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Voice Search, Podcasts and CRO: 2019 Predictions

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BrandContent, award-winning content marketing agency for next generation brands has revealed its key marketing trends to watch for 2019.

Sharon Flaherty, Managing Director of BrandContent explains:

“We predict 2019 is going to be the year of voice. It’s not going to dominate by any means, but we’ll see voice search and podcasts form conversations in the marketing departments of forward thinking brands who begin to dip their toe in. But it will only work if brands do it for the right reasons rather than to try on the emperor’s new clothes.

“Content should never stand in isolation, and we also expect 2019 to be the year when conversion rate optimisation and content truly converge.”

Here are BrandContent’s Top 3 Predictions for 2019:  

Voice Search and Voice Assistants will be the hot topic

Next year, the incredible growth in voice assistants will continue apace. In 2018, UK consumers spent £3.5 billion buying Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices and it’s now expected that 50% of all searches will be by voice by 2020.

As people integrate voice assistants into their daily lives, the opportunity for marketers will grow. Our own study into voice search has revealed that already, over two thirds of adults have access to voice search or voice-activated devices, including Siri and Cortana, so it’s clear the audience is there.

It’s going to be more important than ever to optimise content for voice searches too. Query length is already proving to be longer when done verbally so a whole range of new keywords are going to be brought into the mix.

How do you optimise for them? Well, that’s a different matter. It’s essential to be selected as the Featured Snippet on your key terms, as it’s where more than 40% of voice search results come from. Your PageSpeed will need to improve too with voice search results being pages which load, on average, over 50% faster than the average page.

When it comes to voice assistants and developing voice apps, more brands are going to launch Alexa Skills and Google Home apps in 2019. So it will be increasingly important that content stands out. Marketers will have to think about the use of their voice app, rather than creating one just for bragging rights with basic functionality which we are seeing today.

Fundamentally, voice assistants are changing how we spend time with brands and they will spearhead the biggest shifts in the customer and brand relationship we’ve seen for years.

Podcasts will finally be taken seriously

Podcasts will continue to pull in loyal listeners in 2019.  Already over 6.9 million people listen to them every week but the real game changer for podcasts next year will be Google.

Earlier this year, Google introduced a standalone podcast app for Android which could as much as double global listenership of podcasts. But it’s not just this that will push the popularity of podcasts further – voice assistants are going to play an important role in their wider penetration too.

With more of us owning a Voice Assistant device and with Google’s podcast app integrated with its Google Assistant, searching for and listening to podcasts has become easier than ever – whether on the move or at home.

With this, we expect to see more brands waking up to the fact that they can get in front of a self-selected audience for as much as 30 minutes at a time compared with 1-2 minutes on short form content making it a big year for ‘voice’ – both voice search and podcasts.

Content marketers will focus on CRO

Most brands are already creating content and getting people to their site who will then interact with it. But so much of that traffic can leak, with high volumes of users not going on to buy – that’s a lot of wasted opportunity.

This will all change in 2019 as we see the convergence of content and conversion rate optimisation (CRO).

We expect to see marketers take more control over the role content plays in getting people through the funnel. As well as giving people a reason to engage with the brand through great content, there will also be a stronger focus on content that that converts through the use of testing and optimisation, rather than publish and hope.