As we leave 2015 and all of the technological advances in ecommerce, SEO, and online shopping behind, it’s important to prepare for what is in store for the next year. A few of these trends involve new search techniques, shifts from one viewing platform to another, and the big effect of social media.
Let’s start with the advances being made with “Mobile Implementation”. “Mobile Implementation” could be defined as “optimizing a website to adapt to the device it is being viewed on”. Traditionally, websites are created to be viewed on a desktop computer and then optimized to also fit on a smartphone. We may see a shift in that development style in the next year. The United States is going to become the 2nd largest smartphone market in 2016. According to Statista, the number of smartphone users in ONLY the United States is projected to reach 219.8 million by 2017. That’s a lot of potential and numbers like that have the ability to switch the dynamic of how a website is developed, possibly creating a mobile first development trend. In addition, Google updated their algorithm to ensure that websites that are optimized for smart devices get a search ranking boost on mobile searches. Smartphone and tablet users are reaching a point where they expect a website to transition smoothly between desktop, smartphone, and tablet. I know that when I go to a website on my smartphone, I expect it to work seamlessly. I need the buttons to be big enough for my finger and for a drop down menu to scroll just like it would on a desktop menu.
Think about all of the things that you do on your smartphone. We browse social media, access news, watch video, listen to music, use navigation apps, open our mail, research products we want to purchase, and share our opinions. Let’s go over some statistics.
-Before making a purchase, 40% of shoppers consult 3 or more channels. In addition to that, 52% of Americans use their smartphones WHILE browsing items in a store to research specific items that they like. Sometimes, they may find a better deal online and add it to the virtual shopping cart while they are still standing there looking at the physical item. Consumers WANT to purchase items online.
-How many Americans bring their devices to the bathroom? A whopping 75% admit to it. That’s a lot of potential time they can spend browsing your website.
-In 2016. The number of smartphone users WORLDWIDE will surpass 2 billion. That is almost 30% of every human being on this planet. That number is forecasted to grow to 2.56 billion by 2018! That will be 1/3 of the worldwide population.
-In the year 2016, it is expected that the percentage of internet users who own a desktop PC and the percentage of smartphone users will be equal.
-Gmail has 900 million users and 75% of them use a mobile device to access their email.
Mobile Optimization should have an important place in any SEO or marketing strategy you plan in 2016. In addition to mobile optimization, there is a shift in the way consumers are searching out information on products and services. Social Media is becoming a trustworthy way for consumers to research products they are interested in and that has everything to do with the visual aspect, as well as the ability to see the opinions of others. Consumers feel that they are more likely to find good reviews and honest comments on social media than they will in other places. This means that any marketing strategy must evolve beyond being found on just Google.
There is a chance that in 2016 content from social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, will start showing up in search results on the major search engines. This is going make social content extremely valuable to SEO strategies. Facebook will more than likely stay the dominant platform, but it would be a wise decision to branch out into other social media platforms. If you have a very visual product, Instagram or Snapchat would both be nice additions to your marketing campaign. You can give consumers an open invitation to meet your company, your employees, and you product. The ability for a consumer to visualize the people behind a product creates a feeling of closeness or familiarity. If you want to run a contest, Twitter is a great way to get people to actively participate. There are a lot of brands and companies that are already fully invested in social media campaigns that get their consumers to interact with them on a daily basis. This creates a relationship with your consumers and they are more likely to be loyal to your company.
The lines between social media and web will soon start to blur as Google and other search engines are able to properly index the social content that exists. Search engines will become much more intelligent and efficient when it comes to how consumers find the products or places they are looking for. As search engines evolve to include social content, the way consumers search for products, services, and places will evolve with them.
There is a change taking place in the way consumers interact with their devices because of the evolution of search engines and social media. Have you recently had to search for something and used the voice search function on your smartphone or other smart device? How did you convey to the “Digital Assistant” what you were trying to find? I bet you asked it a question. Now, think about how you would have typed that same query into a search engine. I bet you would have just used a few simple keywords. Advanced, voice-responsive assistants were a very new thing in 2015, but it could become normal in the next year. Using voice search is much more convenient for anyone who is driving or multitasking. Keyword based searches will start to diminished and ensuring that content is easily searchable in a more “human” way will become very important. Websites will have to be optimized for conversational keywords. Spoken searches will be different than the typed one because they will follow our speech pattern. Long-tail keywords will start to take priority over short-tail keywords.
Mobile implementation, content marketing on social media, and voice search are going to be just 3 of the major trends you will witness for the coming year. If you are unsure about how to optimize any of these market changing techniques, make sure you find a good web developer that can help you along the way! Hopefully the year 2016 will be just as exciting in the technology world at 2015 was. Happy New