A New Year and a new list of marketing trends are on the horizon! We can’t quite believe that 2020 is almost here and that we’re already prepping content for next year. But when we were doing that, it got me thinking… what do we need to be aware of when it comes to digital marketing in 2020?

It’s no surprise that video content and the social media story format is here to stay, both have been a solid staple of digital advertising in 2019. However, some things are creeping up on us as rising trends and, as many mothers would say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. With this in mind, we want to take a look at 5 of our expected digital marketing trends in 2020.

The rise of conversational digital marketing

Whether it’s a smart speaker, your mobile phone or a chatbot, AI is now at our fingertips and behaves as a part of our daily lives and routines. In fact, I even set timers on my phone (to get a couple of extra minutes in bed!) by just rolling over and saying: “Ok, Google. Set a timer for 20 minutes.” The ease of use of AI makes queries simpler and, often, workflows more efficient… That’s where conversational marketing comes in.

Historically speaking, conversational marketing would have been live chat or inbound phone support but nowadays it’s swinging more towards AI and machine learning. Customers are busy and in the age of the internet, they are expecting results faster than ever before. When contacting customer support, 42% of people expect an immediate response (within 5 seconds) and 36% expect a response within 5 minutes. If you’re a massive company, that would mean a huge workforce to make that response time happen. If you’re a small business, it’s likely to not be possible with time-poor staff members picking up what they can when they can. But, it doesn’t matter who you are or what your business offers, your customer wants to hear from you ASAP and businesses are looking at ways that this can be made easier.

Just thinking about how quickly voice assistants like Alexa and the Google Home have been adopted into the average home, the advances in this aren’t hard to imagine. In a study conducted by Artefact UK, 60% of speaker owners have purchased items via voice. Just think about how many times you’ve asked Siri or Google to quickly look something up for you and imagine how quickly that could escalate! Conversational marketing is all about catching customers in the moment when they’re looking for something specific and offering them an intuitive solution to what they’re searching for. With advances in AI and machine learning, we expect to see more and more companies finding better ways to take advantage of this going into 2020.

Picking the best influence(r)

Influencer marketing is nothing new, but when you think about influencer marketing you may still think about world-renowned celebrities advertising gummies for your hair or detox treatments. However, recently, that has begun to change, with smaller, micro-influencers now becoming the focus. These influencers tend to have smaller reach but better results (some reports cite up to 85% more engagement) with an audience more invested in their advice than that of those with audiences of millions.

In fact, 49% of consumers now depend on influencer recommendations and trust these people over traditional advertising created by brands themselves. If you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the world of influencer marketing, the biggest names won’t always get the best results; make sure you’re focusing on highly relevant and engaged audiences and thinking about which particular influencers are likely to be the right fit for you.

Getting personal

Consumers are getting wiser to generic ad content that has the purpose of appealing to a broad audience and they’re getting better at tuning these ads out. How do we get around this? We make them more personal!

A recent study, reported in AdWeek, found that 90% of consumers would be welcoming to personalised ads and that 80% would be more likely to purchase from a business that takes the time to show them content that offered a more personalised experience. This will be relevant to every form of digital marketing in 2020, from email marketing to advertising, customers are becoming more and more frustrated with being shown content they have no interest in.

Taking it back to a basic level, think about the content you see on sites like Amazon or streaming services like Netflix. They employ machine learning and algorithms to track what you’re interested in and show more content like that for you to consider; keeping you more engaged and more likely to interact/purchase more. Now think about how that can be brought into your digital marketing mix in 2020, how can you make your content more personal?

Email marketing receives a 29% higher open rate when it features personalisation and can be easily implemented by pulling data from your customer list into the body and content of your email. Digital advertising, like Facebook or Google Ads, also have a wealth of retargeting options to allow you to employ custom lists or even dynamically populating ad formats to showcase products of interest to already web visitors (and more!). Harnessing these features in 2020 will be a key way to keep your head above the crowd of generic ad content.

Transparency and privacy

Data has been a hot topic in 2018 and 2019, with several trusted digital giants suffering data breaches or data scandals - we won’t point any fingers… This is continuing to be a key point of interest in digital marketing in 2020.

While it isn’t always the marketer in the firing line for data breach issues, it is important that when marketing you are mindful of the rules in place and that you are being transparent with your customer.

  • Adhere to any rules in place. Here in the UK, we have GDPR. This means we need to be mindful of data permission, data access and data focus when we create and push out content. Do we have permission to contact them? Are our customers provided with an easy way to access and edit their stored data? Do we strictly have the data we require?
  • Don’t make selling your only focus for your marketing content. It will come off as fake and one-sided, be more open and conversational with your audience.
  • Be responsive and open with customers. Avoid hidden clauses or long response times to customer queries; you want to gain their trust and nurture the relationship.
  • Encourage discussion and collaboration. Many algorithms are now based on genuine interaction and engagement, so this can only be good for your brand. Encourage your customers to comment and interact, and be responsive and fair when responding to any criticism.

The impact of new data regulations on the tracking of campaign data in platforms like Google Analytics is a blog for another time, but we would also expect to see some emerging technologies that will play a part in helping with that...

SERP spot 0

The number one spot on Google is coveted by all. However, heading into 2020, we are seeing that change. Now we’re all after position zero!

By that, we mean the featured snippet that appears above the search results for many queries. Often this is the only result that searchers will look at, offering an easy-to-digest snippet of the copy on the page and a link to read more. This was adapted by Google to appeal more to on-the-go searching and voice searching. Linking back to conversational marketing, this is a great way to get more potential customers in the moment and appeal to them intuitively. So, it’s easy to understand why it’s in demand!

Unfortunately, there’s no oven-ready or paid method to getting a featured snippet. Instead, you have to focus on having ‘snippable’ content that Google will love and if you’ve already got some links with high rankings, it could be easier than you think as 99.58% of featured snippets come from those in the top 10 for their particular search query. Keep your eyes on the AD site for a blog on top tips to getting a featured snippet in 2020...

Nobody can fully predict what will happen in digital marketing in 2020, but we have plenty of insight to estimate and plan ahead. If you’re thinking about reinventing your strategy next year but are looking for some assistance, we offer tailored digital marketing training to upskill your team and strengthen your digital output. Find out more here, or get in touch via the form below:

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