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Taking stock, which trends from our 2018 predictions have come true?

At the start of the year we published a blog looking at the trends and developments to look out for in 2018 and now, halfway through the year we thought we’d look at how these points are stacking up and at anything new we might have missed!


Mobile-First

Well the first one is not really a trend for 2018, as we’ve been talking about it for the last couple of years. But Mobile-First means that businesses have been clamouring to make sure that their sites are fully optimised for mobile. They have been doing this in the knowledge that Google were going to roll out the ranking factor in full and in the last couple of months have done so. Here at Click we have seen the first few notifications come through that this is now ‘a thing’ and with that in mind have had to act to make sure all clients are fully briefed and are conforming. It’ll be interesting to see in the wider marketing community how long it is before we see a major brand fall foul of the Mobile-First Index.

Site speed

Google announced in January that a new ranking algorithm designed for mobile search would be launched. They called it the “Speed Update,” and said that it will only impact a small percentage of queries. Fast forward and this is still very much at the forefront of their mind with a launch date of July 2018 seemingly set in stone. Businesses will be keen to improve the site speed of all URLs. Google has recommended that they use the new updated PageSpeed report to measure page speed and make improvements so it will be interesting to see how pages are affected.

mCommerce

Something that we haven’t covered in great detail, but which, based on the first two points is something of high importance is mCommerce or mobile commerce. Businesses in the industry are increasingly looking at ways in which they can boost conversions by making the user experience (UX) for their customers better. When site speed launches fully, you can expect this to play a large part in the rise of the term mCommerce and put it front of mind for those in the industry. I think this will become one of the key talking points in the latter part of 2018 and below are some examples of where and how it might be used.

  • Financial services, which includes mobile banking (when customers use their handheld devices to access their accounts and pay their bills) as well as brokerage services, in which stock quotes can be displayed and trading conducted from the same handheld device
  • Telecommunications, in which service changes, bill payment and account reviews can all be conducted from the same handheld device
  • Service/retail, as consumers are given the ability to place and pay for orders instantly
  • Information services, which include the delivery of financial news, sports figures and traffic updates to a single mobile device

sCommerce

Like mCommerce, sCommerce is another buzzword that we might be hearing a lot more of in the latter part of 2018. Social commerce is big business with 75% of consumers now using social networks to inform their purchases.

Social plays a critical role in expanding customer engagement, building brand equity, and increasing traffic to retailers’ sites. So, if businesses don’t put in enough effort they are potentially missing out of thousands of consumers.

The main examples of sCommerce are:

  • Direct peer-to-peer channels (eBay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace)
  • Ads and referrals through social channels (Facebook or Twitter)
  • Targeted bulk promotions (Groupon)

GDPR

This is the big one; it’s the update that has no doubt left marketers quaking in their proverbial boots. On the 25th of May when GDPR came into action brands and businesses were beginning a new style of marketing. The lists had been cleaned, opt-ins added and opt-outs removed.  We all knew that it was coming and the planning and preparation that went into making sure that we confirmed was at times laborious but essential. It will be interesting to see what happens now that the law is in place and how businesses are affected by a drop in their audience. At one point in the week before GDPR hit it was reported that only 10% of all marketing lists were likely to be still marketable.

GDPR requires clear consent and justification. Pursuant to the GDPR, the following types of data is addressed and covered:

  • Personally identifiable information, including names, addresses, date of births, social security numbers
  • Web-based data, including user location, IP address, cookies, and RFID tags
  • Health and genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • Racial and/or ethnic data
  • Political opinions
  • Sexual orientation

But it’s not all doom and gloom, GDPR will bring new opportunities through both social and native advertising as it will direct users into the sales funnel simply on the basis of its own merits and make them more amenable to targeted efforts in the future. Cleaner data should mean more relevant sessions and higher conversions.

AI/content/voice

I’ve grouped these three together as in truth they will work in unison. Increasingly we are seeing brands focusing on both voice search and artificial intelligence (AI), as a by-product of this their content is been produced with this in mind. We are seeing a more ‘long-tail’ approach to content as pieces are written in a conversational approach to ensure they are picked up, especially in terms of voice. So many businesses have a focus on being on the first page of Google, but when it comes to voice search this isn’t good enough, you have to be in position one as it is these rich results that are read out in response to a query. This trend is one that is sure to continue as we head to a more tech-based way of searching.

The developments that we have seen in the first half of the year are testament to how fast the industry evolves and it is imperative that search marketing strategies are flexible enough to deal with these changes.  Below is an infographic containing our predictions for the industry in 2018. How many of them have come true and how many can you say have affected your business?


search marketing in 2018 infographic

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