It has been another busy year in 2014. We’ve blogged about more than ever before this year – here is just a sample of some of the big issues that have affected us in the last 12 months.
We waited more than a year for it, but the latest version of Penguin was finally unleashed in October. However, despite some fanfare from Google, the impact of Penguin 3.0 was minimal to say the least. Yes there were a couple of casualties, as one would expect, but there was not the trail of carnage and devastation that has followed other versions of Penguin. Could that be because brands have largely cleaned up their act, or because there is yet more to come as far as Penguin is concerned?
We also saw new versions of Panda, with Panda 4.0 rolling out in May – just days after a payday loan algorithm update.
Speaking of payday loans, we had an in-depth look at the state of the short term loans market in March and found that, despite some hiccups along the way, Google had significantly reduced the level of volatility in this heavily scrutinised market.
Using our search ranking monitoring tool Roadmap, we also took a detailed look at the growing prominence of on-page engagement factors in Google rankings, with factors relating to the way in which users engage with content becoming increasingly powerful in search performance.
We also explored how Google was viewing HTTPS as a ranking signal, creating some interesting debate along the way!
The year 2014 saw an end to both rich video snippets and authorship appearing in search results, whilst Google took steps to improve its mobile experience with the launch of a ‘mobile friendly’ tag. We also got a glimpse into future Google developments, with the search engine filing a patent for an algorithm that will adjust search results based on local TV schedules.
Twitter gets an algorithm
Twitter confirmed a number of big changes during 2014, chief amongst which is the confirmation that the service will be adopting an algorithm.
The announcement came as Twitter’s share price struggles to reach the heights of last year, with the site needing to attract new users. It’s believed that an algorithm powered feed will increase the appeal of Twitter to more casual users, making it the go-to source for breaking news and emerging content.
Facebook changed too
Facebook also experienced some new innovations, with the re-launch of its Atlas ad network perhaps the most notable development. The service will allow Facebook to use its data to sell ads on third party publishers, making it easier for advertisers to both target individual user groups, and track those consumers across multiple devices and touch points.
Of course, Facebook couldn’t go a year without the issue of user privacy cropping up somewhere, and the site introduced a number of measures to make it easier for users to determine what content users wanted to see.
Content Marketing was a big deal
We started the year by predicting big things for content marketing, offering ten reasons why your brand should be looking to invest in content in 2014.
It was indeed a big year for content, and in February, we spoke to Marketing Magazine about how The Lego Movie was setting a new standard for brand story telling.
Of course, the FIFA World Cup took place in the summer, which was the catalyst for a huge growth in brand newsrooms – a structure which allows brands to develop relevant and agile content marketing strategies. We took a more detailed look at why one brand in particular was adopting the concept.
We also discussed the notion of click-baiting in headlines, wondering if it really existed.
The World Cup goes social
Speaking of the World Cup, the 2014 edition was by far the most social world cup ever. Events in Brazil generated more than one billion Facebook interactions, whilst the semi-final between Germany and Brazil was the most discussed sporting event ever on Twitter. The World Cup final generated 618,725 tweets per minute.
Naturally, brands got in on the act – although some had more success than others. We reviewed the best and the worst.
More brands experienced a social crisis
As ever, some brands had a tough time on social media in 2014, but three examples of high profile difficulties stood out.
DHL was at the centre of a social storm following a misguided Facebook post about Formula One driver Jules Bianchi, resulting in a retraction and grovelling apology.
We also looked at how Transport for London used social media to manage tube strikes in February, pointing out a number of shortcomings in their Twitter strategy.
But for all the disasters and flaws, there were some social media successes. Our personal favourite was Greggs, which managed a reputational nightmare superbly.
We explored how financial services could overcome their fear of social
Social media is tough to get right at the best of times but it’s especially tough in the highly regulated and much-maligned financial services sector.
In May, we presented at the Financial Social event in London, discussing how financial services brands were “crippled by fear” of social media.
In August, we released our Online Financial Services Intelligence Report, which highlighted just how traditional financial brands were struggling for visibility when compared to their more agile, socially savvy competitors.
We looked in more detail at how price comparison sites were leading the way in online visibility, the troubles affecting the pay day loan brands and explored ways in which the traditional brands could fight back.
The lid was lifted on some new technology, with wearable tech both big themes at Apple Live and Google I/O. Other innovations to look forward to in 2015 include the growth of mobile payments, and new mobile operating systems
We celebrated a couple of milestones in 2014, with the World Wide Web celebrating its 25th birthday in March. To celebrate, we selected our 25 greatest things from that quarter of a century.
Another landmark birthday belonged to Amazon.com, which turned 20 years old back in July. To mark that occasion, we put together our A-Z of Amazon.
We also set up a live blog on April Fool’s day, picking out the best and the worst branded gags on April 1st 2014.
We did our bit for charity
We’re a charitable bunch here at Stickyeyes, so it’s fair to say that we’ve raised a few quid for some excellent causes.
Of course, we’ve thrown some icy water over our head, supporting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but we’ve done much more than that.
As well as the traditional food-related events (and we do lots of those), some of the fitter ones amongst us have taken part in not one but two runs, competing in the Color Me Rad event back in May and the traditional Leeds Abbey Dash, raising money for our chosen charity, Martin House Children’s Hospice.
That’s all for our review of 2014. We’d like to finally wish all of you a very happy and prosperous 2015.