Effective content marketing requires efficient, multi-channel content distribution. For most content marketers, that means a heavy reliance on Google and the most popular social platforms. But recent algorithm updates and policy changes have called into question third-party platforms and audience dependence.
Here’s a look at six recent changes that may impact the ability of content marketers to reach and engage with consumers.
- Facebook will be letting users stop off-Facebook activity tracking. Due to privacy concerns, Facebook is making a change to let users stop the social platform from tracking their off-Facebook activity, including events that happen on non-Facebook apps and websites. Although Facebook will continue to track data anonymously for analytics and conversion data, even for users who halt off-Facebook activity tracking, targeting within Facebook based on behavioral attributes is expected to be hindered.
- Google is keeping more searchers within their walled universe. As of June, slightly more than half of all Google searches resulted in no click. With the current Google search engine results page (SERP) looking more and more like a portal, it’s becoming clear that Google’s user experience enhancements are increasingly boosting consumer engagement with Google products and reducing organic traffic going to other websites.
- Twitter removed third-party data sources from their ad targeting. Claiming it will simplify the ad buying process, Twitter recently announced they will be removing third-party data from their ad targeting tools as of early next year. As a result, it will be more difficult for content marketers to get sponsored posts in front of niche audiences.
- Facebook is restricting targeting options for select verticals. With the intention of reducing the risk of unintentional discrimination, Facebook no longer allows advertisers within a list of special categories (including credit, employment and housing) to target based on race, national origin, religion, gender, age or disability. For Facebook advertisers within these special categories, only broader demographic targeting is allowed.
- Google’s recent domain diversity change reduced the number of first-page organic results that can come from the same domain. In June, Google announced an update that prevents any individual domain from monopolizing the top search results. After the domain diversity change was made, each domain was restricted from appearing more than twice within the first page’s core results.
- Facebook no longer pays commissions for political ads. As a result of this change, many political campaigns are reliant on Facebook’s self-service platform to target and buy ads.
While content marketers can and should continue to leverage search and social media audiences, it’s important to understand the limitations of relying on someone else’s platform. For reasons related to privacy and user experience, Google, Facebook and Twitter have and undoubtedly will continue to update their algorithms and targeting policies. Some of the changes will have positive impacts for content marketers, but other updates may restrict marketers’ abilities to engage with their audiences.
Content marketers who also build out first-party databases and regularly engage with their audiences via email are less likely to feel the impact of algorithm and policy changes made by Google and the social media giants. In addition to the benefit of being able to control when and how messages are sent, brands with opted-in subscribers are more likely to see higher levels of engagement because the subscribers have actively requested to receive content from the brand.
Like everything in life, the more you own, the more control you have. When it comes to content marketing, relying on the “rented” audiences and platforms of Google and Facebook can limit your ability to engage and build long-lasting relationships.
To hear more from Kathy in person, be sure to join us for Connect to Convert at the Westin Boston Waterfront, September 25-27, where Kathy will be speaking on Content Marketing. Register Here!