13 Digital Marketing Trends for 2020

The New Year (yes, 2020) is just around the corner. Scary? A little. But as Christmas fast approaches and a new year looms, this time of year presents a perfect opportunity to consider trends for 2020. To succeed in the fast-paced world of digital marketing, you must be innovative, forward-thinking and utilise the technologies and techniques thrown your way. As Gartner once said, “Technology, and its applications, are poised to affect every aspect of what we call humanity.”

So, in order to help you start on the right foot, we’ve predicted what the top digital marketing trends will be for 2020. We’re talking influencer marketing, the ever-growing use of mobile, machine learning advancements, the rise of video and much more. Take a read to find out where we think you should be investing your time in the new year.

Focus on automation

As digital marketing continues to grow, so too does the pressure on the people delivering the results. In May, we saw Google release three new bidding strategies which are seeing rapid growth. We predict that we’ll continue to see a rise in advertisers using automation within paid media strategies to elevate the challenge of increasing demand on resources. Updating keywords, adjusting bids, optimising for specific devices… if you aren’t using them already, the power of automation will help you scale faster and easier than ever before.

In 2020, we predict email marketing automation will develop further, becoming even more effective. Automation of customer lifecycle stages are becoming more relevant and humanistic, which will expand into the upcoming year. Ensure your email marketing software is set up for personalised, triggered campaigns by segmenting your data correctly to increase efficiency and relevancy, creating nurturing workflows for different stages of the customer buying cycle. It’s also important to ensure your email lists are set up for dynamic segmentation so your data is instantly and automatically updated.

Use customer intelligence to get under the skin of your audience

2020 is the year for really getting to know your audience to increase return per £ spent. To do this, your time and resource should be spent on super-charging advertising campaigns to focus specifically on your target audiences, not just broad searches.

Take the time to really understand who you want to target by collecting and analysing customer intelligence. This can provide valuable insight to direct your business on the path to success by generating a true understanding of your customers’ behaviour. Consumers today are presented with realms of different options and they’re only due to increase throughout 2020. Using your data to create dynamic content, ads, imagery and personas will help bolster personalisation and deliver more relevant content.

Using 5G in programmatic advertising

The boost of bandwidth expected in 2020 will not only help improve loading speeds and video buffing but is predicted to deliver ads in the right space, at the right time, with lightning fast speeds. 5G is expected to be 100 times fast than 4G, and, as if we don’t spend enough time on our phones already, this faster load speed is expected to encourage a rise in time spent on mobiles.

Programmatic advertising will reap the rewards with the ability to run even more interactive ads across a range of mediums, without any lag. Digital marketers should harness 5G, putting this advancement to good use by creating and delivering content across multiple formats and devices, capitalising on the speed that 5G delivers.

Voice activated ads

It’s expected that 30 percent of all internet browsing sessions won’t involve a screen by 2020, while UK voice commerce is expected to be worth £3.5bn by 2022. It’s slowly becoming the norm to ask our voice assistants to help us with a specific product we want to purchase. As a result, we’re seeing programmatic advertising having a bigger role to play in optimising these ad spaces, specifically across in-home smart devices and on-app audios.

User and search intent becomes even more important

Recent updates to Google’s algorithms has brought search intent to the forefront of SEO considerations. Through the combination of E-A-T updates and the likes of BERT, Google can now detect the type of search a user is conducting such as informational, navigational, investigational or transactional. The search engine is effectively equipped to deliver the right type of content for the specific search. We predict this will continue to be a focus for Google in 2020 and beyond, encouraging businesses to consider these updates when creating content. When writing to satisfy user intent, you should be asking questions such as:

  • Does your webpage truly answer the user’s query?
  • Which web page will inform the user the most?
  • Do you know if your user has basic, intermediate or advanced knowledge of the topic?
  • How are you catering for your audience?

Also, keep in mind that search intent often aligns with the buyer’s journey. Each piece of content you create based on search intent should be complete with a call to action (CTA) that will nurture your audience onto the next stage of their buying journey. When considering content in 2020, the overarching aim still stands to add value to your user’s life by creating high-quality, authoritative content in line with Google’s guidelines.

Is your website mobile friendly?

With mobile phones now accounting for almost half the time we spend on the internet; the time has come to question if your website is truly optimised for mobile. Google’s mobile-first indexing is still rolling out, meaning the mobile version of your website will become the default starting point that Google indexes and ranks from – if it hasn’t been already.

Mobile-friendly websites need to be considered from a range of angles. This includes content – is your content optimised for mobile viewing? Are CTAs being used appropriately and in relevant positions? Is important information displayed above the fold where appropriate? These considerations also extend to the usability of your site, such as a comprehensive mobile navigation or a mobile friendly checkout. Regardless of how your users browse, they expect an exceptional user experience (UX) and taking a mobile-first approach is a driving factor in achieving this, we don’t see this changing in the new year.

Increased security and regulation of social media

Social media is an easy way to connect with people and gather data about your audience to bolster your ad targeting efforts. While there are endless benefits of social media, there are certain negative issues including data privacy and security that have caused controversy this year:

  • Data breaches: The social media giant, Facebook, encountered the most data breaches this year exposing millions of Facebook user records.
  • Government regulations: In the midst of political campaigns, the Government has also passed regulations aimed to protect the integrity of elections while respecting “the fundamental right to freedom of expression and the value of political advertising”. CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, shows his support for this by tweeting his announcement to ban all political advertising on the platform:

In 2020, we expect to see more social networks and regulatory bodies tightening their guidelines and putting comprehensive policies in place to make it a safer and more trustworthy environment for everyone.

The need for speed

Page speed is an important factor for SEO’ers and CRO experts alike. This measurement is becoming ever-more significant as Google continues to stress the importance of page speed to developers. According to Google, pages on average still take around 15 seconds to load. Unfortunately, this is far too slow considering 53 percent of users leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Not only this, but long page loading speeds can also negatively affect SEO, resulting in your page dropping down the SERPs and traffic alongside it.

It doesn’t matter if you have the best landing page in the world. If it’s loading too slowly, a lot of people won’t wait to see it. We recommend using Google’s Page Speed Insights to determine which of your pages are underperforming. This tool can gather insight, providing tailored recommendations and improvements to avoid falling behind in the new year.

Social media will drive product discovery

Social media has seen impressive evolvement in recent years and that isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Recent features such as Pinterest’s shopping ads and Instagram’s shoppable features have made user buying journeys even easier and even faster. In fact, social media channels have become the second most popular method used by customers to look for products, beyond search engines. With over 3 billion people using social media channels, brands must capitalise on this growing number by making use of the features available to them. In 2020, we anticipate seeing further advertising updates across social media platforms enhancing shopping experiences even more. Research has also found social media advertising to be an excellent means for product discovery amongst Gen Z and Millennial respondents.

The rise of Video

Video continues to grow in popularity, particularly with the rise of one of the fastest growing social media platforms worldwide – TikTok. With 800 million monthly active users, this channel allows visitors to create short videos with music, filters and other features. Call it funny, call it cringey – it’s clearly addictive for many and a growing trend!

Alongside TikTok, video has exploded across other social media channels with 87 percent of businesses now using it as a marketing tool across the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. One key area of video that we believe will continue taking the digital marketing world by storm is ephemeral. This is content that is available for only a short duration and disappears afterwards such as Instagram and Snapchat stories.

Ephemeral content appeals to our short attention span and the way we prefer to consume content. It was reported that 64 percent of marketers already have or plan to incorporate Instagram stories into their strategy. It has the ability to evoke FOMO (fear of missing out) and is designed to create an immediate response from the user. It’s also a great method of storytelling, connecting people with the ‘real’ side of your brand to create higher levels of engagement. 

Local targeting will be used more frequently

Just like local SEO is used for nearby brands who want to gain more organic traffic, local targeting is the equivalent for social media and will be more prevalent in 2020. Many brands use location-based targeting to reach people in a specific area. This can be done by geo-tagging posts and stories which will automatically draw in a local audience.

Social channels such as Instagram allow users to search for posts from nearby or specific locations. If you tag your posts with these locations, it will show up in these searches helping people find and connect with your brand. For Facebook, using the ‘boost post’ functionality, you have the option to select the locations to target the post to. There are numerous benefits for using location targeting and leveraging them should be in your plans for next year.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality on social media

Led by Gen Z, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have become real talking points of the industry. As users demand better and more engaging experiences, AR and VR can help make this happen with social media platforms harnessing these features to their full potential. Facebook is already making this a reality with the introduction of Horizon, a VR world for users to explore, connect, play games and more.

While VR is still in its infancy, AR is miles ahead. For example, Instagram and Snapchat uses AR for their many photo filters, adding features such as bunny ears and sunglasses to your face. AR is also being adopted by larger brands such as Dulux who have made it possible to project a paint colour onto a wall to truly visualise how it may look. AR and VR have become a response to our digitally minded society meeting the needs of consumers with an immersive, progressive mobile experience.

Podcast predictions

Podcasting has become the go-to form for entertainment on those long journeys home. Ofcom reported that approximately 7 million people in the UK listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. The format enables marketers to create self-owned, unique and engaging content outside of social algorithms. With the entry level to podcasting being rather low from an investment standpoint, many brands will attempt to create their own in 2020. Many will fail, but the 20 percent who get them right will reap big rewards.

It’s a more complex world than ever before with new products, technologies, services and techniques popping up left, right and centre. The brands who will benefit the most are those that listen to their digital agencies and experts, trusting specialists, like us, to stay at the forefront of industry trends and understand what will work for your business. Will you adopt any of these tactics into your 2020 plans? Contact us and let us know!

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