Top Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2020

October 12, 2020 Chloe Kelsch

Digital marketing is evolving at warp speed. With each increase in velocity of technology, algorithms, updates, and new techniques, it has become more difficult for businesses to keep the breakneck pace that is now the standard.

We are here to help! Here are some of the top digital marketing stats we’re seeing in 2020, with trends you can build into your 2021 digital marketing strategy.

  • Personalization: No shock here. We live in a world of “me, Me, ME!” and “Now – like yesterday, NOW!” We want what we want, how we want it and exactly when we want and/or need it. So, what do you do? PERSONALIZE IT! Machine learning is one of the top ways companies are seriously capitalizing on personalization. According to recent findings by the Epsilon Group, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when the brand offers a personalized experience. In this qualitative study, one of the respondents reported hyper-personalized campaigns drove 3-4x more engagement with the brand. New technology in the Westfield shopping complex in Shepherd’s Bush, London, uses cameras with facial recognition to scan for age, sex, and even mood in order for retailers to deliver personalized advertisements in the area and tailor their merchandising and sales in real-time to their specific audience. – (Epsilon Group study here)
  • Shoppable Posts: With the slow death of brick & mortar retail, we have seen more retailers focus their businesses online. This means that if we want our customers to buy what we are selling, we need to be where they are. Why not social media? 72% of Instagram users have purchased a product on the Insta-platform, making it Insta-easy. – (Epsilon Group)
  • Content Marketing: “Content is King” has been the mantra of digital marketing for a long time. In 2020, it hasn’t changed. The top content types today are my #5, video content, and brand storytelling, which go a long way to emotionally engage your audience. Following those are user-generated content (UGC), Micro Influencers, Visual Content, and Podcasts and Webinars. – (Marketing Insider Group)
  • Video Content: We saw video content moving into an entirely new level of exciting and engaging in 2020. Live streaming is at the top of the video content list. Facebook and Instagram Live have kept audiences engaged 3 times longer than previously recorded videos. The daily watch time for these platforms has quadrupled over the past 12 months, and produced 6 times as many interactions than traditional video. – (Marketing Insider Group)
  • Photography & Other Visuals: 46% of Marketers say that photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies. – (CMO Council)

    72% of marketers worldwide said relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic for their business. – (Market Profs)
  • Content Marketing Costs Less! 62% less than traditional marketing, to be exact. Oh, and guess what? It generates THREE TIMES as many leads! – (Demand Metric)
  • Virtual & Augmented Reality (AR & VR): 91% of people say they are looking for more visual and interactive content as it keeps their attention for longer periods, meaning they interact with your brand more. Interactive content is highly shareable and can help the awareness of your brand spread like wildfire. – (Marketing Insider Group)
  • In the past several years, both Augmented and Virtual Reality have become wildly popular and are certainly emerging as top trends in 2020. This year, however, AR is expected to surpass VR in popularity, with many cutting-edge businesses harnessing its powers. Ikea has been using the AR tool in their app to allow customers to visualize how furniture will fit into each room; real-estate developers use AR tools to help customers see their forever homes. Numbers for 2020 have not yet been released, but with the onset of COVID-19 and the urgent necessity for a mass uptick in remote workspaces and applications, we are sure to see an ongoing rise.
  • Search – SERP – Zero is the new #1: Google and their algorithm gremlins are at it again! The top spot in SERP is now position zero, which is a featured snippet of text that appears just above the search results. Below is how it looks. While Google doesn’t share much about their secret sauce, they do make it pretty easy to work the system, as long as you follow their rules – found here.
    What is position zero?
  • Google Ads Smart Bidding: Google has announced they are combining automation with smart bidding, which will likely be the new normal. Google uses machine learning to optimize bids, and will give you several new capabilities to assist in maximizing your conversion rate:
    • The ability to choose conversion action at the campaign level
    • The ability to set your bids to change automatically when a sale starts and stops
    • The ability to optimize bids over multiple campaigns with a specific set of conversion actions
  • “Hey Siri!” “Alexa…” “Google?”— Voice Search is a thing now: When we talk about things changing in digital marketing, search, and how people go about it, has to be at the top of the list. According to Google, 50% of all searches will be done by voice in 2020; 30% of all online searches will be done without screens by the end of 2020, and to top it all off, global voice commerce is expected to be worth $40B by 2022. – (99 Firms)
  • Automotive giants like Buick are already using Alexa-enabled software in their newest vehicles.
  • Email Marketing: When is it best? This is every marketer’s odyssey at the onset of making the decision to do email marketing. Best day: TUESDAY! Followed closely by Monday, and then Wednesday. Best Times: while this truly depends on your industry and audience, here are the best times backed by real data: 10am, 8pm, 2pm, and lastly, 6am – 50% of people check their email while still in bed. At 6am, you can catch the early risers and get in that box before it gets overloaded with the daily email dump. – (Coschedule)
  • Marketing Automation: over 49% of all businesses that use email marketing are using some sort of automation program. It cuts down on time, increases productivity and the ROI (usually within the first 6-12 months). – (Toolbox Marketing)
  • Segmentation: Did you know, companies that target using segmentation see a 75% higher open rate? Segmentation is a great way to pursue the personalization that we mentioned earlier.
  • Email – Time is of the essence! Email subscribers spend an average of 1.1 seconds to scan your email before they decide to read and fully engage or not. This means you have about a second to make your message clear and compelling enough for people to want to read the entire thing – better think about those subject lines! – (HubSpot)
  • 64% of buyers are now belief-driven. Today’s consumers want you to deliver on social issues, values, and not just your products. This means ethical manufacturing, environmental responsibility, inclusion, #Blacklivesmatter, and more. Brands need to react to this increasing demand and reassess business processes at every level. – (Venture Harbour)
  • It’s still cool to be above the fold: Users are still spending 57% of their time above the fold on web pages. While the new look and feel of websites and mobile experiences make scrolling further down the page more user friendly than ever, the majority of their time is still spent above the fold – something to keep in mind as you test web and landing pages for your business. – (Nielson Norman Group)
  • The average User/Customer Journey now involves 20 – 500+ touchpoints! In 2018, Google released a study looking into the variety of modern consumer journeys. Its findings show that the average consumer journey now involves anywhere between 20 and 500+ touchpoints. The findings only reiterate the importance of knowing your customer, multichannel marketing, and the ability to attribute user actions along the consumer journey in order to deliver relevant messages where they count. – (Venture Harbour)
  • 86% of people still prefer real humans over chatbots. As businesses, we must know when automation and botization is the right thing for us and our customers. Sure, we need to automate, but we should strive to automate processes, not people. If there’s anything that’s becoming glaringly obvious during the COVID-19 crisis and quarantine, it is that we are social beings: we need human-to-human interaction or our lives are not the same without it. Businesses are the same. It’s great to communicate on a personal level, and frequently, at that – it shows that it’s also just as important to be human. – (Venture Harbour)

Now that we’ve summarized some of digital marketing’s big trends and stats for this year, there’s no better time to start employing these strategies and setting yourself up for a great start in 2021. As we look ahead to 2021, let’s keep some of these digital marketing stats and trends in mind to help us navigate our new normal as we traverse through this pandemic.

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