SAN FRANCISCO: Marketers increasingly expect that voice search and AI will be the next big things, but few are actively preparing for them, a new survey has found.

BrightEdge, an SEO and content performance marketing platform, surveyed 252 digital marketers at Fortune 500 brands and reported that many marketers were still focused on adapting to the shift from desktop to mobile – 27% believed that mobile was the next big thing.

Around one third (31%) thought voice search was set to be the next important trend – this already accounts for more than 20% of all mobile searches – but two thirds had no plans to begin preparing for this eventuality.

A similar proportion (32%) identified AI as the coming trend but 57% were "not likely" to implement any element of it this year.

This failure to adapt leaves brands at risk of failing to meet consumers rising expectations, BrightEdge said.

Not only that, their content strategies are likely to be undermined. Already, 71% reported that less than half of their content is consumed; only 9% saw three-quarters or more of the content they produce engaged with.

Nearly half of the respondents were using data to drive content strategy, which BrightEdge observed could explain the recognition of AI, voice, and local search impact, but point to a disconnect in the application and execution in content.

Almost all (97%) of those surveyed agreed that SEO and content marketing are converging, or have already converged. In line with these findings, content and organic search clocked in as the most important initiatives for marketers this year.

BrightEdge also suggested that the combination of SEO and content marketing has created a new category focused on content performance and intelligent content creation.

Data sourced from BrightEdge; additional content by WARC staff