Did We Nail Our 2018 Predictions?
By Sarah Malcolm, COO of The Content Funnel
It’s not enough to publish predictions. We need to see how well we’ve done! Early in 2018, we made educated guesses about the direction of commercial real estate industry and content marketing. Do we need to buy a lottery ticket because we’re so on-point at seeing the future? Check out our forecasts and see.
Prediction #1: “Video and images will carry more weight.”
We wrote in How SEO Will Change in 2018: “In addition to recognizing these elements as improving a website, search engines will also start to incorporate changes in their own search functionality to make videos easier to find.”
Reflection: This holds true. Videos have a higher click-through rate, conversion rate, and ROI than text-based strategies. And videos account for half of all traffic on mobile devices. Search engines seek to deliver the most useful content people are searching for and pattern their query results after these trends. Google recommends optimizing all images and videos for discovery on Google Images, adding, “By adding more context around images, results can become much more useful, which can lead to higher quality traffic to your site.”
Prediction #2: Companies will begin to consider how their website responds to voice search.
We wrote in How SEO Will Change in 2018: “With so many more people investing in voice smart speakers, and subsequently using them to get their important questions answered – businesses are beginning to evaluate how their websites respond audibly.”
Reflection: As 2018 wrapped up, more people woke up to the idea of voice searches as a way of consumer discovery. ComScore predicts half of all searches will be voice-based by 2020. Gartner doesn’t specifically say voice searches, but it does believe around 30 percent of searches will take places “off a screen” by 2020. Mobile voice-related searches are much more likely to be local-based searches. Presently, the CRE industry is still considering the future impact of voice search. Watch this trend.
Prediction #3: “Doesn’t it seem like everyone in 2018 is starting a podcast?”
We wrote in Should You Start a CRE Podcast in 2018: “It’s the latest trend in content marketing. And, yes – it’s a form of content marketing! While you may not think of it that way, it’s just another forum for sharing valuable information with your target audience.”
Reflection: Podcasting grew, for sure. Edison Research released in April found monthly American listeners grew from 24 percent to 26 percent year-over-year from 2017 to 2018. People who listen to podcasts are more likely to be educated (45 percent have a college degree) and are more likely to have an annual income exceeding $100,000. It will be interesting to see the year-over-year growth in podcasting for 2018.
Prediction #4: Think about augmented reality.
We wrote in #KeepingCRESocial: Getting Ahead of the Game; Social Media Trends in 2018: “While augmented reality may seem like the future for gaming, more and more companies will use this cutting-edge technology in their own branding and advertising. And we think it couldn’t be more perfect for a CRE company to bring a client’s imagination alive in a virtual environment.”
Reflection: AR remains cutting-edge in the social media space. Real adoption will occur as AR sees a shift towards the mainstream. Think about it: Facebook started letting people shoot 360 degrees in its app in late 2017. Even though Facebook supports these videos, we don’t often see them in the news feed. Why? Back to adoption: not everyone has the necessary cameras or understands AR/VR tech. Expect continued growth and application into 2019.
Prediction #5: Take advantage of Instagram stories.
We wrote in #KeepingCRESocial: Getting Ahead of the Game; Social Media Trends in 2018: “It’s likely you’ve already experimented with Instagram stories on your personal account, but have you thought about bringing them into your CRE social media strategy?”
Reflection: The CRE social marketing industry still has an opportunity to grow with Instagram Stories. We’d love to see more experimentation. Our recent blog discusses the benefits of using Instagram Stories for CRE Marketing. This is a great starting point if you’re looking to experiment with your social marketing.
Prediction #6: Use automated messaging for faster service.
We wrote in #KeepingCRESocial: Getting Ahead of the Game; Social Media Trends in 2018: “Have you heard of chatbots? If you haven’t, you definitely will in 2018. Using messaging platforms to connect with your clients and prospects more quickly is taking the digital environment by storm. And it’s time for you to get ahead of the pack.”
Reflection: The CRE industry saw more adoption of the chatbot for marketing and customer service purposes. Chatbots Magazine reported the activity of chatbots for discussion grew 5.6 times year-over-year from January 2017 to January 2018. Chatbots are incredibly helpful in for initial contact. Their 24/7 availability means they’re always delivering customer service. One source citing Harvard Business Reviews claims, “a five-minute delay can result into your chances to attract lead decimation. In ten minutes the delayed answer will reduce your chances to get the effective contact up to 400%.” Additionally, smart AIs sort who’s a potential lead versus who’s just querying.
What about 2019?
As you can see, some of our forecasts were spot-on while the adoption of other initiatives is slow, but progressing. Where do we go from here? If 2018 is any indication, social marketing in the commercial real estate industry will continue to grow and change. Staying atop of the latest developments will be critical to making inroads with new clients.