Wave Bye Bye to These Digital Marketing Trends: Pubcon Speakers Speak Out

Road in desert with "Goodbye" on it introduces the post, Wave Bye Bye to These Digital Marketing Trends: Pubcon Speakers Speak Out

Year after year, the speakers at Pubcon Pro Las Vegas prove themselves to be a savvy bunch of marketers with their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening…and soon to happen…in our industry.

So this year we asked them what current digital marketing strategy or practice we do now do you see going away in the next year or so?

Let’s hear what they had to say:

1. Keyword Dependency

Jesse McDonaldJesse McDonald, Global SEO Strategist, IBM

“I believe the thing that is going to fall to the wayside, hopefully, in 2020 is this obsession with keywords. You see it happening, and it’s definitely something we’re working on internally, moving the mindset from keywords to topics. Topics are going to be what focus your users, answer their questions, and lead to the conversion you’re trying to get when you gain more traffic, at least organically.”


Jesses McDonald on Twitter

David IwanowDavid Iwanow, Global Search & Traffic Manager, Danone Specialised Nutrition

“I think it comes down to keyword research. I have around 50 markets around the world, and it’s not scalable to do keyword research in every single one of those markets. How Google is moving in regards to Google Ads and the automation (machine learning), it will be the case that you’ll put in your website, they’ll provide the keywords you should have in your content, what you should be bidding on in Google Ads, and potentially even what you should have in your social media campaigns.

“So I very much think machine learning will massively scale the ability of every business to do better keyword research and limit the amount of front-work you’re currently doing.”


David Iwanow on Twitter

Elmer BoutinElmer Boutin, SEO Director, GTB

“I think that many of us are going to start waking up to the fact that we have to need to start thinking topically and not just focus on exact-match keywords. I know that may be a little controversial, but I think that the way that Google and Bing are moving forward, with the way they understand things as entities, it’s going to be very important for us to begin moving in that direction. Exact-match keywords are still going to work, but I don’t think they are going to be as effective moving forward as they are now.”


Elmer Boutin on Twitter

2. AMP

joe youngbloodJoe Youngblood, Founder, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

“I don’t think we’re going to be doing AMP or anything like that in a year from now, because 5G is coming online, consumer adoption is going to skyrocket, websites are going to be faster, so there’s not going to be any use for it. Google has gotten a lot of backlash against it anyway, so I think it’s just going to end up dying.”


Joe Youngblood on Twitter

Bill HartzerBill Hartzer, Technical SEO Consultant, Hartzer Consulting

“The trend I’m seeing now is the adoption or usage of AMP or AMP pages. I know that we have now real AMP pages, where rather than Google’s domain showing in AMP, your actual domain is showing.

“But, I see more and more digital marketers saying that they’re not recommending AMP usage as much as they were in the past. I think that’s a trend that is happening now, and I believe that in maybe a year or two from now we won’t be recommending AMP at all. Right now I see some not recommending AMP already.

“I think the concern is Google taking and keeping the traffic, not necessarily speed. I want somebody to come to my site, and to my domain, and to realize that it’s my domain. Certainly there are reasons to have AMP on certain types of sites. I think that if you are just looking for pageviews, and your business is like a news site or you’re selling ads based on CPM, AMP can be helpful. But if you actually want somebody coming to the site to convert, see other pages, interact with your site, and become a lead, I think it’s more important not to have AMP, and actually get them to your site.”


Bill Hartzer on Twitter

3. Local Search Changes

JJP ShermanP Sherman, Enterprise Search & Findability Manager, Red Hat

“I think in the next five years, the idea of local search, as we know it now, will be so fundamentally different that it will be almost unrecognizable. I think this because there are so many technical issues, intention issues, and even abuse issues with local search, that a lot of those are going to start coming into play. Those issues are going to start getting fixed, and people are going to get more control.

“In five years local search is, I hope, going to be a lot better, but generally unrecognizable from what it was, in the same way paid search now is completely different from paid search on Google five or ten years ago.”


JP Sherman on Twitter

Jason BrownJason Brown, SEO Manager, Over the Top Marketing

“I think what we’re doing right now that’s going to change in the next year is a set-it-and-forget-it approach when it comes to Google My Business. So I think business owners and marketers are going to become more invested in Google My Business and making sure they are not just checking the boxes and done, like ‘Alright, I got 18 review and I’m done.’ They’re actually going to be more proactive with Google My Business and making sure that they are outranking and outperforming their competitors.”


Jason Brown on Twitter

Greg GiffordGreg Gifford, Local Search Expert

“The one digital marketing practice that we all do that is going away is actually everything that we do. We’re trapped in the old school way of thinking that SEO has ‘tips and tricks,’ and individual elements on a page to optimize. That’s all going away because everything is going to become so entity-driven that none of those things will matter.

“Link building is going to go away. Links will still matter, but it’s not going to be the weighted signal. It’s going to be real world entity signals. Everybody needs to look at local SEO, because local SEO has been entity-based for so long. The strides that Google is making with real-world signals as a ranking factor in local are going to bleed out into everything else, and that’s what’s going to be important.”


Greg Gifford on Twitter

Thomas BallantyneThomas Ballantyne, Director of Marketing, Bulwark Pest Control

“There are a lot of websites that are lead generating sites–Angie’s List would be one of them, that we used in the past that was really good, bought out by Home Advisor. I think that long term they will probably be less effective than they are now. They will go away, simply because Google has moved into that space and is now providing the similar service, but at a much more efficient and productive rate.

“Honestly, as a buyer of local service provider ads, [Google’s] conversion and their concern about me as a customer, and making sure that the quality of the lead is higher and better has been much better than what I’ve gotten anywhere else. So, unfortunately I think Google is going to win in yet another area, and I don’t think Angie’s List and some of these other services are going to be able to compete against Yelp and even Facebook on the local review business platform.”


Thomas Ballantyne on Twitter

4. Organic Social Media

Ann SmartyAnn Smarty, Brand Manager, Internet Marketing Ninjas

“I think social media organic visibility is going away pretty much for businesses. The only way to go with social media marketing is paid advertising.”


Ann Smarty on Twitter

Casie GilletteCasie Gillette, Sr. Director of Digital Marketing, KoMarketing

We weren’t able to get Casie on video before she had to wing her way back to Boston, but she very graciously sent us a text contribution:

“When I think about what has changed and what continues to change, my mind goes to organic social. From a business perspective, I have a number of clients asking themselves if it’s even worth their time. Reach is essentially gone and while there is certainly value for brand awareness and building the customer experience, it certainly doesn’t have the impact it once did. Companies need to think about how they are using social and why. What channels are actually worth the time and what are the goals? In the next year, I think we’ll see more businesses abandoning social platforms as a whole and only spending their time and money on those that drive sales.”

Casie Gillette on Twitter

5. Other Areas

Simon HeseltineSimon Heseltine, VP of Audience Growth, Trader Interactive

“Whatever’s going away in the next year is whatever Google decides to kill in the next year, should they decide to do that, by replacing it with one of their own products or just changing how things work. We don’t really have control over what is going to die.”


Simon on Twitter

Adam ProehlAdam Proehl, Partner & Co-founder, NordikClick Interactive

We began abandoning static dashboards a long time ago. There are tools out there that let you bring in data from all these different sources on an automated basis. You can just provide your clients with a link to it. There’s virtually no reason to do static dashboards in Excel–I love Excel! You still have some stubborn companies and clients that hang on to that, but we’re seeing it less and less.”


Adam Proehl on Twitter

Kristine SchachingerKristine Schachinger, Founder, Sites Without Walls

“One of the things I think we’re moving away from, although many people will still be using it, is Angular. Developers hate supporting it for SEO, and for SEO purposes it’s not easy to get it crawled and ranked properly. I notice more and more with clients that they’re moving to React and getting away from the Angular predicament because it’s just too hard to sustain, and costs a lot of money to maintain. So I think that’s one of the things that will be at least on a decline starting next year.”


Kristine Schachinger on Twitter

And you?

Now that you’ve heard from some of the top speakers at Pubcon, what do you think will change most significantly about digital marketing in the next year or two? Let us know in the comments.

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