Digital marketing has become quite a big business industry in the past decade. With strategies like SEO, PPC and, lately, with the usage of data-oriented architectures, the world of digital marketing has approached a big variety of front-end related technologies. In 2020, it’s mandatory to keep in mind that a solid digital marketing strategy won’t be enough if the site’s architecture isn’t ready for it. Let’s analyse the best practices for front-end development if your business or your client(s) is heavily relying on digital marketing. 

Why Front-End? 

HTML, CSS and Javascript are what users see: the content, the style and the dynamic resources of your site are the first steps in what could lead a person to enquire about your services or buy a product on your online store. Approaching front-end isn’t just a graphics-related matter, but something which will heavily impact UX (user experience) and session quality. Digital marketing practices like CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) and Technical SEO heavily rely on the site’s front-end in order to achieve big results: whilst CRO is more focused on a data-driven approach in order to optimise a hypothetical user’s behaviour on a page, Technical SEO does everything in order to make every small part of a landing page indexable by Google’s crawlers. 

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HTML Hierarchy: Simple Fixes, Big Results 

HTML is the foundation of every front-end scenario, strategy, plan. The “standards” when it comes to HTML being applied to any form of digital marketing (content, search or paid traffic) have changed a lot in the past couple of years, especially in regards to search and its behaviours. In 2020 (and beyond), having a not-so-well formatted HTML hierarchy is extremely negative: search-wise, the usage of specific tags such as headings (organised properly with h1,h2,h3 and so on) could guarantee featured results upon SERP (Search Engine Results Page), effectively boosting the success rate of any SEO-related campaign. Correctly formatting HTML takes a couple of minutes if your content is already written and can drastically help your site’s presence upon search. 

How To Elevate Your Graphics For UX 

UX is THE (yes, in capital) focus within digital marketing for 2020. With SEO and PPC being the noisiest and most busy digital marketing strategies, a fresh approach is much needed. UX heavily relies on a combination of content (therefore HTML and text) and graphics (a combination, most of the times, of CSS and Javascript). This creates 2 problems within SEO: the first, which is related to the fact that Google crawlers can’t read Javascript (yet) and, therefore, block every form of content contained within JS from being indexed. The second, which is related to a pure development-related matter: if a website is heavily relying on JS, devs will have to change all the DOM animations which are connected to HTML to statics CSS (with “transform” properties), which may impact development queues. 

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Mobile Front-End: The “Underdog” Rising From The Bottom 

Mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic in the past couple of years and it’s definitely set to grow even more as a trend. With this in mind, it’s quite easy to understand why mobile front-end has also become a big part of every front-end dev’s diary: a lot of JS frameworks (always known for being “bulky” to implement on mobile before Bootstrap) like React have made possible an almost complete translation from desktop features to purely mobile ones. It’s very important to understand the power of such frameworks within a mobile environment, as they heavily and tangibly speed up the site’s loading times, another extremely important part of both SEO and UX. 

A team of app developers in the UK have stated how developing Agile-oriented PM strategies with their digital marketing team has helped in ensuring extremely positive results in smaller timeframes, proving how front-end development with mobile targets is expanding rapidly. 

Combining Data Science And Front-End 

Another very impactful element within front-end development and marketing has definitely been related to data-oriented applications. Data science is a trillion-dollar business segment and, recently, applying data strategies to smaller businesses have become possible due to the release of Javascript (mainly) data and machine learning oriented frameworks like Tensorflow.js. Being able to gather, process and store data is extremely beneficial for eCommerce businesses, which have combined a solid data focused front-end architecture with, mainly, their paid traffic strategies. In 2020, data still remain the most valuable asset on Earth and, given the market signals which have been pointed out, it’s safe to say that it will grow even more. 

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Costs And Outsource 

Web development, becoming more and more complicated as time passes by, isn’t that cheap anymore. It’s definitely easier to approach front-end related builds since the release of CMS like WordPress, Shopify and Magento, but there are definitely a lot of different micro and macro elements which still require expert programmers, especially when digital marketing-related. With this in mind, it’s quite easy to understand why many companies decided to outsource their front and backend development tasks to Indian, Ukrainian and Brazillian devs. Naturally cheaper and very useful for bigger tasks on (presumably) big sites, cutting costs for development has become quite a trend within the digital marketing sector, effectively questioning the matter of having an in-house developer. 

To Conclude 

Front-end is becoming a complicated matter, especially given how digital marketing heavily relies on having a pristinely working architecture to start off. Build a site’s front-end isn’t just a matter of creating a couple of cool animations in Javascript but is (now more than ever) a matter of creating something which the digital marketing department could use on a daily basis to achieve results. The combination of data science and front-end will definitely guide high-level digital marketing teams, with examples like Amazon, TESLA and fashion companies like ASOS paving the way. 

Considering the current job’s market, we can see already how job roles like “marketing tech lead” and “head of martech” are being created from either small and big companies. The future of digital marketing is definitely front-end based.