In this post, we’ll explore 15 surprising digital marketing trends that you need to know.  The charts below are pulled from Google Trends and show search interest over the last decade.

Inbound Marketing


This is the phrase that is changing the way marketing is done.  You’ll see a VERY close resemblance to the graph below for “HubSpot”, the all-in-one Inbound Marketing software (and marketing content giant).



HubSpot launched in June 2006 and thanks to their steady and aggressive content marketing strategy, you see a very attractive growth curve.

Content Marketing


Content Marketing is an integral part of Inbound Marketing and is made up of blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, eBooks, and podcasts.  Sharp growth over the last two years indicates a new awareness of the value of this approach.

Search Engine Optimization


SEO has been on a steady decline since 2005.  Many companies began to realize that there was a lot more to maximizing online efforts than tweaking your site for Google.

Content Marketing vs. SEO


This is our only comparison graph, showing the relative volume of “Search Engine Optimization” (red) and Content Marketing (blue).  It is interesting to see that Content Marketing is about to overtake SEO.  The two are very much related.  Content Marketing is growing in recognition for its ability to not only increase your Google rankings the right way, but provide traction on social media, gain customer trust, and lead prospects down the sales funnel.

Link Building


Link Building is a component of Search Engine Optimization.  Simply put, the more websites that link to your website, the higher your search engine rankings.  Though “SEO” has been on a steady decline, this component of SEO is still a big piece of your search visibility puzzle.

Email Marketing


Email Marketing, in comparison to the other digital marketing trends, has held relatively steady over the last decade.  The inbox is still an extremely valuable and trusted place for your brand to be.

Landing Page


Landing Pages are a big part of Inbound Marketing and you’ve seen a steady rise in their search interest over the last couple of years.  Want to know more about the role landing pages play in generating leads?  Our What Is Inbound Marketing? Whitepaper will fill you in. (Note: You are visiting a Landing Page at that link.)

Call To Action


Calls to Action (CTAs) in the digital marketing arena are usually in the form of buttons that direct the viewer to take the next step.  “Download Now” “Click Here” “Read More” etc.   “Call To Action” is used outside digital marketing, so we can’t say for certain how much of the growth in this chart is digital and how much isn’t.  Want to know more?  Here’s a Call To Action which will help . . .

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Blogging peaked 2-3 years ago as social media began to really boom.  Fewer folks have personal blogs these days, they publish their content on social media instead.  This graph, of course, shows only the generic term “blog” and does not account for the drop-off in personal blogging vs a likely rise in business blogging resulting from the huge increase in “Content Marketing” above.



Podcasting came out of nowhere in 2005 and went through the roof.  You see an evening out over the last couple of years.  Podcasting is not dying (though I have podcasting friends who wish the term would.)  The format works particularly well with smartphones, so podcasting will continue to hold strong.



Infographics are all the rage.  That’s what a rage graph looks like, if you were wondering.  USAToday actually pioneered the infographic 30 years ago, but the virality of infographics has caught on in the digital marketing universe over the last couple of years, and you are only likely to see more of them in the future.

Digital Marketing


The term digital marketing has a nice steady curve to it.  More and more small businesses are understanding that marketing has fundamentally changed over the last 15 years and they need to change with it.

Website Analytics


Business owners need to see data.  That’s one of the reasons you saw those good-looking graphs on Inbound Marketing and HubSpot earlier.  HubSpot provides “closed-loop analytics” which show you how each customer found you from Day 1.  Website Analytics is growing in the consciousness of business owners over the last 6-7 years because of the value all that data provides.  You don’t get those kinds of hard numbers from traditional advertising spends.  Inbound and digital marketers have the advantage of seeing what’s working and what isn’t, and adjusting on the fly to maximize your ROI.

Google Author Rank


Google Author Rank is poised to shake up the world of SEO (and maybe social media too).  Rather than tell you why, just read our post on the subject here: Author Rank + Plus: Google’s Secret Weapon To Beat Facebook.

Social Media Marketing


If you counted, you notice that we said “15” Surprising Digital Marketing Trends.  We didn’t count this one, because we’re guessing none of you are surprised by it.  What you may be surprised by is that most Inbound Marketers will tell you that social media marketing is vital, but can’t stand on it’s own.  Social media strategies need to be tied to your content-rich website and your overall marketing strategy or you are wasting your time.

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