In the 2010s, the whole landscape of marketing changed forever. New platforms like Instagram emerged to shift the rules of how content is produced and shared, while people’s growing anxieties over the use of their personal data resulted in massive pieces of regulation like the EU’s GDPR legislation.
Now we’ve entered the 2020s, we’ve no doubt that things will shift again in unpredictable ways . As we look out over a whole new year, we can start to plot some definite tendencies in the world of digital marketing that we fully expect to continue and develop over the next 12 months and beyond.
Here is our rundown of 2020’s top digital marketing trends and what they mean for your business.
Last year, market researchers Altimeter conducted a sweeping survey of senior digital marketers across the world. They found that 37% of marketers cite brand awareness as the primary goal of their digital marketing activity - the most popularly given answer.
Similarly, 48% of senior marketers use brand awareness as their primary metric for gauging the success of their activity.
Building a brand for your business and raising your profile should be your top priority too. Click here to learn how a multi-channel marketing strategy can help you boost your brand awareness.
Video is already the medium of choice for smart marketers, but it’s meteoric uptake still has further to go - 83% of marketers believe it’s becoming increasingly important in the industry as a whole.
This feeling is fuelled by web users’ unbridled enthusiasm for video, and their understanding that the content they want to watch is made possible by advertising. 78% of digital video viewers will watch advertising in exchange for free content.
Customer Experience (CX) has become a major buzzword in digital marketing these last few years, and for good reason. CX refers to the customer’s experience with your brand across all touchpoints of interaction, and good CX design should make this journey seamless.
Unsurprisingly, 73% of people say that Customer Experience (CX) is important in their buying decisions. Optimising for CX will also help you build up your database of contacts - 63% of consumers say they’d share more information with a company that offers a great experience.
Artificial Intelligence is no longer a sci-fi abstraction; it’s a part of daily life for a growing number of businesses. You’ve probably already come across chatbots on websites - those messaging boxes that pop up when you land on a page.
Chatbots are the primary manifestation of AI’s increasing role in marketing operations for small businesses. 2 years ago, it was predicted that chatbots would power 85% of customer service interactions by this year.
Obviously we don’t have the stats for 2020 yet, but given that 59% of total chats now involve a chatbot, we wouldn’t be surprised if that figure from 2018 turned out to be an underestimate.
Alexa, make my business prosper.
Every day, 41% of adults utter a starting command into their devices - whether Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri - and use their voices to search. The new frontier in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), voice search is forecast to make up 50% of total searches this year.
Given that 40% of voice searches in 2018 were made with local intent, your business has a clear interest in optimising your website to be picked up by lazy/trailblazing hands-free Googlers.
Another factor shaking up SEO is the rise in zero-click searches: searches that successfully conclude without a single result listing being clicked on. In June 2019, the number of Google searches that ended without a click exceeded 50% - a tipping point, perhaps, into a new mode of search marketing. Whatever the long term impact, expect that proportion to rise this year.
Zero-click searches are made possible by Google’s introduction of a range of features, clustered around the top of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), that instantly answer user queries. The most common of these are Featured Snippets - short excerpts of text from a website that Google thinks will provide an instant answer to the user’s query.
Commonly appearing in response to searches for particular slices of information, these automatically generated nuggets of information eliminate the need to click on (or even look at) the highest-ranking results. If you’re focusing on SEO in 2020, make sure to give some thought to how this might affect your search strategy.
We’re polarised by politics and driven to blind fury online - in the absence of unifying public figures, is it any wonder that people are putting more faith in the connecting power of brands?
According to research by Sprout Social, 64% of consumers expect and want brands to connect with them. Customers look to their chosen brands to do more than just sell them products - they want them to be nodes for meaningful moments of contact between real people.
The only other thing that more people want brands to do is to make a positive contribution to society - an expectation disclosed by 72% of those surveyed. Making an effort to present your business as a conscientious and ethically motivated brand, as well as being the right thing to do, could pay dividends for you in 2020. Everyone’s a winner.
Social media’s had a lot of bad press these last few years, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Many people are starting to feel that platforms like Facebook and Twitter play an unhealthy role in their lives, to the point that 1 in 3 adults in the UK are now actively reducing their social media use.
Now this certainly doesn’t mean that you should retreat from social media in your marketing strategy. Social platforms still offer advertisers huge audiences and sophisticated targeting techniques that take your message to the most interested potential customers.
The ‘digital detox’ should be an impetus to tweak your gameplan and find new ways to keep your reach and engagement high. One way you can ensure that your social posts are still paying off is by placing them in more trusted environments. Our Social Display product puts your Facebook and Instagram posts within articles on local news websites, where they’ll be looked at for longer.
If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably uploaded and swiped through your fair share of Stories - sequences of pictures and short videos that a user uploads which then vanish forever after 24 hours. Marketing wonks like us call this ‘ephemeral content’, and over 400 million people access and upload it on Instagram everyday.
Where audiences go, marketers follow. Ephemeral content is a massive area of opportunity for businesses looking to get their message out. ⅓ of the most-viewed Instagram Stories come from branded business accounts, and the same proportion of daily Instagram users say that they’ve become interested in a product they’ve seen on Stories.
Facebook now offers the same functionality in its Messenger app. If your business isn’t already posting its own Stories, it’s high time to start.
We’ve tried to cover as much ground as we can here, but these are just some of the prevailing trends in digital marketing that your business needs to stay aware of.
We’ll be regularly publishing new articles throughout 2020 on the state of the digital marketing landscape. To stay up to date with the marketing news and advice your business needs, subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter here.