9 Hottest Digital Marketing Trends of 2020

digital marketing trends

By Dan Barraclough

This article will cover nine of the latest, greatest digital marketing trends of 2020

Digital marketing has experienced a meteoric rise in recent years. In fact, marketing itself has become almost entirely digital, with new waves of content and strategy making a splash online every day.

Traditional marketing, on the other hand, has been in stark decline. Not only is it more expensive and time consuming than a quick tweet, post, or share, but it's also outdated, no longer meeting the needs of the modern consumer. 

If you're keen to find out about the hottest digital marketing trends of 2020, you've come to the right place. But before we introduce our nine top tips, let's start with some industry context…

Why is digital marketing important?

People are more online now than ever before. According to We Are Social, there are currently over 4.3 billion internet users, and 5.1 billion unique mobile phone users. That’s half of the world’s population who are most likely connecting with digital marketing every day. 

As the internet takes over the world’s consciousness, digital marketing is evolving quicker than ever, too. Marketing experts are trying to reach mobile and tablet users in new, exciting ways – these days, it’s not enough to just focus on desktop users.

Why the new approach? On average, UK consumers spend up to five hours a day on their mobile phones. Yes, the consumer market is going digital – but more specifically, it’s going mobile. 

In 2020, there are new digital marketing strategies, trends, and techniques your business should be using. After all, to stay ahead of your competitors, your business needs to stay ahead of the industry trends.

That’s enough stats for now. It’s time to introduce our nine hottest digital marketing trends of 2019

1. Chatbots

Today, artificial intelligence feels very real. Conversational UI (User Interface), otherwise known as a chatbot, has grown in popularity among brands, who aim to keep up with the latest consumer requirement – a rapid response time.

In a world where internet users can’t wait five seconds for a website to load, people want quick answers when searching for a product or service. Consumers just want to know the who, what, and when, and chatbots have the speed, intelligence, and computerised charisma do give visitors what they want, when they want.

What do people think of chatbots, then? A recent survey questioned people on their opinions and predictions when it came to using chatbots. Some of the most interesting results were:

  • 37% predicted they’d use a chatbot for getting quick answers in an emergency 
  • 64% said the main benefit of a chatbot would be having access to 24-hour service
  • 55% thought the best thing about chatbots would be receiving instant responses
  • 95% believed a chatbot’s main purpose should be customer service

These stats show what consumers want from chatbots – answers. And fast. 

chatbot digital marketing trend

I spoke with Mitsuku, the world's most human-like chatbot

So, you know how chatbots can improve the user experience, but how can they help businesses? Well, firstly, chatbots save you money. Businesses spend roughly $1.3 trillion per year on customer requests, and chatbots can save you up to 30% on what you pay out.

Chatbots also make life easier for your employees. By filtering customer queries and reducing the amount of traffic to your call centre’s phones, chatbots allow your human team to focus on the most important issues.

Do you think your business could benefit from chatbots? Here are the five best chatbot builders in 2019…

  1. Chatfuel – The best for Facebook Messenger
  2. Flow XO – No coding required
  3. ChatterOn – The fastest to build
  4. Pandorabots – The best for flexibility
  5. Wit.ai – Can be built for free

Chatbots could save your business time and money, while keeping your customers happy – one conversation at a time.

2. Influencer marketing

This is word-of-mouth marketing at its most contemporary. Influencer marketing involves paying popular figures to promote your brand online to their respective audiences. These internet promoters, known as influencers, could be anyone from journalists and bloggers to social media stars.

Instagram recently broke the one billion ‘monthly user’ barrier. And today, we’re focussing on the photo-sharing platform to discuss how it’s catalysing influencer marketing. But how does Instagram compare to other social media channels in terms of users? Check out our graphic below…

Source: Expert Market 2020

Until recently, brands had been paying influencers to post sponsored photos or videos on Instagram. This was great for generating a buzz, but sponsored posts are limited only to each influencer’s follower base. 

In March 2019, Instagram introduced ‘branded content ads’. These allow brands to create influencer posts that are run like any other advert and are shown to the brand’s follower base as well, maximising the advert’s exposure..

William Soulier, CEO of Talent Village, believes this new feature has made influencer marketing one of the hottest digital marketing trends of 2020. According to Soulier, the functionality will “add more credibility to influencer marketing, and enable it to be far more integrated into an overall digital marketing strategy”. Soulier also predicts that the influencer industry is set to swell to over $10 billion within the next five years.

With this new feature, there’s never been a better time to involve your brand with Instagram influencers – so what are you waiting for? 

Further reading: What is social listening?

3. Micro-moments

On average, people in the UK check their smartphones every 12 minutes. That equates to 24 hours of smartphone-use per week. And given that 78% of British people own a mobile device, that’s a lot of time spent scrolling and scanning. 

This obsession with smartphones has seen the introduction of a brand new digital marketing trend. ‘Micro-moments’ is a consumer behaviour defined by Google, and it’s changing the way brands attempt to capture a consumer’s attention. 

These days, people make snap decisions on what to eat, what to do, and what to buy.  Just think of all the times you’ve felt peckish and Googled ‘places to eat near me’. These are known as micro moments. And according to Google experts, the main moments that marketers should focus on are:

digital marketing trends micro moments

To make the most of these moments, brands need to ensure their marketing strategy addresses the ‘I want it now’ aspect of customer behaviour. For example, you could make it possible to purchase products more quickly.

Or, you could make your address easier to find on Google so that your business makes it into the Google Local Pack so that your company pops up when someone searches one of the micro moments. Whatever you do, don’t let these moments pass by without a sale.

4. Visual search

Why type a search request when you can take a photo there and then? Visual search lets you do just that. Instead of typing in a query, you can now input images into a search engine or app, which will then display results.

Say your friend is wearing a shirt you like – visual search lets you snap and input a photo, and your search engine will then tell you where you can buy it (or similar items) for yourself!

How does visual search tie into digital marketing? For brands, it’s about being found. In other words, visual search is used in SEO (search engine optimisation), a process which involves improving your brand’s visibility on search engines using non-paid methods.

This means, to make the most of visual search, brands need to think about how they describe their images. Visual search engines will do all the indexing (searching) for you, so you just need to make sure you’re uploading unique content with relevant text descriptions to ensure you get found by the relevant audience. To make this process easier, make sure you conduct some thorough market research to make sure that visual search would benefit your audience.

google image search

We spoke to Steve Walker, SEO director at Journey Further, who believes image search is becoming more important than ever:

Google image search can drive a large amount of traffic to your business, and can be a great route to new customers for retail-based clients. 

Images get a lot of prominence in the SERPs (search engine results pages), especially for mobile queries, and visual search can almost act as an organic version of Google shopping, if optimised correctly.”

It’s not just Google that is becoming more visual. Social media platform Pinterest has recently launched Lens, a visual search tool that lets you find related products and items more easily. 

5. Social messenger apps

With 1.6 billion active Whatsapp users in over 180 countries and 1.3 billion people using Facebook Messenger, these two social apps should be your next marketing target. For businesses, these social messenger user figures are simply too high to ignore.

Did You Know?

Facebook Messenger messages convert three to five times more often than Facebook desktop ads.

This stat means Facebook messages see 80% open rates. In short, social messaging is a digital marketing trend you cannot afford to overlook. But how can you get the best results from these apps?

With Facebook Messenger, you can set up bots which send messages to Facebook users who have interacted with a post on your page such as “Thanks for the comment! Have you seen our latest newsletter?”. This is called ‘comment guarding’. It’s free to use, and Facebook encourages interaction between businesses and consumers.

You can also use ‘chat blasting’. This is quite straightforward, and involves sending a Facebook message to everyone on your follower list. It’s especially effective given the Facebook message open rate is around 80%, making it a lot more fruitful than sending emails. 

While you can’t advertise directly on WhatsApp, you can connect with customers in real-time to provide them with a personalised experience by answering individual questions, or to recommend products yourself. You can also announce flash sales via your WhatsApp status, or share your business’ location with customers. 

Most importantly for WhatsApp marketing, however, is the WhatsApp payments feature, which allows your business to receive money or send refunds. However, you can only do this if your customers have set up WhatsApp payments as well.

6. Video marketing

In 2019, 87% of businesses used video as a marketing tool. As you can see, video marketing is hardly an emerging trend, but it’s still one of the hottest. Don’t believe us? A recent HubSpot study found 54% of consumers want to see more videos from their favourite brands.

As with image search, video and SEO go hand-in-hand. Videos are usually shown in the search engine results pages, so make sure you use titles, captions, and file names that are rich in keywords (terms that internet users are searching for the most). This will maximise your exposure, and more importantly, make sure your video is found by the relevant searchers.

It’s clear that video marketing is important. Need more proof? Just check out these stats below… 

digital marketing trends video marketing stats

Source: Expert Market 2019

Wondering where to start with your video marketing campaign? Of course, there’s always YouTube – the king of video, with over 1 billion hours of video watched every day. But you should always be thinking outside of the YouTube realm.

For starters, there’s Facebook (with its 2.34 billion monthly users), plus Instagram and LinkedIn. What’s more, with smartphone cameras getting better by the day, it’s never been more affordable to film, edit, and publish videos.

7. Voice search

Siri, Alexa, and Cortana – three names you’ll be hearing (and saying) a lot more in the years to come. Voice search and its smart device assistants are taking over – so much so, in fact, that by 2020, it’s predicted that 50% of all searches will be voice searches.

If you own a smart device, you can ask your respective search assistant anything. No, really. You can ask about the planes flying overhead, or where the nearest vegan cafe is. Voice search is changing the way consumers find products, services, and information. This means brands need to rethink the way they provide answers.

voice search

In response to this trend, many brands are now producing audio content. For example, pet food brand Purina introduced ‘Ask Purina’ through Alexa, allowing consumers to find information about dogs through the Amazon Echo.

But on a more basic marketing level, you can get your brand found more easily by Siri and Alexa by writing audio content in a chatty tone, using keywords that people would use in a human conversation (and not through typing).

8. Personalisation marketing

Personalised content benefits consumers in two ways – it reduces their search time, while improving their overall experience. Brands also love it, with a recent survey finding that 92% of marketers believe personalisation marketing is valuable for any campaign.

How do brands get personal? There are a number of tactics you can use, and we’ll explain a couple below…

Firstly, purchase history data is gold dust for retail brands. Instead of digging around for content and hoping it engages consumers, companies can see what customers have bought recently, and then suggest related items in newsletters or popups.

personalisation marketing

There are also personalisation algorithms, which give users a totally unique experience. Netflix does this best – the online streaming service can recommend shows and suggest new films, while letting you continue with your old programmes. Your business can do the same by integrating algorithms which collect customer data. So when you're thinking about the costs of building a website, just remember that providing a personalised user experience will pay dividends in the long run.

Personalisation marketing isn’t necessarily a new digital marketing trend, but it’s a trend that your business can’t afford to ignore in 2020. 

9. Web browser push notifications

Are push notifications a new trend? You’d be right to question its place on our list, but we’re talking specifically about push notifications on web browsers, not on mobile apps. 

The app marketplace has been in steady decline, mainly due to consumer concerns over how companies use data which has led to fewer app downloads, and the fact that users can now ‘opt out’ of push notifications which means apps aren’t able to send as many push notifications as they could before. 

As a result, browser push notifications have increased in popularity among marketers in 2020, and are now an extremely popular method of Customer Relation Management.

If you plan your browser push notifications correctly, you could see a CTR (click through rate) that’s two times higher than that achieved by your emails. These notifications are particularly useful for ecommerce brands, where you can encourage customers to buy products quickly, or finalise purchases with ‘abandoned cart recovery’ notifications.

As we’ve said, push notifications are nothing new, but there has been a shift in the trend. Web browser notifications have evolved into a genuine marketing trend, because there is no ‘opt-out’ feature, and consumers are using apps less frequently.

Key takeaways

What does 2020hold for digital marketing? One thing’s for sure – exciting times lie ahead. It’s going to be a year of instant customer gratification, targeted through social media and non-human interaction. 

As a recap, what are the best digital marketing trends of 2020?

  1. Chatbots
  2. Influencer marketing
  3. Micro-moments
  4. Visual search
  5. Social messenger apps
  6. Video marketing
  7. Voice search
  8. Personalisation
  9. Web browser push notifications

As we’ve said, 2020 is going to be a year of instant gratification for consumers. Customer demands have skyrocketed, while attention spans have plummeted. Consumers want answers, services, and products quickly, and the marketing industry needs to keep pace.

An example of the marketing industry addressing these consumer needs is the surge in chatbots. Robotic interaction provides customers with instant responses around the clock, while also reducing the strain on human staff.

New technology is a trending theme. Voice search and its digital assistants are the talk of the town in the marketing industry, and visual search is no flash in the pan, either, with 36% of the world’s population using a smartphone, taking snaps at every other moment.

And it’s not just new digital marketing trends that are characterising 2020. ‘Traditional’ digital marketing techniques are taking on new forms as well: Instagram has rolled out branded content ads, Google has highlighted micro-moments as the next hottest customer behaviour, and push notifications have abandoned apps to become web browsers’ latest necessity.

If there’s one thing you should take away as a business owner, it’s that you should be focussing on personalised, conversational content using the latest and greatest technology and algorithms. Don't have the time or resources to focus on  your next marketing campaign? We can match your business with some the country's leading Digital Marketing agencies. Simply fill in this form with a few details – it only takes a minute and it's free!

These days, consumers want to feel special – and by implementing some of these digital trends into your marketing techniques, your campaigns will be just that.

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Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a writer for Expert Market, specialising in a range of cool topics. He loves web design and all things UX, but also the hardware stuff like postage metres and photocopiers.

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