We live in a time where technology moves fast, and once-ambitious concepts like artificial intelligence (AI), data-driven marketing, and voice search are quickly becoming essential content marketing tools for many business owners in 2020. 

If your business wants to remain competitive in today’s digital marketing landscape, adapting to rapidly evolving changes and digital trends is vital. In this article, we look at 8 emerging tech trends to keep an eye on so that your business will remain relevant — or even thrive — in this age of continuous innovation.

Read more about our earlier take on how digital marketing might change in the future here.

Visual search

Phone mockup of how visual search works
Visual search uses real-world images as the stimuli for an online search.
Image Credit: Target

Visual search is an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that allows consumers to find products or services just by taking a picture of an item, pointing a camera towards it, or uploading an image rather than entering keywords. 

Over the past few years, visual search has become a popular form of searching information, alongside voice search. It’s not surprising that tech giants hopped on to the visual search bandwagon by launching Pinterest Lens and Google Lens.

Visual search will allow better optimisation for content marketers

While the technology still needs a few more improvements, visual search will heavily impact SEO when it becomes readily available. 

Visual search can help content marketers work smarter on their SEO optimisation. As it currently stands, search engines aren’t able to decipher what appears in an image without the help of a content marketer manually creating tags for an image. This proves to be a tedious, laborious process as different people can write different tags, and some relevant, useful tags may be overlooked.

Visual search technology features deep tagging —  an image-to-text feature that tags images automatically and makes them interpretable for search engines. With this technology, images will be SEO-friendly, making it readily searchable for potential consumers. 

Conversational marketing

Leveraging on the power of real-time conversations and two-way dialogue, conversational marketing can help businesses engage with customers and move them through the marketing and sales funnel seamlessly. 

For example, local food delivery service Foodpanda made news when the customer service staff asked the customer to solve a riddle while the team resolved the issue on their end.

Screenshot of foodpanda delivery help centre
Conversational marketing uses chatbots, live chat, and targeted messaging to foster genuine conversations with consumers.
Image Credit: Chin Hoe Lee / Facebook

Consumers today want real-time conversations. And by conversation, we don’t mean beating around the bush and not getting to the task at hand. 

Also, instead of plainly going by the book and answering “Please wait a moment as we resolve the issue on our end”, adding in personality and humour can foster higher engagement and greater loyalty. 

Formality creates barriers between businesses and consumers. It’s difficult to form a connection with a business that just wants to “get to it” and end the conversation quickly. 

Conversational marketing can work together with content marketing to drive customer engagement

Conversational marketing works because it builds relationships and creates authentic experiences. If done promptly, it can further drive customer engagement and develop customer loyalty.

While conversational marketing strategy helps to bridge the gap between consumers and businesses, not responding promptly can negate the effort you put in.

Consumers don’t want to fill out a form and wait for a response. They don’t want to ask a question on Facebook Messenger and get a reply 4 days later. If their questions can be answered real-time, then hot leads and conversions can happen more quickly. 

Chatbots

We should all be relatively familiar with chatbots by now. Chatbots continue to be an essential part of digital marketing to many businesses online. Almost all service websites we go to have that chat button on the bottom right to help answer any queries we may have about their products or services. 

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) programme that can simulate a conversation with a user through messaging apps, websites, or phone. Businesses can automate specific tasks like answering FAQs or offer information or services on demand, improving customer experience through efficient engagement. 

One of the most significant advantages of chatbots is that unlike other apps which require sufficient memory space to download and update, chatbots are integrated directly to a website or an existing platform. This way, businesses can offer a more streamlined and pleasant user experience, with faster and more straightforward customer service interactions. 

Gif of BusUncle chatbot
You can automate your customer service with a chatbot.
Image Credit: Tech in Asia

A prime example in the local context would be BusUncle — a Facebook Messenger bot who tells you how long you have to wait for your bus. Instead of downloading several apps to check bus arrival timings, users can hop onto Facebook Messenger (which many already have installed) and chat with BusUncle to get the arrival timings. 

Chatbots will create demand for highly customised interaction 

Just like BusUncle and its unique Singlish slangs and jokes , doubling up your marketing efforts to create a personalised approach using chatbots will undoubtedly impress your consumers. 

Consumers are bombarded with tons of content and information every day. With chatbots, your business may be able to surprise them with relatable interactions. In turn, this will increase your brand’s trustworthiness and awareness and help you gain a competitive edge in your industry.

Chatbots will open up content marketing opportunities

One thing that’s for sure with chatbots is that you’ll be able to capture what your consumers are asking or looking for, and tailor your content around it. 

A chatbot can be your key resource to information and data on your consumers. Your consumers will ask tons of questions — some of which your chatbot may not have answers to. 

There are bound to be loopholes, but these loopholes could be your best source of information about your consumers’ browsing and purchasing behaviour.

Your business can use these unanswered questions to create targeted landing pages or improve your existing pages to offer more comprehensive information on your products or services. You can analyse the questions asked, and see where your business is lacking and make improvements. 

Voice search and smart speakers

Amazon Alexa, a virtual assistant on the table
Amazon Alexa is a virtual assistant with voice search feature.

You’ve surely heard “Hey Siri”, “Ok Google”, or “Hey Alexa” at some point.

These 3 virtual assistants have become integrated into our daily lives. And voice search is fast becoming more common. 

Voice search is the technology that enables speaking into the search engine to request information. As opposed to typing related keywords on Google, you speak to your voice assistants to search for information. 

A survey done in July 2019 found that 48% of consumers are using voice for general web search. And it isn’t a trend that’s slowing down. That’s why many content marketing agencies are optimising for rank zero snippet — the essential answer that voice assistants give when responding to user questions. 

Long-tail keywords will become the norm

With voice technology increasingly favoured over typing queries, the way people perform online search may change. Short-tail keywords will likely become less relevant. 

When we manually type in our queries into search engines like Google, we usually use the least number of words possible. Maybe even with just 1 word — as Google may already suggest relevant searches. However, we’ll speak more conversationally when using voice search. For example, instead of typing “Best restaurant”, we’ll ask “Hey Google, what is the best restaurant in Singapore?” 

As such, the increasing use of long-tail keywords may have a significant impact on the type of keywords we use in our SEO strategy. 

Optimising for more than just Google

The growing popularity of voice search and smart speakers bring about more players into the search marketing industry. 

Tech giants like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon are already building their gateways on voice-enabled web platforms . Thus, it’s imperative that we no longer just optimise for Google, but also focus on making websites visible on other platforms as well. 

For example, while Google gives high priority to local results, Amazon Alexa gets local search results from Yelp. So, it’s necessary to ensure that your website is optimised for multiple sources on the web.

Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing has become a widely popular tool in the marketing industry and is expected to grow to a whopping $2.4 billion by 2023.  

It uses real-time targeting based on a user’s location. It allows businesses to send app notifications, text messages, or other forms of communication when they’re within a defined area. 

With great potential to engage prospective customers for a targeted campaign, geo-fencing marketing can create valuable interactions between customers and businesses. Sephora, for example, uses geo-fencing advertising. They send a reminder to users with unspent gift cards when they enter a geofenced zone close to a store. 

Geo-fencing will bring in demand for more personalisation and targeting

Personalisation is key to a successful marketing campaign. People are only interested in what’s relevant to their likes and interests. An average person sees an average of 6,000 – 10,000 ads daily . What will make people pay attention to your ad?

Geo-fencing can play a crucial role in understanding your customer’s needs and tailoring a content marketing plan around it. 

Putting out the right message at the right time can be vital. Be it a campaign to create more interest and engagement, or to better understand your customers’ behaviour.

5G technology

Image of 5G interconnection
5G technology is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything.

With the nationwide rollout for 5G technology, it may be time to look into investing content marketing in 5G technology. 

While 4G (what we’re currently using) requires cables and infrastructure, 5G runs on a cloud-based network. Its cellular towers amplify cloud-based signals, eliminating cable-related needs and connecting people on mobile devices to the internet faster. 

More people will be consuming more online content with 5G technology

High loading speeds and better connectivity means more people will likely consume more online content via their devices. 

If you’re behind on digital and content marketing, it’s time to start developing an online presence. More people will be spending more time on the internet, and less on traditional content like newspapers and magazines.

Expand your business internet presence by starting a company blog, creating marketing videos, and getting your business profile on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Tiktok.

Read about the digital marketing trends you need to know here.

5G technology opens up more opportunity for experimental and creative content for marketing

Visual and media for ads could be more advanced due to higher network speeds and capabilities of 5G. For example, with 5G, you can have interactive ads that allow you to play the game in the advertisement before downloading it. 

5G technology will open up more opportunities for businesses to experiment with interactive content, reach wider audiences in more rural areas, and introduce branded immersive experiences for their audience.

Neuromarketing

Neuroscience devices monitoring brain activity
Neuromarketing is the application of neuroscience to marketing.

This may be an unfamiliar term for those new to marketing. However, neuromarketing has been around for decades. Big brands like Netflix use neurotrackers to predict how successful their shows will be. And the predictions are at an 84% accuracy rate

Neuromarketing is a mix of using neuroscience and marketing to help businesses gauge the emotional resonance of their current and future marketing campaigns. The main goal of neuromarketing is to gain insight into what would make a campaign more effective. 

Businesses can design more effective content marketing plans with neuromarketing

Heatmaps aren’t a new thing in the design and content industry . Experts use it all the time to understand how users behave and where they’re looking at a webpage. But did you know it’s part of neuromarketing? 

You can make use of neuromarketing to create more effective design and content for your landing pages. For example, you could create content that triggers strong emotions (whether it’s positive or negative). Consumers are likely to absorb and retain content that elicits personal emotions.  

Similarly, surprising the brain with unexpected word choices can pique consumer interest. For instance, when we read the phrase “Money can’t buy ___”, our brain likely pre-fills the final word as “happiness”. Content marketers can manipulate the language and play word games like “Money can’t buy a rainbow-coloured unicorn ”, which generates more interest for the consumers to find out more. 

Need help in getting started on content marketing? We’re a content marketing agency in Singapore that’s more than happy to help you with your marketing needs.