Our Short Answer: Businesses that have their finger on the pulse of key marketing trends like voice and visual search, video marketing and interactive content will be the ones that rise to the top, generating more engagement and conversions.
The world is moving faster than ever. Keeping pace with changing marketing trends is becoming more difficult. Understanding how people search, interact with products and services are key for businesses to thrive.
As a small business, keeping your finger on the pulse of change is crucial. So what are the key marketing trends to keep a close eye on:
Here are the top ten trends that are vital to consider, which will keep expanding in 2021:
Voice Search: more people are using smart speakers and voice activated technology in their search queries.
Video Marketing: A platform continues to grow and expand. Video content now includes 1 to 1,360 degree, and live videos.
Visual Search: Users take a photo of an image, Google recognizes the image, and finds results.
Shoppable Posting: a way for a brand to tag one of their products on Instagram in unpaid posts. When a customer clicks on that product, they will be directed to the same product displayed on the company website.
Neuromarketing: Neuromarketers analyze which content generates activity in the brain and nervous system.
Automation and AI: Takes care of the mundane marketing activities such as scheduling multiple emails. Artificial Intelligence can be a type of automation,but is usually defined as a science and engineering of making intelligent machines.
IoT Advertising: IoT (Internet of Things) devices which provide important personal details that marketers use to enhance their messages personalization.
SEO split testing: Changing one element on one page and testing against a parallel page which remains unchanged.
SERP (Search. Engine. Results. Page.) Position Zero: on the top of every search engine page is a featured snippet. This can be text, an image or video.
Interactive Content: Content that encourages audiences to actively participate in content, rather than passively reading, listening or watching. This is things like quizzes, interactive infographics, or calculators.
Now let’s take a deeper dive into our top 10:
1. Voice Search
The growth of voice search is unparalleled. More people are purchasing voice activated technology, like smart speakers. According to Statistica, in 2019, 36 million people bought smart speakers. That’s an increase from the year before where 34 million people purchased voice activated devices.
72% of smart speaker owners use them daily to look for information on products and to place orders. Quora Creative shows that users will happily receive personalized event invitations, product promotions and tips through their voice activated speakers.
Voice activated technology is improving all the time and devices like Google and Alexa are making less errors.
Other statistics worth mentioning are:
- By 2022, 55% of all American homes will have smart speakers.
- According to a recent report by Statistica 8 billion people will be using digital assistants by 2023. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/973815/worldwide-digital-voice-assistant-in-use/)
- Purchases made using voice search will increase to $40 Billion in 2022.
- A fun fact for you: if you ask Siri (voice assistant) “What is the meaning of life?” the answer will be, “I find it odd that you would ask this of an an inanimate object”
Applying a voice strategy isn’t only about being on top of the latest trends. Businesses focus should be on creating “a unique and optimized customer experience” that nurtures relationships and strengthens brand loyalty.
Here are examples of how companies are using voice in their strategies:
- PayPal can transfer money with Siri between individuals or businesses.
- Zurich Island has developed a set of Google Voice actions and Alexa skills to help parents find out the cost of education for their children and how much they need to be able to afford it.
- Businesses like Domino’s Pizza are now growingly integrating to offer transactions through alexa and other voice devices.
2. Video Marketing
In recent years, video marketing has become a staple of any marketing strategy. Research shows that video is the most popular way for customers to learn about new products and services. Nidhi Dave writing for Singlegrain Digital Marketing says that video could be the most important marketing trend in 5-10 years. Proof that is in the following statistics:
- 72% of businesses report that video has increased their conversion rate.
- According to Cisco “by 2022, “82% of global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads”.
(cited from“10 Video Marketing Statistics That you Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic] https://www.oberlo.com/blog/video-marketing-statistics) (Cisco cited in https://www.oberlo.com/blog/video-marketing-statistics “10 Video Marketing Statistics That you Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic].
- According to HubSpot adding videos to your marketing emails can boost click rates by 300%.
HubSpot cited in Biteable’s article “55 Video Marketing Statistics for 2020” (https://biteable.com/blog/video-marketing-statistics/)
With more people using mobile devices, long form sales pages and emails aren’t as useful as they used to be. People don’t have the time to read long web pages or emails.
Marketers can share the exact same content on video in a way that’s much more digestible.
Having a video on your website is crucial to drive more traffic. It’s all about the user experience. Videos engage more than text does, which means people will be drawn to a company’s website that has a video. In the end, Google will rank companies with a better user experience higher.
There are various types of videos that are popular today including but not limited to:
- Live Video: businesses use live video to film product demos, give an insight into how products are made to film daily life in the office, and some companies film company events.
- 360 video content: offering customers a more immersive experience through 360-degree video is increasingly popular. One great example of its effectiveness is Hong Kong Airlines ad, which was found to be 35 times more effective than a 2D video.
3. Visual Search
Visual search has and continues to take user experience to a whole new level. It’s as simple as uploading an image, click, and hey presto, you have specified results that you’re looking for.
Here’s an example of how visual search is used:
- Take a photo you’ve collected of any home goods or apparel. Google lens will find similar products.
- Save the phone number and address from a picture of a business card as a contact.
- Recognize bar codes of a product and find out product information and where you can buy it from.
- Provide information from a picture of a location or landmark, the hours of operations, historical facts and much more.
4. Shoppable Posts On Instagram
Social media is a crucial way to reach your customers. What many people don’t realize is social media is a great platform for customers to shop.
This presents a great opportunity for online businesses, particularly retail and clothing stores. Research shows that 72% of Instagram users purchased products using the app. A recent survey of 4,000 Pinterest users, shows that 70% used the channel to find novel products.
Using the power of social media platforms give businesses the opportunity to reach new audiences. Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest want to make it easier for online stores to create shoppable posts.
You can create a shoppable post by tagging a specific product in an unpaid post. The customer sees this post and clicks on it. They are then directed to the same product on the company’s landing page. Shoppable posts make it easier for customers to shop directly from a social media post.
Neuromarketing is fast becoming a reality thanks to advances in technology. And one day soon it could be a viable tool for marketers.
The main neuromarketing strategy is to measure brain and nervous system activity to find out which types of content users find more engaging. The idea is to design your website, content, ad and email campaigns “to evoke specific neurological reactions that trigger emotions or responses connected with purchasing”.
You then use this date to optimize your website, change your strategies to ramp up your marketing efforts. An example of a company working in the neuroanalytics space is Spark Neuro.
They measure emotion and attention to improve advertising efforts. Spark Neuro combines complex algorithms with neurometrics and biometrics to assess emotion and attention levels. This helps marketers to work out what type of content to concentrate on what to avoid.
6. Automation and Artificial Intelligence
Research shows that in 2020 only 30% of companies use Automation and AI in their sales processes. When considering automation and AI vast potential, this figure is far too low.
You can use automation for various things including:
- AI-powered chat bots
- Deliver exceptionally personalized experiences for every person that visits your website.
- Identify hot leads
- Spot bottlenecks in your sales pipeline.
- Automatically suggest content that visitors will prefer.
- Get leads from thank you pages.
7. IoT Advertising: George Orwell’s 1984 In 2020
Today, we live in an increasingly connected world. A large number of us have laptops, smartphones and other devices. The Internet of Things is making our lives even more connected to technology with smart cars, wearable devices and more.
In exchange for convenience, our devices collect data on what we share, where we go, what we buy, what we do, and even what we believe in. This means companies and marketers are using this data to optimize their marketing and advertising efforts.
Examples of this in action:
- Jonnie Walker is a household name in Whiskies. They have a Blue Label Brand with built-in sensors. They can tell when a bottle has been opened, and what stage a specific bottle is in the supply chain.
- DHL has tracking vehicles and warehouses that have built in environmental sensors to optimize their processes.
- When you and your friend are talking about Reese’s Cups, and then the next time you log in to Facebook, an ad for candy (particularly the brand that owns Reese’s) pops up.
8. SEO Split Testing
SEO Split Testing essentially involves taking two similar parallel web pages and you’ll pick a variable to test on one against the other. This could be anything, even just a CTA on a webpage. It also could be headlines and meta titles. The web page that gets the most visitors or conversions will determine which is more useful.
There are several benefits to A/B tests including:
- Improved user experience: Testers are able to see which elements like images on a page, layout, forms and fonts create a better experience for visitors.
- Reduce bounce rate: Testers will be able to see which elements cause people to spend more time on their page resulting in lower bounce rates.
- Improved conversion rates: by testing which elements like Call To Action Buttons, content offers, forms result in higher conversion rates.
9. Snippets Or SERP Position Zero
In the last few years voice search has revolutionized search engine optimization. One of the noteworthy rises is the featured snippet, also known as SERP Position Zero. It’s given that name because it provides a direct answer to a search query.
By the end of 2020, at least 30% of searches will have been conducted without a screen, and 40.07% of voice searches will have resulted in a featured snippet. This presents a competitive advantage for brands that optimize their websites and content for voice search.
10. Interactive Content
Interactive content comes in many forms such as quizzes, infographics, and calculators. Customers that see businesses that go the extra mile to create helpful engaging content will be more likely to share their details.
Quizzes: quizzes are the most simple form of interactive content. They also generate tons of engagement.
One example of a successful quiz was Women.com’s 2017, “Can You Pass This Advanced Grammar Test?”which gained 3.7 million shares. Encouraged by the success of this quiz, they created another 200 quizzes in the same year, of which 19 of them generated 1 million shares each.
There are two main types of quiz. The outcome quiz which is basically” a diagnostic that predicts your management style,the decade you were born, and even your most suitable Hogwarts House” (remember Harry Potter?) to quizzes that work like assessments.
They are quick and easy to make, help people feel good about themselves and are very sharable.
Polls are an easy way to get an insight into how your audience feels about your services and products. An example could be to ask people which of your products or services they prefer or which do they feel could be improved, and why. By using polls company’s establish a bond of trust with their customers.
Calculators: these tools are underused by marketers. The reason could be that they take more time to create, but they are well worth it because they drive engagement and shares and have a lifetime value too. One great example of a calculator is the one created by CoSchedule. They claim that their calculators show how much time is saved by using their suite of tools.
Our Bottom line: When you have your finger on the pulse of trends like voice and visual search, video marketing, and interactive content, your customers will be happier resulting in more conversions.
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Jonathan Gordon is the chief writer and PR liaison for an HR firm. His passions are creating inspiring and engaging content. Jonathan has a love for learning about new industries and acquiring new skills. Jonathan is also a trained classical and jazz pianist and loves meeting new people and is open to new experiences.