Back to the Future: 5 Marketing Predictions That Were Right on the Money

Great Scott!

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The TopRank Marketing blog has been around since 2003, way back when content marketing and blogging were relatively new to the business world. We are proud of the fact that we were early adopters of the blogging trend—one of today’s leading content marketing strategies for improving brand visibility and engagement.

Trends and predictions shape the world of both B2B and B2C marketing. They help us shift our marketing strategies to meet the needs of our customers and reach them in the right place and the right time. But not every trend survives the test of time.

Since our blog started in 2003, we’ve made some bold marketing predictions of our own. In this post, we’re hopping into our time machine and traveling back in time to see which of our top marketing predictions hold true as we look ahead to 2018.

1. Mobile Search Will Explode

Predicted for the first time all the way back in 2008, the mobile explosion continues to happen. According to a recent BrightEdge report mentioned in Search Engine Journal, mobile traffic now accounts for 57% of all internet searches. But the most incriminating evidence that this trend will only continue is the fact that Google will start prioritizing mobile sites over desktop to reflect the change in search traffic.

What does this mean for marketers going forward? Companies in all industries and verticals will need to make the shift to thinking “mobile first”. Because Google deems mobile as more important, your brand needs to see it that way as well. This means creating a custom, seamless user experience for your mobile traffic and optimizing all of your content with mobile in mind. See if you site has what it takes by taking our mobile SEO test.

2. User Intent Will Impact Ranking

This was one of our more recent SEO predictions, but it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Google and other search engines have been taking engagement data into account. We saw this happen most recently with Google’s implementation of RankBrain, a machine learning technology that factors in user intent data into Google’s search results algorithm. For example, your page’s bounce rate, time on page, and search result CTR affect your page’s ranking in Google. Continuing off of the idea that engagement affects ranking, should Google team up with social networks, your social engagement could soon influence rank as well.

Looking ahead, this means that marketers need to create valuable content that drives those engagement metrics. Furthermore, we need to pay special attention to title tags and meta descriptions to make sure they engage searchers and inspire them to click. Your content won’t help you much if no one enters through organic search results.

3. Channels Will Change

In our 2012 online marketing predictions post, we anticipated that where people consume our content will always be changing with the rapid growth of technology. And we weren’t wrong. New social channels, search engines, and more are always popping up and dying off. For example, Medium, Reddit, and more, are new channels for content consumption and discovery.

Discovery is always changing, and as marketers we need to focus on the message we are creating more than the place we share it. As long as the content provides value, customers will find it regardless of the channel.

4. Selling Will Become Social

Another prediction from our 2012 marketing trends post was that the future of business development is social. With billions of people using social networks, brand interactions no longer happen solely on the company website or even in-person. Most interactions now happen on social media whether it’s customer service, reviews, or inquiries.

On social networks, brands have multiple channels to attract new audiences, develop relationships with prospects, and inspire purchases through social media messaging and relevant content. From account-based marketing on LinkedIn to targeted advertising, there are several social selling tactics you can use to attract, nurture, and convert more customers.

5. How We Search Will Change

We mentioned voice search as a prediction in our 2015 SEO predictions post, but we hinted to the rise of voice search well before then. With the addition of devices like Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod, voice search will only continue to rise in use. And coupled with the enhancements that have already been made to search engines to accommodate for voice search, how users search on the internet is continuing to change.

For marketers, this means we need to rethink the optimization of our keywords, location, and more. Voice search is often done in complete sentences and questions, meaning the keywords we’re currently targeting aren’t being used. In addition, voice searches are three times more likely to be local based. But don’t just take it from us. Find out what you need to know about voice search from Microsoft’s Purna Virji.

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

Predicting the future is a tricky business filled with uncertainty. But as marketers we still need to be quick to adapt and innovate. After all, the early bird gets the worm. Carve your own path and come up with new ideas by following our seven rules for fresh content marketing.


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