A recent IFA Franchise Business Network Event that was held in Denver focused on franchise marketing and its direction in relation to current technology. Technology is feverishly changing and will affect all companies in regards to online presence and how each company is searched and recommended by artificial intelligence (AI) bots.

A vast majority of us use SIRI, Alexa or Dot frequently to queue songs, movies, and locate venues that are closest to us while driving or sitting in the comfort of our living rooms. We love our conveniences!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking searchability to new heights quickly. A few tactics we are familiar with but don’t realize how they are evolving and how their evolution directly relates to current marketing efforts.  Below are several tactics that aren’t new, but are rapidly evolving. It’s important for business owners to better understand how these evolving tactics are affecting and will affect digital marketing so steps can be taken to get ahead of the digital curve.

Keyword Searches

Google uses multiple algorithms to continuously monitor, recognize and associate, and bid on top key words and phrases to help businesses improve their searchability – making them easily found and at the head of your search.

The same premise stands with key phrases. With the employment of AI, the key phrases are transitioning to long-tail keyword searches. Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific keyword phrases that consumers are more likely to use while using voice search. It is also said that as the consumer nears their point-of-purchase, that these types of phrases are used more frequently.

Competition for industry specific key words is fierce in many industries, and growing in others, which translates into higher digital marketing costs. The bid expense for these keywords can become excessive. A great example of how this works is the difference of someone searching for “payroll services” versus “local payroll service provider in Lakewood, CO”. This will bring up providers more specific to your search and area of preference.

Recognizing and implementing long-tail keywords will establish specified, clearer lines of communication between your business and consumers that are proactively looking for your type of products or services. This also takes us back to the bottom line of our business – less competition leads to lower costs and increases value of marketing campaigns.

Online Reviews

Highlighting and publishing online reviews is increasingly becoming more important to companies. It is a leading research factor for consumers, in turn inciting companies to request more reviews to support their superior products, services and customer service. Take Amazon for example. Before you purchase anything, how many reviews do you peruse to learn every single little detail of dissatisfaction and satisfaction possible? Exactly!

Now; incorporate AI into the picture. “Hey, Siri. Which company offers the best payroll service in Crothersville, IN?” The customer just utilized the long-tail keyword that you’ve been managing in combination with AI’s capability to search all the reviews in this area to provide the consumer the most accurate recommendation(s).

Not having sufficient reviews linked to your company, or too many negative ones will impact your company equally. The more reviews that are associated with your business, the more likely you are to be among the top recommended companies by search bots.

Voice Search Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Mobile Optimization (MO) for your website is now adding a new member to the team: Voice Search Optimization (VSO). These performance solutions will work hand-in-hand and will become seamlessly integrated.

Once an ambitious idea is now a heavily relied upon part of our everyday reality. VSO is currently available on desktop, laptop and mobile devices taking convenience to a soaring new level. I’m sure you’ve used this technology yourself – in your car via hands-free voice command or by selecting the microphone prompt on your desktop/laptop/phone.

Hummingbird was the algorithm update that Google performed in 2016 that has affected 90% of all searches since. To put this into perspective, that equals approximately 3.15 billion searches daily. Just think what this will be tomorrow? Simply, Hummingbird has made searching the internet easier, faster and progressively intuitive.

Remarketing Ad Campaigns

Remarketing, aka retargeting, is very common and these ads have been in play for a while. As technology continues to spiral forward, the advancement of the tactic is also being spurred forward. I’m sure you’ve noticed that once you view those super cute shoes, they seem to follow you around begging you to buy them, or others that are similar and with a multitude of price points.

The use of your viewing data has been exploited by companies to keep their products top-of-mind throughout your browsing experience, streamline the search process and introduce new companies with similar products, as well as provide encouraging call-to-actions that will draw you back to them.

Previously, remarketing ads would follow you around on a single browser. Not today! They jump from social channels, to browsers, to online shopping portals flawlessly.

A major benefit to companies that employ remarketing tactics is actionable data that internal teams can use to increase success rates in prospect acquisition, consumer engagement, and making each decision easier by making your choice obvious.

Combined with other marketing tactics mentioned and not, remarketing ads provide additional insights that will allow marketing teams to establish patterns in consumers’ habits and interests to create stronger keywords, long-tail keyword, and voice searches.

The Future

Google reports that their Assistant is currently available on more than 400 million devices. To highlight a select few that are most commonly used: Google Home, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, headphones, TVs, and watches.

It is projected that 50% of all searches will be voice searched by 2020 1; About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020 2; there will be an estimated 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020 3; by 2019, the voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry 4; and as of the end of 2017 5, 25 million devices have been shipped, bringing the total number of voice-first devices to 33 million in circulation.

Translation (Closing)

VSO will be a necessary measure to ensure you are fully optimized to increase accessibility and searchability to your prospects and clients. Additionally, the employment of SEO, MO and VSO concurrently will be used to help minimize marketing campaign costs.

1Comscore; 2Mediapos; 3Activate; 4Technavio via Skyword; 5VoiceLabs via Mediapost