Just a few years ago, asking our phones to take us to the nearest soy latte while we sat in traffic was just a pipe dream of what the future of voice search might become.
These days, a growing number of consumers are in constant conversation with phones, Amazon Echoes, and many other devices, expecting quick, accurate results.
The rise of new technologies has given marketers and SEOs more opportunities — and more challenges — than ever before.
To find out which trends have the industry excited, ClickZ and Chatmeter teamed up for a research report to ask 700 digital marketers and SEOs the following question: “In the next 12-18 months, what are the five biggest challenges/opportunities you see for the industry?”
Then we sat down with Collin Holmes, founder and CEO of Chatmeter, to discuss the ways businesses can ready themselves for changes in the search and digital marketing landscape.
Content produced in collaboration with Chatmeter.
With each trend, we’ll also share Holmes’s insight into how to best prepare for the change.
According to our survey, an overwhelming majority of marketers see changes in customer behavior driven by new technologies as one of the biggest trends of the coming months.
Half of respondents, 50.7%, say that they’re expecting new technologies to offer both new opportunities, along with new challenges, in the near future. According to Holmes, these new technologies, including the rise of voice search through both personal assistants and mobile, means that data is more important than ever.
“At the end of the day, all these new technologies are simply enabling faster access to product services and helping consumers find what they’re looking for,” Holmes says. “At the end of the day, adopting new technologies for search marketers means enabling the backend data engines that power these devices. That’s what’s really important as consumer searches become more and more focused on getting information on demand.”
In 2018, data scandals at companies like Google and Facebook made consumers a bit more aware of just how much data they’re sharing with businesses.
And GDPR, which requires companies in the EU to offer more transparency around data, means any company operating outside the US had to make sure its data policies were compliant. That’s probably why 41.9% of marketers are focused on data protection and privacy regulation in the coming year. Holmes says this trend is only going to gather steam, and many companies need to make some changes to keep up.
“Many companies have partnerships with firms that operate in the EU and already have to make sure they’re GDPR compliant,” Holmes says. “And in 2020, California is rolling out similar laws, so we can assume the rest of the US will follow shortly. It’s not that complicated to get up to speed, but marketers need to make sure they have a clear understanding of what they can and cannot collect.”
According to Gartner, 50% of search will shift to voice search by 2020. And in the cases of personal assistants, if your business doesn’t come in first, it comes in last.
Marketers scrambling to make sure they’re optimized to take those top spots ranked voice search high on their list of 2019 priorities, with 36.1% naming voice search a top trend. Holmes says that as voice search becomes more common, search queries will most likely get more specific and companies need to start anticipating those queries sooner, rather than later.
“The kind of queries that are happening right now are questions like, ‘Who has the best soy milk vanilla latte downtown?’” Holmes says. “That’s why businesses need to have tags on your location pages and make sure those pages are optimized for voice search. It’s still early, but search is heading in this direction. So if you’re just starting now, you’re already behind. Updating content is similar to keywords, except it’s anticipating what questions people are going to be asking.”
In previous years, “big data” has been the marketing buzzword on many industry insider’s lips, but all those data collection efforts led to more data than most marketers knew what to do with. However, the rise of AI and machine learning tools have simplified and shorted the process of collecting data insights.
Our survey showed that 33.2% of search marketers are looking forward to the new opportunities afforded by advances in machine learning.
Companies like Amazon and Netflix are two of the best examples of using machine learning to analyze data in order to offer highly personalized results. But soon, a broader ranger of businesses are set to have access to tools that will offer customers relevant recommendations based on their preferences.
And as consumers get used to a Netflix-like experiences, where the companies that have access to your data use it to customize recommendations, they come to expect that level of personalization from all their interactions with brands. That’s probably why 31.1% of the industry insiders we surveyed are hoping to follow Netflix’s lead, listing personalization as a primary area of interest for 2019.
If you’re looking for ways to get your business on board with 2019’s biggest trends, click here to listen to the full webinar.
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