According to a report by MDG Advertising, committing to specific digital tactics can be difficult for marketers. There are so many different approaches that it can be tempting to continuously search of something better. However, while there are quite a few bad matches, there also are some strategies and channels that are keepers, says the report.
Fast-Loading Mobile Content
While search engines have been coy in the past about what they wanted, this year they’ve been transparent about one SEO approach that’s sure to work: fast-loading mobile content. In fact, Google has openly stated that it’s going to roll out changes to its algorithm in 2018 that incorporate mobile page speed as a ranking signal, says the report.
The “Speed Update” initially only impacts a small number of queries, but the message is clear: consumers are shifting to mobile, they demand pages that load quickly, and search engines are going to give them what they want. Marketers should follow suit or risk losing rank and traffic, opines the report.
Online Review Management
Digital marketers are often wary of online reviews, and understandably so. Positive online feedback/ratings can be the wind beneath your wings, while negative ones can come in like a wrecking ball. Despite this ambivalence, it’s become essential for every brand to monitor and manage its online reviews.
Customers across all verticals increasingly look at reviews, and trust them, says the report. 97% of consumers say they check the online reviews of local businesses, and 67% of B2B buyers say they check vendor reviews. Audiences are going to utilize reviews/ratings no matter what, says the reprt, so you’re better off engaging than pretending it’s not happening.
Online chatbots may not sound like the sexiest use of AI, but they’re currently among the most mature and compelling uses of the technology. 15% of consumers say they’ve already encountered chatbots, and that number is expected to jump significantly over the next few years.
Consumers say they like chatbots for a number of reasons, including their constant accessibility, fast response times, and ability to quickly answer questions. The benefits for brands are impressive, too. Chatbots enable continuous customer service, marketing engagement, and sales promotion without maintaining a huge staff, says the report.
Talking has always been the foundation of human communication, acknowledges the report. Now it’s increasingly also how people interact with their devices. Nearly every smartphone has a voice-activated virtual assistant such as Siri built in and the number of voice-assisted devices such as Amazon’s Echo is expected to reach 69 million in the United States by 2019.
This trend has the potential to affect digital marketing across a wide range of areas, from how pages are search optimized (for natural language queries,) to the way in which content is presented (audio friendly). While the full impact of the shift is still hard to know, what’s certain is that preparing for voice-driven interactions is a sound strategy.
Messaging Platform Engagement
When it comes to digital channels, marketers often ignore messaging platforms and are seduced by social networks, which get more buzz. That’s a mistake, says the report. Over the past few years, a number of messaging services have been steadily growing their user bases and some now eclipse established social platforms. For example, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp each has more than 1.2 billion monthly users and WeChat has nearly 900 million.
In addition to building their user bases, these platforms have also been adding features such as sponsorship opportunities and branded accounts. These make them not only robust communication tools, but also powerful advertising and customer engagement channels.
Branded Video Pieces
Many marketers have a difficult relationship with video. While in their hearts they know the medium has its advantages, they also have their doubts about the cost and time required to create something great.
A recent study of the content preferences of different generations found that consumers of every age find video to be the most memorable format, and more than half of consumers age 54 and younger want to see more videos from brands. Although branded video requires a larger investment, it can also have a larger payoff, says the report.
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