Being an inbound marketer and producing content daily, I knew I've been sensing a huge shift over the past 2 years. But where content is going in the future is really mind blowing. "We are currently experiencing a core shift in the world and changes in the industry,dive-in" said, Kipp Bodnar - CMO Hubspot at the recent Social Fresh 2016 conference. In fact, the title of the conference was "The Death of Owned Content." which of course, peaked my interest.
So what's shifting?dive in...
Way back when the internet was still on dial-up, people accessed internet content through Yahoo and AOL searches. They acted as a front door, home page portal.
Birth of Search Engines
Search engines came along and the SEO industry was born overnight and became a huge driving force in business. Hubspot itself has 70% of old content being rediscovered through search. SEO still work and is predicated on relevant keywords and number of inbound links.
Mobile Friendliness, Security, and Speed
But this is changing in a big and fast way. Back in the dial-up dark ages, mobile has not even considered a factor when search engines were born and sites were ranked because it was just barely becoming an option. But Google now ranks sites on the mobile friendly version of websites and mobile internet has exceeded desktop search. Security and site speed is the main part of Google discovery algorithms.
Getting Fast Answers- Speed and Ease of Use Wins
Google is now advancing on the idea of predicting the question into giving an answer box for the predicted question. Such as how to house train a dog. The first thing Google gives in a search, after the Ads, is a “How To” box that allows for the reader to see the steps right on the search page without clicking a link to another site.
Amazon is utilizing the same thing but taking it a step further with Echo, which is hands-free and voice-activated.
“SEO is all about change. There's going to be more change coming.” - Matt Cutts, former head of search quality, Google
Looking to the Future
- 60% of time spent online is now spent on a mobile device
- 86% time spent on mobile apps
- Really just 5 apps when looking at the data
- Facebook owns 4 of the top 6 communication platform
Because people don’t have time for numerous apps we are narrowing our focus on apps to a handful of applications which is causing content discovery to change.
- Buzzfeed grew from 2.8 billion to 7 billion 7 billion monthly views in a year.
- 75% of those views happened off of buzzfeed.com and happened on Snapchat video,
- Facebook video and their mobile app
- 25% of monthly traffic on the website
This is a good lesson when we look to the future.
Future of Traditional SEO
Hubspot has discovered that the biggest way people discover their old content, as previously mentioned, is through the mobile app home page. It’s a different algorithm to get there that involves recommends, the velocity of recommends and the number of people recommending there is also an editorial team that can add extra weight and get the content on the homepage, which is different than Google.
New platforms are rising bypassing search platforms altogether.
- Google - 3.5 billion searches a day
- Facebook - 1.5 billion searches a day on the core platform
When Google rose to prominence it was the birth of SEO and they grew together, but now social media is taking over. This trend is interesting in that the marketing of Facebook is fragmented such as the ad side and the organic side.
"Judge a company's priorities by its pixels. This is an announcement that sits at the very top of a feature that sits at the very top of FB. It follows a year of intense, smart, and creative experimentation in this area. This isn't a lark. If you've been paying attention, you've been noticing more and more public content/search/trend features popping up all over FB this year." - Blake Ross, Co-Founder of Mozilla
Social as a content discovery channel is very insulated. But what Facebook is doing well is that everything is connected across platforms such as Instagram, Whatsapp, and Messenger and Facebook are using social content to determine what is trending and relevant to users. Google is missing out on the social trending aspect of the searches.
Where Does Online Content Live?
Facebook and Google are having a battle over where content lives.
"What's really changing here, then, is not the length of the tweet. It's where that link at the bottom takes you when you click on it - or, rather, where it doesn't take you. - Will Oremus, Senior Technology Editor at Slate
So what is happening is that instead of clicking a link as in the past, now the link is disappearing and the article is embedded as a part of the platform.
You can basically have a faster, better experience inside of the platform instead of going out of that network back to your site. They are working to keep the attention within their network. If you want to keep that attention you will need to focus on their network and do more things such as Facebook live video, recorded video, and instant articles, within their network instead of a click and link back to your site.
Snapchat is a great example of this and is serving more than 15 billion video views a day, isolated within that platform, not sending the views anywhere, staying in the Snapchat app.
What about Voice Search?
Voice search is also making moves into this information area. The three main leaders are Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.
Siri was first and well ahead of everyone else, but Alexa is taking that a step further and is leading usage adoption.
The Advantages of Voice Search
- Natural Language - user doesn't have to think about query framing
- Expanded Search Windows - opens up to doing queries in different ways
- Ties into different platforms - example: turn off lights in house and will also find out shipping status of Amazon order
- History and context - Context depends on which one can platform it out and wide variety of use cases
“Projections from comScore suggest that voice will drive 200 billion searches a month by 2020.That is a massive change and will affect everyone. “
The main difference will be going from an entry in a list of search results to being THE answer to the query. The question will be “How are you the definitive answer?”
Google has an incredible access to data and Amazon has incredible infrastructure on AWS that Amazon can build on.
How will Messaging Apps play into content?
The Big 4 of messaging apps surpassed the Big 4 Social networking apps. Twitter’s growth has stalled, and Facebook itself has a slowed growth but they are growing in other ways. Messenger being one. Messaging apps have grown dramatically and accessed information different ways.
60 billion messages run through messenger and WhatsApp every day.
That’s a ton of insight from conversations around us and our brands. It’s the next layer of the social web. There are 900 million people on messenger and it’s being used in ways not thought of before. You can order flowers and have entire e-commerce on messenger including options for new services and new products that go directly to Facebook messenger.
People do not want to install a new app for every business interaction. The future is likely to be picking a terminal like messenger.
Content Discovery Changing
People are discovering information through app search, social search, voice search and conversational search.
We are in the behavior change of this process. What do you do and think about?
An important understanding of this is to know the core behavior of your market. Update buyer percentage and do audience research to understand how these changes are going to hit your specific market.
Don’t Panic - This is an Opportunity
A decade ago Youtube was just coming out of college, Facebook was just starting, Twitter was soon to come. This feels like another one of those times. If you are an interested participant you can get on board early and get new leverage for your business.
The future is already here, it just isn't evenly distributed yet. But you can stay ahead of the curve or at least current with what's happening by understanding your audience. Knowing what works for them and how you can best use a medium to reach them to build a relationship.
If you'd like help with updating your marketing or identifying the best mediums to reach your buyer personas, we can help.
Let's chat: My name is Jessika Phillips and you can reach me by clicking the contact below.
References: The Shift in Content according to Kipp Bodnar - CMO HubspotSocial Fresh 2016 recap of the Death of Owned Content presentation