Our VP of Digital Strategy, Erik Hinds, attended the Transformation of Search Summit in New York City, and came back with a number of great takeaways. We’ll be putting this knowledge to use immediately for our clients, and wanted to share a distilled version of what was covered. 

Takeaway 1: Search = Gratification

Nowadays, search is simply about delivering instant gratification. Customers expect to be able to find what they need quickly, whether it’s content, pictures, videos or other media.

This lesson has to apply to websites, too. Sites must be fast and deliver exactly what the customer is looking for. In fact, it’s expected that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. 

While organic SEO is essential, companies should also be supplementing with paid search. You have to do what it takes to get in front of someone, get them to your site and cookie them. Grabbing the top paid and top organic search positions is a major brand-awareness driver. 

Furthermore, the search engine results page (SERP) is constantly changing. Just because you own a top organic spot now doesn’t mean it’s yours forever. Google has proven to be a disruptor with algorithm updates and new SERP features. 

Takeaway 2: The Future of ecommerce is Visual

It’s estimated that people retain 10 percent of what they hear, 20 percent of what they read, and 80 percent of what they see. Successful digital-born brands are building real experiences with physical stores, such as Casper Mattresses and Amazon opening physical pop-up shops. Even when thinking about digital marketing, it’s essential to consider the physical elements of your presence. 

Brand loyalty is declining and buyers rely on the new digital, non-linear path to purchase. Intercepting these buyers at multiple stages of the purchase journey is imperative.

Using platforms like Pinterest, you can reach buyers very early in the planning stages. Did you know that many people start planning Thanksgiving gatherings during the 4th of July holiday? 

Takeaway 3: Optimize your Content on YouTube

Listed as the number one online channel for Generation Z, surpassing even Netflix, all ages of users regularly visit YouTube. With 1.9 billion users a month, YouTube accounts for approximately one-third of all internet usage. And while many companies actively utilize YouTube as a marketing platform, very few invest in optimizing their video content. 

When planning and creating content for YouTube, it’s important to focus on what your users want and the problems they’re trying to solve. Remember, they’re probably not on YouTube to learn more about your company; they’re looking for specific information that can help in a specific situation. Research what your competitors are doing, and more specifically, what’s working for them and getting the most views. 

Make sure you’re using the right keywords and video optimizations. This includes title description, filename, tags, closed captioning and transcripts. All this relates directly to how users will find your content and how you rank against the competition. Most importantly, measure your results utilizing YouTube analytics and keep moving forward with continuous refinement and optimization. 

Risdall can help make sure you’re ahead of the curve as search continues to transform, even if you’re just getting started. Contact [email protected] to schedule a call with one of our search experts to ensure you survive, and thrive, in today’s competitive online marketplace.