Over the last few years, the use of Internet and other electronic media for marketing purposes has been steadily increasing, especially as marketers have realised the cost effectiveness of using online marketing compared to traditional forms of advertising.
In a recent survey, top marketers around the world were asked "In the next three years, do you think marketing's effectiveness will increase, stay the same, or decrease for each of the following?" And their predictions are as follows:
As you can see from the survey results, social media is seen by most of the marketers as being a very effective channel over the next three years, followed by online videos and search engine optimisation.
We have summarised the top eight marketing trends to watch out for this year:
1. Social media
Unless you have been hiding from the world, you would have noticed that social media is definitely on the rise. Although Facebook started as a means to share personal information, an increasing number of businesses are using it to build their brand and protect their reputation. Twitter is another example of a place where it's all about listening to what people are saying about your brand and being an active part of the community by contributing information to your followers.
This trend will continue and blogging will be on the increase. Companies will use their expertise to write articles and blog posts, and use social media to promote them. It will also be used as a way to build a community and network with other professionals.
2. Tweet votes for SEO
Google has always strived to provide the best possible information to users and display content that comes highly recommended and suggested. The search results on Google are based around this principle so Google looks ranks results from the most trusted companies higher than the rest.
The next stage in the evolution of the search rankings is using the data gathered from Twitter. So the search results would take into account the number of recommendations a company or a person is receiving on Twitter and rank the content by this person higher on search results.
Google's biggest challenge here is ascertaining whether the Twitter user making the recommendation can be trusted.
3. Personalised search
If you rank well on search engines and earn solid traffic through to your website from the rankings, it will become even harder to unseat you from this ranking. This makes it even harder for start up companies to rank higher as the well established, well performing sites will stay where they are.
To overcome this challenge, it is also predicted that there will be an increase in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, because Google might start rewarding companies that get click-throughs from PPC campaigns.
With more people spending time online, 'online branding' will become more important - companies will invest more in online branding. Currently only 6% of branding dollars are spent online, which is very small when you take into account the proportion of time people are spending online these days compared to driving or watching TV.
4. Faster load times
Google has already talked about the importance of speed on the web, and how they want to do everything they can to make the web a faster place. So it is fair to assume that Google will begin taking the speed of a page download into account when ranking results. So if you want your page to rank higher on search results, the loading speed will also become a factor.
Loading speed is also an important factor with mobile phone browsing because users on the go will not have the time to wait for a slow loading website. Research already shows that majority of web users will leave a site if it takes longer than 8 seconds on a 56k modem. With mobile phone browsing, we can safely assume that this window will be even smaller. So doing everything you can to make your pages load faster will become the way of the future.
5. Two-Engine World
The picture explains it all really.. If you are considering an online Adwords campaign your best options are to go with Google or Yahoo.
6. More queries but less traffic
Search engines are starting to give answers to users' questions without them having to leave the search engine page to another website for answers. This makes for a better user experience and return visits because it speeds up the process of getting answers. This means that as more search engines provide instant answers without the users having to click through to the websites, the less traffic companies will see coming through to their sites.
Inline search results
7. Conversion Rate
Improving conversion rate is the best way to ensure increase in revenue. Basically you have spent all this time and money in advertising and promotion to get people visiting your website, and if they are not taking the action you want them to take it's all going to waste. Improving conversion rate is the most under-utilised marketing activity, yet it can give you the most return on investment.
In 2010, this will become a bigger focus as coming out of recession, it is now time for companies to assess their spend and see what activities are giving them the value and also what activities are increasing awareness.
Conversion rate is not just about having a marketing activity in place and testing it once, it's about having a process in place that slowly improves your conversion over time. It about making regular and incremental changes across the board to start seeing the return on investment.
Zeald has a large focus on conversion rate and has a proven process in place to help companies improve their return on investment. Talk to one of our E-Business Consultants to find out how you can improve the conversion rate of your website.
8. Email marketing
2010 will be a year where marketers will continue to rely on this channel because everyone is becoming more aware of the importance of establishing and maintaining good relationships with customers.
Marketers will get more experimental and original with content and tone of emails in order to engage customers and compete with social media. For example, the popular publishing platform Squidoo sends out very quirky and humorous newsletters to get the attention of their customers.