It’s a new year with some proven and new ideas. At least the robots haven’t taken over and we’re not fighting aliens in some Tom Cruise action flick, so, since the world is still spinning, we should focus on the future marketing trends for the foreseeable future.
We’ve searched far and wide while using our noggins to come up with what we think are going to be the trends that will set 2020 on fire. Are you ready?
The Top Digital Marketing Trends of 2020
It was true in 2019 and it will continue to be true in 2020: people want to connect with people. Brands and organizations that can cultivate an engaging presence on social media or create a website full of personality that speaks to consumers help inspire an enthusiastic customer base.
This trend is continuing to grow due, in part, to the rise of the influencer. Consumers want to connect with both your organization and the product. This means better, more personal communication that feels more like a conversation and less like a transaction. There are some arguments around the power of influencers marketing, but used properly they can create some organic interactions with your followers that can help boost sales (more on that later).
Piggybacking off of authenticity, let’s dive into the importance of personalization to business communications. Statistics show that people prefer seeing what they want and not everything that is being offered.
Think about it. If you’re heading to the grocery store, do you want to look at every single item and every single price in the whole store? Heck. No. You want what you want.
Now, if your grocery store has a rewards card and they use this amazing algorithm that knows what you like, how often you buy it, and how much you usually will spend on it, the store can leverage that information to offer you custom sales that you’re much more likely to use.
It can be you. You can be the grocery store. Collect information from your users to give them what they need. Trust me, they’ll thank you by buying your products.
3. Sentiment Analysis and the Rise of AI
AI is a category of its own, but AI is also similar to personalization. AI uses the decisions that consumers make to personalize and develop a process of interacting with them. It’s a fantastic way of keeping your organization at the top of the pack and keeping consumers feeling warm and fuzzy about your attention to detail.
There are many things that AI can help with but an honorable mention in this category goes to the chatbot. We’ve noticed a steep increase in the use of chatbots in 2019. This isn’t going to slow down in 2020. Chatbots will become smarter and more human as the technology evolves. Once this AI-based technology becomes more authentic, businesses will be able to provide instant, human-sounding responses to customer inquiries in seconds.
With the recent senate hearings into privacy and the newly passed privacy law expansion in the state of California, it’s become clear that the various abuses of consumers’ information by data mining firms are coming to an end. We won’t know how widespread the changes will become in the next year, but the direction is clear.
People want more control of their data and they want more control over who can use and sell this information. The adaptation to the new California privacy laws means that more and more organizations will see a reduction in their pools of available information. To learn more about the changes that California is spearheading and to see if it affects your business, read this article from the NY Times.
5. Podcasts and Streaming
Only a few digital pioneers understood that talking on the internet would be the next big craze! The last few years have seen a meteoric rise in podcasts and live streaming and 2020 will continue the trend!
Not only do live streaming services like Youtube, Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat bring big awareness with their advertising strategy. This can range from a few seconds of product placement to a full ad spot where the hosts talk about how they use your product or service. This is a great way to capitalize on someone’s built-in audience and build your own brand’s customer base with an “exclusive” offer to that group of listeners/watchers.
6. Everything’s Connected
At Buddha, we talk a lot about how solid brands create familiarity and goodwill by connecting to consumers in meaningful ways. Why is a comprehensive strategy effective? Well, let’s start with how often a consumer can see an ad a day. Let’s call our dude, Chris.
So Chris walks outside at 6 am to walk the dog and he sees a billboard. That company has set up geotargeting for that billboard. Five minutes later, Chris sees a sponsored post on social media about the company on the billboard having a sale. He clicks the ad and puts a few things in his cart to look at for later and goes to click off. But instead of that transaction ending, Chris gets a coupon that drives him to push the “buy” button.
Without that initial billboard, Chirs may have ignored that sponsored post. Each piece of the user’s journey is vital to how they end up turning into a customer. It’s easy to throw just anything up on social media or on an ad, but 2020 is going to be about a coherent brand that understands maintaining connections through multiple consumer touchpoints.
7. Cable’s Dying
…and that’s okay! People are watching less and less cable and the much-lauded fight of the decade is on! Yeah, you know what I’m talking about: the streaming war is here, Step right up, folks, and get your ticket. We’re live and online, and we like our content in huge waves with as little ads as possible. That is less okay.
Know that streaming is becoming king of the ring, we have to adapt and evolve. Sure, we can still produce video advertisements, but people expect something edgier when they turn on their ad-supported Hulu app.
Now that Hulu gives viewers no more than 90 seconds of commercials as a time, every second of your ad counts. Now that the viewership of ads is changing, expect there to be some seriously creative, incredibly short, and completely evocative campaigns blowing up the internet in 2020.
8. Interactive Content and AR
Remember the 1990s when the internet first started and ads moved around and it was the coolest thing ever? Well, now ads move when you touch them, and if you turn your device, you can see an ad all around you. This is just another additional technique to make consumers feel involved and a part of an experience. It didn’t start with Pokemon Go, but the app definitely put the technology on the public consciousness.
With AR looking to make a big explosion in the next few years, your organization should be looking at how you can make your content interactive and use AR to wow consumers now to get ahead of the trend.
9. Keywords: More Powerful Than Ever
In 2019 Google made a few changes that affected the way the engine indexed pages. Gone are the days of invisible keywords and keyword stuffing. Articles with more than a few mentions of the keyword can sound robotic and affect the readability of your article and lower a viewer’s time-on-page.
The solution? Create an article that solves the solution to the query. Know the way that those queries can be rephrased and use those to guide your content creation. Content that is familiar with its subject and can speak to it with ease is much more likely to gain a better ranking than something cursory.
10. Owning the SERP
SERP. What in the frack is a SERP? Well, A., what rock have you been under, and, B., how do you not know that SERP has become the goal, the creme-de-la-creme of search rankings? Alright, I’ll stop giving you a hard time. SERP stands for Search Engine Results Pages.
On the first SERP, you’ll find featured snippets. These are special classes of organic results that feature snippets of content that speak to the term that has been searched for. These snippets appear in their own boxes, directly above the top Adwords ads. That makes featured snippets more valuable than acquiring the top spot in Google search and paying for keywords.
11. Yes, Longer is Better (Content! Clearly I Mean Content…)
Search engines love long content. They love long content thiiiiiiiis much. But, why? Well, first, longer content is generally more helpful and comprehensive than shorter content. But it also leaves room for more comprehensive long-tail keywords and semantic keywords.
Semantic? What in the Eddie Murphy is a semantic keyword? Well, I’m glad you asked. Semantic keywords are helping search engine AIs as they learn more and more about how we really speak. AIs can see the keyword “river” and the listed semantic keywords “water” and “stream” and know that they are both keywords that belong to the same topic and will source them as related searches.
Longer content may cost more in resources but they can provide a list amount of backlinking opportunities and that helps build the QA score of your website a bit quicker.
12. Fake Authenticity
Yeah, we listed authenticity first, but another trend we see coming to try and destroy 2020: fake authenticity. In contrast to real authenticity, fake authenticity is paid influencers that have no real connection to the product they’re selling followers or have created a fake personality and life that doesn’t portray their true values.
There seems to be no end in sight for influencers in marketing so it’s your responsibility to ensure that you are trusting your brand with an influencer that is cultivating their brand with truth and authenticity. Choosing the wrong influencer can get your brand wrapped up in online drama and no brand wants that.
13. Messaging Apps and Social Media
2019 was the year that social media sites like Facebook got their butts handed to them for their mishandling of user data. So, what does this mean going into 2020? Expect more people to dump their social media accounts in more concentrated efforts to improve their privacy.
Filling in that communications hole, expect messaging apps to become a bigger tool to advertise on. Apps like Kik have already begun to improve their in-app ads for better monetization. Familiarize yourself with app advertising specifications and diversify your advertising efforts to get the best return on investment.
14. Voice Search
Hey, Alexa and Google, can you make me rich and showcase all of my marketing? Please and thank you. It’s here. Hal 9000 is arriving and we’re embracing him as he comes. We’ve learned to speak to our tech and tech is learning to speak back!
What does that mean for marketers? Like we’ve always said: content matters! We can’t get the results from a voice search that we want if the content isn’t there for the computer to search, discover, and provide to us in one second flat.
Voice searching is only going to skyrocket from here, so it’s time to shape up your content and start taking SEO and ranking seriously.
In Conclusion… Finally
Whew. You made it. 14 fantastic trends. The things that you need to know moving into 2020 with a few sneak peeks to the trends that will be blowing up very very soon. Hopefully, you’re able to take a few of these trends into your own strategy and help make it rain, as the kids used to say.
But, if you feel like this is all too overwhelming and a marketing strategy is another thing on your infinitely long list of tasks for Q1, let Brand Buddha help. Our marketing experts can give you the guidance necessary for pulling out all the stops this year. Your consumers are just waiting for you to give them something amazing. Are you ready to give it to them?