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What are the Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2020?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

2020 is nearly here, so what does that mean for digital marketing

As the world of digital and content marketing snowballs rapidly around us, there’s definitely a level of uncertainty in this space that we seem to be creating as we go. Trying to stay on top of what’s happening can seem like a rat race and we won’t lie, sometimes it is.

Here at JOLT_, we’re constantly trying to be ahead of the game, educating our clients and implementing new strategies when we find them to be successful. As digital marketers, it pays to keep your eyes on developing trends, especially as we head into a new decade.

The following are our hot tips for what digital marketing trends to watch in 2020.

11 Top Digital Marketing Trends 2020

1. Artificial Intelligence

This section could probably go on for a novel’s worth of content, but we’ll spare you that.

Though the term is a buzzword, we can’t lie that artificial intelligence and machine learning is on the rise. It refers to teaching a machine to teach itself and it’s an aspect of our reality that will become increasingly more accessible and potentially concerning as it develops. What we’re mostly seeing in the tech world news currently is what machine learning is getting wrong, but through those lessons, it’ll soon be teaching itself what it needs to get right. To see a way it’s been done right lately, you should turn to the latest blockbuster hit, Gemini Man.

The fascinating thing about this piece of cinema is not the riveting storyline, but the machine learning technology used to create an ultra-realistic 27 year younger version of Will Smith to cast alongside the present-day actor. Inputting visuals of his past work and data into the AI, director Ang Lee has managed to create a fully convincing younger clone of the actor, which could very well be cast in other roles.

The machines are learning, are you?

So as a digital marketer, why should you care? Because the developments in AI can and have started spilling into the content world. ‘Deep fakes’ at present are a rather juvenile version of this technology but machines learn fast and have the ability to manipulate content. It’s why digital marketers need to be across this space and relentlessly fact check their sources before putting content out there.

AI also covers things like chatbots and autoresponders, which are tools that are incredibly useful in digital marketing but have to be taught well and tested thoroughly in order to not disrupt your user’s experience.

2. Focus on Fake news

Throughout 2020 we’re bound to see a heavier focus on ‘fake news.’ This growing concern from the public, particularly on Facebook, but also media as a whole allowing content that is known to be fake, being spread to the masses as factual.

There are people attempting to decipher real from fake through apps and fact-checking communities, whilst media outlets who are profiting from this fake news epidemic are under scrutiny to refine their community guidelines. If so, brands and businesses could come under fire for, perhaps unknowingly, perpetuating these mistruths. So keep your eye on changes to community standards across popular sites.

Are you the bad guy? Fake News is everywhere, are you reading what you're spreading

3. TikTok

TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing social network with 1.5 billion downloads and counting. Currently, the majority of users are in the 16 to 24 age bracket and has become THE new platform for the younger generations.

You’d be hard-pressed to believe the platform in its current iteration is much more than a continuous ‘Instagram story’ reel. But spend more than 24 hours on the platform and you’ll be strangely sucked into an endless vortex of video content that ranges from ‘WTF’ to ‘Woah’. Content here is short, snappy, highly customisable but often imperfect videos, based around music. The platform is famously using AI to present videos to users purely based on activity and data gained on and off the platform. It’s surprisingly fast at learning what users like.

If you needed any further proof that unpolished video content is the way of the future- Instagram has seen the rise of TikTok and has recently launched it’s new ‘create’ mode in stories. Facebook made a similar move by releasing the app Lasso too. You know a content style is taking over when the big guns start quaking in their boots.

Currently, the exposure here is huge with so many users and not enough content. Even celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon and using it to promote their music, films, projects etc. and hoping to go viral. Try thinking of the platform as an opportunity to expose a brand or business to the next generation of buyers and consumers.

Be Heard_ Be Known - JOLT_ can help!

4. Story style content

As we can see with the emergence of TikTok, less polished but more frequent video-based content will be king. Consumers are loving seeing the behind the scenes of the brands they know and love and are finding new ones to become loyal to. All depending on how authentic their content is.

Celebrities are trying to keep up as they try to produce their own content on Youtube, snap chat, Instagram stories and other video distributing platforms to stay relevant and connect with their fans,

Videos will say more than words and bring a human side to any product and company. Promoting engagement with humor or authentic videos, educating your audience, and humanising your brand by showcasing your team and culture are just some ways video content is more impactful with connecting to your audience.

5. Data Security: the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica

By now you’ve heard about the Cambridge Analytica scandal that rocked the digital landscape.

“The real Cambridge Analytica story was not that a firm had used audience data to influence decisions – but that the average user is woefully ignorant of how their personal information is collected online.”
Marketing Tech News

Many surveys and studies have been launched about the impact of this particular situation. Though a large enough data set probably hasn’t been collated yet, plenty of people have noted being very worried about their data safety on social media. One survey by media website, The Atlantic, concluded that 10% of participants had left Facebook as a result of the scandal, with more than another 80% saying they would be modifying their personal behavior using social media.

The focus here is undoubtedly, trust. While marketers have known for years we’ve been collecting this user data, the users themselves are seemingly shocked. Now the floodgates have opened, we should focus on keeping that dialogue open with our customers. Highlighting to them how their data is being used but most importantly doing so in ways that they can understand.

They are shouting - can you hear them?

6. Voice search

“Alexa, do my digital marketing for me.” We’re a long way from this being a possibility but more and more emphasis is being placed on voice search. Soon we’ll be faced with a reality where asking your in-home devices for help with almost anything will not just be the stuff of sci-fi movies. The content and digital marketing efforts you put out should really consider this. Often, the way people ask a question when typing is different from how they would speak a question and this should really be considered in how you structure your content for the future of SEO. Clearvoice has put out a handy guide that covers the best way to write for this new medium.

7. Tapping into “Micro Moments”

People make some purchasing decisions far quicker than others these days. If a potential customer wants to find a restaurant, pick up a last-minute gift for a friend's birthday, or buy an item of clothing for the office drinks on Friday- it pays to be in the right place at the right time.

This also means having as few barriers to purchase as possible. This could mean setting up search ads that are hyper-focused on location or optimising your Facebook or Instagram so that your customer can purchase with a few, simple clicks. Think about what micro-moments your business could be involved in and build your content strategy to suit these. Overcomplicate and you’ve lost them.

Don't play hard to get - JOLT_ can help!

8. Hyper personalisation

If you’ve been on anyone’s Instagram story within the last week you’ve undoubtedly seen the shares around Spotify’s ‘year in reflection’ they personally emailed to their users. This was another genius move on Spotify’s part, creating a plethora of user-generated content and a real buzz around the already epic brand. Not to mention utilising another platform to grow reach and virality.

Netflix operates in a similar fashion when serving you recommendations of what you might enjoy next, depending on your previous behaviour. It’s just one of the reasons they’re featured on our list of Who did content marketing right in 2019.

Hyper personalisation goes beyond just putting a user’s name on your email flyer, it’s really data-driven. Monitoring a customer’s main behaviours helps you understand their wants and needs and can inspire new methods to meet them.

9. No-click searches and position zero

Google and other search engines are leaning toward a focus on no-click searches, also known as position zero. This means providing the answer to a user’s search question right at the top of the SERP, without the need for them to click off to another website.

People in the world of SEO are flagging this as a concern, but not an outright disaster just yet. It just means you’ll need to take a little more stock of your digital information. If people are searching for your business phone number or address, having a Google My Business Page set up will be paramount. Trying to tweak your content to appear in the Google Rich Snippets or Featured Snippets section will also probably benefit your website greatly. It’s definitely worthwhile checking our MarTech Today’s piece on these trends and how to use them.

Do you have a Content Queen?

10. Sentiment and intent monitoring

Anyone who has ever sent a text message in the heat of the moment will understand the immense pressure that can come around context, sentiment, and intent. As humans, there is a lot of value in not just what we say but the way we intend someone to interpret it.

Search engines and marketers alike are trying to tap into that very human quality by creating algorithms that determine the sentiment around a topic. This is a really interesting space as it will take away focus on digital marketers who attempt to rank higher simply by keyword stuffing. We believe it’ll also take hold of social media and other communication platforms. For example, Grammarly, an extension designed to spell and grammar check, written content, has recently updated to include sentiment suggestions within your emails. “The tone of this email is stern.” It certainly is, Grammarly.

Your brand persona has found a voice, is it the one you want?

11. The death of organic reach

On some platforms, we’re seeing the rapid decline of organic reach. This is not to stay it’s better to avoid these platforms but digital marketing will need to become smarter to garner the full potential of these sites now.

Brand awareness is more important than ever, and they do say two heads are better than one. Gaining ‘linkless mentions’ could be the best way to get better rankings into 2020. The heads of Google and Bing have already quite clearly stated that they are using these flags within their metrics.

“If you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet — and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding... Then you are doing great.”

Gary Illyes - Google Webmaster Trends Analyst,

So how can you get people to mention your brand without linking but still with positive sentiment in 2020? Brand partnerships are always a great way forward, as is affiliate marketing and the ever-present rise of influencer marketing. 2020 is set to see no downturn in any of those categories, despite the removal of vanity metrics on social platforms.

Another tactic is to encourage users to review you. Companies are often reluctant to do this for fear of negativity, but people hold brands that handle these situations well and respond to feedback as highly favourable.

What’s more…

There are, of course, PLENTY more things that are already in place that will continue to grow in 2020 but you should probably be on board with those already or working towards it. Shoppable social content, the continuous rise of content marketing, web security and detailed analytics are 2019 concepts you’ve hopefully sunk your teeth into.

To stay abreast of all that’s happening in the world of digital marketing be sure to follow along on our JOLT_ social media pages or by signing up to our email.

By Hannah Pendlebury for JOLT_


MarketingTechNews: Have marketers learned anything since Cambridge Analytica?

Tech News: To detect fake news

Awin: TikTok -Fastest Growing social media

TheVerge: Facebook quietly launches app called Lasso

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