Flip the Switch Episode 16: 2018 Digital Predictions

John Saunders
By John Saunders

Flip the Switch Episode 16: 2018 Digital Predictions

 

AUSTIN: Today on Flip the Switch. EBay and Target make some huge acquisitions to further combat Amazon’s takeover. An Overstock CEO wants to quit retail and go into cryptos full-time despite surging share prices.

Our main topic of discussion revolves around digital trends and predictions for 2018. We discuss mobile as a priority. General guidelines and regulations, and the advancement of mobile search.

 

Let’s get into it.

 

00:57 AUSTIN: Welcome to Flip the Switch presented by Power Digital Marketing. This is episode 16 and we are really excited to have you on board.

 

01:02 PAT: Yeah, really excited to have all of you guys here. We just got finished putting together some great content. Had a really good interview that we’re going to be putting out next week with Mark Divine.

 

01:14 AUSTIN: Very excited about that. He’s an absolutely interesting individual philosophy-wise, mental strength and physical strength combining into being an all-around successful individual.

 

01:24 PAT: Yeah, and he’s also a Navy SEAL. So, he could destroy us.

 

01:28 AUSTIN: (laughing) There’s that side of it as well.

 

Yeah, so getting to today we have our business news and trends per usual. We’ve got some very fascinating topics to get to. And then main discussion we’ll be doing digital predications for 2018. Since we are in this vertical and we spend a lot of time dealing with this… we’ve got some key points to bring up.

 

01:45 PAT: Yeah, and you know as companies are going to be moving into the next fiscal year and re-evaluating budgets and things like that, digital is something that should be top of the mind. So we just want to lay out some trends that we’re going to see and kind of what that all is going to mean as far as what you should be planning for your marketing mix.

 

But before we get to that, we have some business to get into.

 

02:04 AUSTIN: All right. Getting to our news and trends. We’re going to be talking about how Amazon has influenced a couple of big companies to make some changes to their e-commerce platforms.

 

First up, eBay. They purchased… I believe… an analytics marketing company to really nail in and drive into their market place sellers and buyers.

 

02:21 PAT: Yeah, so eBay acquired Terapeak basically to provide more analytics to their marketplace. Sellers… again, this is very clearly mimicking Amazon. What they said in a quote… actually this is Terapeak CEO and president saying that eBay’s planned acquisition of Terapeak makes so much sense for everyone involved. Particularly their customers, they’re excited to continue the vision of empowering merchants of empowering merchants to discover what to sell on eBay. And how to optimize their listings for maximum performance.

 

When I read that, I remember thinking that sounds really familiar doesn’t it?

 

02:51 AUSTIN: Right.

 

02:52 PAT: Yeah, here’s all the data. Here’s how to make it better. And it’s really astonishing that they weren’t doing this before.

 

02:58 AUSTIN: You think about eBay and they were really the first mover in terms of e-commerce marketplace. So buyer and seller atmosphere. And then they really just got pushed out because Amazon came in and just did it better. And it’s boiled down to Amazon really paying attention to their numbers. So we’ve heard a little bit… we’ve talked a bit about that.

 

When they transitioned into being a larger company in the 21st century…they really paid attention to their core competencies. And then what the users wanted. And the way they got there is by looking at their numbers. Looking at their on-page metrics and what the individual was doing when they entered the website.

 

03:27 PAT: Yeah, and that’s something that eBay just failed to do. You know, just talking about this, it seems to me that eBay is to Amazon what Snapchat is to Instagram. It was the first mover, it was a really good idea. They stopped innovating and stopped trying to get better because they thought that they had the marketplace secured.

 

And then immediately got blown past by Amazon. Now to the point where it’s not even a competition anymore.

 

03:47 AUSTIN: So it looks like eBay’s really going to be focusing on the seller hub and they want it to become much more integrated with their merchants and provide a single place to manage and evaluate that side of their business. So they’re really trying to bring the small business owner… maybe the person that just does this as their side-project… and elevate their business. They want it to be a place where they can really drill into who their selling to and then manage the entire business on eBay.

 

04:13 PAT: Yeah, exactly. They want that to be the hub where you’re making all of your decisions. And there’s a digital marketing tactic in itself, right? You wanna keep people on a website for as long as possible by making it tactful, making it sticky. They need to stay.

 

04:25 AUSTIN: Yeah, and you see that as a little bit of a difference than what Amazon provides itself as. And that is they are the one-stop shop for consumers. And it seems like eBay is trying to head a direction as, “We are the one-stop shop for you to sell.” So that’s the flip side.

 

04:38 PAT: Totally. And I’m reading this article… again, for everybody that wants to look this up, this is on Tech Crunch. Just came out today. This is eBay’s 60th acquisition, which isn’t that notable because eBay acquires lots of companies right? But the last 3 have all been geared at providing better data to eBay users. Specifically its sellers and its shoppers. So Sales Predict, which was acquired in 2016 does the same type of thing as Teradata… which is another company that was acquired. Corrigon, which is a visual search engine that eBay acquired for 30 million dollars last year. They’re trying to make 3rd party products more discoverable and kind of tie in that related product feed to things that people have viewed.

 

Which again… ding, ding, ding… sounds exactly like Amazon.

 

So this is obviously something that is just reflective of the fact that Amazon does have that controlling share of the market and that’s really providing the most value to sellers and consumers.

 

On the flip-side, another thing that we’re seeing is Target trying to compete more head-on with Amazon.

 

05:34 AUSTIN: Yup. So that’s the next one. And they’re doing another innovation tactic that Amazon has used to their benefit is 1 day shipping. And Target has purchased a company called “Shipped.” they are an Alabama based company and they bought them for 550 million dollars. All cash.

 

05:48 PAT: Chump change. All cash. And the thing that’s really interesting about this too is that it’s just… it’s like the 3rd or 4th thing we’ve seen Target do in the last few months to try to get in a little bit closer to the level of consumer service that Amazon provides. They linked up their inventory to Google Home, so you can shop directly for things that are Target inventory there. Make “to-do” lists and grocery lists that way.

 

Target and Walmart and… I’m forgetting which one right now… it might have been Walmart is doing this in-home delivery… grocery delivery right to your front door. Again, it’s just such an easy, consumer experience. And so immediate. And really the people who brought that to play was Amazon. They were the ones that came into the market and said, “Hey, here’s everybody’s doing, but we care about you–the consumer–more than they do. And we can prove it by offering 1 day shipping and things like that.”

Digital_Traditional PR

06:38 AUSTIN: And in home delivery didn’t really do that great at the turn of the 21st century. We saw certain places like Ralph’s was one of them and Albertson’s were trying to do it. And the fact of the matter is it’s just too much work. And it takes too long. And then you get your stuff, and it’s too late, and maybe you don’t need it.

 

The 1 day shipping is a big change in that. In the moment you think you want something and then boom, there it is. So that makes it seem like it was such a good idea because you have that feeling associated with the purchase. And it’s integrating very quickly and much more rapidly. So…

 

07:09 PAT: Exactly. You don’t have the buyer’s remorse aspect of it either. And that’s really what they want to protect too. Because if you get buyer’s remorse from a product that you bought on Amazon let’s say…?

 

07:15 AUSTIN: You may not return.

 

07:16 PAT: Yeah. I mean, not that Amazon’s a great example for that because people are probably going to back no matter what. But if you buy something from Target, it takes a little while to get there. The whole time you’re thinking, “Ah, I might have blown it.” You’re either going to cancel your order, or you’re going to have mixed feelings about it when you get it.

 

Amazon’s goal has always been to delight you with that package that you get. Their logo literally has a smiley face in it. Did you know that? It literally has a smiley-face in it? Learned that in a consumer behavior class. It’s like subliminal advertising. That’s their goal. They’re trying to delight you.

 

07:44 AUSTIN: We should get into that.

 

07:46 PAT: Yeah, yeah. Subliminal messaging.

 

07:47 AUSTIN: Yeah, so shipped… it’s going to be rolled out a little bit slower for Target as they figure this out. It is going to act as a subsidiary, so it’ll be still functioning as its own business. It’s just an arm of Target at this time. So they’re going to look for Target customers to sign up for this first, before they integrate it completely with the checkout process.

 

08:07 PAT: Yup. So real interesting to see how that’s going to go. And obviously we will report on anything new that we find out to you guys and keep you updated on it.

 

08:14 AUSTIN: All righty, let’s move into our next topic here. And we’re talking about Overstock, which is really taken on the Bitcoin boom. The crypto-currency boom. And they’ve got some very, very fascinating news from their CEO.

 

08:25 PAT: Yeah, so basically news came out on Quartz earlier this week that Overstock’s CEO is thinking about quitting the retail game entirely and just go fully into crypto-currency. Which is really…

 

08:36 AUSTIN: I don’t blame him…

 

08:37 PAT: Yeah, but that’s like a weird title to read. So looking at what it is, it says, Overstock.com’s share price has surged more than 200 percent this year. So that’s not typically a time that a company looks to make a big pivot, right?

 

Basically there’s a CEO, his name’s Patrick Burn and he said that selling overstock would provide enough capital to fund a non-profit enterprise that would use block-chain technology to protect informal ownership records. And he says that he feels that it’s a moral obligation to refocus his life around this.

 

09:07 AUSTIN: Well, he’s onto something. It’s not like they woke up yesterday and decided that, hey, they should get into crypto-currency. This was their plan this year. So back in… I wanna say June, July, August this summer they really made that switch and that’s when their stock price started going up. So their e-commerce platform is driven by crypto-currency purchases. You can use crypto-currency on there.

 

And then also, they rolled out plans to put out their own ICO. So they’re doing their own… it’s an entirely crypto-currency based e-commerce platform I believe. So that’ll be run by block-chain technology, which we’ve talked about a bit on here. So that side of it has excited investors and in return has boosted their stock price pretty high.

 

So he’s… I can understand his mindset right now. He’s on to something. Maybe I should just close down my entire USD based business here and just go straight into crypto-currencies as a full-time gig.

 

But as we’ve talked about on here, there’s a huge risk associated with that.

 

09:59 PAT: Especially with Bitcoin being traded as a future. So it hit the future’s market, its being overseen by some regulatory bodies there. There’s going to be a lot higher detection of any kind of price manipulation or market manipulation.

 

So riding out the crypto-wave is one thing. Ditching a profitable and trending upward business to dive full-fledged into the crypto game is quite another one.

 

10:22 AUSTIN: Yeah, and I’m looking at a graph right here with Overstock and Bitcoin and their prices and there’s a very strong correlation between the stock price of overstock and Bitcoin’s price. And they’re both pretty much a vertical line as we’ve entered into the back half of this year. So there’s definitely a strong correlation which is good and also bad, because there could be a tie here.

 

Let’s say Bitcoin… some bad news comes out of it. It gets shorted strong. That could enter into Overstock’s price also dropping. So definitely need to be careful. If you’re heading in that direction and then if you’re the CEO of Overstock, probably a good idea to diversify. So don’t go head-on, full-on into cryptos.

 

11:00 PAT: That’s pretty interesting too because I think what a lot of people are excited about with this is that he has a knack for being ahead of these kinds of trends. Looking at this article… he was the one that… overstock was one of the first retailers to ever accept Bitcoin. They started accepting Bitcoin as payment 2014.

 

So, you know, 3 some odd years later… almost 4 years later now. He was right. So maybe people are kind of banking on the fact that he has a knack for understanding this. Maybe he actually does have a really high-level understanding of this. But I think there’s too many factors at play to say that it’s going to be a success no matter what. I think this is a risk

 

11:34 AUSTIN: Terrifying, right? It’s gotta be terrifying to think that, “hey, I’m just going to put all my eggs in one basket. But it is kind of a boom or bust feeling right now, and I know a lot of people are kind of in the same boat where they’re really questioning the traditional way to run a business and the traditional way to put your money in. And that asset class that is traditional stock holding. And so we’ll see. A lot up in the air, but this is going to be great to watch.

 

11:58 PAT: Yeah, this is gonna be fun to watch no matter what.

 

12:01 AUSTIN: Get your popcorn ready…

 

12:02 PAT: Yeah, exactly. It’s going to be a show.

 

12:06 AUSTIN: All right, let’s transition into our main topic of discussion for today.

 

Main topic is digital predictions for 2018. As Internet marketers we do spend a lot of time reading and researching so that we can give our clients the best results and stay ahead of what’s to come with updates. So we all have a little bit of a different background in terms of what we do in Internet marketing. But as a whole, we’ve been able to pick out some topics that we think are very relevant.

 

12:34 PAT: Yeah, so these are trends that we’ve started to observe through the latter half of this year. Things that in talking to our contacts at different locations like Google and things like that, we know that these things are going to start to roll out.

 

And they’re super-important for 2018’s plan, so we wanted to go through them with you guys. Get them on your radar. And then just make sure that if you have an agency that’s handling your business’ website, or if you’re an Internet advertiser/marketer, that you know everything that you think you need to know about this stuff.

 

13:01 AUSTIN: Great so I think that where we should start is with Google, since our job entails a lot of working with Google and Google products. And the biggest thing about Google is their algorithm. And their algorithm drives the intelligence of that company. And what we’ve seen is an increased ability to be contextual. And increased ability to “read’ the individual who is researching on their search engine and using their products. So I think that’s a great topic of discussion for us.

 

13:29 PAT: Yeah, so just starting there, something that we saw is like you can’t just stuff keywords anymore. That’s something that’s progressively been changing throughout the last few years.

 

13:38 AUSTIN: Yeah. And what you mean by that is continuously putting the word “car” in a sentence over and over again is not to equate to you ranking for that keyword. You need to explain what a car is.

 

13:47 PAT: Yeah, exactly. Keyword stuffing is what we call that. When people put too much… too many keywords in a short amount of time. And it’s because if you’re a human being reading that, it makes no sense. It’s clearly designed for a computer. Google’s algorithm is so advanced now that it starts to read like a human. It reads contextually. Up/down, left to right. So if you have an agency that’s handling your organic… your SEO efforts rather, you need to make sure that they’re not keyword stuffing. You need to make sure that if you read one of the blogs that they make for you, it sounds like somebody wrote it for another person to read.

 

14:17 AUSTIN: And, you know, most marketing agencies and people doing SEO at this point will understand that that’s the case. Where we can see a massive difference is how people are choosing to write. So they still may really focus on that keyword and make sure that they put it in a lot. Put it in a lot in the copy or maybe they really focus on that.

 

But the big difference here is you need to write like you’re speaking to someone. And that is what’s changed. Google’s algorithm has the ability to read that like it’s a person. Because of the advancements in their AI. So that’s the big change that we’re seeing.

 

And this is going to increase with the way it’s able to update itself live, it works in real time–this algorithm. It’s constantly learning. It’s constantly getting better at understanding content and context. They’re going to get better at delivering you the best search results, which means our job–we need to get better at writing.

 

15:03 PAT: Yeah, we need to write for people. And so prediction there are we anticipating some kind of algorithm update in 2018.

 

15:10 AUSTIN: So to explain to you guys kind of the way that algorithms work and the way that Google rolls out algorithms is these days they don’t really do an official update or release anymore. That kind of stopped in 2016. That was the last time I saw them actually officially update an algorithm.

 

Now since their algorithm works in real-time, it’s just constantly updating itself. So let’s say maybe once a month… a little less… all of sudden you’ll see a big spike or a big dip in your keyword rankings and that’s kind of when you know that it’s updated itself. So I have to constantly be looking at search rankings to understand when a change has happened.

 

And from that, then I take an analysis and go, “Well, what is it that changed? Is it my on-page optimizations–the words on the page? Is it the links I’m getting and the other websites I’m associating myself with?” And that, in itself, is the deep dive into what has changed about the algorithm.

 

15:58 PAT: And what’s the detriment if you decide to not adhere to the algorithm’s guidelines?

 

16:04 AUSTIN: Yeah, you basically become invisible. So that’s the ultimate deprecation of a website on Google search is they just make you disappear. And if you disappear and you’re a website that sells something, right online, and you disappear? You’re going to take a massive revenue hit, and that’s probably the last thing you want. Anytime.

 

And then especially with the amount of business… we talk about this all the time… the amount of business being done on the Internet now, and these big companies’ shift in their e-commerce. The last thing you want is to become invisible on the Internet.

 

16:33 PAT: Yeah, totally. And then kind of on that note of algorithms and algorithm usage and kind of artificial intelligence I guess–another thing that we’re seeing is an increased usage of AI and automation in advertising efforts. So since advertising is done in a live bidding scenario where you’re consistently and always bidding against other competitors for the top spot for different keywords. There are processes and automations you can put in place as an advertiser without having to go in and manually do everything.

 

So one example, you can do “target row ads.” so let’s say you’re an e-commerce company and you want to drive revenue. You can say, “Hey, I only want to show ads when I have a high likelihood of getting a 100% return on my ad-spend.”

 

17:11 AUSTIN: And how is that a little different than the way it used to be?

 

17:13 PAT: So it used to be that you are basically bidding all the time. And you’re going in as an advertiser and making manual adjustments to your bids based on their visibility. so if I’m an advertiser and I see that a keyword isn’t converting very well, and that the average position is like 2 or 3, I know that it’s because my bid isn’t high enough to show it above the competitors who have positions like 1 and a half and 1 on average. So what I would do is I would go in and say instead of 50 cents, I wanna pay a dollar per click for this keyword.

 

Now, you can put rules in place that’ll raise that for you. So that’s something to be aware of. And the reason I bring that up as a digital prediction and trend is… sorry, let me go back… so you’ve got target row ads, you’ve got target CPA–which is like the same thing–then you have automated bidding where you put in those rules. You can say a 100% of the time I wanna outrank this other agency or this other company. And up until this maximum, all-encompassing threshold. No more than 12 dollars, but I’m always willing to pay 1 cent more until then.

 

The reason that this is important is because what we’ve seen in our experience, these definitely have their applications. They can be done really well. Automated bidding almost always spends money in excess. Automated bidding almost always… in every scenario that we’ve observed here… is not as effective as somebody going in and changing those bids.

 

And the reason why is that it’s an automation that’s created by Google. Google makes 70% of its company revenue from advertising revenue last year. This is part of the reason why.

 

18:37 AUSTIN: Yeah, it’s almost the opposite of what we were talking about with organic search. This is the inverse effect on your business by trusting the automation. And if you do play into this a little bit and take your hands off… kind of what you have to do with organic… then you can end up losing money.

 

18:52 PAT: Yeah, and that’s not to say that there aren’t applications for Target row ads, target CPA, automated bidding. I fully endorse those and think that they’re great developments that have come through the platform. That all being said, if you have an agency that’s handling it, you absolutely need to make sure that they are keeping an eye on it, and making sure that money’s being spent correctly.

 

19:10 AUSTIN: And then let’s talk about Google and how they make money because this is impacting our jobs and how we have to act differently. Google… as you just said… they make all their money off advertising dollars. So every single dollar invested by a company represented by an agency, they’re getting a cut of that. So then they’ve realized that “Hey, people are really trusting our algorithm. If they spill over a little bit and don’t realize it, then hey we just made extra money.”

 

19:37 PAT: Yeah, that’s the reason that they up… this is a little bit unrelated… but you can like… it used to be that you could only spend 20% more than your daily budget cap which was already was a little high. Now Google is saying it can double your daily budget cap if it feels that the demand is there.

 

19:50 AUSTIN: Yeah, that’s incredible.

 

19:51 PAT: Yeah, so “you can put this here as a suggestion, but we might or might not follow it. And you just have to check to see if that happens.”

 

19:55 AUSTIN: And if you’re not… if you don’t know someone to handle your budget or you’re not an individual that’s so well-versed in these different changes then you could end up getting burnt. And not just on a daily basis, but just for the entirety of your marketing campaign. And advertising campaign.

 

So it’s really important to understand the difference between organic search and paid search. They’re different uses. And then become very well-versed in it, or have someone who is.

 

20:21 PAT: Absolutely.

 

John, I want to point it to you really quickly. We’ve been hearing a lot about a mobile first index. What does that mean and why is that important? Austin, I know that this is pertinent to the algorithm discussion too.

 

20:33 JOHN: Yeah, I don’t want to fully talk to the SEO side of things and how that’s gonna affect rankings…

 

20:38 PAT: Austin does plenty of SEO talking, so…

 

20:39 JOHN: Well the big thing is just that if you look at the statistics and usage behind mobile versus desktop, I think mobile is up to 65% now and desktop’s at 35% which is much larger than it’s been in the past. It was like 40 to 60 with desktop in the lead. And then it was 50/50. But now mobile usage is just skyrocketing. So from my perspective of design and development, mobile experiences are going to be a huge issue and a huge win for people in 2018. The people who have it optimized, there’s a technology called AMP that Google rolled out–Accelerated Mobile Pages–I think we’ve talked about it before. But they’re going to start using that as an indicator of whether or not your mobile site is fast enough. So I’ll let Austin kind of take it away on how…

 

21:34 AUSTIN: I have a question actually for you. How has this changed from development as this mobile first index is occurring? How is this changing your day-to-day and how you’re designing a website?

 

21:44 JOHN: Well, it doesn’t change what I do cause we’re always doing mobile. Mobile has always been of big importance. But there’s some people out there that haven’t shelled out the money to make mobile an important experience in their website.

 

And so that’s where those people are going to lose a lot this year, if they don’t really get on the ball.

 

A step further is this AMP thing. AMP has indicators in the code that tell Google they’re using AMP so serve their pages, because they’re guaranteed to be fast. So if you go and you search some news topic… if you search “Trump” the first 3 articles that come up will be AMP pages. It’ll say New York Times and it’ll have a little lightning bolt and it’ll say AMP underneath it. That is what everyone need to move towards in 2018.

 

It’s not moving your entire site to AMP, it’s moving a few of your main topics. You can move your entire site but the main thing is those high ranking pages that you have, those are the ones that your gonna want to implement that on. So that way Google is serving those first and foremost.

 

22:43 AUSTIN: Yup. And you know the thing that we think about and the thing I think about when I’m optimizing is Google is trying to deliver content to its user as quickly as possible. And in the highest fashion.

 

So what I mean by that is the best usability. And that’s what he’s just talking about. So Google now knows that, ‘Hey, everyone’s on their mobile devices 65% of the time. And that’s where they’re searching. So we’re going to start delivering the mobile pages first and that’s what we’re going to be indexing.”

 

So the indexing is then the record of every single web page. And it used to be just the desktop version of that page. So it’s a much wider version, it’s a much larger version. And then they’re delivering that desktop version to the mobile device.

 

They don’t want to do that anymore. It’s inefficient for them. It take more time, more data, all that stuff. So they know that we can do the mobile version, because everyone’s on their device now. So that’s the big difference and the reason why–as John was saying–is it’s super-important to have a website set up for mobile indexing and AMP pages as well. Because if you don’t they’re going to ding you. Because you’re the one that’s being inefficient. You’re the one that’s slowing them down…

 

23:48 PAT: Yeah, you’re not delivering good usability to the consumer and it sounds like that’s what Google has always been trying to protect to an extent.

 

23:54 JOHN: Yeah, I feel like we’ve been talking more on the speed side and how fast a page is served, but Google can actually read what the design of the page is. So pop-ups on your mobile experience… they’re going to penalize you for that. So there’s actually guidelines that people have to use now when designing a mobile site of “you can’t cover up this percentage of the page on somebody’s device. You can’t do this. You can’t cover your logo. You can’t do things like that.”

 

So there’s a bunch of guidelines from a design standpoint. Not just speed but that’s something that Google is… that’s why they call it mobile first is cause they’re trying to move everybody in that direction.

 

24:30 AUSTIN: That makes sense, cause that’s where the majority of their users are. Where the majority of searchers are. And we even see that trend on the paid side. Half of the queries that come through… the search terms that people are inputting are like “blank near me.” Or “where can I find this near me.” And it’s because they’re on the go. They have their mobile. They want to pull up the directions and just go there. And we’re seeing those come through at a higher and higher rate progressively month-over-month. Especially this time of year… this consumer-centric time of year where people are out doing holiday shopping and things like that. They’re like, “Where can I find a Nike outlet near me?” Cause they want to go try on these shoes. And then they’re going to go to Amazon and buy it.

 

25:07 JOHN: It’s almost like they made this… it’s a pretty clear decision to make but it’s kind of a die hard decision that they’re making with this mobile first thing, because it’s kind of like, “everyone move in this direction. If you’re not doing it, you’re screwed. Basically.”

 

25:23 AUSTIN: That’s one thing that I’ve actually seen Google start doing a lot more. Just forcing you in a general direction. And they did that with a couple of things, like security updates. Like what we’ve seen with SSL certificates. Which is a security functionality.

 

And then also with HTTP to HTTPS, which is another security factor. And they literally are saying, “If you don’t….”

 

25:42 PAT: It’s the same thing…

 

25:43 JOHN: You can have the SSL… so you purchase an SSL, which then makes your site secure, which is going from HTTP to HTTPS. And so that used to never be something that Google was recognizing and being like, “Oh, if you don’t have that we don’t like you as much.”

 

26:01 PAT: But now it’s a ranking factor. And they will tell users to not trust your website. They say, “Google doesn’t trust this website.”

 

26:07 JOHN: Well they’re flashing warnings too. So if you used Chrome browser and you visit a site without an SSL in the next coming year. They’re going to flash a warning at you, and that’s not good for your conversion rates.

 

26:17 AUSTIN: Yeah, so what’s going to end up happening is traffic to the site will likely decrease to an extent. And usability will go down once on the site. And once all that happens, your conversions are going to go down. Like if you’re a business… like, if I’m a business owner… let’s be realistic about it… visits to a website are great and the only reason they’re great is because I think they can turn into customers. If I’m seeing visitation go down, I’m not going to be hugely concerned until I see that conversion count go down.

 

But that’s exactly what’s going to happen because checkout pages, conversion pages, these are the ones that are going to need that level of encryption just to promise the consumer, “Hey, this is safe. You’re not going to get malware from having been on this website…”

 

26:57 JOHN: Yeah, if you’re an e-commerce store and you don’t have an SSL already, I don’t know if you’ve had any conversions, because it’s already something that they’ve rolled out.

 

27:06 AUSTIN: You better call us quick…

 

27:05 JOHN: But this is more for even just content-based websites. SSL is going to be huge in the next coming year. It’s going to be funny cause Google is kind of putting all these business owners in a cage and saying, “Okay, you have to do this. And do that.”

 

27:17 PAT: Yup. Play by our rules. Well they have enough control to be able to do that.

 

27:20 AUSTIN: This is the power factor of Google.

 

27:21 PAT: Here’s another thing that I wanted to talk about a little bit. And this actually goes back to that mobile discussion we were having. Voice search. What are we seeing in terms of trends for that for 2018?

 

27:29 AUSTIN: So really interesting actually on this side. 60% of searches on mobile device are coming through voice. So what we just talked about, with 65% of searches are done on mobile. 60% of those are coming through voice now.

 

Which that statistic is actually pretty difficult to believe…

 

27:50 PAT: Yeah. Cause Siri’s terrible…

 

27:51 AUSTIN: Right. But I think that this is what Google’s saying is we’re seeing the majority of people do this, so we’re forcing you in this general direction. So what we’re thinking now is how do we optimize for that? Because what’s the difference here?

 

And the big difference is how people speak versus how they type. And how they speak is in actually complete sentences. When you type something in, it’s the keywords. Search about a search term when you type in a query… it’s, “used cars near me.” Now it’s “I wanna buy a Chevy suburban from 1998.” That’s a complete sentence.

 

28:24 PAT: Yikes. That’s a terrible car.

 

28:26 AUSTIN: (laughing) Also, really cool car.

 

28:28 PAT: We’ll agree to disagree on that one. But I know what you mean.

 

28:29 JOE: I have a question though for you guys. Do you guys do voice search? I don’t think I ever have.

 

28:34 PAT: I do voice search.

 

28:35 JOE: Really? That one specifically to me surprises me that it’s moving that quickly in that direction. Cause I never do that.

 

28:44 PAT: Okay, but let’s think about this though. I see where you’re coming from. I think Google identifies this as something that’s going to be huge, though. Because yeah, voice search might not be huge right now… Siri is gonna get better. Mobile devices are going to get better AI so that you can do that kind of stuff.

 

And then let’s not forget your home voice solutions? You can do voice search on that too. You can search Google on your Google Home. Be like, “Hey Google, where’s this?” “Okay Google, I want this.” And that’s exactly ow the search terms show up in our search query reporting. We’ll see it. You say, “Okay, Google where can I find a used terrible, terrible Chevy suburban? Near me?”

 

29:20 JOHN: Right before I stepped into the studio today I was on Facebook and it served me a video of Gary Vee, and it was like a video of how he thinks Amazon’s Alexa is going to be the next big search engine, over Google. And I was just kind of like, “Aah.”

 

29:34 PAT: It makes sense to me honestly. Amazon is already the 3rd biggest search engine in the world. YouTube is number 2. Sales for the Echo and just Alexa products in general have skyrocketed. I totally believe that. I don’t personally believe that Gary Vee knows everything that he’s talking about…

 

29:54 AUSTIN: Well, he’s a social media expert, so that’s a little outside his realm…

 

29:56 PAT: Yeah, I think in that instance he might be right. So… what’s the take there though? I mean, voice search is going to be big. What’s the take?

 

30:03 AUSTIN: What’s the take is the general direction of optimizing for that type of query. And there are some big differences with how we optimize now versus what we need to start optimizing for for that search. And it is… it’s much more detail oriented so that’s the most important thing about this. Because when people are finally… they’re actually speaking a complete sentence, you need to provide all that data in a complete form. So we talked about the way we write earlier, and it needs to be more in-depth. It needs to be like I’m speaking to you right now.

 

That’s what you gotta have on these landing pages. They need to be optimized for the conversation aspect of this, and not just the key terms.

 

30:40 PAT: Totally agree. So wrapping everything up–our digital predictions for 2018. AI and automation are going to be big. Make sure your agency knows what they’re doing.

 

Mobile first is going to be big. Make sure that your web dev agency is optimizing for mobile and that your SEO team is optimized for mobile as well.

 

Make sure that your content team is writing in context. They’re not keyword stuffing.

 

Make sure you have an SSL certificate or your conversions will go down.

 

And then lastly, make sure you’re optimizing for voice search and voice search queries or else you are going to lose out on an increasing amount of market share every year.

 

31:17 AUSTIN: Our final topic for today is around something that might change for the Internet a lot next year and it’s called Net Neutrality.

 

31:26 PAT: Yup. So this is something you guys have probably seen all over the news. It’s a bit political and we don’t ever want to get into politics on this show. We’re not going to tell you how to feel about this at all.

 

That being said, there are some serious implications for Internet advertisers and Internet marketers world-wide should this happen. So basically what’s happening is that the FCC is gonna vote on December 14th–which is the day that this episode is going to be playing–to undo the changes that they put in place by the previous FCC under Obama, that basically said there has to be equal distribution of Internet access. It’s like the principle that Internet service providers have to enable access for all content, applications, regardless of the source. Without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

 

32:13 AUSTIN: Right, so my understanding right now how it works is you can access any website that’s legally allowed on the Internet, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. They want to change that, right? So Verizon and Comcast for instance they want to charge you more to go on Netflix and YouTube because it’s a high traffic website with a lot of revenue driving factors, correct?

 

32:31 PAT: Yes. And Facebook will probably be in that as well.

 

32:33 JOHN: Well, can’t certain providers also have certain rights to certain websites? So then they can block you from going to certain websites?

 

32:41 PAT: Yeah, so basically if this gets repealed it would open the door for people to have to essentially pay like a subscription fee per month for premium content on the Internet.

 

32:51 AUSTIN: And then they’d serve… that traffic gets served first on the website. So it’d be a better experience.

 

32:55 PAT: Yeah, it’d be a better experience, but here’s how it’s going to… this is why we’re implicated in this as Internet marketers and why if you’re a business owner who’s listening to this, you need to be asking your agency about what they know about this and how they could potentially pivot some strategies based around this.

 

If you’re limiting access to the Internet in any way, shape or fashion–even if it is for high-traffic websites and stuff like that. It’s going to limit overall Internet activity. People are going to be turned off by the idea a little bit.

 

But more than that, there’s going to be less availability for people to free-roam. What happens when people can’t free roam? Searches go down.

 

How that affects us–visits to websites can go down, so the opportunity for leads and customers can also go down.

 

My biggest concern… or the thing that I am anxious about having to deal with should this get repealed is that there’s not going to be as much data to go off of ever.

 

33:50 AUSTIN: Yeah. That’s my biggest issue with this as well.

 

33:52 PAT: Exactly. So think you’re doing keyword research. You look at it as something that used to have maybe 200 searches a month just cause it falls into the wrong website category. Now it could have 25,000 searches a month. And you don’t know that it was once a strong keyword. You don’t know that there’s a high demand for it. It’s going to affect how much data you have as an Internet marketer to optimize.

 

34:13 AUSTIN: Yeah, any time that there’s some sort of hurdle for an Internet user to get over that inhibits our ability to market and your ability as a business to do well. Because people don’t like hurdles. People don’t like being limited or having to pay more…

 

34:27 PAT: I hate hurdles.

 

34:28 AUSTIN: I hate hurdles. I’m not athletic, I don’t like jumping. So that side of it is what we find to be the biggest issue as Internet marketers and then also just as citizens and people that use the Internet. Being limited–who knows what that means? And the government having the ability to limit you. We don’t know what that means so we find it a little bit worrisome.

 

34:47 PAT: Yeah. And again, not to… we’re not getting political here. And that…

 

34:52 JOE: It’s getting a little political.

 

34:54 PAT: But the big takeaway is that limiting access to information is going to inhibit revenue streams, clicks, visitation and data that are really important to Internet marketers.

 

35:04 AUSTIN: My understanding is even if this does pass, which will go to a vote tomorrow and then we’ll see… there’s going to be like a lot of lawsuits that come out. The court system is basically built so that if you just have money to spend on lawsuits, you’ll just stay in court.

 

35:20 PAT: Yeah, it’s like being in Purgatory I’d imagine…

 

35:21 AUSTIN: It pretty much is. So this could last for a really long time before it ever rolls out. So we don’t know the timeline on this. But the vote is tomorrow.

 

35:30 PAT: Vote’s tomorrow and as it stands right now–Republicans are the ones in favor… in favor of the repeal. Democrats are the ones against. There’s 5 people on the board. 3 of them are Republican, 2 of them are Democrat. So a lot of people have a pretty strong understanding which way they think it’s going to go. We don’t think that obviously anything huge is going to come of this immediately. But it’s something that you need to be aware of. It’s something that you need to be actively trying to strategize around.

 

I imagine that my take on how people will deal with that, especially recouping the data, they’re going to turn to more companies like an Oracle. Like, big data companies that they can… cause they have so much historical data still, that you’ll be able to optimize off of some of that instead. But that is also going to cost you. So it’s going to be a really interesting time.

 

36:14 AUSTIN: Yeah. And Google’s stance on it, we’ll see about that. And see if it does end up limiting our data even at all. Since they are the largest Internet Company in the world.

 

So follow this story because it affects you. And we’re definitely going to be relaying information as it comes out.

 

36:28 PAT: Absolutely. But as we learn more about that, we’ll definitely let you guys know. In the meantime though, that just about wraps everything up for us today. Thank you again so much for tuning in and hearing some of our predictions for 2018. And some of the interesting business trends and political trends, I guess, that we’ve been seeing.

 

Again, we have an interview with Mark Divine, owner of SEALFIT…

 

36:52 JOE: it’s going to be 2 parts. So we got 2 episodes coming…

 

36:53 PAT: 2 parts. That’s how much good content we got.

 

36:55 JOE: We got a lot of good content.

 

36:58 PAT: I’m stoked about that.

 

36:56 AUSTIN: Let’s just say one thing, my mind was blown. And I think everyone else’s…

 

37:01 PAT: Austin and I had to take a walk. We’re so stoked to bring you this. It’s going to be perfect going into 2018, setting goals, overcoming mental hurdles. So listen to that when it comes out next week and the week after. Again, if you ever have questions for us or anything that you’d like to run by us, hit us up on our social handles @flipswitchcast for both Instagram and Twitter. That’s @flipswitchcast for both. This has been Pat Kreidler, Austin Mahaffy, John Saunders and Joe Hollerup signing off.

John is the Director of Web Development at Power Digital and thrives on the balance between creative and strategy. Using his experience in CRO, John approaches website builds with the user in mind, combining psychological and technical aspects of design.