Digital Marketing Disrupted: Can We Still Rely On SEO, Google Ads, Social Media And EDMs?

Lately we’ve been talking about disruption: of our world, the economy, and yes – the digital marketing industry is feeling it too.

My recent blog Is Your Digital Marketing Ecosystem Overdue For A Shake-Up? considered this very topic. For most digital marketing ecosystems, over the past decade things have been fairly reliable – if not straightforward. There was a standard set of tools and strategies (content, social media, SEO/SEM and EDMs) that worked.

Lately, however, things have changed. Many marketing professionals aren’t seeing the same results – or they’re having to work much harder for them. But what exactly does that look like – and why is it happening? The answers to those questions depend on the tactic, so it’s worth discussing them individually.


Fact: it’s very difficult to earn authority from Google let alone high-quality leads from SEO. Not only has the environment become more competitive, but for most verticals, it’s nearly impossible to get traction and results quickly.

Even when you accept SEO is going to be a ‘long play’ strategy, there is still a lot of work that needs to go into it – starting with the technical site health, then moving onto the front of site structure and the depth of content across the site. None of this is cheap, or easy.

That being said, SEO is still an extremely important strategy if you have the budget and you’re willing to wait for results. The trust factor for ranking on the front page of Google is high, and the quality of lead matches that.

Google Ads

Google Ads will provide more immediate results than SEO – but it’s going to cost you. In some verticals, you’ll need to pay up to $90 per click.

In our experience, this is also an area where many digital marketing agencies see financial opportunity – for themselves, and rarely the client! It’s relatively easy to add hidden margins if the client is not an expert in the tools used to manage Google Ads. Unfortunately, we see this happen all the time.

Another consideration is the volume and quality of leads, and whether you’re attracting leads in the right area. Are you getting a lot of leads, but of low value? Would you be better off getting fewer leads, of a higher value? These are all discussions you need to have with your digital marketing agency.

Social media

Most social media channels favour paid content, making your organic social media strategy a ‘crapshoot’ (yes, that’s the technical term!). Paid social media, meanwhile, offers more assurance in terms of results, but it’s still far from a sure thing. Generally speaking, intent to buy is low when a potential customer is engaging with social content, because consumer behavior is farther away from the buying point. It’s often an impulsive action to submit a lead on social channels, it’s also easier to submit a lead on a social lead form. Therefore the lead volume can be high but of low quality. If you have a small team this can lead to being overwhelmed and potentially affect your brand experience.

That being said, social media (paid and organic) is still an important part of the overall digital marketing ecosystem, particularly for more complex sales – it has a key role to play in nurturing the buyer and supporting the trust in your brand.


Australian laws around email marketing are tougher than some other countries, making it much harder to get attention in people’s inboxes. Forget cold email sends – everything must look and feel like legitimate human behaviour.

A related issue is the cost of high-quality audience data available to purchase in Australia… Again, the data is there, but you’ll need to pay for it and even then it can be of low quality. That’s why we love LinkedIn for business to business lead generation.

In-house or demand generation teams

Marketing leaders in global B2B organisations may be lucky enough to have an in house demand generation resource, however even this capability is proving less reliable. The team is most likely located in another timezone, which makes connecting with your prospects really tricky.

As a small cog in the global machine, it’s also likely you’re finding yourself fighting an eternal battle for a share of the global marketing budget. This is a situation that is unlikely to get any better in the near future, with many countries heading towards economic recession.

Are Australia’s digital marketing agencies ready to deal with the disruption?

That’s a great question, with a complex answer. In short: some are, and some aren’t. Some digital marketing agencies don’t seem to grasp the complexity of the current situation, and are more focused on implementing what the client thinks they want or what they have to sell – rather than what will actually get high value leads for the client.

However, there are some really outstanding digital marketing agencies operating in Australia. We suggest keeping an eye out for the following four indicators that you’re dealing with one of the reputable ones:

  1. Rather than asking about what you want to do (i.e. tactics), they’ll ask you what outcome you want to achieve, then use that to suggest the right mix of tactics to you.
  2. They are happy for you to have direct access to your Google Ads account and other assets like Google My Business account or FaceBook Ads Manager account – so you know you’ll have complete visibility of where your dollars are being spent.
  3. They will report on cost per lead from each channel and you draw some straight lines between your marketing spend and revenue and quality of lead, or other KPI such as contribution to funnel.
  4. They spend time with you to develop the right mix of tactics, because they understand there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution – all companies and industries are unique. This may even say ‘no’ to things you think you want to do, rather than ‘yes’ to everything you suggest. Yep – sometimes hearing no from your digital marketing agency is a good thing.

How can we help?

Higher Ranking is an Australian digital marketing agency that supports Australian businesses of all sizes to drive quality leads which generate revenue for your business.

We are proud to bring our LinkedIn Lead Generation tool to the market. It’s a one-of-a-kind solution that takes away most of the ‘heavy lifting’ of the traditional methods of LinkedIn lead generation, without compromising on the quality of the leads.

We’ll be talking in more depth about the current challenges in the digital marketing ecosystem and how strategic LinkedIn Lead Generation can help to address them in the weeks to come. However, if you can’t wait and want to skip to the end of the story, you can book a demo using the link below. We would love to have this conversation with you one-on-one!

Book A Demo Here

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