With the arrival of the search wars and the algorithm updates to Twitter, Facebook and Google, not to mention the Instagram and Pinterest updates, I think it’s fair to say that the search wars have officially begun. Each of these above mentioned, are search engines, and social search is moving to be the most powerful form of search….

What does this mean for us in the digital marketing game, or publishers that depend on social as a great traffic referral engine? Well it means that we have to start changing our game, as each of these updates is indicated to directly affect brands. Some good, some not. Some of my new clients have experienced some issues in their ability to track and bill for “Social Posts”, if you have these issues, I hope this helps.

Facebook EdgeRank 2015 will only show 10% of all over promotional brand posts to their audience, their little trick is a drop down menu that allows you to stop following the brand but still be friends or like the page, and that means that although it looks as though you have that audience, your penetration is far from that. As per Facebook, all over-promotional posts will be penalised. No click baiting whatsoever, no call to action that takes the user outside of Facebook, the list goes on. We also need to understand that operating a brand page under an individuals persona will also lead to loss in reach and penetration and the ability to prove anything.

Twitter however have come in and updated their algorithm that appears to be the hand brands now need after the FB update. With the ability to track everything from impressions. Total impressions on a Tweet, an hour-by-hour breakdown for the first day of that Tweet. You also get insight into total impressions for all your Tweets over a 28-day period to say the least. Twitter now allows direct message marketing which will allow for better traction with your audience, provided you know your audience.

Google Mobile Update ensures that the large mass of online people who access via their mobile devices will not see your site if it is not 1: responsive or mobile friendly, 2: takes too long to load. The penalties will be that your site does not appear in a mobile search, which is scary because at least 65% of the population access via their mobile devices. You will also be issued with a bright red SLOW tag next to your search listing.

How do these all these tie in together? Brands can no longer assume that by the CTR they will penetrate that percentage of the market, it means brands need to engage with their audience and not talk at them, understand the users intent and cater for that accordingly. Its not about attracting an audience, its about amplifying that audience to attract more like them, its about attracting that qualified audience.

Again I cant stress enough, know your audience, how do they access, what times do they engage, what do they engage with, where do they come from, most importantly, how long do they stay, how many pages deep do they go, what’s the exit rate vs. bounce? Its not all analytics though, you have to know more than that, you have to know their user intent.

Social Search has new algorithms that show their intent to take social marketing on, as they know full well that we charge for posts. The table has turned and now we have to pay to get the same results, that means that our pricing models need to be adjusted aswell.