What do you think will be the most important digital marketing trend in 2020? Like everything else online, the digital marketing landscape is ever-changing. Only marketers who embrace the latest trends have a chance of succeeding in a cutthroat niche.
Instead of pretending to be an expert, I spoke to seasoned digital marketing professionals with 5-20 years of experience.
These are their predictions for digital marketing in 2020.
1. Online TV Streaming Is the King of Entertainment – Norel Mancuso, President of Social House, Inc
In 2020, online television streaming services will continue to dominate the LIVE entertainment sector.
From Disney Plus, Netflix, Hulu Live and YouTube TV, traditional cable is being chipped away by less ‘bulky’ and more diverse streaming entertainment providers.
So, what’s keeping cable television afloat? Presumably advertising dollars from big pharma and sports.
I predict that there will be a major shift in the new year (and beyond), that is less about multi-million-dollar Super Bowl commercials and more about highly targeted and strategic ‘micro-ad campaigns’ via social and digital advertising platforms.
Imagine hyper-localized ads around an event, targeting you based on your interest or non-interest in the event.
Essentially, hundreds of shorter mini-commercials all with the same larger goal of consumer acquisition and awareness. The shift will push brand marketers and creative agencies to generate more thoughtful content to target consumers.
2. Alternative Targeting Options to Mitigate Issues with Privacy – Jason Eland – Digital Marketer at Eland Consulting
Digital marketers will have to adapt to alternative targeting options and user data than they had before.
We have already seen this in Facebook updates to targeting options. With the big three in the cross-hairs of regulators: Google (Antitrust), Facebook (Elections), and Amazon (Alexa recordings, Antitrust), and more options for privacy browsing ad blocking, privacy will likely be a focus of significant marketing updates in 2020.
Future proof by diversifying your digital strategies into multiple traffic sources as content marketing, building an affiliate program, email marketing, new digital platforms such as streaming devices, or online community building.
Industries that practice under strict regulations (medical practices under HIPAA) already deal with limited digital marketing options but have thrived. So, it’s doable even with a changing privacy landscape.
3. SMS Marketing is the Future of Conversion – Mike Lindamood – Founder, Lamood BigHats Digital Marketing
Probably one of the best digital marketing trends to begin testing in 2020, if you have not yet, is SMS marketing.
Text message marketing has an average open rate of 98%, compared to 20% for email marketing. Even better, the average user replies to an SMS within 90 seconds.
We carry our phones around and check it constantly throughout the day so it is the optimal way for marketing messages to be seen.
All you need is written permission for opting-in. SMS services have an easy way of doing this by sending the consumer a “Y or N” message to opt-in or out.
4. The Rise of Gen Z – Taylor Underwood, Senior Content Strategist at Golden Spiral
GenZ will have an impact on any company with a digital marketing focus. While millennials make up the largest population of the U.S. labor force, Marketers can’t focus all their efforts on millennials because Generation Z is right behind them. They’ll be at 36% in 2020.
It’s time to prepare for the next wave of B2B tech users, buyers, and decision-makers. Designing products for digital natives, speaking their language and meeting them on their turf — i.e., their phone — are all steps to take in order to reach this emerging section of the buyer landscape.
5. Chatbot Takes the Lead in Conversational Marketing – Amber Kemmis, VP of Client Services at SmartBug Media
In 2020, conversational marketing tools such as chats and chatbots will become a must-have digital marketing tool.
In 2018 and 2019, we saw chat and chatbots creep their way into digital marketing strategies and website experiences.
However, in 2020, I believe we will see these tools transition from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” as marketers realize the power of conversational marketing and ditch website forms.
Those who have already adopted these tools will become even savvier with their strategies to truly make website experiences as customer-centric as possible.
Chat is an important tool if you want to be more conversational while increasing conversion. I foresee marketers embracing this trend in 2020 more than ever before.
6. A Bridge Between Brand Messaging and Stories that Fit a Target Audience – Amanda Milligan, Marketing Director at Fractl
More marketers will look for the bridge between their own brand stories and stories that feel real to their target audience.
People are tired of ads that do not resonate on a personal level. The Peloton ad is the perfect example. If brands keep publishing stories that are brand-convenient but feel inauthentic, they’re going to lose credibility, appear out of touch with reality, and ultimately lose business.
Consumers are losing tolerance for fabricated content, and brands will have to respond accordingly if they hope to have a message that resonates.
7. Co-Marketing Will Lead By Necessity – Tony Mastri, Digital Marketing Manager at MARION Marketing
What would happen to your marketing strategy if Google didn’t exist tomorrow?
I believe anti-trust suits and the 2020 Presidential Election will shake up digital marketing. Agencies and businesses will be forced to consider co-marketing if they want to survive.
If the anti-trust movement against big tech companies like Google and Facebook holds trajectory, they could suffer in 2020, causing digital marketers to reevaluate everything they thought they knew about marketing strategy.
What would your digital strategy look like in a world where you couldn’t depend on (somewhat) consistent organic and paid traffic from Google?
To mitigate the risk of fluctuating results, marketers will turn to old-school tactics like co-marketing that rely less on tactics, and more on strategic relationships with providers of supplementary and complementary products/services.
8. Optimizing for Voice Search to Improve User Experience – Matthew Butka CTO at eDriven Marketing
Smart devices are everywhere. Voice commands are taking over standard text searches from search engines like Google.
With the popularity of Amazon Echo and Alexa, Google Home, and iPhone’s Siri, searchers are moving from typing to speaking when searching for information online. Digital marketers must adjust their strategy to incorporate speech-driven searches if they want to rank on SERP in 2020. Speech-driven searches sound more like natural speech instead of combinations of keywords the user thinks Google will understand.
A properly optimized website could be featured in the search results above the first position (Position Zero) in Google. Sites that earn the Position Zero rank have an increased CTR of 32.3 percent.
To optimize for voice search, you need website content that is optimized for mobile search and written based on search intent. Hire a website copywriter to create highly researched FAQ sections that rank for the “people also ask section” and an SEO website designer to ensure responsive web design.
9. 2020, The Year of Shoppable Posts – Sanem Ahearn, Head of Marketing at Colorescience
In recent years, social media has exploded with opportunities for companies to advertise to consumers. Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have all recognized this shopping trend and have made it easier to tag and shop for products in posts. Click here for more information.
For example, when an eCommerce store posts a product in a social media post, a potential buyer simply taps the photo to receive more information such as the name and the price. You’re led to another page with an option to visit the company’s website and complete the purchase.
Social commerce allows you to reach new customers. It shortens the sales funnel by making purchasing more accessible.
10. Social Media Stories With Interactive Elements – Digital Marketing Veteran, Nika Wolf
Social media stories are just starting to get attention to digital marketers. In 2020, they will finally see the power of stories and sharing behind-the-scenes moments, updates as they happen, and having a more personal relationship with their fans.
The interactive elements in stories, such as polls, shareable templates that need to be filled out and reposted, Q and As (with shout outs of fans), bring brands much closer to customers.
Direct interactions give fans the VIP feeling and keep them engaged in conversations. Let’s not forget that these interactions are also a great way of surveying your market in real-time.
The landscape of digital marketing is ever-evolving. However, optimizing for voice search, leveraging bots to serve personalized content and utilizing in-app shopping experiences for higher conversion are some of the top digital marketing trends for 2020.
Chima excels in creating SEO-optimized web content that drives traffic and increases conversions for online businesses. She is an experienced copywriter who has published on numerous top blogs such as Jeff Bullas, Search Engine Watch, and Hacker Noon. You can find her at Zenith Copy.