We are almost nine months into 2019; before we know it, 2020 will be upon us and we’ll step into a new era of digital marketing trends and technologies. Companies smart enough to adopt the marketing trends ahead of time will thrive and those who don’t, will obviously, stay behind and eventually, disappear.
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “By 2020, 50% of the Global 2000 will see most of their business depend on their ability to create products, services, and experiences that are digitally-enhanced.” That means traditional business models need to shift gears and bring their business on the digital platform where they can directly connect with their audience, identify their requirements and build long-lasting relationships.
In this article, I’ll outline the top 4 digital marketing trends that have made their presence felt for quite some time but is going to have an exponential growth in the coming years.
You might not have heard of zero-click SERPs but you must have surely seen them. A zero-click SERP is a definitive answer that appears right at the top of the search engine results page (Google). It satisfies the search intent of the user and they don’t need to scroll down or click further to complete the search.
It means that Google is expanding its information database and working hard to provide users with an experience where they don’t need to go on clicking to find answers to their queries.
Zero-click searches also throw up snippets of information or knowledge cards preventing you from clicking other links for further results. While, the prompt response makes it a wonderful search experience for users saving time and effort, it also introduces additional problems for SEOs and content creators who rely on keywords and organic traffic to run their online businesses.
"99.58% of featured snippets are taken from content ranking in the top 10 positions."
The only way out of this zero-click phenomenon is to completely embrace it and adapt to the situation by incorporating new strategies and tactics. Understanding CTR (click-through-rate) becomes more important, and so does keyword and content optimization. It is equally important to identify snippet opportunities so that you can stay on top of your keywords and your site is a regular fixture on the first page of Google.
Artificial intelligence is set to take over the world. Earlier this year, Chase Bank (J.P. Morgan Chase Bank) signed a five-year deal with Persado, a New York-based martech company that applies artificial intelligence and data science to marketing creative. According to Chase, the ads created by Persado’s machine learning resonated more with its consumers and performed much better than the ads written by experienced copywriters.
Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan Chase, says that Persado’s technology “rewrote copy and headlines that a marketer, using subjective judgment and their experience, likely wouldn’t have.” It re-iterates the most highlighted argument in favor of AI – its ability to predict customer behavior and offer suggestions on products and services they might be interested in.
This is one of the numerous examples of how integral AI is going to be in our digital lives. Not that it isn’t. We converse with chatbots while planning for our next vacation; we use augmented reality (AR) to check if a piece of furniture suits our décor; we are deploying data analytics and machine-learning algorithms to create unique experiences for each of our consumers.
"Sony and Google robots are using machine learning to compose music."
And this is just the surface. According to Singlegrain, 60% of the companies will implement AI by 2020 towards generating digital revenue and it will grow into a $190 billion industry by 2025. Artificial intelligence is going to be a colossal force in the business world, meaning it will help organizations cut down on staffing costs, accelerate growth, optimize user experience and add new levels of personalization to the consumer journey. It also means that the faster you jump on and adapt to the AI bandwagon, the better are your chances at success.
Voice will continue to rise. In fact, it’s going to be huge. Innovations and advancements in the fields of NLP (Natural Language Processing), conversation interface, automation, and machine learning and deep learning processes are enabling virtual assistants to become increasingly intelligent and versatile. People are typing in less and less, and speaking more and more to their devices.
Of course, there are certain limitations such as the device’s inability to recognize speech accurately, its ineptitude to answer indirect and complex questions that have multiple possibilities, and most importantly, privacy concerns. However, a marked increase in the adoption of smartphones and smart speakers highlight that users prefer conversational content. We like talking to the device not only because it frees our hands to do something else, but also makes it more personal.
As a brand you need to understand that voice search is quite different from a typical desktop or mobile search. Unlike Google that shows up pages of results to a user query, Siri or Alexa will give you select results, sometimes just one. If your website is one of those results, your CTR will go through the roof. However, chances are it isn’t. That’s why it’s extremely important for brands to prepare for the future and optimize their content for voice search.
"Think of what your customers will speak, not what they’ll type when making an inquiry."
Tailor your SEO strategy to include less keyword stuffing and meta tags, and more complete answers in a conversational tone. Include content that actually solves or answers your consumers’ queries. Understand that written searches are just keyword bundles and wouldn’t come up when the end-user is looking for voice-search-friendly content.
The concept of personalized content isn’t something new. Marketers and business people have always tried to promote their products based on the psyche of their consumers. However, there has been a tremendous shift in audience demographics along with consumer expectations.
Today, buyers are much more aware of the choices available, they know what they want, they need more attention, and more positive moments forcing brands and business houses to rethink their business models and strategies. That’s why content personalization (or, customer experience) is the most important marketing trend for all brands.
"Do you know your consumers as well as you think you do?"
It’s an irony that the major hurdle for personalized content is content itself. Today, content is more than just text; you have images, infographics, podcasts, videos, live streaming, GIFs, memes, flash mobs and so much more. It is a real challenge to reach your audience through all that white noise. What do you do?
The future of digital marketing looks extremely exciting. It’s great to have an idea of the upcoming trends, particularly if it keeps you ahead of your competitors. However, think before you make a high-profile tech investment or adopt any extreme measures. Analyze your blind spots and identify your strengths. Look at your competitors and similar industries to see what they have been doing and if those strategies are actually reaping results.
There’s no doubt that technology is going to transform digital marketing. And as a business you need to incorporate unique, smart and conversational content for increased conversions. But all of this needs prudent research and a clear understanding of your target market.
Implement a strategy only if you feel that it’s going to work for your business and actually contributes to the overall customer experience.