Seasoned marketers don’t like surprises, we like trends.
Trends predict a reaction, allow you to avert disaster and to build your clients’ businesses.
The global pandemic was bound to impact on trends, how could it not? The whole world has been forced into acting differently, had restrictions imposed and to a point, fear, for nearly 2 years now.
At White Knight Marketing we often check out anomalies that we find, across our vast access to data.
We are lucky to have many clients and a lot of intelligence about their businesses to hand. From a local level, it means we can talk with authority, and from our clients’ perspective, we are not relying on ‘gut feeling’ or ‘guesswork’. This gives our clients confidence, and us confidence to advise them on current trends.
Our data comes from a wide range of intelligence. For instance we have access to over hundred current Google Analytics and Search Console accounts, 59 social media accounts, plus our clients’ feedback on what they are experiencing right now – we are well placed to give a great local overview without breaching client confidentiality.
So where am I going with this?
This week I created a four year demographics analysis for a client in the tourism and hospitality market, and as a consequence we uncovered some very interesting changes in trends; some expected, some predictable, some giving ‘cause for thought’.
It was the ‘cause for thought’ anomalies that set me and my analytical brain off in a direction that I once thought of as irreversible…
In 2018, after many years of warning, Google switched over to mobile first ranking. In effect, they stop monitoring performance on desktop sites, and only monitored the performance of your mobile site. In the world of marketing we all felt this was an obvious move, albeit harsh, as trends had been pushing towards an increase in mobile viewing for many years, escalating in the previous two. Data viewing was becoming faster and the prediction was that this would only improve. And it did.
THE COVID EFFECT
Having set their eyes on the mobile future, Google pushed us all down the mobile road and we spent a great deal of our marketing time and budget in ensuring that all things website were amazing on mobile devices.
Now here's the rub ...
The research I’ve undertaken this week has led me to question that trend currently (and I stress this could be an anomaly), as I’m seeing the trend reverse in many, many of our clients’ cases. And not by just a little. Desktop browsing is increasing again!
This got us thinking, so we looked at what sort of companies were experiencing reversals and what could be the reasons.
Why the change?
The outcomes are not surprising when you think about it – but the implications could be important…
The types of companies experiencing this flux were those with customers who were now working from home. Their customers were no longer having a quick browse from their phones during their break, they were using their laptop/ PCs instead. They were customers who had previously had office-based jobs…
As a marketer, how we advise you to present on a desktop and mobile is considered carefully. The call to action is placed in different areas, the opportunities to interact are very different (think how you personally respond to both platforms), so this now has us monitoring our clients’ analytics a lot more closely in this area again, as we track this new trend. And it is a new trend because it’s happening across so many sites right now!
How long it will last, we don’t know. If behaviours have changed as a result, we don’t know. Will we take this into account when helping our clients? Most certainly!
Effective marketing is always about predicting trends, looking for new ones and reacting in a timely way to what you can see. It’s about being ready and not being caught on the backfoot – and in the case of local marketing, our speciality, it’s about understanding your clients’ audience preferences and needs.
Watch this space.