We have roared our way into 2018 and we have seen some early trends that we think will dominate this year (or possibly harm your business if you choose to ignore them). 2017 was the year of personalization (just look at the AR Bitmojis on Snapchat) and in 2018 we see that trend reaching to user experiences on your website. The other big area you better keep your eyes on in 2018 will be the changes to search, which impacts how you are optimizing your content.
Here are our top five web tech trends we are watching in 2018.Our Number One Web Tech Trend - Conversational AI
2017 saw an explosion of smart home adoption, partly thanks to the Echo Dot and Google Home Mini ($30), making it extremely affordable for anyone to jump into the new horizons of conversational AI. Early predictions for 2017 showed the smart home market growing at a 40% rate year over year, meaning everyone is now yelling “Alexa” or “Okay Google,” Even this Grandma was giving it a shot.
“Already 20% of mobile searches on Google are being made with voice, and with the rate of growth we have seen between Alexa and Google Home, consumers are becoming retrained to search conversationally. That means we can’t rely on the same optimization practices we have been using,” said Clay Campbell, CTO at The Idea People. “Between Siri, Bixby, Google Assistant, Alexa and Google Home, conversational AI is the new norm and the language of the future.”Our Number Two Web Tech Trend - Spot Zero
The first spot was so last year and if you want to rank on Google, you have to listen to Google. So listen up, seriously, this trend is a game changer. In 2018 everyone should be targeting Spot Zero.
When asking a question on Google you might see an answer box appear on top of any organic or paid listings. This is what the industry is referring to as ‘spot zero.’ “In 2017 we saw Google transition many search queries into displaying dedicated answer boxes. We see this trend growing in 2018, in part due to Google having a patent on this technology and Google loves promoting their technology,” added Campbell.
This isn’t your grandpa’s SEO, so how can you optimize for ‘spot zero?’ Optimization for ‘spot zero’ begins with understanding how Google is searching for this content. This means your content needs to answer what and why questions. “We have noticed that Google is primarily picking up blog articles for their answer boxes,” said Campbell. “That leads to the question of how you should optimize your blogs for answer boxes.”Here are three quick bonus tips:
Facebook is the Godfather of Microinteractions, and that is why you have wasted more hours on FB than you would ever admit. (Thanks for nothing, Facebook.) A microinteraction occurs when positive and fun feedback is provided, typically an animation, for completing a desired action on a website. It almost becomes addicting (it is addicting) for users by releasing a little bit of dopamine into your brain.
Facebook continues to grow these microinteractions in more substantial ways (to further your dependence on them, we are really just living in a Facebook world). Recently you might have seen a Facebook comment where one of your friends wrote “congratulations” and the text is changed to red. If you click on the word, you will see a burst of confetti across the screen which looks freaking awesome. Apple has also started using this within iMessage for special holidays and phrases providing that “wow moment.”
“In 2018 we see micro-interactions rolling into mainstream websites. A few simple uses would be providing feedback when a customer adds an item to their cart or completes a contact form. This is where people stop reading your website like a book, and instead start absorbing the content in your website. In a weird way at that point they are building an emotional bond with your site,” says Campbell.Our Number Four Web Tech Trend - Website Flexibility, Payment Options
In 2018 everyone wants it their way and they want it right now. We specifically see a trend in changing payment options to help customize your web experience and provide customers with real-time and flexible options.
Amazon was the first to spoil us with one-click purchasing, dash button ordering and voice purchasing, making it quicker and easier than ever to complete a purchase. In 2018 your website should provide multiple purchasing options to fit what your customers like to use while they shop online. “We see options like enabling digital wallet payments like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay. Or, third-party payment options like Amazon or PayPal. All of these options allow customers to find the fit for them and complete the checkout process faster. And that results in more purchases,” added Campbell.Our Number Five Web Tech Trend - Guided Selling
Customers don’t want just anything; they want something made specifically for themselves. This is where guided selling comes into play. “Think of guided selling as a simple quiz that asks the customer about personality traits, product usage habits and other questions in a fun and interactive format,” says Campbell. “Each question is tied to a product attribute, providing a solution that matches the customer's exact needs.” Trek Bikes offers an excellent use of this. By using guided selling, you are providing an interactive element on your website to keep customers engaged longer and giving them more power which can lead to higher conversions.
Do you agree with our 2018 web predictions? Even though the year has just begun, we already have strong experience with each of our predictions (think of us as time travelers) and are here to help you implement any of these on your own website or any new projects you have planned for this year. You can always reach us at 704-398-4437 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.