The online world is ever-changing and doing so at a rapid pace. For businesses looking to grow online, it is important to understand how best to navigate this online world and create strategic partnernships with those who can help you achieve your goals. It is also good to use the past to help understand what may be coming in the future. User behavior changes. The rise of social media affects how we interact with each other online. The ever-changing algorithms of Google change how search results pages appear. So, what can we potentially expect in the future?
Here’s some ideas of what search might just look like down the road
Search will no longer be limited to the search box or to users specifically seeking information online. Companies like Google and other players will get better at intuiting information we seek and will present it in the context of what we’re doing and/ or before we even know we need the information. Currently, the engines are collecting and connecting data points and they’ll soon accurately provide specific product or service recommendations. For example, if headed to the airport, you could be offered a cab ride or lounge access passes via your mobile device, via wearable tech, via email, etc.
We’ll see more search functionality in platforms we use daily as people are spending more time on mobile devices and in applications. WeChat (based in China) has already integrated search functionality into its voice and text communication service and Facebook is working on this as well. The WhatsApp acquisition and that Facebook recently forced users to opt into a new messenger service are strong signs they could be headed in this direction.
Native ads will become more commonplace. For this, the search engines need to understand user/intent then serve up ads. It’s a tough nut to crack but I expect to see more companies come to the table with new and/or improved native ad formats. Recently, Facebook upgraded their native ads formats and introduced new ad templates and horizontal scrolling capability.
More companies will attempt to crack the “cross device attribution” nut. Very recently, Google moved from “estimated cross device conversions” to “cross device conversions” and now surface information with a 95%+ confidence level (the information is based on anonymized data and/or logged on users). Also, Bing Ads has integrated search functionality into various MSFT products like Xbox, MS Office, Cortana (MSFT’s digital personal assistant), etc. and is attempting to understand search/user behavior from different platforms, different device types, etc.