As a digital marketing agency, we know how important it is to stay ahead of the competition. If you’re going to be successful at digital marketing in Kansas City, you need to anticipate environmental changes and adapt to human behavior. We’ve compiled a list of trends we anticipate for digital marketing in the future, as well as ways to acclimate to these changes. This is only part 1, so check out part 2 when you’re finished.
You can’t talk about the future of digital marketing in Kansas City without bringing up voice search. With the growing popularity and affordability of products like Alexa/Echo, Cortana, Siri, and Google Home, you need to be adapting your keyword research for new types of search queries.
Consider that Walmart’s Black Friday deals include a Google Home Mini for $29 PLUS a coupon worth up to $25 off your next Walmart order when your link your account to Google Express. Essentially, these helpful little robots could cost you only $4!
With Echo Show’s new screen-capabilities, your site or logo could pop up with queries as well. These devices can now be used to play music, turn on lights, search for businesses, order products and tell you the weather.
A Growing Trend
The growth of this market is exponential. In 2015, 1.7 million voice-first devices were shipped. That number jumped to 6.5 million in 2016, and predictions for 2017 land that number at 24.5 million. Since we know that voice search is normally mobile and locally-focused, this is a gold mine for local businesses with mobile-friendly sites (check out our blog post on how to speed up the load time of mobile-friendly sites).
How to Monetize on This
Where we’re seeing the most opportunity for growth is with stores that sell their products online. These assistants will soon be able to store your credit card information and shipping details, requiring only a voice command to get desired items shipped directly to your home. With this ease of checkout, we anticipate a huge jump in online sales as voice search continues to grow.
What this means for digital marketers and business owners is that you need to rethink the way you approach SEO. While some larger companies might sign contracts with these voice search tycoons to limit query responses to only their products, we can only hope that there’s still some room left for the little guy who best fulfills the searcher’s needs.
You’ll want to start thinking about your SEO keyword phrases in terms of questions you might ask aloud. Where with desktop search we might type ‘dry cleaner kansas city’, queries directed toward Alexa might be phrased more like ‘where is the closest dry cleaner to me?’. We recommend creating a FAQ page on your site to address these longer, more coherent questions that will start popping up in search.
- Amazon developers released this guide for communication with Alexa, advising users to be brief, provide contextual help and speak naturally. Use these tips to guide your keyword research.
- Tools like Answer The Public allow you to see all the search queries related to your chosen topic that come in question form.
Update your Google My Business Listing
In addition to mobile-friendliness and rethinking keywords, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing. In fact, this is a MUST for digital marketing in Kansas City, whether you’re prepping for the future or not. By claiming your GMB listing, Google will be able to access more information about your business (ie: hours, location, phone number). Much like extensions, this information shortens the conversion funnel. With the proximity-oriented nature of voice searches, an up-to-date listing is going to be your best asset.
Use Schema Markup
The purpose of structured data is to make is easier for search engines to accurately parse your content and understand the context, thereby making it easier for your business to be pulled up in voice search. Implementing structured data markup gives voice search devices a plethora of information about your site. Using schema.org, Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, you can have this done in a jiffy—no developers required.
Facebook Explore Tab
Before we get into this topic, I want to start out by saying that this feature is only being TESTED within 6 countries—Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. That DOES NOT mean it will be applied to Facebook in all countries, but you should always be prepared for the worst.
Who it Affects
If you’re getting a majority of your unpaid social media traffic from Facebook, this change would spell disaster for your business. If you’re a business, your updates would show up in a follower’s separate ‘Explore’ tab rather than a user’s regular News Feed. This new tab includes updates from pages users follow and recommended media (people or publishers that they don’t follow). This might deter users from checking their ‘Explore’ tab if they don’t want to be spammed by a bunch of posts they haven’t indicated interest in. News Feeds would be reserved for posts from friends, ads, and posts that companies operating pages have paid to promote. You heard that right—Facebook could make even MORE money from businesses. This change would directly affect posts published on Facebook Pages, businesses, and other organizations.
Facebook’s head of News Feed, Adam Moserri, says:
“The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content”.
An individual user would still be able to share posts from companies that maintain Facebook Pages, and these shares would show up in the regular News Feed. Facebook’s decision to roll out this feature across the globe will be based on whether they see an increase in comments, likes, shares, etc. Time spent on the platform will also be an influencing factor in these test countries, though tests will run for several months to determine whether such a drastic change would be beneficial to the social media platform and its users. As far as digital marketing in Kansas City goes though, this is not to our benefit:
Your options if this update were to be rolled out are:
- Focus on a different social media platform to share your content (ie: LinkedIn)
- Create a Facebook profile with a company mascot (company president, Tony the Tiger, etc.) that users could become friends with
- Pay to have your updates featured in the News Feed
- Adapt to exposure drops by encouraging employees to share company posts on their personal pages
Robots Taking Our Jobs (For Real)
Current and Future Capabilities
What if I told that AI could soon customize emails for 100% open rates, write blog posts for you, and analyze performance data. You might think ‘wow, that sounds great!’ but also ‘wow, that’s my job!’. Some analysts estimate that 16% of jobs in the U.S. will be lost to artificial intelligence by the year 2025. 64% and 67% of data collection and data processing roles respectively are expected to become automated.
Currently, content marketing automations use natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG). NLP allows a computer program to understand human speech while it’s being spoken. An example of this would be voice-control. NLG, on the other hand, turns structured data into written narrative. This process can be used to create financial reports, product descriptions, etc. Using both of these, AI can generate language in a comprehensible manner. Think of the Black Mirror episode Be Right Back, wherein artificial conversations are generated using a loved one’s social media accounts, phone calls, emails, etc. If a machine could learn to replicate our tone, vocabulary, odd sayings, etc., our content would be virtually indistinguishable. Using the ‘reader’ and ‘writer’ components for automation, this is made a reality.
Another key selling point of AI is that it gives you the ability to personalize content, tailoring for specific marketing messages and recommendations depending on a user’s internet history. By anticipating needs and desires in a much smarter way than segmentation, you can guarantee higher open rates. You’ll be able to give prospects content that’s specific to where they’re at on the conversion funnel. Luckily, this type of AI intervention doesn’t jeopardize your job—it just ups the competition! For those doing digital marketing in Kansas City, this type of intelligent segmentation could show a tremendous jump in client revenue.
Beating the Robot
Think about how far AI has already come. With Microsoft Word’s new Editor feature, for example, the program can understand nuances in prose the same way a human proofreader would. On top of grammatical errors, it will point out unnecessarily complex words, tense issues and overused words. Plus, tools like Grammarly can be installed as a browser extension to check your grammar. The natural next step is for technology to write the content for you!
AI content generation work best with relaying information, whether for new posts or formal reports. While the creative side has yet to be perfected, information compilation is the easiest thing for these machines to do. You have to ask yourself then whether this would put everyone on a level playing field for SEO and content curation. If we’re all using the smartest robots to produce the best content (crawling sites from all across the internet), the only one with the upper hand is the one who’s producing new, original research. Another perk to human writers is our ability to create persuasive content, something that robots just haven’t mastered yet. Our recommendation for writers is to get creative with your writing and focus on inbound marketing. Instead of worrying about keyword stuffing, craft quality content that uses pop culture references. Or, turn to other types of media for your digital marketing in Kansas City, like video or quizzes!
Fun test! See if you can tell which of these were written by a journalist and which was written by AI:
- “Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.”
- “The University of Michigan baseball team used a four-run fifth inning to salvage the final game in its three-game weekend series with Iowa, winning 7-5 on Saturday afternoon (April 24) at the Wilpon Baseball Complex, home of historic Ray Fisher Stadium.”
Answer: the first one was written by AI!
Check out this chart to see how software and writing from an actual journalist stacked up against each other:
Stay Tuned for Part 2…
In our next installment about the future of digital marketing in Kansas City, we’ll cover the Net Neutrality Act, PR’s transition into online reputation management, and the growth of paid advertising ! For help with your internet marketing or mobile marketing, contact us.