More complex online search possibilities and the merging of data from multiple sources including social media will see the Internet reinvent itself all over again in the next couple of years, according to the experts at Traffika.
This means an effective digital marketing strategy has never been more important to a company’s success.
Traffika Managing Director Matt Forman said “already search engines are becoming more sophisticated to deal with how people are using more complex search terms to narrow down their results so the strategies companies use to achieve results need to become more advanced in their approach as well”.
Mr Forman said while many companies were still just dipping their toes into the waters of digital marketing through search engines and social media, the Internet was evolving at a startling pace.
“It is not enough to just set up a Facebook page or Twitter account and post items a couple of times a week. To get real return on investment you need to take a strategic approach, just as you would with any other aspect of your business,” Mr Forman said.
“Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web as it is caled, is already in its early stages,” he said.
“This new evolution of the web will see search engines examine the human meaning of the search words and phrases before searching. Then information from multiple sources will be merged to provide more meaningful search results,” he said.
“For example if you do a search for ‘best plasma tv’, information on the best models, prices, customer reviews and warranties can all be returned and presented in a single result.”
Mr Forman said there was also already a meshing of social media with search, where individuals could search for information posted by their trusted networks in a new digital evolution of word-of-mouth referrals.
“Another aspect, which is already moving forward at breakneck speed because of the increasing sophistication of mobile phones and other portable devices, is local search where your location and your online social network is taken into account by search engines so you are presented with information that is more relevant to you.
“For example, if you are looking to go out and grab a coffee your mobile device could give you information about cafes as well as the locations and activities of your friends to allow you to invite them to join you.”
Mr Forman said the future was already here. “It’s all about the meshing of search, social, local and mobile technologies and companies need to ensure that they are geared up to maximise the opportunities it brings.”
In terms of search complexity research has shown that the length of search terms is getting longer. In the four-week period to the end of February 2010, clicks made through searches over eight words grow by 8.3%, and by 5.3% for over seven words. At the same time searches using one word fell by 1.1%, with search over two words falling by 1.5%.*
Mr Forman said because of all the development online it meant that digital marketing strategies also had to evolve to more astutely take advantage of the benefits the technology offered.
“These changes mean that consumers will be presented with more refined and limited results so digital marketing strategies need to address that.
“We call it 360 degrees digital. Traffika develops cost-effective strategies that address all areas of the digital world – search, social, local and mobile – in a targeted way which achieves measurable results.”
He said strategies could include digital promotions encouraging social media referrals or mentions as well as integration of a company’s corporate web presence with its social media campaign through optimisation and other approaches.
“There isn’t any one size fits all approach because there are so many different variables for different businesses. Businesses need to taker a professional approach and seek the advice of experts. However this doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive and people should ensure that like other marketing activities they undertake, there are effective ways to measure results.”
Mr Forman said one of the beauties of the digital world was that everything was measurable so campaigns could be tailored as they went to achieve optimal results.
For more information about digital marketing and leading industry insight visit our blog or follow Matt on Twitter at @mattforman.
*Research from Experian Hitwise from a study of the four weeks ending 27 February 2010