Internet marketing trends continue to evolve and as we enter the new calendar year we evaluate what the Internet marketing trends will be, and what the impact will be on social media marketing or inbound marketing. Some of the changes we are tracking will have great impact on the way we communicate using the Internet.
- Semantic Search Yields Improved Results. The world of Google and search changed with the introduction of Hummingbird and the birth of semantic search. What this means is that search is more intelligent and adaptive. The old days of matching specific keywords for “optimized search” results are hopefully dead. Long live the new SEO and semantic search results. With a more intelligent and personalized result, the old days of ‘gaming’ the search engines are hopefully over. A new dawn of improved search results will dictate that websites become more serious about improved and helpful content. If the information is simply ‘marketing pablum’ with keywords sprinkled through the text, it will no longer garner top placement or search engine rankings.
- Mobile’s Influence On Responsive Web Design And Marketing. It still amazes me when I am searching for a company or service or product on my mobile device and the result is difficult to read or evaluate. More and more, mobile has become the way we find what we are looking for, and if your website is not mobile enabled, you will be knocked out of the game. Google Webmaster Tools even offers some best practices for mobile websites. This past Holiday season, statistics show that over 25% of online purchasing was done on a mobile device. With the increasing number of transactions and searches being performed on mobile devices, mobile responsive web design will be a huge factor for online marketing success moving forward.
- Social Video, Real Time Increase In Offers And Adoption. Google+ was revolutionary with the Hangout and Hangouts On Air platforms. Integrating with YouTube (the #2 search engine) makes G+ Hangouts an important tool for 2014 and beyond. Many traditionally audio podcasts have made the transition to video. In fact, video production and embedding have become relatively easy. There are tremendous advances in editing software that makes video production more attainable for the general population. Apple has proven that you can use an iPhone as an all in one video capture and editing platform for creating surprisingly professional results.
- Wearable Technology And The Dick Tracy Era. Wearing your heart on a sleeve will take a back seat to wearing your phone on your wrist. Jewelers who lamented the fact that no one wears watches any more are now excited about trends in wristwear that incorporate technology. Whether it’s a watch that monitors your phone messages or records video or monitors your exercise, the way that we will communicate in the future is making great changes. Google glass has had it’s blips and false starts, but generally its an exciting new technology. At $1500 a pop, people have to wait to get an invitation to even line up to purchase the device. Seems a bit expensive to have glasses that take pictures or record video, and perhaps the early adopters are reluctant to share the Emperor’s clothing scenario, but it’s definitely a trend to watch.
- Business Networking Expanded. In the age of Linkedin, Quora, Google Plus and other networks that have a business edge, the importance of business networking, both online and in person has been escalated. No longer can a company grow without a network of evangelists. Brand evangelists will do the job of spreading the word better and faster and with greater credibility than the company can through advertising or other methods.
- Consolidation of Social Platforms. As social media platforms evolve, there is a tendency for them to become more and more similar. When LinkedIn and Facebook added a Twitter-like stream, then when Twitter added a new improved Facebook-like wall the fuzzy differentiation became even more diffuse. As Google+ and Facebook vie for social dominance with the newer entries like Pinterest and Jelly, the delineation will become blurred, and the fast pace of absorbing the newer, successful social channels will increase. The good news is that the same skills for engagement and sharing social content that have helped to develop associations in the past will continue to be important, and those who have mastered the ability to identify and connect with influencers will continue to have success.
- Analytical Information Gains Importance. Does your social media program work? How would you know. Identifying measurable goals then finding a way to determine progress towards those goals will be the lifeblood of any social media program. If a company is involved in social media, it’s not to say that every tweet or post or like has to be a contrived part of a plan, however the messaging and momentum should be consistent, especially in organizations where there could be more than one voice for the company.
- Sharing is the New SEO. While Facebook celebrates its tenth birthday, social media and the era of engagement and sharing has blossomed and in some cases, social sharing has greater credibility than the old formula for inbound links. The age of semantic marketing, of creating content that is meaningful and not just a mish mosh of keywords has begun. For your web presence to be important, you must contribute and those contributions must be recognized by third parties. To the extent that you are tweeting or “liking” or “plussing” or being tweeted, liked or plussed, that is the way your authority and web presence will grow.
- Demands for Privacy Escalate. (The Downfall of Big Data). Eric Snowden may have brought new focus to this issue, but it was there before the NSA backlash began. In fact, there have been waves of people proclaiming loudly that they are leaving Facebook due to concerns about privacy, only to be lured back and lulled into ambivalence by the comforting presence of their peers. Just because other people are doing it, does not make it save and more and more the call for the opportunity to hide or block information has become louder and more strident.
- Accountability Of Individuals. (Reductions in Cyber threats, anonymous trolls, spam) Recently Google made a rather bold change in they way comments on YouTube videos are posted. The comments are linked to a Google account and appear on Google+. The anonymous troll who used to post derogatory and inflammatory comments is limited to a greater extent than ever before. Whether the individual tries to obscure his or her identity or creates pseudonyms, the fact is that this is getting harder and more difficult than ever before. Perhaps by making individuals accountable for their actions and words, we can begin to put a stop to cyber threats and online harassment. Then again, if the person is truly “off their rocker”, its evident by their posts. Well, more appropriately clear to everyone except the perpetrator… The good news is that the public is demanding great accountability of organizations and individuals, and decrying those cowards who troll the Internet with the intent to do harm.
Have you identified additional trends? I’d love to hear about them and learn your thoughts – please share you ideas with whether you agree (or disagree) with these trends, and also whether you feel that there are even greater waves of change coming?
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