Digital marketing never stays static so Tim Butler of Innovation Visual has pulled together the four changes you need to know about this year...
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a significant force in marketing. Machine learning – the ability for AI to learn and improve itself without explicitly being programmed has seen the functional scope of what is possible expand rapidly in recent years. Marketing is at the forefront of AI use. Google’s AdWords and Facebook both use AI to refine who is shown what adverts.
1) Voice Search & Digital Assistants
The most commonplace use of AI is in the digital assistants like Amazon Echo’s Alexa, Google Home’s Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. There are an estimated 50 billion searches per month now activated by voice.
The main impact areas from voice search are:
- Only the first result is read out by devices so being number two in the results now has little benefit.
- Voice searches tend to be longer and more sentence based than typed search queries. Start optimizing your content for themes, not rigid sets of keywords.
- The AI is retaining the context of what has been said before, which means that the results provided are dependent on this and increasingly granular personalisation.
- A large majority of voice searches are being done on mobile devices. Searches like ‘find a coffee shop near me’ take into account the user’s geo-location data to provide results.
- If you ask Amazon’s Alexa to order you a large peperoni pizza one will arrive from Domino’s. You do not get the choice. Being the chosen supplier or being number one in results gives massive market power when voice search is going direct to transaction.
Helpful chat boxes in the corners of websites have become increasingly popular. This year we’ll see better chatbots as the technology becomes more mainstream and mistakes that have come before are learnt from and improvements are made.
Bots can now integrate with existing messaging Apps such as WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger by inviting the Bot to join a conversation. This will make bots much more prevalent in 2018 and just like voice search make their use by people habitual not exceptional.
Yes, Smarketing. The theory is that businesses need to stop thinking about Sales and Marketing as two separate functions. A potential customer views a potential supplier in singular terms. To them the experience they have with that business should be consistently good throughout their buying journey. So, they should not experience a dramatic change in tone, approach, content or even offering when they move from browsing a website to being contacted by a sales person.
4) The rise of inbound
Digital inbound marketing continues to gain ground and is set to become as mainstream as having a mobile friendly website for B2B companies.
Inbound also feeds into the trends from search engines to look for content and optimizing for themes. Building great content is great for your visitors, the search engines know this, but inbound marketing and content marketing places the emphasis on getting this content to achieve the business goals.
If you follow inbound marketing techniques you create your content in a much more structured way. Content is focused on specific audience groups, personas, and their needs. Their need for information changes through their buying journey and good inbound marketing addresses not only the differing content needs at different stages, but crucially also moves the prospect along the buying journey.