Digital marketing trends to consider integrating into your strategy in 2020
Is Christmas a swear word across your department during September? Same. However, I can’t help but reiterate the fact that 2020 is fast approaching. We’re all going to have to start considering our marketing strategy for 2020 and the sooner the better. It’s time to begin making some considerations where budget and resource is concerned and get the wheels in motion.
It remains the same - we have to innovate and find ‘sweet spots’ where we can really make a difference and add value to our customer's experiences.
What trends are businesses going to be developing and focussing on in 2020 when it comes to digital marketing? We’ve taken a look at the digital marketing trends set to increase in popularity throughout 2020 and beyond.
Shoppable content isn’t necessarily new. We’ve seen it on Instagram and Facebook now for sometime, but with mobile dominating as a device and consumers looking for optimum convenience, direct purchasing is fundamental for brands to get ahead.
It’s not just about adding product to social media post feeds or stories. It’s about creating a holistic experience at all digital touch points. Websites, product pages, articles, digital magazines and videos, it’s the process of removing unnecessary steps to make content instantly shoppable.
Combining shoppable content with video is a win-win. Consider the likes of Smartzer who’ve created an interactive and shoppable video player that optimises for formats and collects analytical data - all whilst delivering an instant click shopping experiences to customers.
Augmented reality for ecommerce
Shoppable content brings us into the discussion of AR and being able to bring product into our homes or work spaces, to further imagine what owning it might be like or where it would fit in a room. Using Augmented Reality is a great technique to draw on an impulsive nature - this is what your space could look like - bring 'shoppable content' directly into your reality from the digital space.
Just consider IKEA Store’s catalogue app that rolled out this year, where hundreds of items can be viewed on a mobile app and then the product can be visualised in your own home. Whilst the items can’t be bought directly and only a shopping list of items can be created, it’s only a matter of time until the functionality is there to make that impulsive purchase.
Personalisation comes and goes. People like the added touch of familiarity and then they feel like it's an invasion of their privacy. It’s swings and roundabouts. We’ve heard about “new marketing codes” (whatever that means) from big brands this year and other’s becoming more “high touch” but what people are looking for is value.
They want to buy into relationships and stories and be a part of something. Personalisation is no longer about adding someone’s name to an email or sending an offer for someone’s birthday, it’s more of a holistic approach to their experience. It’s about not forgetting about customers and those that have remained loyal.
It’s having more conversations and connecting with customers to find out what they want and what they need, not just what brands think their audiences demand. Social listening is one thing, socially communicating and engaging is another.
Throw out the airbrush, drop the facades and simply get real. People want to communicate with people, want to see what would have previously been considered a “flaw” and want to embrace everything that’s simply natural and raw. It’s high time to take a step back and let ourselves all be open to a reality check.
Sex doesn’t sell like it used to so stop pushing it, it’s boring. Gimmicks are getting tired and people are more inherently mistrustful and wary of marketing ploys. We have to be smarter and to be smarter, we simply need to be honest, open and credible. Blast some Lizzo and get thinking.
Boots UK recently took a stand by making a permanent commitment to featuring natural models in their Healthy and Beauty magazine with no digital enhancements.
B2B employee advocacy
Employee advocacy strikes a greater chord with B2B companies, but it’s certainly one not to be ignored. Employees are, in actuality, our greatest assets when it comes to marketing and gaining greater reach with otherwise untapped audiences. People inherently trust another person’s word, a peer-to-peer recommendation, so word of mouth is one of the most influential tools.
By leveraging an employee’s social connections, a brand can harness a more attuned and targeted audience, with employee’s sharing company content to their networks. This grows reach, makes prospects and customers more aware of a business's services and credibility, and grows confidence within employees.
Brand Message is an employee advocacy platform that motivates employees to share company content, by making sharing and scheduling to Twitter and LinkedIn easy as well as gamifying the process to earn points and drive a little healthy competition.
We saw some great trends emerge on the lead up to 2019 and throughout this year, but here are a few firm favourites that are set to continue to be popular means of connecting with customers throughout 2020.
Video for mobile
Video marketing has been a digital trend for years and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon - especially when it comes to mobile. We’ve become a nation of swipes and clicks and have a need for more convenient means of digesting content. We wear headphones, we walk and talk (and stare at our screens) and reading blocks of text or even short sentences just doesn’t cut it for us anymore. When we’re on the go, we want it quick and we want it instant, without much need for us to focus for longer than utterly necessary.
That’s why video is so engaging. It can be as long and as short as required, it doesn’t necessarily need footage, we can listen as we go as much as watch, and for those brief few seconds, our attention is captured. When it’s thought out and it’s right, video sells and opens up communication between brand and viewer.
I'm pretty bored of hearing and reading “Content is King.” It’s a phrase that’s lost its umph and gravitas and has become seriously, seriously overused. Content isn’t the be all and end all but it 100% should be part of 99% of businesses strategies, if it isn’t already.
Content opens doors, it builds credibility, it grows rankings, it forms opinions and showcases knowledge. Whilst we have those that need information in seconds (those that absorb video not text), we also have the deep divers and the people that seek out as much information and as many reviews as they can possibly find. Content drives people to websites and gives them something to talk about and share. The more content the better, as long as it is both relevant and of quality.
The simple rule for content? Don’t write content for contents sake and instead always add value.
User generated content (UGC)
UGC is definitely a favourite. Who doesn’t love what is essentially free content? Customers sharing reviews, posts, testimonials, photography of their products and services all add to a brand’s authenticity. If a brand isn’t seen as being credible or has a stream of bad reviews from customers, they’re no longer trusted.
Brands are starting to build their social media calendars and feeds around UGC and pulling said content onto their websites. It’s one of the most popular forms of marketing to prove credibility, quality and enjoyment of the product. It also makes a brand feel more connected to their community when they’re sharing content from their customers and that turns us back to an earlier trend, getting more real with your audience.
Nod to necessities
Whilst these might not necessarily be considered trends for digital marketing, they're definitely aspects that need to be considered to support digital marketing activities.
It might not seem like a trend or something that you’d normally consider as part of your strategy for marketing, but website performance plays a key role. If your website isn’t performing or meeting the demanding speeds that consumers expect, then they’re going to exit your website and the sale is lost.
Reviewing the performance of a website, how many requests that it is making, the amount of time files are taking to load, etc. will all account for the speed in which a customer can digest information and move around your website. Speak to your developers, ecommerce managers or agency about how well the website is currently performing, any bottlenecks and how it might be improved.
With each and every change to Google’s algorithms, where content sits within the search engine results pages can move up and down on any given day. Ensuring you’re writing content that’s informative, that draws on keywords whilst still sounding human and identifying content that people are genuinely searching for and what to find the answer to - then you’re on to a great start. It plays upon what we referred to earlier - writing content that is quality and adds value. Nobody likes a keyword stuffer and blackhat SEO died along time ago… let it stay buried.
Trends to be wary of
Trends can be fleeting and some can stick around and continue to flourish for years. Whilst the below trends do have some good qualities that should be encouraged when done correctly, they also have qualities that could tarnish a brand's credibility when handled incorrectly.
Influencer marketing to consumers
Whilst influencer marketing is great and can really drive brand awareness, it also has its own pitfalls and repercussions. We’ve seen it a lot recently, so much so, that influencers are now tagging content with #AD or #Ambassador to show that their content is also paid for.
There are a lot of influencers who are advertising products for the sake of self promotion and this can have lasting effects on their followers who are consuming information and believing what they’re told. We see it a lot with dieting products and more naive and impressionable people can be easily swayed, when in reality, the product or services aren't living up to expectation.
Being disruptive and disrupting the industry are phrases we’ve heard all too often over the last few years. It sits in a similar bracket as ‘Content is King’ and whilst marketing activities that shake up the norm or bring a fresh perspective are great, some disruptive tactics can be outright invasive (and annoying).
Take time to consider your audience and how you approach them in their micro moments. It’s one thing being helpful and adding value, it’s another driving a sales message down someone's neck.
It remains the same and is perhaps even more profound than it was this year. We have to ensure that we're always putting our audience first. It's the primary objective. Achieving the best possible user experience across all channels and delivering content and products that make a difference is key.
Authenticity and credibility is going to drive 2020.
Want to know more about these digital trends or are you looking for help to turn your marketing strategy into one that brings value to your customers? Get in touch.