Search and local digital marketing are changing dramatically right in front of us. A number of big trends will have a significant impact on how consumers find businesses and make buying decisions. The changes also effect how businesses will reach consumers in the future.
- The continuing decline of the desktop
- The increasingly transactional nature of mobile
- The impact of artificial intelligence
- Location analytics
- Virtual assistants (as well as messaging and assisted search)
All of the changes in data and devices are creating big challenges for marketers.
- Complex path to purchase
- Recognizing the customer
- Meeting rising customer expectations
- Adapting to new technology quickly
- Making sense of all the data
- CX execution challenges
The Continuing Decline of Desktop
There are more screens/devices and sources for consumers to educate themselves before making a purchase.
Traditional retail is not able to adapt as quickly as consumers demand. However, offline sales still dominate. Trillions spent offline as apposed to billions spent online. Gen Z shops in stores while Millennials prefer to shop online. 84% of shoppers search for reviews, ratings or price comparisons before purchasing whether that’s online or in a brick and mortar store.
Data is bringing transparency.
- offline activity/ retail visits
- Sales/CRM data
- optimize against real business objectives.
The bad news is that people are overwhelmed by all the data. They need help to make sense of all of the great data available. Raw data in itself holds little value.
Consumers Expectation of Media Is Rising
Consumer expect personalized marketing communication. But they want it in a way that doesn’t seem creepy. It needs to be personalized without being obvious or blatant. Automation and retargeting aren’t quite hitting the mark.
Local means relevance and personalization. Consumers are far more interested in engaging with local businesses rather than corporate entities. For Appleby’s 85% of customers engaged with local pages as apposed to 15% engagement with the corporate Facebook page.
Brands are not keeping pace with consumers.
Mobile devices will drive 75% of global internet usage this year. That figure will grow to nearly 80% by next year. 85% of consumers unlikely to do business with the same organization again following a bad mobile experience. It’s difficult to get people to return to you site once you’ve lost them to poor mobile performance.
The majority of ad growth is also in mobile. Last year mobile began to exceed ad spending over desktop.
Apps are transactional and enable task completion far better than mobile web. That’s why you see mobile search becoming far more app-like. Consequently, we are getting far more answers and fewer links and organic results in mobile SERPs. 61.3% of consumers wanted virtual assistant to provide direct answers rather than a list of search results.
Behind the scenes we find artificial intelligence and machine learning to govern all of the devices linked to the internet.
Comscore expects 50% of searches to be voice by 2020.
- audience segmentations
- competitive intelligence
- customer insights
- offline/ in-store attribution
- offline to online retargeting
Augmented reality and visual search – consider optimizing for an experience without words at all.
Greg Sterling is VP of Strategy & Insights for Local Search Association (LSA). He is also a contributing editor at leading tech blogs Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. He’s been around local digital media for so long he now feels a bit like Yoda. Sterling has been doing research and writing about local search and location-based marketing since 1999. And though he’s not actually an SEO practitioner, he sometimes pretends to be one at conferences.