MindSEO has gathered 10 forecasts for online trends, passing through areas related to design, SEO, communication, digital marketing, among others.
1. Advances in Voice Search. The increase in sales and the refinement of new voice-based technologies, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, or even personal assistant applications on mobile devices (Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant …) have made it possible to reduce the need to use our hands and eyes in navigation, replacing them with our voice. In 2014, 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults used voice search on Google’s application more than once a day. In 2016, 20% of online surveys were conducted through voice. According to Behshad Behzadi from Google, voice search is growing faster than searching through writing. ComScore predicts that, in 2020, 50% of searches will be done through voice and, according to Gartner, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. Voice searches will be done with more specific and less generic words, displaying long tail contents.
2. The increase of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These mechanisms can learn, through behavioural data analysis to automatically improve algorithms from experience. After defining basic parameters, these mechanisms assume an autonomous learning behaviour. According to Gartner, until 2020, intelligent personalisation mechanisms, used to recognise customer intent, will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15%. Advertisement spending will be optimised, once the public is directed in a more efficient manner, through greater personalisation, the likelihood of conversion will increase.
3. The rise of chatbots and conversation interfaces (CUI). These tools began to be known in 2016 and will continue to grow in 20 Chatbots and intelligent assistants, when well-configured and based on technology that incorporates advanced machine learning algorithms, allow users to experience more personalised interactions. The Gartner company predicts that, by 2020, the average person will have more conversations with these robots than with his or her partner.
4. More Protecting Consumer Data Privacy. The European Union has approved a new law called GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which will have a major impact on business from May 2018. Data must be processed, stored and protected in a way that maintains integrity and confidentiality. Otherwise, organisations will be fined. In addition to that, people have to give their consent to the processing of their data; this will be a challenge for digital marketing since it has always been a common practice to develop databases, by monitoring and analysing people’s behaviour. From May on, organisations already need to have re-evaluated all their databases and find best practices to ensure they comply with the new regulation.
5. Greater attention to data quality and analysis. It does not matter that companies have access to a large pool of data, if they lack quality, or if they are not treated trough necessary procedures. It is increasingly important to know what the KPIs – (Key Performance Indicators) are, and how to define them, as well to gather critical data for the control and analysis of these KPIs. These should be associated with business objectives, and 100% relevant to the company’s current needs. However, data must be collected to allow not only the detection of current patterns and trends but also an analysis of Business Intelligence, with a predictive approach, so that strategies can be defined in the medium/long term in a reasoned way.
6. Step by step navigation. Users are increasingly looking for a simpler navigation experience, and linear or step-by-step navigation captures this desire. This type of navigation allows each subsequent step to have a logical continuation from the previous one, helping users who have goals to achieve. This works well in goal-oriented applications (UBER) and eCommerce websites (Amazon).
7. User Experience. User’s expectations are increasing. They want quick solutions to their problems regardless of the device they are using. A good user experience, beyond the speed of the website, goes through navigation, design, information architecture, and content readability. Google ranks the user experience of websites, which should adapt to both desktop and mobile.
8. Increase in Augmented Reality. Augmented reality is no longer a novelty for the digital world. However, it is expected to increase its use this year. In 2017, Google launched Google Lens, an augmented reality application available on Google Assistant, on Pixel and Pixel2 mobile phones. This application allows users to point the phone’s camera to whatever they want to get information about, which will appear on the screen after taking a picture. Regarding the tourism branch, augmented reality has great potential. Imagine just pointing your smartphone at Torre dos Clérigos or Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and get information about the monuments, from history to suggestions of buildings with the same architecture, etc.
9. Google will rank pages based on their mobile version. Google’s brand new mobile-first index is due to be launched soon. At this time, Google evaluates the relevance of a website based on their desktop version. However, since mobile searches represent more than 60% of total searches, the ranking will be based on the mobile version of the page.
10. Intention-based Search Optimisation. Google has confirmed that one of the ranking factors depends on the intent of the searched keyword. This means that in a keyword with a clear intent to buy, Google will give priority to e-commerce websites, rather than information websites, since the user already has the idea of buying. However, for keywords with the intent on finding information, Google will rank media websites better.