Things have changed significantly in the past decade for digital marketing. If you can remember back that long ago, websites were extremely thin and unimaginative, and opportunities were everywhere for businesses that had a bit of know-how when it came to Internet marketing. Today’s landscape is quite different, and it’s challenging to break through the noise and get your brand noticed through basic digital marketing alone.

Digital Marketing is a Work in Progress

This year has been nothing short of exciting for digital marketers. Many have increased their ad budgets to take advantage of new trends and opportunities. Others have focused more on building stronger SEO strategies and great content that aligns with the buying funnel. But there is still plenty for digital marketers to work on.

Big data, for instance, has been a big trend for several years now, but many businesses fail to use this data effectively. Accurately measuring ROI is another hurdle for some, while others struggle with engagement on social media. If you’re having trouble in these areas, rest assured that you are not alone.

Let’s take a look at some intriguing statistics from this year that cover the good, the bad and the ugly of digital marketing. This will help you better understand where other companies are excelling and falling short.

The Good

  • SEO is not dead. Sixty-one percent of global Internet users research products online, and 44% of them start by using a search engine. Building a strong SEO strategy is still in your favor and will help your brand be found by customers.

  • Video marketing is in your future. If you’re looking to fill in the gaps in your current content marketing strategy, videos are the way to go. YouTube has become the second largest search engine – bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined.

  • Advertising budgets are shifting. Twenty-eight percent of marketers have reduced their advertising budgets to fund more digital marketing. Inbound marketing is clearly the preferred choice for reaching customers.

  • Blogging is boss. There are 31% more bloggers today than there were 3 years ago. Of course this means more competition, but these numbers are also keeping up with the demand. A whopping 46% of people read blogs more than once a day.

The Bad

  • Confusion with measuring mobile ad spend. Seventy percent of marketers are not confident in their ability to measure the return on mobile ad spending. There is extreme pressure for businesses to be mobile, but they have catching up to do when it comes to measuring its ROI.

  • The online shopping experience still lacks. Some customers are underwhelmed when it comes to the online shopping experience. Fifty-two percent of Americans say that it has yet to improve. Thankfully, your site is a work in progress that should be constantly updated to reflect improved user experiences.

  • Social media isn’t all that. Some digital marketing experts have predicted that social will become the channel one day. But for now, there is still more growing to do. The top three social networks used by businesses are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Yet a large percentage of marketers believe these channels are ineffective.

  • Digital marketing remains separate. Marketers are always being reminded that their digital marketing strategy should be part of their overall marketing strategy, but many still fail to do this. You must think of your marketing efforts as holistic.

The Ugly

  • Marketers have little confidence. Only 40% of marketers think that their marketing is effective. Yet they keep doing the same things. If you don’t feel confident with your company’s marketing, it’s time to get the ball rolling with something new!

  • Professional experience is lacking. Most digital marketers have no formal training; 82% learn on the job. If brands can’t count on new hires to offer fresh perspectives, they’ll need to do a better job of offering educational courses and webinars to employees.

  • Trial and error, with mostly error. Marketers often turn to their colleagues in the same company for advice rather than hiring an agency. The trouble with this approach is that the company’s marketing efforts become halted. This is why many companies see a continuous cycle of trial and error.

  • Marketers are feeling the pressure. Sixty-eight percent of marketers agree that they feel pressure when it comes to showing ROI on marketing spend. What they fail to realize is that digital marketing is a holistic approach that can take time to show its true potential. Being pressured to show results causes marketers to give up easily and lose sight of the true rewards of online marketing.

Why Hiring an Outside Agency is Key

It’s true that digital marketing is evolving, but marketers still have a long way to go in fully appreciating its benefits. Too many are unsure of their company’s marketing tactics, and they are quick to give up if something doesn’t work. Also, if colleagues are sharing information back and forth, the company doesn’t have the potential to grow its marketing strategy. Fresh insight is needed.

Hiring a digital marketing agency may be the way to fix some of these issues. Marketers within a company can get the support and advice they need from a team of pros that are familiar with the latest trends. This will give them more confidence in their company’s marketing strategies, and the campaigns will be strengthened thanks to a new perspective.

There are many things that keep marketers up at night, but the New Age of marketing doesn’t have to haunt your dreams. Digital marketing is reflective and intriguing, and it never fails to teach us about the people who make our brands survive.