Are you one of those digital marketers hoping “the more things change, the more they stay the same?” I really hope not, because the reality is that the more things change, the more other things will change too! You can safely say this applies to pretty much everything.
Today I want to focus on how changes made by Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and many others are impacting brands and local businesses both online and offline.
Let’s Start with Google
Awhile back I asked if there’s a two-headed monster taking over the web. Yes, in reference to Google and Facebook. These behemoths continually change things up, both claiming it’s for the good of the consumer or user. But is that really the case?
While Google is certainly adding some new features to their products, making it easier for local businesses to get more visibility in search, they’re also making it harder for smaller businesses that are not as tech-savvy.
Perhaps these SMBs have an old, outdated website that’s slow to load or not mobile-responsive. Did you know Google just quietly rolled the speed update out to everyone? That’s right – now in mobile search all website placement is determined based on speed.
While it’s only impacting the slowest sites on the internet, how many websites is that? Google’s original announcement said it will “only affect a small percentage of queries.” But soon we’ll all be seeing just how many that really is. For the slow sites, website traffic will start dying on the vine.
What About Apple
Personally, I’m excited to see that Apple is taking local a lot more seriously! Will they start making it easier for brands to control their data? Time will tell. And as you know by now – I love to help brands and businesses take control of their data.
While we’ve been submitting to Apple Maps for our agency, brand and SMB partners, with Apple rebuilding their map product, we’re crossing our fingers, hoping there will be all sorts of new integrations, feature sets, and perks to help brands and local businesses get more exposure.
Apple is always “mum’s the word” about too many details, but this article in Tech Crunch shares a few specifics. It seems Apple is extremely concerned about privacy and accuracy of data – apparently that’s one reason they haven’t made maps more of a priority in the past. And actually, much like Google, they now have Apple vans on the streets collecting data for the Apple Maps product. Hmmm.
Seriously, Social Media Too
While I’m not going to talk about all the social media platforms individually, social networks seem to be in a pattern of constant change as well. Have you been watching Facebook Page reach continue to decline? Well, you can thank Mark Zuckerberg. But can you blame Facebook for wanting to get more advertising dollars? We can’t really blame them, but it sure makes us want to curse them! More and more brands and businesses (even with the biggest of pages) are having to put money towards their page to get reach.
Video is taking center stage. Have you logged into LinkedIn lately? LinkedIn Video Creators are a thing now, with Goldie Chan being at the top of the heap. LinkedIn even recruited her to create the first-ever LinkedIn Video Marketing for Personal and Brand Pages training. (BTW… Goldie was a presenter at Rocks Digital 2018. You can access the live blog here, if you missed her talk. Yes, everyone loved her!)
IGTV – err, say what? Well, that’s Instagram TV. Like Facebook Watch, users can now subscribe to a channel to follow their favorite creators’ videos on IGTV. Who is willing to admit that YouTube started all this years ago?
Can These Changes Really Impact a Local Business or Brand?
Looking at these changes individually you may think, “this doesn’t impact me or the businesses I represent.” But you need to look at the whole picture – and analyze how each change triggers other events – or a lack of events in some cases.
- The mobile speed update means fewer consumers seeing the businesses you represent in search locally (and nationally). This impacts website traffic, click-through, and conversions. Brick-and-mortar foot traffic could experience a decline too, with fewer new consumers walking through the door.
- The Apple Maps facelift means fewer consumers getting lost in route to the businesses they’re trying to find. Maybe one of them is your Trust will increase. Do you know that 67% of consumers lose trust in a brand when they get lost en route?
- So how will Facebook, LinkedIn and even IGTV impact local businesses and brands? In one word, visibility. However, lack of visibility will equal lack of engagement. Lack of engagement means a greater decline in reach, decreased brand awareness, and fewer consumers talking about the businesses you represent. Can all of this mean less sales, less new customers, and less foot traffic? Well, yes.
What Action Can You Take?
Start with being in-the-know. You’re doing the right thing by reading this right now! I suggest subscribing to our weekly email, blogs featured in the email and follow what industry experts are talking about. Seek out the information that impacts your business and the businesses you represent.
As John C. Maxwell said “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Be the first to leverage the change, so you can grow.
While I have covered several recent changes today, remember the Advice Local team is here to help… we specialize in local SEO, local listing management, web development, content creation and much more.
We know multi-location brands and local business marketing. Whether you represent one business or 1,000, we have a partner solution that is perfect for you. Request a demo to learn more today.