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2013 was scattered with exciting online developments; from the influence of mobile advertisement to the unstoppable march of cross-device tracking. Google’s new search algorithm, Hummingbird, indicated profound changes for the multilingual SEO landscape too. Other emerging trends included visual social networks, as well as the continuous drive of big data. In this blog, we further explore some of these factors to identify what they mean for online businesses; highlighting its influence for international online strategy.

Hummingbird and search-on-the-go: towards a voice-led generation

The future is mobile and everyone seems to be aware of this fact. Worldwide tablet and mobile device shipments increased exponentially during 2013 in detriment of desktop consumption. The forecast for China’s unstoppable m-commerce growth in 20141 is a prime example of how this evolving landscape is moving towards a mobile dominated online world.

Google’s decision to tackle conversational queries by using associations related to previous user experience, predictability and geographical location is not aimed at understanding users’ intent only. It’s directed to a future in which search will be mostly conducted on-the-go.

How businesses deliver a spoken search engine response together with accent recognition optimisation will play a pivotal role in conversational voice searches2. As the world’s most popular search engine, with a share of around 71% globally3, the importance of Google’s update cannot be underestimated.

Educating big data visualisation

Imagine gathering information related to your customer’s online buying habits, alongside opinion trends obtained through thousands of blogs, social network platforms and websites within seconds. Presented in a visual and interactive platform that would allow you to measure this vast amount of data in real time. Now, not knowing how to interpret these insights could be a major challenge and missed opportunity for businesses.

A study from SAAS reveals only 12% of organisations are implementing big data strategies, while 21% simply don’t know about it and 15% don’t quite understand its benefits4.

Moreover, results from a survey conducted in the US found 62% executives complained about a lack of education related to big data, while 53% stated data solutions are required to address the needs of businesses and 49% need simplified solutions for big data5. Revealing that one of the key drivers for 2014 will be understanding and simplifying processes to amalgamate and interrogate results.

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(Source: eMarketer, 2013)

Cultural conversion rate optimisation (C-CRO)

Emerging markets have driven internet growth to a staggering 2.4 billion users in 20126. BRIC members dominated this trend, with India achieving the biggest growth (41%), followed by Brazil (6%) and China (5%). Predictions forecast an astonishing increase of digital buyers worldwide over the next few years. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to dominate this growth with 653.5 million digital buyers by 2016, followed by Western Europe (197.3 million) and North America (192.6 million)7. The global aggregate of digital buyers is also expected to increase to a staggering 1,321.4 million by the end of the same period.

Such growth is led by emerging regions with overwhelming cultural diversity and unique online behaviours. To ensure e-businesses maximise usability for users, incorporating Cultural Conversion Rate Optimisation (C-CRO) will become increasingly dominant for driving conversions in online markets.

Although CRO has been a hot topic for quite some years now, few businesses have taken into account the cultural side of conversion. With the influx of new users expected to join the online landscape, understanding what on page factors have the biggest cultural impact on web conversions will become increasingly paramount.

So, if your business has not yet considered the implications of effectively entering an international market, incorporating a CRO strategy is definitely something to take into account!

Wrap up

While the effects of these trends might still seem embryonic in international digital markets, subsequent revenue for e-businesses willing to bet on them could surpass investments by far! With that in mind, Oban’s top tips include:

Ensure your business is exploring ways to achieve mobile voice search optimisation. Voice-activated searches will influence the way users ask for information and the results of voice queries will have a profound impact on engagement and conversions

Prepare your crew for the advantages of big data visualisation. Although these tools abound in the market, few digital marketers possess a real know-how related to this. Investing in understanding their potential may very well place your business at the forefront

When entering international markets, make sure your business considers utilising cultural CRO as a tool for improving conversion worldwide. With a proven record of successful cases, GlobalMaxer is a good service to help your business optimising their website for global audiences

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1 Tech in Asia: China’s e-commerce goes mobile on 2014
2 Click Z: Voice Search SEO: Preparing for the Future
3 Net Market Share: Search Engine Market Share
4 SAAS: SAS Survey Finds Lack of Big Data Implementation
5 EMarketer: Education is Still the Problem with Big Data
6 Klein Perkins: Internet Trend Year’s End Update
7 Emarketer: Ecommerce Sales Topped 1 Trillion First Time 2012