How Online Algorithms Hurt Small Businesses

How Online Algorithms Hurt Small Businesses

A blue website flowchart

How Online Algorithms Hurt Small Businesses


Social media connects our world in more ways than ever before. It is much easier for families to stay in touch, to discover new friends, and familiarize with one’s local community. 

Advertising on social media can be a challenge for small businesses. How does one create unique and relatable content for their target audience? Depending on the platform, different forms of media are preferred and shown more frequently, such as videos or images.  

To rank forms of content on its platform, websites implement an algorithm. While this categorizing system may help social media sites filter posts, they can be a detriment to marketers due to its unreliability and frequent updates. Content that was previously favored in the past may no longer be applicable once the algorithm changes. 

With frequent changes to the algorithm across several websites, marketers must reach the same audience in new and challenging ways. One simple change could mean a complete restructuring of their marketing framework and creates many unintended effects for businesses.

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Change in Media Content

It is no trade secret that algorithms favor certain types of content on their platforms. An example of this is YouTube only monetizing and promoting family-friendly videos rather than videos of a violent or sexual nature. However, not only do algorithms favor certain topics and themes, but also the media it is presented in. 

When Instagram announced  that algorithm change will favor video content over images, there was an outcry from many creators. Small businesses that relied on captivating photos were now in shambles trying to learn video production to maintain their online audience. 

If every online platform periodically makes these adjustments to their algorithm, marketers bear the burden of changing their marketing styles to cater to it. 

Related: Dissecting the Relevancy of Online & Direct Mail Marketing

Outsourcing Marketing Costs

For some businesses, tracking and creating new content everyday may become overwhelming to monitor. Because of how challenging content creation can be, some business owners may outsource their social media and advertising to a third-party.

While a third party may create the content you desire, there are also increased costs to consider. What was once an easy and resourceful method to advertise to consumers has quickly grown into a complicated and costly burden. There is also the risk of losing a business’ personal touch to their marketing when outsourced to other companies. 

A blue website flowchart

Different algorithms on different platforms  

One of the issues of algorithm changes is that it may require different campaign styles across platforms. If a business advertised on Instagram and Twitter before the algorithm change, they would likely be able to create similar content for both platforms. 

However, if Instagram changed to favor videos, that would mean that a marketer must manage two separate campaigns on different platforms. What worked for one website may not work for another, and there is no guarantee that either will have the same algorithm in the following months. 

 By requiring a different strategy for each platform’s algorithm, marketers may spread themselves too thin; and business owners may face substantial costs from the complications and nuances of each algorithm. 

Direct Mail: One algorithm to rule them all

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One of the major distinctions between direct mail and other digital platforms is its consistency and reliability. Companies can in theory reuse the same mailer for years and years and still receive positive results.

There is no algorithm for direct mail, and the process has remained the same for centuries. 

While the basics of direct mail has not changed, there are new strategies to create a sustainable and profitable campaign. Concepts like the TargetList have helped companies like DK Solutions reach qualified leads for many years. With TargetList, there is no worry about a change in algorithms nor the need to create multiple types of ads. 

Want to begin your direct mail journey? Contact us today to learn more about how our campaigns can help your business or visit our blog for more information about direct mail marketing. 

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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