What the heck happened to digital marketing in 2020? — Doug Bell // Searchmetrics

About the speaker

Doug Bell


 - Searchmetrics

Show Notes

  • ? 02:21
    Review of SEO trends predictions from last year
    ? 04:21 -The state of SEO from the coronavirus onset to where we are now


  • “If we look back in January 2020, the economy was in an ideal state. It was the 8th year that there was some level of growth in the economy which was unusual so I think if anything people were bracing for some kind of downturn during the year.” -Doug

  • “But if we look at marketing budgets overall, it was trillion dollars for the US. That was where wewere looking at. It was a sense of how are we as digital marketers going to prove value and ROIs as opposed to the entire world is about to end, what is marketing mix going to look like in a crisis.” -Doug

  • “I remember early this year talking about the marketing mixes would look like and how we were arming for more consumer packaged goods to flood some of the PPC channels and expecting that our media prices would go up.” -Ben

  • “The P&Gs of the world would go on Facebook driving all of the media costs up so digital was getting more expensive and that was going marketers into the channels where if they had lower budgets, they need to be scrappy so we were looking at things like organic growth and influencer marketing, content marketing are some of the things that smart marketers were gearing up for.” -Ben

  • “The primary thing I would look at because there is a trickle-down effect, how did the big brands that we count, from a media and industry standpoint, react? So they reacted by cutting spending quite a bit.” -Doug

  • “The first things that are getting slammed are offline media if you will, the traditional media is getting hammered. If we are looking at any inelasticity in the marketplace, were looking at digital marketing in the sense that there countervailing forces going on.” -Doug

  • “You got this economy in freefall, consumers are dropping. Then youve got offline media or traditional media taking the brunt. People are not listening to the radio, they are not looking at the advertising at the airport. All that stuff is gone.” -Doug

  • “At the same time when people are retreating out of the traditional media, they are going to online media. But is that shift enough to counterbalance the fact that 80% of advertisers are cutting budgets? And the answer is no.” -Doug

  • “I do think that we see this knee-jerk decrease in media, mostly digital media, and I think thats rebounded and I think what it did was it made it a great time to be a direct-response advertiser using PPC because the competition has been relatively low but I think that is starting to rebound at this point.” -Ben

  • “I would agree in the sense that I think youre right to say that some industries are recovering quicker than the others. But marketing is a whole tends to lag the economy by 3 to 6 months and the first thing to get cuts are marketing budgets. Were seeing little sprinklings of digital media improving but again, it depends on who you look at.” -Doug

  • “The most aggressive or the most optimistic view on the decline in digital spending was 20% and that was when we thought we would return to normal by the end of the year. But it is probably closer to 40% drop which is huge.” -Doug

  • “From the CMO perspective, after cutting advertising budgets,they will then try to conserve resources internally. Although weve heard a lot of layoffs, what they are going to do next is go after the agencies which theyve done. We are seeing about a 10% to 20% decline in business for agencies because people are trying to protect their staff.” -Doug

  • “Honestly, I think people are still looking at their marketing mixes. I think that at least what we are seeing overall is that, lets put ourselves in this data analytics category if you will. So SEO and SEO providers. The best way to describe it is we have seen stability there.” -Doug

  • “They havent been slashing the data and analytics budget and what weve really seen is they are investing more in two areas that I really think is interesting. One is, they are recognizing the value of content because its ROI tends to be higher and therefore they are tending to stay away from cutting SEO budgets.” -Doug

  • “The second thing we are seeing is that people are actually investing in automation. This is because when these things happen, you tend to look for efficiencies so you go to automation tools. Its how are we more efficient from an organizational standpoint.” -Doug

  • “Understanding who you are targeting, how to get them through your funnel seems to be at a premium right now because you cant just throw cash at the problem to try to fill the top of your pipeline.” -Ben

  • “They are heavily focused on site performance which is not a shock but there is a lot to be gained. We are also seeing companies focus heavily on the existing content so the cost of content has gone down quite a bit. So a lot of companies are interested in strategic services from us to kind of help identify the content but also, any type of tools or data that we have to help them identify and optimize content.” -Doug

  • “Winner is marketing automation and the losers are agencies.” -Doug

  • “Winners for me are ecommerce brands because they have still been able to spend efficiently and weve seen in specific industries that there has been a lot more transaction. Amazon has done significantly well. Shopify as well. With losers, I think you gotta go industry-specific. People working in marketing for industries that just dont exist right now like in-person events. Also, travel. Theres no marketing for travel. Thats just a bloodbath and thats the biggest loser in 2020 for me.” -Doug

  • “ think it was Winston Churchill who said, never waste a good crisis. I think there are a lot of smart, capable CMOs out there but they are doing a lot of things that I would say would lead to much more efficiency in marketing later on. So there is definitely an investment in content and SEO because it is something tangible and that you can improve.” -Doug

About the speaker

Doug Bell


 - Searchmetrics

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