Can you believe it’s almost 2020? When I began my marketing career over a decade ago in 2009, I could hardly imagine what I’d be doing today as a marketing leader at an enterprise organization …
… especially with technology. But each year, new and disruptive technological innovations are forcing marketers like me to evolve our best practices. Digital marketing, once the only game in town, has given way to multichannel marketing; and today, we are rapidly approaching the omnichannel marketing age.
And that can be overwhelming: As the rate of marketing innovation continues to accelerate, most organizations are having a hard time keeping up. But the good news is that new ways of doing things bring new opportunities. Here are four major marketing trends I see developing among organizations for 2020 and beyond:
1. Optimizing for on-SERP SEO
Ever hear of zero-click results? You’ve probably seen them. A zero-click result is a search result in which Google automatically provides the answer to the search query in the form of an automated snippet.
For example, if you type in ,“What is the temperature in San Francisco?” Google will automatically provide you a result it generates on its own. You’d actually have to scroll down to see the Adwords results and organic search results.
Google auto-populates search results for much broader queries, as well. Everything from “What is a cryptocurrency?” to “How do I create a marketing funnel?” has a snippet that may prevent a searcher from scrolling down to see more results.
Why is this significant? Because 61.8 percent of search results in Google are now zero-search results, according to data from Jumpshot. As a result, more and more keywords are becoming less profitable.
While the automatic snippet sometimes comes from a website that ranks somewhere on page 1 of the search engine results page (SERP), companies are unsure how to optimize their content so that Google chooses them over anyone vying for the same spot. Needless to say, this is a concerning development for any business that markets or advertisers on Google.
Opportunity: The brand that figures out on-SERP SEO first will have a huge competitive edge.
2. Advertising on smart speakers (and optimizing for voice search)
Another major development in recent years has been the proliferation of smart speakers. In 2018, around 56 million smart speakers were sold to consumers, according to Social Report.
Yet despite the growing number of households asking Alexa, Siri and Google Home questions, smart speaker marketing and advertising opportunities have been scarce. But this seems to be changing.
In 2017, for example, Google Home users noticed that a universal ad for Disney’s Beauty and The Beast began playing shortly after scheduled morning announcements, called flash briefings. These types of ads were rare and infrequent at the time, but are now growing in popularity.
In 2019, we’re seeing better, less invasive, examples of branded advertising on smart speakers. One of the most customer-friendly ways to advertise on smart speakers is to make what’s called a “branded skill.” For example, if you tell Alexa “Ask Patrón for a cocktail recipe,” Alexa will respond with a diverse selection of possibilities, courtesy of the premium tequila maker. This strategy works:. Patrón gets more than 6,000 queries a month for its Alexa skill, according to Digiday.
Opportunity: Try the “branded skill” approach for your branded advertising, for a more customer-friendly tone.
3. Optimizing for voice search
Granted, most brands may not be ready to explore smart speaker advertising just yet. But in the meantime, they should explore optimizing their content for voice search.
According to Google, 20 percent of all Google search queries now take place through voice search. Even more telling is that 71 percent of all mobile users between the ages of 18 and 29 use voice assistants on their smartphones, according to Thrive Analytics.
Needless to say, it probably makes a lot of sense for all businesses to start optimizing their content for voice search, not just big enterprises. There’s a lot of advice from marketing experts on how to do this, and it seems that the consensus is that making content more conversational does the trick.
Opportunity: With most search happening on smartphones, optimize for voice search.
4. More chatbots and, yes, even more content!
Finally, as I’ve explained before, written content isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Not only is it predicted to be the marketing activity that will make the largest commercial impact three years running (according to Smart Insights), but written content is also the main throughput of chatbots, which are expected to see increased usage in 2020 and beyond.
According to a recent study by Juniper Networks, as AI-powered chatbots grow in popularity and sophistication, retailers can expect to cut costs by $439 billion annually and increase sales by $112 billion, by 2023. With numbers like that, it’s not too hard to see why large organizations will continue investing in newer and more helpful chatbots.
But chatbots aren’t useful just for big business. Any business that has a website with traffic can benefit from a simple chatbot that answers the most common visitor questions and helps convert visitors into warm leads.
Opportunity: Chatbots will help you cut costs.
Marketing is changing, and marketers must change with it
When I first got my feet wet in the marketing world, I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be helping run digital marketing transformation programs. But that’s what it takes to stay competitive in the world of 21st-century marketing.
It’s almost 2020; have you looked into any new and innovative ways to spend your marketing dollars? Or how to double down on the marketing channels that work best for your business?
Because if you haven’t, I guarantee your competitors have.