Happy New Year! Here's what to expect this year from Google and others relative to local marketing trends.
- Google back in the social media game (somehow...).
Google withdrew Google Plus but they will come back with a social media platform with an emphasis on user engagement with local businesses. After all, that's where the money is being spent. They will drive more local business engagement and more user reviews with a much more interactive user and business engagement platform.
- Paid Ad marketing will increase across the board.
As the Organic space tightens up and local businesses get squeezed off the 1st page search results, more businesses will enter the pay-to-play market. This will include display ad marketing, standard pay-per-click and an increase in local businesses advertising on Facebook. Google also appears to be considering paid services inside the GMB platform. They already push ads from that platform.
- Voice Search will get bigger
With Alexa and Google devices in every room, it is natural to ask your digital assistent where, why, how and who. Where to eat. Find a plumber near me... even "Call the most local reputable plumber now!" Google my business will accomodate voice search with even more effective communication channels.
- Artificial Intelligence will be a bigger factor in search results
This is not really a prediction... it's already happening. Google made a big AI push last fall. AI needs time to learn so expect it to naturally affect the search results the more it's used.
- Websites will get smarter
Local business websites will finally become the marketing plaftorms they were intended to be. Beyond forms, local businesses will use more interactive tools and funnels to engage clients. Websites that are brochures will fail in comparison to interactive design and many businesses will finally jump on this technology.
- Mobile Takes Over
With 5G rolling in, the use of Mobile beyond the present tools will increase dramatically. Folding phones and a larger visial work space on the phone will convert it into a viable working platform to actually get productive work accomplished. Mobile search for local businesses is already approaching a dominant position. Now the phone will encroach on the PC and tablet market and become the goto business productivity tool... that is if we can figure out how to type without texting. Look to Samsung DEX and the proliferation of Office products already on the mobile device as leading us into this trend. How will this affect marketing? It's all about mobile display, apps and Facebook. Look for marketing to increase in places and on apps where people are already spending tons of time.
- Video Content Becomes dominant
Who gets more visits on the web than any other site? If you guessed Facebook, you'd be wrong! YouTube is now the highest visited site on the web. Video content will dominate Facebook submissions and find it's way onto websites as the creation of video content gets easier and the sharing gets simpler. And even as we consider this, sites like YouTube are making video sharing LESS friendly by forcing end of stream content and promotions and ads. This may be OK on YouTube, but the last thing I want is competitive ads on my site. Some sites have allowed a paid streaming service approach to help you control how your content is used. Expect a lot of third party sites and apps to pop up that allow you not only to host your video streams but to edit and share in ways that make Instagram and YouTube look like childs play.
In short, we are on the precipice of an A.I. driven web that learns from you and your habits, talks to you and responds to you. We are still really in the infancy of how information is added to and updated on the web, how it is retrieved and how it is used. Look for web enabled education to take off and antiquated and expensive institutions to begin to either adapt or wither away. Along with this trend, a whole slew of opportunities open up as the need to support and understand these trends becomes mainstream. Today, what you'll learn on the web is self-directed and based on self-interest and personal motivation. Schools will not develop experts... experts will develop themselves from free flowing and publically available information and education. Our customers will learn about our products in much the same way - via online hearsay, video and open conversations. Truth be told... this is NOT a 2020 trend. See The Cluetrain Manifesto - and climb aboard.