10 Takeaways From 2019 – SIINDA

1. Voice is the new black

2. Search experience is 360°

3. Local intent is all the more important

4. Mobile -optimisation is a must

5. SMBs slowly turning to digital

6. Conversations trigger in AI- automated world

7. Structured data is the future

8. Influencers are top marketers’ choices

9. GDPR reaching out to the world

10. Privacy -management is the new goldmine


Voice-search readiness is becoming a vital element of the marketing mix and of measuring enterprise and SMBs digital presence and competitive advantages. VSR indexes have been added to almost all digital marketing solutions and are used by all companies to measure their online performance. As outlined in webinars on VSR done with SIINDA partner uberall, it is crucial in 2019 to get VSR right. Voice-engagement is key in the buying process but also deals, tips, or in natural language conversations. The age of voice search is very much here, but don't expect it to replace displays entirely. Google continues to prioritize its own ads and products over organic listings, but text ads don't exactly fit into voice-only searches. There's also a lot of demand for visual content while it turns out search engines and users alike have developed a love for long-form written content.


Search experience has moved to a 360° approach, with developments of tools and solutions like the Yext Search Experience Cloud done by SIINDA partner Yext. There are more customer interaction points than ever with new consumer service, and the web is only one channel getting less important than messaging or voice in the search experience. Search results are shifting from links to answers, more with voice results.


“Local mobile searches are growing faster than just mobile searches overall and have increased by almost 50 percent in the last year.”-Sundar Pichai –Google CEO, 2019. 88% of users say they “are likely to use driving directions” after conducting a voice-based local search on a smartphone.


Some 2019 stats: in 2019, 63.4 percent of all mobile phone users will access the Internet from their mobile phones. There are 3.7 billion global mobile Internet users from January 2018. Mobile e-commerce will be responsible for $2.32 trillion — or about 67.2 percent — of e-commerce sales by 2021 (hostingfacts.com). 1. As of March 2017, 80% of top Alexa websites were mobile adaptive. (Mobiforge); 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site. (socPub). All these stats show the importance of getting your website mobile-optimised to perform in online searches. All big website players and digital marketing solution providers are providing mobile-optimised solutions embedded into the whole stack.


Landscape survey presentations were top-sessions during the 3 SIINDA events in 2019- Dubai workshop, LOCALCOMM 2019, and Local Search Summit 2019. The SIINDA Landscape survey, done with Silktide in partnership with some SIINDA member companies, analyses the path and use of digital advertising solutions by businesses in each country, with a clear focus on SMBs. Comparison of the ten countries' results highlighted at SIINDA Local Search Summit in Lisbon show small businesses are improving in some key elements of the digital stack; namely, 67% of websites are mobile-optimised, 43% have analytics and 47% have SSL. But there is still significant room for improvement and big opportunities to help SMBs succeed in their digital transformation paths.


51.8 percent of all Internet traffic comes from bots, while only 48.2 percent of internet traffic comes from humans (hostingfacts.com). However, people still expect to have a normal and natural- language conversation with a virtual assistant or a bot. As outlined by Murray Campbell, IBM Distinguished Researcher and architect of DeepBlue, "For people and machines to work together, they need to be able to interact in a much more natural way, and conversation is our go-to way of exchanging information." The key is to embed a better sense of context in conversational systems. In the short term, conversation grounded in a broader context will give rise to personal assistants with more robust utility—both in work and personal lives. The AI experts see health, legal, education, and even AI research as the best early fits for workplace assistants. Also outlined by Simon Jacobson, Microsoft EMEA SMB lead in his presentation at Local Search Summit 2019, "Data Science and AI go hand in hand – give context, support with insight, share data, inform the models with granular data."


In his outstanding keynote at SIINDA LOCALCOMM 2019, Dr. Anthony Scriffignano, Chief Data Officer at Dun& Bradstreet, insisted on the importance of getting structured data input into business developments and information. He also showed how incomplete data can lead to bias and what possibilities quantum computing offers in terms of data. In his keynote at SIINDA Local Search Summit in Lisbon, Christian Ward, Chief Data Officer at Yext, also stated that "Structure is about how your data connects, this is both internally and with data partners and this is legal, technical, and strategic."


Micro-influencers are also getting high-up in the balance of where brands spend their marketing budget on digital advertising. Speaking at SIINDA conference in Lisbon, Joe Luckett explained that 82% of соnѕumеrѕ rероrtеd thаt they wеrе hіghlу lіkеlу tо follow a rесоmmеndаtіоn made by a mісrо-іnfluеnсеr. He went on to explain that content was the killer app in this segment, especially video marketing, which "get 66% more qualified leads per year". As "73% have bought a product after watching a video.", it becomes an essential segment of the marketing and digital advertising mix to consider for all types of businesses, with also the development of influencer- marketing software like Peg.co presented by Nic Yeeles at SIINDA LOCALCOMM 2019.


2019 has been the one- year application of the GDPR, with first significant cases kicking in and with the end of the transition period allowed to get compliant. EU data protection authorities have started to bring out big cases and big fines. They have also unveiled several guidance notes on GDPR application, such as the EDPB guidance on the territorial scope of GDPR, on consent, on data protection by design, or on the processing of personal data in the context of the provision of online services to data subjects. These are all aiming at helping companies figure out what they need to do to be and remain compliant with GDPR. This year also saw the first replicate effects of GDPR outside the EU, with some legal and regulatory trends copying or taking big inspiration from it, such as LGPD in Brazil or CCPA in California. The first triggers to change third party cookies to move to first-party data and the development of industry and market-based approaches to data protection management also took place in 2019. E-privacy has also been high on the agenda with the Council not agreeing on a common position by the end of 2019. So it will be back as a top priority in 2020 together with ranking transparency for platforms and the expected EU horizontal approach to AI.


With all the legal and regulatory moves on privacy in 2019 and the others planned for 2020, getting "privacy -by -design" must be embraced at the very beginning of the product or service life cycle. Consent management platforms are on the rise and becoming important partners or even investments for digital and traditional companies. As consent strings develop globally through the IAB platform, many experts foresee consent and first-party data acquired in the log-in environment becoming the new standard.

During the privacy and regulatory panel at SIINDA Local search summit, Jurgen Weichert from usercentrics outlined that "Permission is becoming an Asset. Any business model using (personal) data is affected by regulations – Users controlling their personal data and permissions are the key to $/€…".

Turning consent-management into an opportunity rather than a threat will presumably be a big topic to discuss in 2020 among the whole SIINDA community.


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