Major Shift in Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is expecting major changes throughout 2017 and beyond, and we’re not talking about the latest Google algorithm update. According to experts, 2017 should mark a major shift in the way businesses interact with clients online and how search engines deliver information and connect with users.
Artificial Intelligence is Set to be Big in 2017
One of the first ways AI affected marketing was Google’s use of artificial intelligence to determine search engine optimization through analysis of context of the content instead of the key search term density. Content creators have similar tools to analyze their traffic sources, queries that lead people to their sites, the demographics of each marketing channel and conversion rates for each channel and demographic.
As tools mature to simplify this data analysis for content creators, it is becoming easier to tailor content to specific audiences, stages of the sales funnel and channel. And the number of tools that automate A/B testing help you identify the ideal content for each group and adjust your marketing strategy immediately. As artificial intelligence’s use in marketing tools grows, expect to see business campaigns based on data driven behavioral targeting instead of an educated guess. This also explains why marketing automation experts have been in strong demand the past few years, though digital advertising and content strategists are more in demand. In contrast, traditional marketing roles like project management and partner marketing are in weak demand.
Personalization is the Order of the Day
Just as search engines and social media platforms are personalizing the ads based on the viewer’s search history, the same degree of data analysis is being applied to personalize ads to each potential customer. Showing a repeat visitor different ads tailored to their interests and purchase history than what a new visitor sees is only the start of this process. Tailoring marketing emails to each market segment while running A/B tests to determine the best subject lines and calls to action changes marketing into the data driven decision based process Peter Drucker called for forty years ago. Now businesses can craft messages almost unique to each potential customer based on their interests, activity and preferences and receive a high conversion rate in return whether sending emails or presenting them with coupons as they go through the checkout process.
The Advent of Conversational SEO
Conversational SEO or search engine optimization is also called screenless SEO. The first versions of this took the form of local search engine optimization based on the questions people would ask when searching for the service provider or retailer. Where is an X located near me? Tell me about the best three restaurants in the intersection of Main and Bryant. Where is the nearest emergency room? Conversational search engine optimization has expanded to nearly every type of query as information appliances move from our car consoles and into the living room.
Examples of information appliances include Siri in your car, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home’s ‘OK Google’ and Jarvis by Facebook. This alters SEO in several ways. First, long tail search terms are replaced by all the ways someone could ask the same question. Second, you have to create content that answers the question that the search engine is programmed to think they are asking, though content that contains the exact customer question will still rank very high. Your content has to pepper the read text with brand references in order to build brand recognition instead of simply having pictures of employees in their uniforms and pictures of your products on a webpage.
Digital Video Slowly becoming the Preferred Marketing Method
Digital video is growing far faster than other types of online marketing because of its high return on investment. Brands of all sizes are hiring video production companies to shoot videos of all sizes, whether the fifteen second clips favored by teens to livestreaming from an event to professionally done fifteen minute how-to videos. Viral videos are becoming an art form because they have allowed tech startups with almost no marketing budget to rise to billion dollar brands in just a few years, and even makers of modest housewares want to make use of such a proven method of marketing to potential customers.
Video is so big that Facebook released a Facebook Video app on Apple TV to capture as much of this audience as possible. Livestreaming is also very big on Facebook, such that about one in five Facebook videos are livestreamed as of April, 2017. This is astounding when you learn there are about four billion video views on Facebook alone each day. Yet the sheer volume of video available online on-demand on nearly any topic imaginable is why digital video is making TV obsolete, while nearly everyone is hiring video production companies to make polished videos that look like old-fashioned TV commercials.
Artificial intelligence is making it possible to personalize marketing messages to the individual and test every aspect of the messaging through each channel you utilize to maximize conversion rates. Digital video is exploding because of its high return on investment. Social media marketing of content and sharing of links is growing in importance to your SEO strategy. As we ask our devices to answer nearly every question we have, conversational SEO becomes even more important.