is now the top factor in Google My Business rankings.

5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

It was probably one of the most significant marketing shifts in the 2010s - SEO has opened up doors for highly effective brand building and earning income from a Google ranking. So huge has this trends been that it is now an entirely new marketing specialisation in its own right.

6. Curating cookies

For the first time, cookies provided marketers with the opportunity to track and identify individual users. This has led to many more digital marketing evolutions, including being able to map customer journeys, providing more accurate forecasting of ROI on marketing budgets, as well as analysing which marketing campaigns are most successful based on interactions with users.

7. Mass uptake of social media

In terms of time and attention social media probably engages consumers more than any other marketing channel today. It has forced these platforms to the top of the agenda, from working with influencers to integrating features such as live streams and video.

8. Influencers take over

Partly due to the mass expansion of social media, influencer marketing has been a key trend over the past 10 years, affecting everything from brand recognition to sales.

9. The focus on high quality content

In 2012, Google suddenly shifted so that high quality digital content was being rewarded and lower quality pages penalised. This changed the game for content marketers, pushing the focus onto fresh, engaging and genuinely useful content.

10. Automated advertising

In the latter years we have begun to see more of a shift toward incorporating automation and machine learning into advertising. This is effectively putting more control in the hands of platforms like Google and Facebook and levelling the playing field between the highest and the lowest performers.

Digital marketing has come a long way in the past 10 years and these are some of the trends that have had the most impact.

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