In 2019, the digital ad spending was half of the global worldwide ad market (for the first time ever), and by 2023 it will increase to more than 60%, as emarketer noted.
Because we’re starting a new year, and because we want to hear what some of the most known marketers predict for this year, we made this 2020 digital marketing trends roundup.
We’ve been making this digital marketing trends roundup for 6 years in a row now, so I really want to say a big THANK YOU to all the digital marketing experts who sent us their predictions and recommendations for 2020!
Whether you think that your focus should be on privacy, empathy, (creating new) communities, or (increasing your followers) engagement, I strongly recommend you to read all the 2020 digital marketing trends below because you can find 20+ predictions that you probably won’t find elsewhere.
In the comment section below, please tell us the digital marketing channels that you want to focus more on in 2020: SEO, Newsletters, Social Media Marketing (e.g. TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.).
Also, if you find this article useful, don’t forget to share it on your social media channels.
What are the Most Important Digital Marketing Trends in 2020?
Visual Content Strategist & Founder
Video and Audio are two trends that will continue to rise and rise in 2020:
- Video – more than ever we need to be able to mobilize and create video content at speed without the bottlenecks of outsourcing. Individuals and teams need to be able to create video in-house and share it to social platforms with a strategy, repurposing content for different formats. Episodic or serial video content will also become more and more popular across not only YouTube but other formats that encourage us to watch in seasons or series, such as Facebook and IGTV.
- Audio – we’ve never been more mobile and more busy, so the ability to find content through search and listen – via audio – is only going to grow. Obviously podcasts will continue to go from strength to strength as part of that, as well as the technology that allows us to “do” things based on voice commands and search. So, we should consider creating content with voice search in mind, and start hinking about what people are looking for (and what they will find) after they say “Hey Goolge…” or “Alexa…”.
Co-Founder / Chief Marketing Officer
The decline in clickthrough rates from search are having a huge impact on website traffic for tons of brands. The reason? More SERP features (featured snippets, maps, videos, people also ask boxes, etc.) are pushing down the organic listings and therefore the clickthrough rates.
Compare these two search results page for the same phrase, four years apart:
How to respond? Since Google will answer all the simple questions with short answers that don’t require the visitor to click, your job now is to create content that answers tough questions with a lot of detail.
Go big. Go deep. And stay focused on a more narrow set of topics.
President and Relationship Marketing Strategists
I believe in 2020, brands are going to see a shift with online marketing and it will start with the dramatic rise of “Dark Social” conversations. Meaning more people are moving into private conversation channels which are not easily tracked. Channels like messenger, groups, select group stories and niche communities will cause brands that haven’t been focusing on Relationship Marketing techniques (to build/host their community conversations and create brand advocates) to either spend more on their pay-to-play model, which will only increasingly get more expensive or dive into earned attention through what is working – relationship marketing.
The business mindset shift is focusing on how your ideal customers can belong with your brand versus just buying from your business. Belonging creates a stronger sense of customer loyalty and grows the opportunity for customer word-of-mouth advocacy. In order to do this, brands will need to focus on building a brand from the inside out through culture, story, experiences, delight, delivery, accessibility and community.
We will see smart companies re-focus on their home bases like their websites to build better experiences and accessibility; an example might be having automated processes online for convenience. They will focus on speed via conversational marketing with chat, growing personalized experiences with dynamic ads, video emails, text-to-do-business, specific SEO and experience-based marketing efforts overall.
Using native tools like messenger subscriptions that are rolling out, appointment setting and purchases on Facebook, shopping on stories, and convenience-based integrations will make doing business easier by reducing friction.
Collaborations will still be important and I feel brands will try to find a new kind of “influencer” to build a deeper connection with their audience. Focusing on telling client stories, team member stories or aligning with feel-good causes or taking big stances on what those influencers believe. Overall, their story will need to be authentic and truly felt and the process must be easy to do business with them in order to win, keep, and activate their audience to want to be an advocate for them.
I see brands focusing on building a brand story with a foundation rooted by the heart and personality of their culture. In short, I feel we will be taking a lot of online business marketing back to the basics of business —being #unfiltered—simply showing up to be real, build relationships, focus on community, have a clear strategy and cut out the cheesy old school marketing tactics.
Author, Speaker and Founder
Craft Marketing That Makes People Feel Something
Going beyond getting buyers to know, like and trust a business will be one of the top digital trends in 2020. To do that you have to craft marketing that makes people feel something.
You can trust somebody without wanting to be friends with them. That’s one of the problems with marketing. It needs to create feelings that extend further than trust.
You’ll see some of this in Super Bowl commercials where the creative and financial investment is huge. For the rest of us, the challenge is making entertaining or inspiring marketing that is so compelling people believe it will make a difference in their lives.
Like those Super Bowl ads, this type of marketing is not always going to break through and resonate with its audience. But if you do it often enough, you’ll occasionally craft something worthy of the promises it makes.
1. A focus on empathy: Brands need to showcase that they aren’t just using social media for broadcasting. Customer experience will continue to be a major way for brands to win or lose their audience.
2. A focus on fun: TikTok and Instagram showcase that we loved to be entertained. Businesses need to find opportunities where they can appropriately have fun with their content.
3. A focus on privacy: With TikTok bans, Facebook scandals, and CPPA, more and more consumers are focused on privacy. Businesses need to ensure they are doing what they can to protect customers.
Social Media Consultant & Country manager for Agorapulse UK & Ireland
2020 will prove to be the rise of authenticity and relationships for brands on social media. With the recent news of Facebook and Instagram testing hiding like counts, it will be even more important to focus on those engaging with your profiles over likes.
While automation such as bots and AI can help streamline your sales process, it won’t help you to get to know who your customers are. That’s why it is crucial that you take time in 2020 to really talk to and understand your customer’s needs from their hobbies to their pain points.
This will allow you to then tailor your marketing to their exact needs and not make them feel like just another number.
The latest research carried out by Smart Insights reveals 37% of consumers who use social media to complain or question brands expect to get a response in under 30 minutes.
This means that in 2020 it will be even more important to keep an eye on your social media inbox to ensure all comments and questions are being answered in a timely manner.
There are two key ways you can monitor this activity:
1) To keep multiple tabs open from each of your social networks to ensure you ready to respond as soon as a message comes in.
2) Look into using one of the social media management tools to help bring in all your social network comments into one inbox making it easier to keep track of, manage content and engage with the community all from one platform. Here’s an example of this feature using Agorapulse.
With algorithms changing almost weekly it can be hard for businesses to get seen in their newsfeeds. That is why in 2020 businesses need to focus on micro-stories on social media – creating visual content with pictures and video.
This involves creating short bursts of content no more than 15 – 30 seconds in real time and sharing it on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram stories, Snapchat and even TikTok which allows users to easily consume and engage with your posts.
These platforms have allowed increased reach for businesses by having the ability to add location tags, hashtags, mentions, and even stickers to help increase the visibility and engagement of your stories.
All it takes is just 15 – 30 seconds of content per day – try it for yourself!
Founder & CEO
It’s about customer experience, and customers want their own unique experiences. Going forward, marketers need to take strides to drill down and customize – Whether that is through email messages, social media posts, text messaging, or other.
Use of digital assistants is on the rise. In turn, voice queries have increased 3400%. Marketers should be prepared to shift their content creation to fuel being found by voice search. Optimization will be important to out-rank competitors’ content to be the answer Google serves up.
Especially Facebook Messenger, the platforms are feature-rich to support many content types. Additionally, there are opportunities for Ecommerce within. Chatbot utilization is popular, and will only continue to evolve. Personalization is quite possible here, as is overwhelming your audience that will have negative effects. Stay updated on regulations here. Or, hire a savvy professional to handle this for you.
Still the most engaging type of content. Live video is the most engaging. In 2020, give effort to a diverse video content portfolio. Not all videos should be for marketing purposes. In addition to sales oriented clips, make video greetings, thank your customers, do some behind-the-scenes live segments, and even some tip videos.
I believe that SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and Paid Social will continue to be important in 2020. Of these, the most important digital marketing trend is that of influence, or more specifically engaging with influencers to augment if not replace diminishing ROI in Organic Social.
In addition to reaching out to those that yield influence in the communities you want to sell to, engaging with your customers, fans, partners, and even employees as influencers will help you incite word of mouth in social media when it is becoming more and more difficult to do so purely through your own organic social.
As technology is evolving rapidly, marketing it has a big impact on how we do marketing.
The use of AI and ML in chatbots marketing will continue to grow in 2020 and even beyond 2020. But there are many other ways in which machine learning and AI will get smarter in the tools that we already use for marketing and advertising, or will be integrated in the tools that we use.
Marketing automation tools will continue to evolve and we’ll see an increase in the overall scale of automated processes. Many people in the general population fear the words AI, bots and machine learning, and even some marketers do.
I don’t think that this will go away in 2020, but I believe that as we get more used to it, we’ll be more comfortable (and more effective).
Author, Speaker and CEO
The #1 trend for 2020 in social media and digital marketing will be hyper-personalization and hyper-targeting.
I’ve always said that when someone engages with your content, they need to think ‘This content was created specifically for me.’
Hyper-personalization and hyper-targeting will allow brands the opportunity to help their followers feel as though the content was, in fact, created with their specific interests in mind.
All of that said, here’s the challenge – how can brands practice hyper-personalization and hyper-targeting? Yes, there are tools that will help, many of which use AI to assist in the process.
But this is not yet a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ technique. Instead, it will require some hand-to-hand techniques to get the engagement you’re looking for.
In summary, hyper-personalization and hyper-targeting are the next big thing, but it’ll require hard work and effort to gain their full impact.
Director of Marketing
I think we can expect huge developments in how we use and apply voice search and voice technology. We are going to see an evolution from the single search result tools, to more multi-modal assistants.
We are going to see much greater transparency in how influencer marketing is used and applied on social media, and how audiences respond to it. Celebrities as a general category are going to be less relevant, in favour of niche ambassadors that truly reflect brand values.
Video content is still going strong, even though there have been evolutions in how we produce it and maximise on digital real estate for specific platforms and devices. The evolution will continue, I’m sure we will begin to see more immersive video in certain industries going forward, but video will still be going strong as a preferred rich media.
I also think we will see more uptake by businesses in adopting gamification as part of their marketing strategies, for the likes of lead capture, engagement and even retention.
CEO and Co-Founder
The research shows that there has been a seismic shift from “interrupt” and “broadcast” to “permission” and “insight” marketing.
Putting it another way, people are finding it near on impossible to get leads and meeting through legacy sales and marketing methods such as advertising, email and cold calling. One of the issues is that vested interest in the marketing counter this by saying, advertising works because spend is increasing. When in reality the spend increases as the results are reducing.
So to get the same output you have to keep spending more and more money. Your buyers don’t want to be interrupted and broadcast at, they want relationships and insight.
Owner/SEO & Social Media Maven
The most important digital marketing trend for this year, in my opinion, will be cohesiveness across all outlets.
While wording and images and such will need to be customized per outlet to speak to each audience appropriately (and to adhere to proper image sizes and character limits), the messaging should be consistent and support the company’s overall branding.
In the past, we’ve seen companies try posting one “special” here and another “special” there to test which outlet brings more business.
In 2020, though, we’ll see the need for all digital marketing outlets to work together for a company or brand to be successful.
Speaker / Author / Provocateur / CMO Photofy
In the face of declining returns from digital advertising, and as search becomes more geo-specific, there is a growing need for more localized impactful content… to this end, Collaborative Content Creation (crowd marketing) via Community Created Content, #CCC, and Employee Created Content, #ECC, offers the most highly effective, and scaleable solution.
Author / Strategist / Speaker
The way we think about influencer marketing and influencers will change dramatically in 2020.
Not only are the social networks going to put an end to them not getting a cut of the action by building more marketplace like experiences for brands and influencers, but we’re going to start to see the savviness of experienced marketers shift the thinking about influencer marketing to one of influence marketing.
We’ve been doing it for centuries. It’s not about Instagram and YouTube. It’s about persuading people, online and off.
Digital Marketer / Founder
During the different transitions in communication standards and regulations in 2019, many people began to question what the real meaning of social media is.
This reflection led me to: Thoughtfulness.
We are facing the GDPR adaptation, raising awareness towards social issues, children’s safety, environmental politics, discrimination, copyrights infringement, among other concerns that we always have faced, but that are more evident today with the proliferation of mass media and an inadequacy in limits.
As a general trend, the major social media platforms continue to be as strong as ever. But in the past 10 years, they have brought about what feels like an uncontrollable flow of information.
I believe the cliché “content is key” has turned out to be the essence of digital marketing as a sustainable source of communication. Beyond the user experiences in terms of content efficiency, lies the responsibility of aligning with the issues that we are experiencing in our world today, in a conscientious manner.
Content now demands thoughtfulness within each brand’s message. Clear,
transparent, positively intentional, no-hidden-agenda, information. In visual and in writing.
In order to regain all that, strategies should be refocused to work under these same values rather than putting all the energy in following the next fleeting “must be in” trend.
The graphics, the videos, the words, are all means. The tools and platforms are all, well, tools & platforms.
The careful way in which all the means, tools & platforms are used together for the purpose of promoting, marketing, advertising, and communicating, should be the core of every digital, and non-digital, marketing trend.
“Opt for kindness wherever possible”. – Isabella Koldras
A focus on meaningful work and growth of people before corporations leading to creating sustainable relationships over executing transactions.
Relationship-building networking skills valued pre-internet will be recognized once again as critical to business success, and be relearned.
Marji J. Sherman
With the continued popularity of Instagram stories, brands should be thinking about creating fleeting content in 2020.
This means posting content that is sharp, effective and relevant to make a dent in the digital universe in 24 hours, with a new piece of equally incredible content waiting in the wings to take the next 24-hour shift.
Think polls, quizzes, stories, live videos. As a generation emerges that appreciates temporary content and has a shorter attention span, it’s also important to think about how homepages can be more dynamic and change in an instant.
It sounds impossible to create so much content so quickly, but I was once responsible for seeing breaking news and creating graphics and copy for web and social within 10-15 minutes of the news breaking.
This was all then sent to the VP and CEO who would approve it to be published. Often times, breaking news happened at 11PM on a Saturday so we worked out a great system where we could create everything, even graphics, on an iPhone and publish for the brand. Not only did this work, it gained us followers and high engagement scores by relating to our target audience as the news was breaking. Just imagine what your brand can do with a little more time and access to even more engagement tools.
P.S. – Most of this “fleeting content” is being consumed via mobile, so think mobile-first.
Viveka von Rosen
Chief Visibility Officer
Right now we have a lot of technology, a lot or content which makes a lot of noise resulting in a lot of frustration since our buyers are deleting and scrolling past our campaigns without a glance.
Digital marketing needs to make use of the amazing tech out there – AI, AR, IoT to aid in the creation and dissemination of content that appears personalized without cloning across as creepy (Alexa and Facebook Ads, anyone?)
Relevant content sourced and shared to a buyers specific needs in the tone of voice they are most comfortable with on the social sites they are most comfortable on will rocket past the traditional automated digital content being ignored today.
Founder and CEO
I think we’re seeing a major shift in Search Engine Results pages. First of all, results are becoming more and more local to the user.
Businesses need to be aware of their local results. Secondly, we’re seeing a rise in the types of snippets and content that Google is displaying. More of your content is going to be displayed on the Search Engine Results Page, rather than search engines sending users to your website.
Flo Le Mens
Social Media Advisor, Social media coordinator for QUT, Social Media Freelancer, Blogger
My first Digital Marketing Trends is peer reviews. When was the last time you decided on a breakfast place or a new pair of shoes just because of the online reviews?
A recent Edelman study found that 77% of consumers surveyed say peer reviews are either deal-breakers or deciding factors in their brand-buying decisions.
Digital marketers should ask their customers to participate and ask them for feedback at the point they are most compelled to leave it.
On more the social media trend, another trend is short-form video. Short has always been preferred across social media networks but with the popularity of TikTok, short and punchy videos will still be big in 2020.
In an intense attention economy, brands will fight more for people’s time harder than ever in 2020, and that short-form video is the perfect fit to reach them.
Social marketers should keep an eye on TikTok, while using these insights to adapt their strategies on established networks for the next generation on social.
Founder and CEO
CEO of Pinterest Ben Silbermann goes on to say “The future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords”. Pinterest is investing heavily on visual search technology and for a good reason. In fact, those 18-34 years old in the US and UK most prefer the ability to search by image. They want this tool to shop.
- 59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decision.
- 77% of consumers paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience
Why should you care? What’s in it for you?
You should care because this is how the biggest online consumers are shopping today.
So let me ask you…will you adapt and stay in sync with how the new generation of shopper’s shops today or will you fall behind and risk losing market share?
You can also think of visual search as a personalized search since this tool shows the shopper the exact or similar products they are looking for. If you folks want to keep today’s customers happy, personalization needs to be a part of your customer’s experience.
I believe it is a marketing powerhouse that is vastly underutilized by most businesses and has the potential to drive massive new traffic and sales to you.