2020 In Review: Marketing Changes and Disruptions Part III
Nov 26 2020
Digital marketers have observed some dramatic changes to customer behavior 2020. In this latest installment of our ongoing end of year review, we’ve highlighted the major shifts in customer search trends and the innovative ways brands have responded with search advertising.
Voice Search is Shaking Things Up
Here’s one trend that had a strong trajectory even before the necessity of working from home spiked in popularity this year — voice search continues to flourish, and should be considered a key influencer on marketing decisions moving forward. According to Google, nearly a quarter of US households now use a smart speaker to conduct daily searches. The value of voice-based shopping on home search devices like Amazon’s Echo Dot is expected to exceed $40 billion in 2022, which would represent an expected 18% market share over the next two years.
Voice search presents an exciting new market for brands big and small. For larger brands, promoted ads can potentially answer individual queries multiple times a day by smoothly adding a simple “this answer brought to by…” to relevant searches. These promoted awareness campaigns plus the useful data gathered from voice search are an exciting combination and may even help solve the puzzle of how to build accurate customer profiles without third-party cookies.
Local businesses will also be able to capitalize on important “near me” searches. Navigational searches are among the most popular uses of voice recognition technology, and an estimated 58% of consumers found local businesses using voice search in 2019. This provides a new avenue for advertisers looking to attract new customers to their physical stores — imagine if the next time a user asks Siri or Cortana for directions to the nearest guitar store or the hours of operation for nearby hair salons, your relevant business can step in with additional useful information, hours, discounts, and directions.
Marketers should be discussing the rise of voice search in 2020 and how best to maximize the trend’s growing opportunities.
Keyword Searches Shifted in Wake of Pandemic
Many of the most popular “How to” searches of the year are understandably intertwined with ongoing pandemic concerns. The Washington Post featured a comparison of 2019 search trends to 2020, finding items like “How to make a mask out of fabric” and “How to cut your own hair” taking the place of more typical search queries.
2020 has seen significant fluctuations in customer behavior, but at least one expectation from the majority of consumers has become clear — brands should avoid exploiting the pandemic, and instead try to be helpful. While your company’s vertical may dictate just how relevant how-to searches can be to your products or services, adjusting keyword rankings with these trends in mind can help put your most helpful, supportive messaging in front of users.
Instead of targeting these new customers with discount codes or potentially insensitive marketing, earn their loyalty with informative messaging that displays a sensitive self-awareness.
Optimized Mobile Ads are a Necessity
It’s true, more people working from home and staying indoors when they would normally spend time out in public means desktop searches have been especially valuable this year. But if your brand’s mobile strategy is lacking, fixing it should be your top priority the minute you finish reading this article.
Consider that out of 2.6 million monthly active Facebook users, 78% only use the social platform on mobile. And while you’re surely aware of Google’s central importance in the marketing universe, keep in mind that 64% of the 3.4 billion daily Google searches a day are made using mobile devices.
Mobile searches generally carry a high intent to purchase, but only if your site is optimized to provide the information users are looking for. A potential customer looking for a quick answer about where to shop for a new kitchen blender doesn’t need to sift through an entire online catalogue of appliances — they need a simple directory to your nearest brick-and-mortar store. Addressing customer needs goes beyond ranking highly on a search results page.
Mobile users want answers fast, which means understanding your users and what they’re really looking for is key. All the effort you put into correctly tailoring ad creative and placing it properly across social and search channels could run into a wall when mobile users access your site if not correctly optimized. Check your ad landing pages and evaluate what information is most useful to users searching for your business — acing the mobile user test will have your business humming through the holidays and into 2021.