With 2020 marking the start of a new decade, a lot is expected to change technologically in the next 12 months. For digital marketers, it is about bracing up for anything because new technological inventions translate to new marketing tactics. Here are some of the trends expected to define digital marketing in 2020:
- Partnerships with Local Influencers
The use of social media influencers in digital marketing is not a new thing. The strategy has been identified as one of the most effective over the past couple of years, and small to big corporations have made it a core part of their campaigns. If you are new to this kind of marketing, it involves hiring famous people to review a product or spread news about a product to their “followers”.
Reports show that a whopping 49% of consumers in the US rely on influencer recommendations to make decisions about products. Major brands are expected to spend more on influencer marketing this year, with the industry set to surpass the $10 billion mark.
If you run a local business, influencer marketing can come in handy for you too. All you need to do is identify local influencers with an interest in your niche and try to bring them on board your marketing strategy. Search for YouTube channels, podcasts and individuals with a decent level of engagement with the audience you are targeting. Then, make a list of the top local influencers within your reach and narrow it down based on relevance, affordability, and popularity.
- Use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming commonplace in B2C and B2B interactions. While still relatively in their infancy, the technologies are expected to skyrocket in 2020 with more brands set to adopt them in response to the demands of today’s digital world.
A 2016 study by Greenlight Insights reveals that 53 per cent of people are more likely to buy from businesses that use virtual reality than those that don’t. VR helps businesses offer customers a digital experience in addition to a physical one, which in itself is a way of promoting goods and services. The technology has been tried in a number of industries, including real estate, where buyers can view homes without being there physically. The auto industry has not been left behind either. Volvo recently made it possible for prospective buyers to test drive their XC90 SUV virtually before purchasing it. The strategy is said to have massively increased engagement and boosted traffic.
Even more useful to marketers is the AR technology. Google and Apple have built systems that let customers point smartphones at images to get basic information about products. Manufacturers of cosmetic products are also using the technology to help customers try out makeup products before purchasing them. Sephora and Estée Lauder are some of the brands in the beauty niche that have been able to adopt the technology.
Such examples only go to show how VR and AR adoption can increase conversion rates and boost ecommerce. The technologies reduce the hassle of physically trying out products and make buyers more comfortable buying stuff online.
- Use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI is revolutionizing industries one after the other. The technology is a core component in the manufacture of self-driving cars and the development of game-changing digital systems such as Siri and Alexa. The marketing space is thought to be next in line for the AI invasion, and you can see why. With virtually everyone on the internet and social media these days, there is enough data out there for browsing patterns to be tracked and consumer behavior learned.
With sophisticated AI systems in place, companies will be able to carry out better target marketing strategies. Consumers will be supplied with relevant information and decision making will become a lot seamless.
- Voice Search Optimization
Each day, more than 3 billion searches are carried out on Google. Around 1 billion of them are done through voice with the help of Bixby, Alexa, and other personal assistants. The projection is that by the end of this year, half of all searches on Google will be via voice command.
Voice search is becoming popular by the day, and sites that are already optimized for the feature are experiencing a huge increase in traffic. By optimizing your site for word recognition, you are not only simplifying navigation but also being mindful to people who are physically impaired.
While the bulk of website owners are yet to optimize their sites for this technology, 2020 may be the year when all that changes. Digital marketers are beginning to realize that conversion rates are much higher for web pages that are captured in voice searches. Whatever your 2020 marketing plans are, make sure they include voice search optimization.
- Video Content Marketing
Visuals have been shown to be more effective in passing messages than textual content, and rightly so. Videos and pictures are not only more fun to look at but also easier to understand. YouTube has grown to become one of the most visited sites in the world for this very reason.
More than half of internet users watch at least an hour of YouTube and social media videos a week, and the numbers are going up by the day. These reasons show why every digital marketer should focus more on video content this 2020:
- Videos touch emotions. Creating an emotional bond between a brand and its customers is something every marketer looks to achieve. It is the best way to build loyalty and have customers that double as voluntary brand ambassadors.
Speaking directly to customers and prospects through videos is one tested-and-tried way to get into people’s hearts and build trust.
- It is a versatile strategy. While blog posts can only be posted in blogs, videos can be used anywhere. Virtually all popular social networking platforms are optimized for video posts and all you need to do is make a few adjustments to make your videos publishable in various social channels.
Keep the following factors in mind when creating your videos:
- Most online videos are viewed without sound. Some social media mute videos automatically, and most users don’t take the time to unmute them. It is thus advisable to create videos that can be understood without sound or at least include subtitles.
- Platform formatting matters. For platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, you may want to create your videos in square format. Vertical videos that occupy the whole smartphone screen are more suited for Snapchat.
Some of the potential marketing trends for 2020 are things we are familiar with. However, just because they didn’t matter in the previous years doesn’t mean they will remain irrelevant forever. Technology and trend adoption is usually a slow process. Being among the first people to adopt a trend gives you the edge on your rivals and brings you closer to the market leaders. The above are some of the trends we reckon will rock the digital marketing industry in 2020. Identify the most relevant ones and incorporate them into your marketing strategy for a better chance to compete with the very best in your niche.