by Adam Blackford-Mills, Head of Digital at MRS Digital
We’ve made it through the first month of 2017 and the New Year’s hype has died down. Now is the time to focus on the upcoming months, make business plans and set goals. Looking ahead at what’s in store for businesses and digital marketing this year, there are some fascinating trends and predictions about what the next big thing is going to be.
Here’s a guide to what’s up and coming in 2017:
Voice Search Is Very “In”.
There’s nothing new in saying that SEO plays a major role in creating success online. But, crucially, voice search is on the rise. According to a study, over 50% of U.S. teens and 41% of U.S. adults are using voice search on a daily basis. With Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, the corporate giants are all preparing for the rise of voice search. Therefore, optimising for voice search is crucial for the upcoming year. Voice searches are hugely different to typed searches. They consist of much longer queries as opposed to short keywords that are typically used in typed searches. Unlocking the potential and growth of voice search in 2017 will help your business thrive this year.
Google’s Featured Snippets Continue To Grow.
We all come across featured snippets when we search on Google. They’re in a box at the top of the search results. In the past year, featured snippets have increased CTR, time on site and revenue from organic visitors, for those sites lucky enough to have one. As a greater number of people look for faster results, Google is using featured snippets more and more as a way of providing an even better user experience. Google is expanding featured snippets to include recipe methods and list formats, as well as definitions and short sentence answers. To enhance CTR, make sure that your content says enough to be relevant but also attracts their attention to click through.
Featured snippets are programmatically determined by Google. To gain one, first identify a snippet that’s appropriate to your niche market and then target it as a keyword within your content. Make sure you’re providing real value to your reader in a concise manner. Mark it up on an optimised page to allow Google to crawl it and rank it. With a bit of luck, you’ll reach the top spot as a featured snippet.
Seamless Cross-Channel Marketing Is Vital.
Econsultancy’s fourth annual Cross-Channel Marketing Report claims that 73% of respondents say that cross-channel marketing has a significant impact on improved conversion rates. As consumers increasingly expect a familiar brand “experience”, it’s important to maintain the consistency of your business across every channel. Consumers can come across your brand through a variety of different means – whether online, through a social network, by an email as well as the more traditional forms of advertising. It’s becoming ever more vital that, regardless of where or how a customer finds you, they know it’s you.
Having an omni-channel approach to your brand presence online is what customers are expecting. Make sure your tone and voice are both appropriate for the channel you are using, and for your business as a whole. Consider what your audience want from you. Are they looking for advice and information or for something funny and light-hearted? This will help guide you towards publishing and sharing the right content.
Be Video Ad Aware.
Video continues to grow and engage larger and larger audiences. 55% of people watch videos every day and that figure will only increase throughout 2017. In particular, mobile video is a fast-growing format. Mobile video advertising is becoming increasingly affordable and Google has just introduced native video ads (ads that follow the user experience in which they’re situated) to make this format faster and more effective. In 2017, brands will embed videos into their email to enhance their email marketing campaign CTR, by distributing videos amongst their customers.
For small to medium sized businesses, video advertising within email can drastically increase open and click-through rates and build longer-lasting relationships between business and consumer.
UEO And SEO Become One.
The average online user has significantly increased their expectations over the past few years. They now want fast load times on websites, with clear navigation, and if you don’t have these then they’ll quickly move on. User Experience Optimisation (UEO) is now closely related to SEO. So much so in fact, that Google clearly favourites sites with fast loading times, which are optimised for mobile and with low bounce rates.
For 2017, it’s really important that you make sure that your site is properly maintained. Although these may sound like basics, a quick and responsive site that is built for the modern user will be drastically more successful than one that is not.
Tailoring your business plans and goals to match the current trends in 2017 is crucial to creating digital success. Remember that SEO is still valuable and worth investing time in as it can do so much for your business online.
Adam Blackford-Mills is Head of Digital at MRS Digital and has over 10 years of experience in sales and digital marketing. Adam works tirelessly to develop digital solutions that expand online marketing potential for businesses and delivers results. Using innovative and actionable thinking, Adam crafts a unique digital experience for every business.