Here are the first 3 out of the 5 Biggest Trends in 2019 that we see:
- good content is still the best, but structure is equally important
- messaging platforms are becoming key for businesses
- voice searches are becoming an everyday alternative
It all started with our regular meeting. The fanbot team was sitting together in the office planning our strategy for 2019, with some brilliant and not-so-brilliant caffeine-boosted ideas for creative campaigns and goals. As we were looking ahead, we started to wonder about new trends. What will be the new high-waisted jeans in the business world? What are the marketing trends that we will need to look out for or even jump onto this year. Here we’ve collected the most significant contributions from our team members about upcoming trends.
1. Good content is still the best, but structure is equally important
It might sound like something from the past, but small business owners all around the globe still agree that publishing quality content that can drive inbound marketing, and frequent publishing is still one of the top investments they should make in order to reach success. We all know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a never-ending game. Old-school tricks like keyword stuffing and creating pages for each keyword variation are no longer effective, so if we would like to rank high in search results we need to build quality content that is interesting and features new and exciting information for searchers.
There is no question about this: we all agree that quality content is the best. But as search engines are becoming smarter, structuring our content is also becoming increasingly more important. Covering an entire topic, as opposed to covering only a specific keyword, and organizing content into grouped topic clusters instead of individual disjointed posts enables you to capture a large amount of search traffic across an always increasing pool of relevant keywords. This also enables you to align your brand with several identifying core topics. Adding more content to a poor site structure can make it even harder for Google to find and rank, so the basic idea behind building a topic cluster content program is to enable deeper coverage across a range of core topic areas.
Creating an interconnected structure suggests to the search engine that you are an expert in the given topic. This might sound a bit complicated, but in simple terms, you just need a page that is a broad overview of a specific topic, like a summary or roadmap of that topic. Links within this “roadmap” point to more specific individual subtopics, and that is cluster content. These cluster topic pages should focus on specific long-tail keywords that are segments of the bigger main topic. The roadmap links to each cluster page, and each cluster page links back to the roadmap with the same hyperlinked keyword.
In addition to ranking higher, your content is also often the first interaction a prospective customer has with your brand, and it is among the best tools that can convert a visitor into a long term customer. First impressions do matter, so it is extremely important to make your content centred on your customers’ and prospects’ needs. However, in the past we could count on single-touchpoint, bottom-of-the-funnel marketing strategies, but nowadays it is becoming essential to guide consumers through the buying funnel by mapping content to buying stages and aligning your content strategy with your sales funnel, so that you are supporting each step in your buyer’s journey.
2. Messaging platforms are becoming key for businesses
The equation is easy: the top four messaging apps (Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber) have more monthly active users than their social networking counterparts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Since users are switching to messaging apps, it is a natural decision for brands and services to follow them and be present where the customers are. Here at fanbot.ai we have many years of experience in custom mobile app development, and we know firsthand how difficult it can be to convince a conference attendee to download yet another event app. In fact, studies show that people only use the same 4 to 6 apps on their smartphones daily.
Recent news confirms that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, plans to integrate the social network’s messaging services (WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger) into a cohesive ecosystem which reminds us of how WeChat works in China. Compared to the west, there is a more significant lack of trust towards locally-made products, and this has created the need for Chinese consumers to share their opinions with other consumers and also bombard the brands with questions before they make a purchase. In China, businesses can already exists without a traditional webpage, functioning solely on WeChat, where they handle all the customer service, pre- and after-sales through its messaging platform. Due to the sheer number of customers and requests, WeChat introduced a bot platform back in 2013 to help small businesses with client communication, and this is the example all the other major messaging platforms have followed. In addition to automated, immediate, and always available help, these messaging platforms also enable businesses to guide their users through a customized purchasing journey and better engage them in the long run.
Instant messaging platforms are offering the perfect middle ground between a traditional email, which has a really low open rate, and a phone call, which can work brilliantly, but needs to be perfectly timed and executed. We are seeing more and more perfectly executed implementations, from clothing shops recommending the perfect t-shirt to airlines enabling customers to book flights without leaving the chat window, with the power of perfectly crafted conversations.
3. Voice searches are becoming an everyday alternative
Voice searches were supposed to be the next big thing in 2017, and then in 2018, and it was predicted that they would overtake all searches by 2019. But we are still here typing in our questions as we always did. More conservative estimates say that 50% of all searches will be voice based in the next few years. We will see how this number changes, but with Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant all becoming larger parts of our lives, we can’t ignore the importance of preparing for the future of searches.
Imagine driving on the highway, listening to your favorite radio station, when you quickly need to modify the destination of your trip to stop for some groceries. For obvious safety reasons, you don’t even think about moving your hands away from the steering wheel nor your attention from the road, so you just yell the new destination at your phone and voila, you can already see the updated directions.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that when using voice search, people use natural conversational language instead of just listing keywords one after the other. So instead of “best street burger Budapest” you might ask “What is the best street burger place in Budapest?” To take advantage of this trend and rank in the search results, you should focus on long-tail keywords and create articles that target these longer phrases using a natural voice.
As queries are becoming more specific, user search intent is becoming even more important. Analyzing and determining multiple scenarios and matching those to specific question phrases (who, what, how, etc.) can significantly improve your results. As important as the question itself is, the way we will access the answer will also change slightly. As we know, Google’s “position zero” is the featured snippet which is generally meant to quickly answer specific questions, and this is what the Assistant will read out for us. Creating content that is informative and authoritative enough for Google to select for this coveted spot can create an opportunity to be the number one answer to the questions for voice searches.
If you are curious to see the remaining trends, follow us and stay tuned as the second part is coming soon!