The advent of the Internet has brought structural changes in our lives and in the business models of many industries. The initial impact was so great that it ended in the famous bursting of the Internet bubble in 2000.

Since then, we have tried to pull ourselves together, to put in place a proper digital identity and to make the most of it. The problem is that, to get the most out of it, it is not enough to be present.

We need to review our online strategy. This requires optimizing strategies to capture traffic (paid media), our online properties (owned media) and the management of the echoes of our actions (earned media). As necessary as it is interesting, isn’t it? Well, you’re in luck. This is precisely what you will find in this book.

In the following pages, Fernando Maciá will guide you through a complete review of all the points you need to take into account to optimize an online strategy. By the end of the book, you will have a plan to improve your online presence, which will allow you to see positive results in less time than you think.

Besides, you are in the best hands. Fernando is one of the leading experts in digital marketing in Spain. His almost 20 years of experience in the sector allow him to explain first hand the transition we have experienced since the bursting of the Internet bubble in 2000 to the present time and, therefore, the steps we must follow to have a more appropriate online strategy.

But before I leave you in their hands, I would like to briefly explain the context in which we move, to help you better understand the rest of the book and how necessary it is to have a well-armed digital strategy.

In recent years, we have seen how the business models of well-established industries, such as tourism, music, cinema, the press and many other sectors, have changed completely. New communication strategies, revenue sources and “players” make up a very different picture. For these and other reasons particular to each industry, we see that the companies that comprise them are going through a crisis. Instead of trying to anticipate the changes, they have let the situation deteriorate little by little and try to make the previous model work in the current context.

Why is it so hard for them to adapt to the new times?

  • Because they refuse to lose the income it used to produce.
  • Because these industries need structural changes that are not easy to implement.
  • For not finding a sufficiently profitable model to maintain the current structures.

Simply because they don’t know how to evolve their industry (I’m not saying it’s easy).

Trying to make a past model work in today’s model is like trying to win a horse-drawn carriage race. No matter how much you have the best horse, train daily, etc., the cars will always beat you. In industries as established as the film industry, few dare to bet on new models. In August 2013, directors of the stature of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas or actors as prominent as Kevin Spacey dared to give their vision of the future of film and television. They are betting on a cinema closer to the spectacle of a theater or an opera or on a television that offers control to the user.

On-line models out of stock

Perhaps, due to the decisive role of the Internet in so many changes and the speed at which it evolves, we have not stopped to think that the Internet, like other industries, must renew itself to adapt to the new situation. Almost every week we see articles announcing the death of one of the on-line channels, a tool, a social network,… On the one hand, they may be right, but on the other hand, they are not.

They are right that, if we replicate strategies that worked 10-15 years ago, the results are not good. But in time they are not right, because if we do it properly they do work. For example, if we design a display campaign (banners) in the traditional way (planning, creatives and standard adserver), the results are usually regular. But if we design campaigns by studying historical results, seeding cookies, Real Time Bidding, retargeting, designing optimized landings, testing to discover new options and designing optimized creatives, the results change completely.

The bottom line is that the banner is not dead. But the reality is that the effort we must make to make it work is high.

Don’t you get the feeling that the story of many on-line channels is beginning to resemble that of the horse that wanted to win a car race? We have to implement new techniques and optimize each step as much as possible, to get closer to the results we were getting before. In some cases, it means that, after the initial boom, the strategies and/or channels are finding their place (as is happening with social networks), and in others it is a symptom of pure exhaustion (business models based on advertising revenue).

Despite this, we continue to use advertising models old-fashioned, on-line sales processes still complicated for many users (n steps, registrations, validations, complicated home delivery, data security, etc.), income models feasible only for a few (revenues based on debanners campaigns which, as we have seen, are complicated to make work), etc.

The Internet has changed and we must adapt

This evolution in the way of advertising, the change in the way users use the Internet, social networks, smartphones, there are many causes that make the Internet look very little like it did 20 years ago, I would even say 10.

To reach our audience, it is no longer enough to launch a powerful display campaign and have a good active SEM campaign (as it is similar to the discourse of “with a prime time TV ad you could reach 90% of your audience, right?) Audiences have become fragmented, they have changed their way of consuming media, of communicating with each other and with brands. This change means that brands must modify the way they reach their audience. They must move from models based on high-volume advertising campaigns to being always on, they must become connected brands. This need means that strategies must contemplate the three types of online media: paid, earned and owned, known as media convergence strategies.

By using all three channels, we change the previous mono-channel approach, where brands went after the user (paid media), to one where brands strive to be present where their audience is (owned and earned media). These two new pillars are based on content, social media strategies and SEO optimization.

Over time, this model is likely to become corrupted. There will always be people and companies looking for shortcuts to achieve results faster and at lower cost. So what can we do to differentiate ourselves from the rest? What can we do to stand out from all the available content?

What always works, the same as when we raised display campaigns in 2013 is:

  • Doing things right.
  • To stand out for its quality.
  • Betting on a strategy.
  • Do not imitate the one next to you. Find your own way.
  • Always be alert.
  • Try new things looking for better results.

The easy way is faster, but it doesn’t always get you to your destination. The desire, the quality of your work, the search for excellence, will always take you far. If you choose to use shortcuts, imitate, you will end up being one in a million and try to race a car with a horse.

Tristán Elósegui Figueroa