To attract and retain consumers, it’s important to understand how they’re acting online. Learn more about the trends dominating digital marketing this decade!
If you work in digital marketing, you know the field is made up of a lot of moving parts. Through SEO, you can increase visibility and organic traffic and with your social media presence, you can build a brand. More personalized engagement is provided by marketing automation, which can also save you time. By managing PPC (pay-per-click), you can improve your brand’s ranking on search engine result pages and even take advantage of smart bidding on Google ads. Truly, there is a lot to master in today’s digital marketing landscape – and these new technologies, techniques, and Google and Facebook algorithm updates keep changing.
What worked in 2018 or 2019 may not work the same way in 2020. To get the best results for clients, digital marketers are tasked with staying on top of these trends. As we near the end of 2020, there is no better time than now to start paying attention to the types of trends that will best attract and serve customers in the coming years.
No matter your industry or the types of products and services you offer, it is clear that to be successful in today’s constantly evolving landscape, you need to keep an eye on the trends surfacing in digital marketing. While managing a website and Facebook page used to be all you needed to advertise online, today you need to pay attention to what your customer base is doing on the internet to make sure your solutions are in front of them.
After all, there aren’t a lot of successful businesses that thrive without an online presence. And as we are well aware, the new decade will likely present even more ways of getting the attention of customers. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, there are ten trends in particular of which you should be aware:
1. Facebook may be reaching the end of its rope: Facebook was once the No. 1 social platform in the world; today, that is no longer the case. According to Forbes, 41 percent of users are over the age of 65, showing that Facebook is losing ground with the younger demographics, who are more likely be found on visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Facebook’s declining popularity can also be attributed to events like the data breach scandal of 2018 and the platform’s problematic spread of fake news, political propaganda, and cyberbullying. To deal with these issues, digital marketers need to examine who their target market is since Facebook may be unsuitable for some campaigns, particularly as it continues to lose popularity with younger people. At the same time, Facebook is still massive and a part of many Americans’ social media marketing experiences. So, proceed cautiously by pinpointing whether or not your target audience is still on Facebook; otherwise, you may be wasting your marketing budget by focusing on the wrong social media platform.
2. Younger people are gravitating toward Instagram: Instagram is currently accessed by more than one billion users – many of whom are under 30. While Instagram is certainly grabbing young people’s attention more than Facebook is, brands should remember that it also comes with its own set of specific issues. One potential problem to keep in mind is that Instagram recently tested removing the likes feature from the platform, which could affect the ways that brands quantify how successful their advertising is on Instagram. While this move could lead to an increase in content quality, many users may also leave the platform behind in search of vanity metrics elsewhere.
3. Customer service chatbots will dominate the landscape: you’re likely familiar with the artificial intelligence (AI) software that fulfills the role of virtual “concierge.” Chatbots communicate with users and help them with completing their goals, interacting with humans in a natural way. While most interactions take place in text chat windows, verbal interactions are also possible. As the system collects more data insights, over time, the AI learns more about the customers, which allows it to offer a continuously-improving service. During 2018 and 2019, chatbots could be found on Facebook, interacting with users and being used for a variety of tasks, such as providing weather reports or automating some basic customer support functions. The upside of bots is that they allow users to get personalized, focused interactions without pulling too much from human resources. By 2019, 80 percent of businesses reported that they wanted to start using chatbots in 2020, reaping benefits such as 24-hour service, no need for breaks, vacations or overtime pay, and instant response to customer questions. The Digital Marketing Institute reports that as of January 2020, when communicating with a brand, 43 percent of consumers preferred to message an online chatbot instead of customer service centers. As more businesses and customers choose interactions with chatbots, this trend is likely to grow in popularity as 2020 continues.
4. Video has become a necessity: video marketing is vastly outpacing text-based content when it comes to selling products and services online. This trend largely has to do with the fact that people are using their smartphones to watch and share videos about everything, learning more about brands, and what they offer. ImpactBND lists several statistics that support this trend, including the fact that 72 percent of businesses believe video content has improved their conversion rates, 70 percent of consumers have shared a brand’s video, and 52 percent of consumers claim that watching product videos make them more confident and directs their online purchasing decisions. These statistics relate to factors video offers that text does not, such as the fact that video marketing – especially live video – is highly engaging. When combined with influencer marketing, live streaming in which a celebrity, athlete, musician, or influencer is interacting directly with comments is a powerful method of digital marketing.
5. Good content – and context – still matters: an essential component of digital marketing continues to be content marketing, though there’s an increasing emphasis on nuance in content, such as context and targeting. This trend is largely driven by Google, which is developing a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of online content. For example, Google’s BERT update is an algorithm that helps Google get a better understanding of the natural language in user search queries. Google advises brands to shift their focus from the latest SEO trends to ensuring their site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content. Further, Google is getting smarter and it gives preference to in-depth, accurate, current content that is closely related to user intent. As new content is created, companies need to keep this perspective in mind.
6. More personalized email: billions still use email for personal, commercial, industrial, legal, scientific, and academic purposes. As a result, email marketing continues to be important. However, like many other digital channels of communication, email marketing is evolving, with generic marketing emails losing effectiveness. Now, email marketing is getting a boost from both automation and personalization. For instance, if you are able to trigger your email marketing to something specific, like a user browsing a particular product, and then follow up with a promotional price or demo video in a personalized email, you may start to see more results. After all, email is often the final trigger to motivate an action, particularly when it is combined with your remarketing techniques.
7. Interactive content becomes mainstream: interactive content is defined as anything that people can click on, swipe or otherwise interact with online. And marketers recognize the power of interactive content, with 93 percent rating interactive content as highly effective in educating the buyer. Try your hand at experimenting with a number of interactive content types, including quizzes and polls, augmented reality ads, and 360-degree videos. Using cutting-edge marketing technology like augmented reality and video content, people are offered a more immersive, engaging experience. These days, consumers feel more connected to a company when they interact with this type of memorable, fun content from brands.
8. Voice interaction continues to rise: thanks to Google, Alexa, Siri, and a multitude of other ‘smart’ devices, verbal interaction with devices is continuing to trend upward. People prefer to interact via talking and now, machines are catching up to the way that people want to search, shop, and discover new things. While this is an exciting opportunity, it comes with its own host of challenges. For instance, conducting a voice search is quite different from typing a question, specifically in the results. When a person performs a text-based search, the screen presents the results one page at a time. However, when someone asks a device to conduct a search and the device replies verbally, it may only provide a few choices at most. Frequently, it only supplies just once choice. Therefore, when adopting a voice search strategy, brands can’t only pursue this venture to remain relevant; they must also create a unique and optimized customer experience that will nurture relationships and build brand loyalty. When targeting voice search users, marketers should remember to write in a conversational tone and use keywords that people will speak instead of type. Following this tip will help companies get featured snippets on Google, also known as position zero.
9. Take marketing to messaging apps: while social messaging apps are largely used to stay in touch with friends and family, businesses in all industries are also becoming increasingly interested in apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. This spike largely has to do with the fact that 1.3 billion monthly users are active on Facebook Messenger, sending more than 10 billion messages each month. On WhatsApp, 1.6 billion active users can be found sending 55 billion messages every day. While traditional channels like email and social media are still useful, people have become much more active on instant messaging apps. In fact, messenger marketing is expected to become the number one marketing channel in the world in the next five to seven years, with marketing through Facebook Messenger generating ten to eighty times more engagement than organic posts on the Facebook News Feed. Through messaging apps, companies are able to reach a broad office with short, personalized texts. Indeed, companies need to take this channel seriously, as 63 percent of online consumers are more likely to return to a company website if it has a live chat option. As 2020 continues to unfold, it may be time for your brand to focus on marketing in messaging apps, using video and interactive content to engage users.
10. Omnichannel marketing is critical: this practice of marketing across multiple platforms includes email, apps, social media, and blog posts. It enables businesses to deliver a better user experience by connecting with customers on more digital touchpoints. Through a seamless, consistent voice and cohesive brand message across all channels, much better results can be generated, with omnichannel marketing driving over three times as much engagement than a single-channel approach. Further, when you have multiple channels, purchase frequency, average order value, and customer retention are all higher. As AI technology improves, companies are able to leverage machine learning and data insights to get a better understanding of customer behaviors, then personalize it. At the end of the day, focusing on omnichannel marketing leads to an enhanced customer journey that keeps people coming back for more.
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