Digital MarketingSearch MarketingFrom AI to personalization: Here are 2019’s biggest search trends

From AI to personalization: Here are 2019’s biggest search trends

Survey results reveal the top search trends 2019 looks to have in store for marketers. Here are the top five, along with tips for how to handle them.

Just a few short years ago, ranking in the top five results of a Google search meant a job well-done. And while search rankings (especially voice search rankings) are still important, emerging technologies mean the search industry is changing.

Marketers’ concerns, as well as areas of opportunity, are rapidly shifting.

Just five years ago, what are now the top five search trends for 2019 weren’t on anyone’s radar.  

Recently, ClickZ teamed up with Chatmeter, the all-in-one local brand management platform, to collect data from 700 US-based marketers. We asked them what they believed were the top five search trends this year.

Content produced in collaboration with Chatmeter

Here are the top search trends for 2019, according to industry insiders:

  1. New technology changing customer behavior

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across an ad for a line of really chic, monogrammed makeup kits. I looked across the room at my sad, stained makeup bag. I didn’t really know I was in the market for a new one. But within minutes, a replacement was on the way.

A few years ago, buyers went shopping for products they knew they needed.

But these days, consumers spend upwards of three hours a day on their mobile devices. And targeted social media ads, personalized email offers, AR, connected devices, and AI recommendation algorithms mean we’re always kind of shopping.

That’s probably why 50% of survey respondents overwhelmingly named changing customer behavior driven by new technology as their number one search trend of 2019.  

  1. Data scandals mean we’re more cautious than ever

The beginning of 2018 was marked by a huge data breach over at Facebook, which left “up to 87 million” users robbed of their personal information.

That scandal was quickly followed by headlines that Google+ had failed to inform users of its own data leak. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in the EU in May 2018, bringing data protection and consumer education around data to the forefront of important issues for search marketers.

Unsurprisingly, second on the list of search trends was “data protection and privacy regulation,” with 49.1% of respondents choosing it as an area of both opportunity and concern.  

  1. Voice search is set to have a huge impact

More and more, consumers are relying on smart devices for product recommendations, as well as information about local businesses and searches.

There’s a huge difference between typing “Chinese food near me” and saying “Hey Alexa, where’s the best Chinese food in Denver?” So optimizing for those coveted top three spots in voice search is becoming more important than ever before.

According to our survey, 36.1% of respondents said they’d focus on voice search in 2019.

Optimizing for voice search means getting your local listings in order, focusing on non-branded queries, and making sure Q&A pages are up-to-date and focused on answering common queries.

  1. Machine learning makes for better data

As AI dramatically improves our opportunities for personalized engagement with customers, marketers are now flooded with an influx of data. Machine learning offers enhanced insights into how to make the best use of that data. Our survey showed that 33.2% of search marketers are looking forward to the new opportunities afforded by advances in machine learning.

One example of businesses using machine learning is Facebook’s DeepText, a deep learning-based text analysis engine. It can understand with “near-human accuracy” the text-based content of several thousand posts per second in more than 20 languages.

  1. Personalization matters for building brand loyalty

Now that AI and machine learning are providing us with an abundance of new data, it’s no surprise that most marketers are focused on putting that data to good use.

Using all of the data channels available, including in-store and web behavior, email engagement, customer demographics, geographic location, device usage, customer surveys, social media monitoring, etc, in order to build customer loyalty is a trend that sets smart brands apart from competitors.

For example, Starbucks incorporates omnichannel strategies in personalization campaigns. They use their mobile app to personalize customers’ app experiences based on in-store purchases and location.

And 31.1% of the industry insiders we surveyed are hoping to follow Starbucks’s lead, listing personalization as a primary area of interest for 2019.

Honorable mentions to 3 other search trends

Here are a few important trends that didn’t take the top spots but should still stay on search marketers’ 2019 radar:

  • Automation, 29.9%
  • Google algorithm updates, 26.6%
  • Optimizing content for SEO, 26.3%

New technology and changing customer expectations mean that digital marketing is set for a new period of disruption.

Increasingly, customers expect brands to suggest the perfect product even before they’ve searched.

So understanding customer behavior and building relationships using consistent, cross-channel messaging is essential for marketers looking to stay on top of search trends.

And just a heads up, I’m all good on makeup kits for now, but if someone could shoot me some ads for the perfect mid-century modern dresser, that’d be awesome.

For more information about 2019’s biggest search trends, read the full report, The Top 5 Search Trends.

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