2018: What Happened In The World Of Marketing?

Welcome to Bright Designs annual news round-up where we will be discussing all the major digital, internet, social media and SEO news of 2018.

January to March

January 4thMark Zuckerberg posts his New Years resolution, stating his “personal challenge” would be focused solely on fixing Facebook’s issues on abuse and hate comments/videos.

January 17th – The search engine giant Google announced page speed will be used as a mobile ranking factor with effect from July 2018. Google has used page speed as a ranking factor for a while, however, the signal has only ever applied to desktop searches. Google stated that the “speed update” would only have a negative effect on pages that deliver a sluggish experience to users, however, most people wouldn’t notice the difference in the update.


January 19thVoice search is taking over with assistants like Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant. A report found that voice searches on Google grew 3500% and now over 40% of adults use voice search once per day.

January 23rdInstagram introduced GIF stickers to any photo or video in an Instagram story, the day before Instagram rolled out the ability to add photos that are already stored on the camera roll to your Instagram story.

February 2nd – Google’s parent company Alphabet saw lower than expected profits this month, but overall expenses climbed as Alphabet spent money on expanding beyond its core search business, this investment included YouTube content to try and make the service more attractive to advertisers.

February 12th – A German court finds information that Facebook failed to ask people if it could collect their data for advertising purposes, violating the country’s data privacy laws.

February 16th – A court in Belgium ruled that Facebook had broken privacy laws by tracking people on third-party sites.

February 28thTickTok tops the video charts, the app grew huge amounts after seeing more than half a billion users downloading and using the app. This also led to Burger King partnering up with the app.  TickTok also partnered up with the brand GUESS using the #InMyDenim hashtag challenge.

March 7thGoogle released their brackets update, the update has a very heavy focus on content quality with so many websites creating content across the globe, Google thought it was an essential update to make sure websites are creating content that meets the searcher’s needs.

March 10thInstagram rolls out shoppable organic posts, Instagram announced they were bringing the feature out and many people loved it. It also increased sales as the links for the items were in the images of bloggers and celebrities allowing users to see where the product was purchased from.


March 19th – The Cambridge Analytica data scandal breaks out, this is a story that kickstarted larger apprehensions about what kind of data Facebook gave to other companies and apps.

March 26th – The Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices.

April to June

April 1st – Google got involved with April Fool’s day by including ‘Where’s Wally’ in Google Maps.

April 4thFacebook exposes 87 million people who may have had their data wrongly shared with Cambridge Analytica.


April 10th – Mark Zuckerberg testifies before US Congress for 4 hours 54 minutes.

April 12thStories are now bigger than messaging and news feeds. Snapchat and Instagram stories have taken over with most messages starting through the stories or even people solely communicating through public stories.  According to Facebook’s internal data stories are growing 25 times faster than feeds.

April 15th – A huge meme that everyone jumped on, the Walmart kid yodeling, this was an 11-year-old boy singing in a Walmart. Never seen it? View it here.

April 23rdMartin Lewis speaks out that he will take Facebook to court to try and stop all the fake news and adverts from scammers under his name. The social media site has published over 50 fake Martin Lewis adverts, suggesting deals linking to his ITV show Martin Lewis Money Show. Martin Lewis said “Enough is enough I’ve been fighting Facebook for over a year to try and stop them letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people, one lady had £100,000 taken from her” to read more on this article click here.


April 30thWhatsApp Co-founder Jan Koum leaves after fighting its parent company, Facebook over data privacy, encryption, and the app’s business model.

May 16thLaurel or Yanny – which one did you hear? A viral audio clip divided the internet in two between those who hear Laurel and those who hear Yanny. Click here to find out which you hear.

May 19thPrince Harry and Meghan Markle got married in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle with a massive turnout of 600 guests. The event erupted social media as well as over 27 million people watching the ceremony on TV. Click here to read more.


May 22ndMark Zuckerberg is grilled by E.U. Lawmakers over data policies. The lawmakers publicly remark they’re unsatisfied with his answers.

May 25th – The first day of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). This law was designed to modernise laws that protect the personal information of individuals before the GDPR law was introduced the previous data protection act was created in the 1990s and was struggling to keep up with the rapid technology changes. There are 99 articles setting out the rights of individuals and responsibilities placed on organisations covered by the regulation. Want to read more? Click here.

June 7thFacebook says a software bug may have revealed the posts of up to 14 million users.

June 14thThe World Cup took over social media and played a massive part in many people’s lives for a four-week period, from the 14th of June to the 15th of July, the tournaments were held in Russia for the first time ever across 11 different cities. France won in the final shown worldwide on the 15th of July. There was a total of 44.5 million people tuned in to watch the matches and a further 66.8 million re-watched the games on YouTube or iPlayer.


June 18th – The founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos became the wealthiest person in the world. He’s worth about $55 billion more than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the world’s second richest person. To carry on reading this article click here.

June 19th – For quite some time it has been known that the police can break through any phone to find necessary information and evidence. Apple stated that they are looking into ways in which they can programme their phones to prevent police and intelligence agencies from breaking into their phones.

June 20thInstagram introduced IGTV at an event in San Francisco. This is available to download in a separate app or you can also view it from the Instagram app, it’s just like watching TV but IGTV has creators or bloggers as channels – when you follow a creator on Instagram their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator if they have an Instagram account. This has gone down extremely well with users as it is connecting them to more people and enabling them to view more content.  Click here to read more.

June 26thInstagram reached one billion Instagrammers. Not even a year has passed since they reached 800 million active Instagram accounts, so it looks like they’re only going to keep growing. This really does show how big social media is in our lives and how important social media marketing is.


June 27th – The internet went crazy for the what the fluff’ challenge. The challenge involves pet owners confusing their furry friends by holding up a blanket to hide themselves and then dropping it as they hid around the corner, to make it look like they’d disappeared.


July to September

July 2nd – The Wimbledon Championships began.

July 2ndFacebook confirms that it is under investigation by the FBI, SEC, FTC and the department of justice over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

July 3rd – Google’s algorithm is continuously changing and updating, these updates can alter how functions of Google work and how they may benefit your business or in some cases have a negative effect. Google introduced Google Snippets, which crawls websites for the featured keyword that a user searches. This algorithm not only shows the information but delivers a link to the page on which Google collected the information.

July 12th – Facebook continues to make headlines with their decisions to use and sell user data. Since 2014 Facebook claimed that sharing their user data had finally stopped recently however it has emerged that Facebook had lied to the public as they did, in fact, continue to sell their users’ data to 61 other companies.


July 14thGoogle AdWords is no more, a rebranding can be a very positive thing for many companies and can generate interest that may have been lost. However, when a brand as large as Google rebrand most of us can’t help but ask why? They changed the name to Google Ads to help smaller businesses and businesses with a smaller budget get started with online advertising more easily.

July 22ndPinterest introduced a tab that allows you to be able to view pins in chronological order, so you can see new pins as soon as they are posted.

July 26thFacebook stock plummets with disappointing second-quarter earnings.

July 27th – Even with a $5 billion fine and regular court fights and lawsuits, Google remains unphased and proved it by continuing to rake in the money. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported that the prior quarter saw their fastest income growth in four years.

July 27thTwitter deactivates loads of accounts which led to a reported fall in users of one million, largely due to its inactive or fake accounts. This led to many high-profile accounts loser a large number of followers. If you’d like to read more click here.


July 31st – If you have been on the internet, watched the news, or scrolled through social media, you’ll have noticed the amount of “fake news” – MPs warned that the increase of fake news articles online is threatening real news as it rapidly begins to overhaul and become more convincing than the real news.

August 4th – Google is planning to launch a new version of their famous search engine, this version, however, will be censored for the Chinese public.  The blocked content includes subjects like religion, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protests, this decision was to please the Chinese Government so that Google can make money from China’s ever-growing population.

August 20thMobile phones took over! No one can live without one, in this day and age, they are almost an essential part of our everyday living. It may be a shock to hear a report was released to discover that 20% of people spend roughly 40 hours a week online, another shocking statistic is that more than 75% of us check our phones every 12 minutes and tweet every 20!.


August 22nd Fake news has been huge in 2018 both on Facebook and Twitter. In an effort to show they are trying to act on the fake news, both platforms said that over 900 accounts have been deleted so far, they believed that deleting these accounts would stop fake news, but only time will tell. Click here to read more.


September 2ndGoogle Chrome reached the big 1-0! Google turned 10 years old and is becoming more and more popular, it currently maintains 60% of the browser market share.


September 4thApple’s ‘self-driving’ car: self-driving cars have come a long way since their invention however like with all new technology there are disadvantages and advantages – news broke that there was a small collision involving Apple’s self-driving Lexus. Fortunately for Apple, the crash was caused by the human error from the other driver, and not by the self-driving car.

September 7thVoice shopping was launched with Argos and Google Home, Argos were the first retailer in the UK to offer a shopping service via the Google Assistant platform. Want to carry on reading? Click here.


September 10thFacebook released Facebook Watch – it was set to challenge YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime by offering a range of shows that viewers could choose from. Facebook expected to spend up to $2bn to produce content for Facebook Watch.  The feature is above the newsfeed to try and entice users in. Continue reading here.

September 16th – The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon investigated reports of employees leaking their internal data from the company. The information was sold and allowed merchants to have an edge against their competitors on Amazon.

September 24thInstagram’s founders left the company after clashes with Mark Zuckerberg.

September 26th – In a conference with Forbes, WhatsApp co-founder Brain Acton calls himself a sell out for selling his company to Facebook.

September 28thFacebook announced a security flaw that allowed an unknown party to take over almost 50 million accounts without users knowing.

October to December

October 2nd – Google officially announced that they have been making small changes behind the scenes to the Google algorithm. The algorithm update was based around Google’s search ranking system, therefore if you noticed a variation in your Google rankings that’s probably the reason why.

October 5th – Medical experts announced that they have started to research and provide parents with advice on their children’s screen time and social media time. The report mainly focused on mental health illness effects that social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have on the next generation.


October 5th – Amazon and Apple were in the news as it was reported that Chinese spies had stolen their data. The report explained that the Chinese spies had installed a malevolent chip in to servers that were made in China before they where sent off to be used by Amazon and Apple. Want to carry on reading? Click here.

October 8thGoogle announced to shut down their social media platform, Google+, after a breach of the software allowed third parties to gain access to private information about users, millions of users were affected and lots of their private information had been leaked.

October 12th – Facebook updates that the security flaw allowed hackers to see the personal information of 14 million people.

October 17thChrome 70 arrived! However, there was one major flaw that people weren’t happy with. The browser forced users to have to re-login to their Google accounts. Whilst this is an understandable and wise move in terms of security protection for users it’s frustrating as people are forever forgetting their passwords.

October 25th – The UK Information Commissioner’s Office fined Facebook £500,000, the highest punishment they can give for a data breach.

November 8th – An interesting story developed regarding Google and it’s “party culture.” Its now known that employees tend to live in accommodation that’s owned by Google. As part of Google’s new policies act that tackles sexual misconduct, the CEO Sundar Pichai has laid down new rules for drinking at work. The new policies also include drinking outside of the workplace. Google says that managers will now be responsible for discouraging excessive drinking inside and outside the office.


November 9thGoogle removed more than 3 billion URLs from its search engine for overstepping copyright in 2018.

November 14th – There was an extensive piece published about Facebook’s efforts to “delay, deny and defect” enquiries about its handling of foreign elections meddling including how Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, was involved in efforts to retaliate against criticisers.

November 14th – Snapchat launched a new feature with an emphasis on friendships, the friendship profiles allow users to view relationships with each other, collating the images, videos, messages, links and more that they have saved in chat. Click here to carry on reading.

November 15th – Google released a brand new tool that will track and score the user-friendliness and SEO of your website. The new portal named web.dev tool is used by web developers and SEOs for auditing a website to ensure that the website is healthy. Click here to read more.

November 16th – Four US senators ask Mark Zuckerberg in a letter whether his company has hired a firm to collect and distribute information about Facebook critics, including elected officials.

November 22ndFacebook was rumoured to have been implementing dirty tricks in the past in order to shift the negative public opinion, rivals, and competition and employed third-party companies to write negative things about rival companies. It’s been confirmed that Facebook has admitted to spreading rumours about philanthropist George Soros. The platform confirmed that they have employed a PR firm to make claims and accusations regarding the financier.

November 26thMicrosoft became the most valuable company in the world.


November 27th – Policymakers from nine countries rip into Mark Zuckerberg for failing to attend an international committee hearing on misinformation.

November 27thWe said goodbye to the “admin” role thanks to GDPR. The out-of-date admin role associated with every single internet domain name will be slayed under new references designed to update the Whois registry and make it compliant with European data privacy rules.


November 30th – The huge Marriott Hotels data hack of 500 million people who have visited a Marriot International Group Hotel. It was believed at the time over 327 million guests have now had their personal information leaked out into the internet.

December 5th – A UK lawmaker publicises internal Facebook emails that highlight the company’s aggressive tactics.

December 6th – Network havoc caused for O2 customers as of early hours (5 am). 32 million customers experienced issues with their network, this was due to a technical fault resulting in 3G and 4G services going down and millions couldn’t make or receive calls.  The issue didn’t get resolved until 3:30 am on Friday the 7th this is nearly after 24 hours of customers and many businesses having no network.

December 7th – Articles 11 and 13 of the EU’s news copyright directive have people in fear that memes will be banned, and platforms will need to pay publishers when people link to their websites. Google was strongly against the idea. To read more on this click here.

December 11thInstagram introduced the #InstaGiftGuide this was all designed to help people get Christmas ideas for family and friends. The #InstaGiftGuide matches 6 popular hashtag trends from 2018 with a gift-worthy product from 34 brands.

December 12th – A democrat representative from the US, Ted Lieu, jumped to defend Google’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai after listening to his colleagues interrogate him about their theory that the search engine is biased against conservatives – the main concern that wasn’t helped by the Donald Trump/’idiot’ results.

December 14thFacebook revealed that a software bug update has exposed the photos of up to 6.8 million users including pictures that they had not posted. Click here to read more.

December 14thSocial media beats traditional newspapers as a primary news source. In the study, it was found that 20 percent of US adults say they get all their news from social media while only 16 percent turn to printed newspapers. Social media moved into place for the fourth most popular source of news. Want to read more on this? Click here.


December 14thYouTube took down 58 million videos and deleted 224 million comments due to inappropriate and offensive content appearing.

December 15th – The high court in London ruled that Twitter must reveal the identity behind phones of fake accounts. The pub chain Wetherspoons have lots of users on Twitter creating fake accounts mimicking them, one of the tweets included, “Our Christmas decorations this year will not be featuring snowflakes in any of our venues in order to avoid offending any of the snowflakes that frequent our pubs”, the account that posted this is yet to be taken down by Twitter.

The most popular how-to questions of 2018…

…get the old snapchat back – Users of the Snapchat app went crazy over the new update and wanted to get the old version back, however, the short answer is you can’t!

…solve a Rubik’s cube

…put lights on a Christmas tree

…watch the champions league final

…floss dance – this dance took over the internet and had everyone up trying to give it a go.


And that’s it for 2018! Think anything is missing? Have any questions? Give us a shout over on our Twitter, Facebook or by using our web enquiry form .  Happy New year! Have a great 2019 from all the Bright Design team.

Digital Marketing news round-up