Our experts look at the 10 trends making the biggest impact on your brand marketing strategy in early 2020
2020 is now in full swing.
And as digital technologies, social platforms and search algorithms continue to change at breakneck speed, so are the methods and technology we rely on to keep our brands relevant, connected and optimized for maximum online impact.
In such a fast-moving and unpredictable marketing climate, maintaining a competitive brand means knowing not only what’s working, but also how to capitalize on the tools and trends that put your business at the center of the conversation.
Discover the top 10 digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2020 and that can help you build a business that thrives in the nonstop digital marketplace.
10 digital marketing trends to know in 2020
1. Conversational Marketing
Growing consumer reliance on voice assistants, live chat interfaces and search query innovation have made digital marketing much more conversational. People expect answers now, and more brands than ever are scrambling to facilitate that one-on-one interaction and make conversational marketing a key part of their brand marketing approach.
The stats are clear: nearly 80% of consumers now turn to live chat and chatbots for answers, while more than 82% rate an immediate response as important to the brand experience. And while only 36% of businesses currently use live chat technology to respond to marketing and customer service inquiries, conversational marketing is fast becoming a priority across many digital marketing portfolios, pushing it upward as one of the hottest digital marketing trends of 2020 and beyond.
Unlike traditional outreach, an effective conversational marketing approach allows you to meet customers across multiple channels and at the moment that suits them best, delivering real-time results on their schedule, enhancing engagement and fostering stronger brand loyalty in the long-term.
As Drift CEO David Cancel reminds us:
“Your company’s brand isn’t its logo or its mascot or its mission statement. Instead, your brand is a reflection of the experiences people have with your company. And every single interaction contributes to how your brand is perceived.”
2. Interactive Content
While interactive content has been a fast-rising digital marketing trend for several years, 2020 is likely the year immersive content becomes an absolute must-have in your brand marketing strategy.
Why? Consider this: 9 of 10 online shoppers now actively seek out interactive brand content, items that are not only more engaging than traditional, text-heavy blogs and guest articles, but which help them feel more connected to corporate brands and local businesses.
More than ever, consumers are searching for information that’s not just original, fresh and dynamic, but that truly stands out amid the countless 1,500-word how-tos and what’s trending posts currently pervading the web—content that makes brand interaction more attractive, provides more control over the user experience and enhances involvement in the buying process.
Some of the more popular interactive content elements catching fire in 2020 include:
- 360-degree videos
- Reader polls
- Quizzes & surveys
- Embedded calculators
- Interactive infographics
Of course, this is not to say that traditional content marketing or so-called “static” content has lost its purpose—only that a heightened focus on immersive content in your digital marketing plan can make your efforts more appealing, more memorable and more likely to generate bottom-line results for your brand.
3. Videos Videos Videos
Video marketing is perhaps the most important tool in your team’s online marketing arsenal. Few other types of digital marketing can match the reach, appeal or brand impact of video—a digital marketing trend that shows no sign of slowing in the years ahead.
Here’s a few reasons why video is essential to your 2020 marketing strategy:
It’s extremely popular – more than 85% of all U.S. internet users consume video content every month.
Demand is going up – Over half of consumers want to see more videos from a business they support.
Marketers recognize its potential – Nearly 90% of marketing pros utilize video to market their brand.
Video gets results – A recent survey found 80% of consumers have purchased software or app after watching a branded video.
It’s far from hitting its peak – Cisco estimates over 80% of all global web traffic will come from video streaming and downloads by 2022, an 88% jump in traffic share since 2017!
And if video marketing is already integral to your digital outreach efforts, you may want to take the long view: long-form videos (15 minutes or longer) currently account for more than over half of total video engagement. By contrast, videos that are five minutes or shorter take up just a third of all video engagement online, despite comprising more than 80% of all video content!
While short videos continue to trend well on social media, consumers expect and engage with long-form video content on your brand’s video and website channels. This is mainly because longer videos provide more information, teaching buyers something valuable without the need to comb through lengthy volumes of text.
Sometimes, it just takes longer to provide a thorough answer to the buyer’s question.
4. AI in, well, everything
As artificial intelligence becomes a growing presence in our lives, so does its utility as a digital marketing and branding tool—a powerful resource for understanding your target audience, analyzing & predicting consumer behavior, and creating content with maximum impact.
Many companies now rely on AI technology to identify patterns in consumer search and brand interaction, as well as to analyze data from blogs and social platforms to learn how customers are finding their products. In many cases, AI is used to automate the customer communication process, predicting where each conversation is going to provide better answers much faster than before (think chatbots) and enhance the user experience.
And as AI becomes more mainstream and affordable, it’s estimated that even more businesses will turn to AI in 2020 to:
- Achieve and maintain a competitive advantage
- Move into new sectors or industries (i.e. growing market share)
- Keep up with new companies coming into the marketplace
- Personalize emails and optimize email performance
- Reduce overall marketing costs
- Fulfill increasing customer demand for AI-driven opportunities/offerings
64% of B2B marketers regard artificial intelligence as integral to their marketing and sales strategy, while 8 out of 10 marketing execs believe AI will have transformed their industry by the end of the year.
As 2020 digital marketing trends and impact goes, AI has become impossible to ignore.
5. Voice Search
The proliferation of smart speakers and growing reliance on voice search tech in 2020 is forcing many companies to rethink their digital marketing approach.
Consider the following:
- Over half of all business searches are done by voice
- It’s estimated that 55% of U.S. households will have a smart speaker in two years (by 2022)
- Almost 3 of 4 people with voice-activated speakers use these devices every day.
- 60% of UK smart speaker owners and nearly 20% of U.S. households and have made a purchase with voice in the last year.
- Shopping with voice is expected to grow to $40 billion in transactions by 2022, up from the $2 billion number today.
Voice search is now a top resource of relevant, value-based content for millions of consumers around the globe. This makes it an invaluable digital marketing channel for businesses to reach customers at a crucial stage in the buyer’s journey.
Additionally, leveraging the opportunities offered by voice search and such top voice search devices like Google Home, Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri/iPhone, Android Phones And Devices and Microsoft Cortana allows you to deliver targeted content when people need it most, improve user interaction and enhance brand awareness in an increasingly voice-driven marketplace.
In short, voice search promises to remain a major influence on digital marketing and content creation for the foreseeable future. If you aren’t on board, your marketing strategy will likely lack the voice it needs to thrive.
6. SERP Position ZERO
One of the consequences of voice search in recent years has been its impact on SEO, most notably on that most coveted of spots in Google search results:
Also known as the featured snippet, position zero has emerged as the holiest of holy grounds for SEO and digital marketing professionals of every industry. Almost 4 of every 10 voice search answers are pulled directly from featured snippets, while over 60% of searches on mobile display position zero at the top of results pages, making it a solid gold opportunity for boosting brand awareness and visibility for top industry queries.
And while just over a third of PC searches provide a position zero result, that number is sure to grow as more brands learn of its value.
It’s because of position zero’s recent thrust to prominence that digital marketing teams are now making webpage optimization one of their highest priorities—the goal being to claim more SERP real estate, drive more organic traffic to your site and increase your chances of getting to the top.
7. Continued Uptick in Local Search
It’s true that local SEO pages can feel a little, well, overcrowded. And making it into Google’s coveted local search “3-pack” is certainly no easy task, particularly with cutthroat competition and airtight parameters for getting into that space in the first place.
But even then, local SEO remains an undeniably important digital marketing trend, something your marketing team ignores at its (and your brand’s) own peril. “Near me” searches continue to skyrocket in popularity (a 500% increase over the last few years), and now amount to nearly half of all Google searches performed every year.
And without a solid local search SEO strategy supplementing your digital marketing framework, you’re missing a massive opportunity to capture local buyers when they need you the most—customers that will likely flock to competitors who have optimized their brands for local pages.
It’s not always possible to squeeze into Google’s 3-pack or even get top-flight ranking on local SERPs. But if you’re a small business owner and you’re not putting at least some resources into local SEO, you’ll be unable to crack into an important local market.
8. User-generated Content
Making room for user-generated content (UGC) in your digital marketing strategy is a powerful way to connect with younger audiences, a valuable resource for tapping into the Gen Z and Millennial markets, improving rates of engagement and adding a personalized touch to your brand narrative.
From encouraging customer testimonials and blog comments to requesting pictures, videos and personal posts on social, UGC puts brand marketing in the hands of your audience, allowing customers to share positive experiences they’ve had with your brand while providing proof of brand authenticity not available through other digital marketing channels.
And the best part? It works.
One survey found over 92% of consumers trust UGC more than any traditional advertising methods, while another found that 90% of shoppers cite UGC as the biggest influence on the decision-making process.
Creating dynamic social hubs for customers to share inspiring content or showcase what they can do with your products puts the buyer experience front and center. It makes brand promotion genuine, providing prospects an unbiased resource of advice on what makes your business special and why you’re the name to trust for the products they need now.
Here’s just a few examples of memorable UGC campaigns that have sparked buzz and brand engagement over the years:
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – 2014’s famous #ALSIceBucketChallenge spread quickly across the web, waking millions to the plight of ALS sufferers while raising millions for ALS research.
Starbucks Red Cup Content – The yearly #RedCupContest pulls in thousands of participants and photo submissions each year promoting the iconic Seattle coffee maker.
GlassesUSA – A leading eyewear retailer, GlassesUSA collects and features tagged images within a social shop, which are then tied to products and drive traffic to individual product pages.
9. Stories on Social
Since Snapchat’s “My Story” first made waves in 2017, the social stories concept has continued to trend through the roof, quickly becoming one of the top digital marketing trends of 2020 and the foreseeable future.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype and YouTube each provide users their own take on the social story model, providing social gurus and in-house marketing teams no end of opportunities to personalize the narrative and capitalize on the unique brand-building power of social.
Perhaps the biggest advantages social stories can bring to your company or digital marketing firm include:
- Cost-effective marketing
- Ongoing engagement on social
- Increases in brand awareness and recognition
- Opportunities to grow your audience and reach a younger demo
- Spikes in site traffic and engagement
Not only that, but there are numerous ways to use social stories to spread the word, such as:
- Linking to your stories
- Using Snapchat’s geofilters option
- Building your story with live video
- Using the Instagram Stories polls feature
- Adding location tags
- Shouting out to followers
- Supplementing your UGC strategy
10. Social Listening
Digital marketing is all about trying to predict what your audience is thinking, something marketers and indeed all of us have struggled with for eons.
But with the rising digital marketing trend known as social listening, marketers are finally starting to make a little progress in this area. Also known as sentiment analysis, social listening allows companies and marketing teams to better understand how people think and feel about your brand at critical points in the consumer journey.
Recent advances in social listening technology and tools like Lexalytics, Repustate and Critical Mention provide the opportunity not just to collect wide swaths of data, but to discern the meanings behind what customers are saying online. And while the process isn’t perfect, recent innovations in natural language processing have made sentiment analysis have made it easier than ever to know what people feel about your products and adjust your digital marketing strategy to produce better outcomes.
With social listening interfaces, you’re better equipped than ever to evaluate online reviews, blogs and comments affecting your brand—and evolve your products, services and strategies to deliver more meaningful brand interactions down the road.
Now that you know a few digital marketing trends and technologies making waves in 2020, you can start to tweak your digital marketing plan and give your brand a little extra boost in the months ahead.
But if your marketing strategy could use something more, a professional touch or perhaps even an entirely new approach, we’re here to help.
At Marca Global®, we provide outsourced digital marketing services and robust, across-the-board solutions customized to fit your brand and enable your long-term business goals. As specialists in business intelligence, social marketing, online data analysis and comprehensive strategy development, we supply the insight, analysis and implementation you need to stay ahead of marketing trends and build a brand that stands out from the pack.
We design solutions that help your business thrive on the web. Call (720) 378-5024 today to schedule your free consultation.