By Emma Dimock

In the ever-changing field of digital marketing, keeping up with trends and updates from Facebook, Google and other digital platforms can be a challenge. It seems like every time you get familiar with the last round of updates, a new round is set to launch. That is why having a group of industry peers to share knowledge is so valuable. Here are some of my key takeaways from the Agency Management Institute’s 2021 Digital Summit – a meeting of digital marketing minds from across the country, all in one room.

Facebook Insights

A great tool for keeping track of engagement, impressions and reach on your social media posts, this Facebook feature was discontinued on June 30, 2021. The change presented a challenge to organic social media marketers as they determined how to continue showingclients the value of  investing in social media, without this key measurement tool.

The consensus:

At the time of the conference, this was still something the group was trying to figure out. In fact, one agency was told by their Facebook representative, “Agencies don’t use Facebook Insights.” There are many tools to track advertisements and boosted posts on Facebook and third-party platforms, but very few for organic posts.

After some research, we discovered that the data normally found in Facebook Insights can still be collected using a combination of Facebook Business Suite and Facebook Creator Studio.

Privacy Changes

There are big changes ahead for data collected through iOS and Google.

Ahead of its pending iOS 14 update, Apple is promoting privacy with the slogan, “Privacy. That’s iPhone.” With the iOS 14 update, users of Apple products must give permission to have their data collected upfront.

Google is removing third-party cookies at the end of 2023.  Google has indicated that they will not be replacing  cookies with a different way to track users, limiting the data available to marketers, but they have been testing a replacement called FLoC. The update was originally scheduled for early 2022, but Google experienced pushback and extended the update to 2023.

As a user, these changes are fantastic. As a marketer, this poses a challenge since there will be lessdata available to accurately target our ideal audiences.

The consensus:

Create a strategy for collecting first-party data – data your customers directly give you. Collect email addresses of people who have interacted with your brand and add them to your e-newsletter or email lists. Collect phone numbers* to send coupons. Ask people to fill out surveys or quizzes.

A customer relationship management tool can help keep track of first-party data and where the person is in your marketing or sales funnel.

*Another topic discussed at the conference was the use of SMS for connecting with your audience. Sending a text message to someone who has never interacted with your brand before or using geotargeting to send messages to people in or around your physical location may be a little too invasive. Sending coupons to past customers or people who have shown interest in your brand via SMS is more acceptable. Just make sure there is something in it for them, like a discount!

SEO vs PPC

In the constant battle to have your website listed on the first page of Google’s search results, there are two techniques to achieve first-page glory. Whether starting fresh, rebuilding or maintaining your existing site, you must determine if you want to use search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

The consensus:

While PPC is enticing because of its instant gratification, SEO is more valuable over time. Once you stop paying for advertising, your ranking disappears. With SEO, you may not rank on that first page overnight, but with consistent effort, you can get there and stay there over time. As is in life, taking a shortcut doesn’t always pay off. PPC is, however, a great way to reach your audience and increase  traffic to your site. Depending on your goals, a combination of the two may be your best option.

Creating content and posting it on blogs and other websites such as trade publications or  YouTube will help make your business findable. The work we do at Marshall Communications to pitch stories to major media outlets helps our clients tremendously because it generates coverage on large, credible media websites (like the Wall Street Journal or Washington Post) that Google acknowledges as important because of their domain authority.  Even generating media coverage in local newspapers, TV stations or magazines can help with local SEO (think of being the most discoverable general store in your town or most findable auto repair shop or restaurant).

Even though changes occur rapidly, keeping track of updates, trends and techniques like those mentioned in this blog are crucial for the success of your digital brand. Whether doing digital marketing for your own business or a client, staying on top of industry updates will allow you to advance with your audience. Joining a trusted group of digital marketing professionals is also helpful.


Emma Dimock is the Relationship Manager at Marshall Communications in Maine and handles all aspects of client relationships including writing, graphic design, social media, PR measurement and account management.