Now that we’re safely tucked in at home, we thought it would be a good time to check back on how things are going with three digital trends we said would impact the digital marketing landscape in 2020. Trivera trends team members, Christina Steder and Cassy Richardson sat down (they were actually in different locations) to revisit the trends they said to watch, and to discuss how to use them to steer your business decisions heading into the next three quarters of the year.
Here are three trends you shouldn’t ignore.
Trend 1. Search behavior is changing and so is the delivery of search results. Search has changed more in the past two years than in the last 20, and the rapid progress doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. This is trend is here to stay.
Searchers are smarter and demanding specific answers faster. Google has stepped up to answer the call by delivering more personalized results within seconds, some even as you type. Every day the world’s top search engine tweaks its algorithms to understand user intent in the hope of showing results that better fit user needs, interests and location. Plus, it’s hijacking your traffic. The era of a high Google click-through rate has ended, and the age of zero-click is here. While Google is still the number one traffic source for most sites on the web, more than half of all searches these days result in no click at all, especially in the hospitality and entertainment industries. That’s because Google is providing the answers right within the SERP. Learn more about this by watching our webinar How to Write and Market Your Content for SEO.
In response, Trivera is now proposing and executing dynamic content solutions, inbound workflows and updated SEO strategies. We’re working with clients to optimize the heck out of their content so that searchers find the information they need in Google’s featured snippets, knowledge panels, answer boxes and local packs, which have increased in prevalence tremendously in recent years. To be an effective marketer, you must consider Google as an audience yet still write for human eyes. To compete with Google for direct traffic (still a top-ranking factor), business leaders will need to personalize the digital or online experience. Your ROI will depend on it.
Trend 2. Focus on marketing that grows branded search. This trend flows parallel with Trend 1. We live in a time when marketing technology moves fast and consumer interests and behaviors are hard to predict, especially now in the middle of a worldwide health crisis. Still, the craving for customer attention and loyalty doesn’t stop – it ebbs and flows, sure – but it doesn’t stop. At its core marketing is about understanding the real needs, interests and behaviors of customers. Thus, it’s important to continue to build brand awareness. In a time when people are going on digital diets – cutting the cords, unsubscribing, fast-forwarding and reducing screen time – it’s harder to reach them. Thus, brand awareness is more important than ever. As we’ve noted, Google is owning more searches and giving people answers without ever leaving the search engine to visit a site. Even if you’ve written great content and optimized it, you must continue to flow some energy into building your brand so that you can increase your direct traffic. That’s where Google can’t compete or get in your way. Focus on marketing that grows brand awareness and branded search. That’s where you have control.
The best way to build brand awareness digitally is to look out across the internet and make sure searchers see what you want them to see. Here are few things we’re telling clients to do:
- Remember that Google is your new home page so make sure to claim your knowledge panel and Google My Business listing, update them regularly, and offer a call-to-action
- Keep track of your social profiles and post to them
- Encourage reviews
- Measure your referral traffic and consider buying ad space on the sites with the best click through rates
Trend 3. Balancing Personalization and Privacy. This is more than a trend. It’s becoming a way of life in digital marketing. Consumers have high expectations of every digital engagement. They want tailored, personalized results. Of course they do; they’ve been conditioned to receive them, yet they are concerned about their privacy. These rights are well deserved when it comes to inclusivity and ADA compliance. And, because marketers want to understand their customers, they strive to deliver. Perhaps they need to. But to do so, it’s become increasingly important for companies to gather customer data and use it to customize content to the user. Ah, but as Hamlet says, “therein lies the rub.”
Because Europe’s GDPR, which regulates how organizations are allowed to collect and use data, has given way to more internet privacy regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), brands will need to put even more emphasis on collecting and utilizing their customers’ data.
Until recently, marketers were using third-party data (for example, data like your credit card purchases) for both media targeting and other marketing executions, but now these privacy regulations are increasingly forcing brands to put a greater emphasis on first-party data acquisition and utilization – which is not only a must but also good for business and the consumer. Recent studies are showing that users are more comfortable sharing their personal information directly with a brand for marketing purposes than with a third-party collectors.
Trivera’s recommendation for tackling this: shift the paradigm, demonstrate your business values privacy and promise to protect it. You can do this by offering cookie notification pop-ups, being transparent about the data you collect, making changes to be compliant with regulations like GDPR, CCPA and securing your websites.
Although 2020 hasn’t started off quite like we predicted, these major trends are definitely impacting how businesses must present themselves online – more so now that anyone who can is working from home. If your business is lucky enough to benefit from our collective increased time online, think about how you can use these trends to inform and educate your customers to build your business.
About Christina Steder and Cassy Richardson
With 15+ years of experience in consumer product, professional service, and nonprofit marketing as well as brand strategy and client service, Christina provides strategic direction for our clients - linking their ongoing online and content marketing needs to business goals and ROI.
Cassy Richardson is the SEO/PPC lead at Trivera Interactive. Working closely with our client strategy team, Cassy assures that our search marketing efforts are working in tandem with any content, social, email, marketing automation, paid placement or other tactics that we're including in the strategy we've outlined for our clients. Cassy is Google ADwords and Analytics certified.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
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