By Danni Eickenhorst (@STLDanni) Last year, when Facebook announced their endeavors in Facebook Newswire and Journalism, we made a prediction. This prediction was somewhat controversial, but we stood by it, and it is absolutely coming true. We said that websites as we know them would quickly become obsolete and that content publishing on social media platforms would become the norm. We also predicted that these platforms would quickly provide disincentives for people to click anywhere outside of their platform, and that they would begin to give preference to on-platform content only, rather than links to outside sites, and we were right. It is all happening now. Your current content strategy is quickly becoming obsolete.
Why are platforms making this shift?
By keeping your content interactions on-platform, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google are able to track your activity, and to gather data for their strategic planning, and for their advertising revenue. Data is power. Data is money.
What’s happening now?
You may have noticed that for the past 18 months, Google has been providing preview content on search results, often answering any questions you may have right from the search results stream, such that you don’t have to click through to any of the websites that are coming up in search. Orders can be facilitated, phone calls can be made, general questions answered – all without ever clicking through to a website.
LinkedIn rolled out LinkedIn blogs – which are incredibly powerful – especially for B2B businesses and thought leaders in various industry spaces. You may even read this blog here, because as much as I wish it WASN’T happening, I have to share content where it works. (My personal rules = Publish first on my own site ALWAYS.)
This week, iOS 9 for Apple rolled out with the capability of enabling ad-blocking apps. Seems smart, right? Rather benign? Wrong. This changes everything. Every trend we’ve seen in the last 18 months has pointed to a focus on mobile marketing. Our click-thru rate on Facebook ads on mobile versus desktop has been 3 to 1 in favor of mobile. We invest accordingly. When Google rolled out “Mobilegeddon” changes in April, companies everywhere invested in making their sites quicker on mobile.
The new iOS changes will also block the cookies that track your activity online – something that we, as marketers, rely heavily on this day for predictive targeted marketing.
What does this mean?
- If cookies are blocked, affiliate in-text links and banners will no longer function as they should. This means that people who are making their living from affiliate income will start to see a significant reduction in income – as the individuals they are marketing for will not be able to track the sources of their sales.
- Mobile marketing campaigns will need to be closely tracked and reconsidered.
- Rather than relying on cookies, traditional referral codes may be required. “Tell them Bob sent you by entering offer code BOB at checkout.”
- Everything about SEO is about to change. Watch closely for more from our team.
- Some predict that content sites, which will ultimately see a precipitous drop in traffic and income as content moves onto these platforms. Some predict that pay-gates (similar to what many newspapers are working to implement online – and often failing to implement) are the future. We’d guess that they are not.
What do we do now?
Own your own content. We strongly believe in building your business on your own real estate. So, for now, always publish on your own site first. You can always share content by republishing to LinkedIn blogs and other sources AFTER you’ve established your site as the original author source.
Give a preference for home-court advantage. Continue to drive traffic to your site whenever possible to keep the interactions and data yours – for as long as you can. Take advantage of in-text links when publishing on outside platforms. Link people back to your site whenever possible.
Watch your campaigns closely. Especially those on mobile. Be ready to pivot.
Diversify your income streams. If your business has a significant portion of income comes from affiliate or ad income – reevaluate your business model. Find other options. It’s the only prudent thing to do in a time of sweeping change.
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LOOKING FOR MORE ON THESE CHANGES?
Listen to this incredibly insightful episode of “Note to Self,” for the true potential impact of these changes.