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“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

In this pinnacle point in history, it can be all too easy to get lost in the future of business. With exciting digital advances happening every day, living in the here and now has become a secondary thought. However, by ignoring our lessons from the past, we are doomed to repeat our failures. In order to prosper, businesses must embrace technological change. The use of digital marketing and design is no longer an option, it is essential in today’s mobile world. Nevertheless, managers can be fearful of how to develop their business to fit this ever-evolving marketplace.

To help your business find its place atop the competitive online world, VGM Forbin presents the final of our three part blog series focusing on the evolution of digital marketing. The journey has taken us from the beginning of the first dial-up network and the growth of online search engines in the 1990’s to the burst of the internet bubble in the new millennium, paving the way towards a fresh interactive partnership between users and businesses. Now our focus turns towards the present and the role of social media in the way businesses reach their clients. Incorporating this new power player and pairing it with the lessons we have learned from the past three decades, we can continue to evolve to create a more efficient future.

A New Online World

From Google AdWords to the ongoing presence of internet cookies, web marketers were able to gain access to increased insight on the individual needs and wants of consumers in 2010. However, the major platforms were beginning to see a systematic shift. That year, Facebook reached 500,000 million users, Instagram was developed and Twitter released its first promoted tweets.

In 2012, Facebook launched mobile ads, surpassing $5 billion in ad revenue. With the increased use of mobile-friendly devices and tablets, as well as the transformation of Facebook into a massive distributor of news and advertisements, social media was becoming a key player in the development of business promotions and working hard to capitalize on the accessible marketplace. This became evident in 2013 when mobile devices officially passed PCs and laptops to become the top tool for online shoppers.

 

At the same time, VGM Forbin was taking big strides to accommodate the newly redefined online community. Already a leader in website development, our team was ready to tackle the next challenge. In order to meet the needs of the fast-paced business world, we began to explore new avenues of accessibility. By November 2013, all of our websites had become mobile friendly, giving our customers the ability to reach their clients no matter where they were located and effectively handing businesses the tools needed to stay on top of their competition.

In 2014, revenue began to reflect this online commitment as social ad spend developed into 15 percent of the overall digital advertisement budget and Twitter passed $1 billion in ad income. Above all, Facebook remained dominate as the key player in the digital social media world by influencing 52 percent of consumers’ online and offline purchases.

By 2016, 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts existed globally with 1 million new users joining each day. Taking into consideration this exponential growth, 2017 is now on pace to reach a revenue of $11 billion in ad spend.

 

Keeping Up with the Times

With all forms of interaction just a click away, consumers began to develop new methods for reaching businesses. The use of online review sites such as Yelp and Google in addition to the huge audiences found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram contributed to new digital scrutiny for businesses. The impact of a bad online reputation became increasingly evident by 2014 when the internet was unanimously voted as the first source of information for general business reviews and news.

To capitalize on the newly defined role of businesses within the online community, social media giant Facebook began to move away from the college dorm room and into the realm of professional development with the advent of their Business Manager tool. Consumers took notice of this new public forum by avoiding phone calls or emails to managers and instead relying on social media comments and reviews to garner better customer service. Given the public nature of this interaction, businesses began to immediately see the effects of a negative online reputation.

By 2016, 84 percent of consumers turned to online reviews as a trusted recommendation over personal references and 62 percent of users now expect a response in less than 24 hours. To help businesses stay ahead of the curve, VGM Forbin developed new techniques for online reputation and social media management. By expanding their team in 2015 and 2016, they were able to increase their personalized online marketing service to match the speed of the everyday consumer.

 

With new digital devices and platforms evolving each day, the online marketplace will continue to move at a rapid pace. Consumers are getting younger, internet accessibility is growing, and technology is evolving. Resisting this change not only impairs your ability to connect with clients, but it limits potential growth. Although the future can be intimidating, the past years have highlighted the possibilities of the unknown. The next step is finding how your business can take advantage of this exciting new era.

Creating a Better Business Future

From the early 1990’s to today, the online marketplace has continued to discover innovative ways to connect businesses with their clients. By learning from the pitfalls of the past, we can form a better partnership. At VGM Forbin, we are committed to providing you with the tools you need to beat competitors and stay on the cutting edge while still providing the customer service necessary to grow your clientele. With help from our team, you can successfully manage your online reputation, expand your digital community and develop new ways to maximize your website. The future can present challenges and it can be difficult to adjust to new technological developments and advances. However, to move forward we can’t just be satisfied with how far we have come. Built on decades of solid leadership and innovative growth, the team at VGM Forbin gives you the support and expertise you need to grow your business in the coming decades. It’s been a long journey; however, the rewards make it worth the ride. Let’s do it together.

Amanda Huisman, Web Marketing Specialist

VGM Forbin. We do web stuff. 

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