Trends. Doesn’t that word convey a sense of skepticism and place you on the defensive? You don’t have time for trends and fads. You’ve got a business to lead, people to manage, and bottom lines to scour. But don’t worry – we’ve scoured the most reputable sources and mixed in our own expertise to determine the top 5 digital trends that will be extremely important to businesses of all sizes.
You don’t have to scan a hundred websites to find what’s relevant to your digital strategy. Relax, grab a cup of coffee, and let us help. Here are the top 5 digital trends your business should implement in 2014 (and beyond):
1) Get local.
Your SEO strategy should not only optimize for local search, but should also prioritize it. According to comScore, approximately 3 billion search queries contain local terms every month. Additionally, Kelsey Group reports that 70% of online searchers will use local search to find offline businesses.
The rise of contextual search, connected devices, and GPS-enabled phones and tablets means that search results will continue to become more and more localized. When searching for a product or service, Google wants to serve information that is extremely relevant – which might just be defined as businesses that are extremely near.
“What this means is that there are even more opportunities to capture local traffic, for both queries such as [seo agency montreal] and [seo agency], as more keywords now trigger local results.” - Guillaume Bouchard, via Search Engine Watch
To optimize for local search, think in terms of networking and advertising. Provide content that is applicable to your location. Make sure that your pages communicate local presence, if it’s relevant to the content on the page. List yourself in directories. Local search and mobile search go hand in hand, so make sure your website is mobile-optimized. Speaking of mobile...
2) Get mobile.
2014 will be the year of mobile dominance. This means that you no longer need just a mobile friendly website – you need a mobile strategy for your digital marketing efforts. Mobile searchers have different expectations and behaviors than desktop searchers. To effectively build your mobile strategy, you’ll need to think through three critical components on mobile performance:
• Reach – How will your potential customer find you on their mobile device? Mobile ads provide a cost-effective way to attract, engage, and build loyalty with your customers. Beyond that, mobile advertising provides extremely valuable geo-location and micro-targeting data to run extremely relevant ad campaigns.
• Experience – What does your potential customer expect on your mobile site? What is their experience with your business on their mobile device? Your website design should be optimized for mobile-user intent, whether you choose mobile-separate, responsive-design, or an adaptive mobile site.
• Conversion – What action do you want your mobile visitor to take? Do you make that action simple, or is it complicated? If you want your customer to make a purchase, do you make shopping easy? If you want your customer to contact you, do you make them jump through multiple hoops, or do you make contacting you simple? Optimizing your mobile site for conversion can make a world of difference.
It’s highly likely that your prospective customer will search your business, reputation, and product before making a purchase decision. In 2014, it’ll also be highly likely that your customer will also discover you through their mobile device.
3) Get social.
It’s time to evolve your appreciation of social platforms – seeing them as opportunities rather than chores. Talking to and engaging your audience on social is where it starts, but it’s only part of the potential social has to increase your business. In 2014, brands will continue to evolve their social ad strategies.
Global social networking advertising revenues are projected to double 2012 figures to 2014 figures – from 7 to 14 billion. (MediaBistro)
Facebook makes it extremely easy to market to your already acquired email lists. It’s best to use this avenue to increase loyalty with your brand – to serve your acquired audience with engagement-based content that they are likely to click and consume.
45% of social media advertisers use ads to raise brand awareness (MediaBistro)
Social ads also prove to be fertile grounds for revenue and lead generation, especially through retargeting tactics. Retargeting through social channels (facebook and Twitter both offer retargeting) is a smart play for businesses looking to increase their reach, capitalizing off shared interests between connected people groups.
25% of social media advertisers use ads to drive traffic and product sales. (MediaBistro)
As the core social platforms continue to evolve advertising options specific to their users (think sponsored tweets on Twitter, promoted pins on Pinterest, etc.), businesses will find they are able to use social channels to serve extremely relevant ads to acutely targeted audiences – meaning a more cost-efficient and conversion-friendly ad spend.
4) Get vocal.
Voice-activated search is convenient, but have you thought about how it is affecting your search performance? Spoken queries tend to be longer – more pointed, targeted, and descriptive than typed queries. With voice now enabled on laptops and PC’s, voice activated search will continue to gain traction.
More precise search results as search queries get longer. Voice searches tend to be longer and use more natural language than keyboard searches. Thus they are less keyword driven. Keyword matching can deliver masses of data and results whereas longer more natural search queries are likely to generate less but more precise results. - Steve Rayson, via Social Media Today
That’s right – keywords are evolving, and thankfully so. You can outsmart your competition by focusing on the questions that your audience is likely to voice, and creating content that gives them extremely valuable help. Smart content marketing builds long-tail keyword value through providing helpful, relevant content that addresses the core needs of your customer.
5) Get visual.
What we are finding to be true moving into 2014 is that digital marketing is more of a village-effort than ever before. Visual content is a tactic – a way to increase your click rate and distance your content from the thousands of other offerings on-line. It’s simple really – if you can’t catch the attention of your audience, you can’t convert them into a customer.
Take, for example, our infographic we designed to talk about tangible importance of content marketing. While we could’ve exhausted words describing the value of content, we chose to communicate quickly and simply. The result? To date, over 400 shares across social platforms. I doubt that a simple blog post would’ve resonated as well with our audience.
Why? Visual content is proven to have a higher consumption rate than standard text format. Whether you break your content into designed chunks, slideshares, or video presentations, the smart move is to go visual for on-line dominance. Adding an impressive image to your content’s snippet might just be the determining factor in causing a customer to click on your content.
There you have it – 5 digital trends that are going to continue to grow in 2014. Implement them, and your business will reap the results. If you’re a bit confused about where to start, we’d love to help. Contact us today to start the conversation!