As 2015 begins to move along, we continue to see technology change and users adapt. In turn, businesses need to adapt their websites and online marketing tactics to the changes that come from users. Let’s review three major trends that will increasingly be a part of today’s online world.
Mobile Growth (Still) Skyrocketing
Rising mobile traffic is certainly not a new topic. Every “year in review” post for the past four years has proclaimed the growth of mobile ad nauseam. But within the past year, we’ve seen mobile and tablet devices begin to approach – and sometimes exceed – 50% of traffic on many websites. That data means, in some cases, that fewer than half of these websites’ visitors are accessing these sites from desktops or laptops.
Have you checked how your website looks on a phone recently? If it hasn’t been at the top of your to do list, you’re not alone – Most websites still aren’t set up to be viewed properly on a variety of screen sizes. But as that data tells us, the consequences can be dire:
If your site doesn’t work properly across multiple devices, you could potentially be losing more than half of your potential customers.
The ever increasing variety of device screen sizes makes responsive design all the more valuable to ensure every website user sees your business’s information in the best possible format.
Improved Cross Device Tracking
While you should customize your website and marketing campaigns to reach people across multiple devices, gaps too often exist in tracking the same users across their phones, tablets, and laptops. If your potential customer visits your site from a desktop and later returns from a phone, analytics will by default track those sessions as being from two separate users.
Which isn’t the case. And is confusing. And can completely mess up your analysis – and takeaways – if you’re not aware of this duplication occurring.
Google’s User ID feature allows you to customize analytics to identify specific users no matter what device they’re coming from. For example, if your site allows users to log in for a free trial, you can assign custom IDs to track if the same user returns and logs in from a different device.
Also, Google AdWords has implemented cross-device conversions to track if users click an ad and later return to a site from a different device, as long as they’re signed into Google accounts on both devices. Unfortunately, this only works for accounts that receive 50 or more conversions in a day so it doesn’t scale for small advertisers.
Facebook’s recently relaunched Atlas ad platform touts the ability to target the same users across devices. We can expect both Facebook and Google to continue working harder on methods to track users reliably beyond just using cookies. Ultimately, businesses will be able to better reach potential customers with less waste in ad spend and be able to better understand when the same users are coming back.
Voice Search Increasing
Microsoft’s Cortana marks the latest in a line of technological options to interact with devices via voice, from Siri to “OK Google.” Increasingly, along with the rise in mobile, users are searching by speaking to a phone or tablet as opposed to typing in a phrase. I’ve already seen voice searches reflected in search queries where the phrase “OK Google” has slipped into a search term.
In this vein, we can expect searches to be more conversational in nature, worded as complete sentences as opposed to brief phrases. For example, instead of “chinese restaurant albany,” a voice search may say, “Where can I find a Chinese restaurant in Albany?” Content on websites, as well as keywords and ad copy in paid search, should adapt to reflect the increase in voice search. Incidentally, this should also give marketers a valid excuse to talk to themselves while writing content.
Wrapping Things Up
We continue to see the face of the web change, from the devices people are using to how they are interacting with search. In turn, businesses are finding better ways to track users and market to them where they are, on the device they’re using. Keeping an eye on emerging trends will allow you to find new ways to better reach your potential customers and continue to satisfy your existing ones.