• Mark Hallander

Top 5 trends for digital marketing in 2020

Digital marketing is changing every single day. We ask Alexa for answers, shop directly in our Instagram feed while binge-watching more videos than ever. And the tech giants’ platforms are changing too. In 2018, Google made over 13.000 changes to its algorithm, which says something about the speed in which the field is operating. Things are changing all the time. Which trends are a must-have for the coming year? Here are my top 5.

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1. Video

Video marketing has come to stay, and it will only get bigger in the coming year. Not just because it performs way better than static content on your platforms – it also makes more sense from a content production point of view, as you can easily create different pieces of content just by utilizing video.


When producing video, there is a lot of content to be repurposed in different content pieces. Chop it up into a podcast episode, do an Instagram story, make a paid carousel on LinkedIn, post organically to Facebook. The possibilities are almost endless. This makes video a vital part of any content strategy for 2020.


Think about all the mediums (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.) turning to live video. Huge sports stars and YouTubers reach millions of followers with live video content that fan bases have gone so accustomed to by binge-watching hours and hours of specific YouTube channels. In comparison to other video types, like short films or explainer videos, we are seeing more vlogs, where people are speaking directly to the viewer creating a more personal and direct connection with an audience.


2. Voice

Voice is slowly, but confidently, finding its way into our homes. Music, transportation, furniture and our phones not to forget. Although, I have not been especially impressed with the technology yet – as my experiences include failed attempts to turn up the volume on my smart TV and change a song on Spotify by asking Alexa – it will get better. In regards to technological development, Moore’s Law states that we can expect the speed and capability of new technology to increase every couple of years, and we will pay less for them. Think about it: Looking a year ahead from now the technology might only have developed to a certain extent, but what about 5 or 10 years' time? I think this will become valuable in the long run.


As of now, 40% of searches on mobile (at least in the US) are happening via voice. This represents a huge opportunity for marketers, but also an immediate challenge for SEO because voice-led demand should alter our approach to SEO, right? For one, it means that we need to work with rank 0, as these are the data that voice is using when answering a question. Rank 0 is the highest rank in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and it can be viewed as an expanded text result that answers the user's question (found just below the paid results and above the organic ones). This means that you must make the most out of giving the answer to a search for a specific query to get more traffic from Google.

So while there are some immediate implications of voice as a trend in digital marketing, I think we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. I sure look forward to following it going forward.


3. Social commerce

Social Media Marketers have been wondering how best to convert the communities that they engage with into customers using the online stores – and with social commerce, where we are actually able to buy the product directly from social media posts or ads, they have to look no further.


While this type of social media post is not new as such, it really took off in 2019, when Instagram launched Checkout – and it has been in constant development since then. I think it makes great sense: Firstly, most of your consumers are already on the platform with a buying mindset, as 54% of people research products on social media before buying. Secondly, it is a matter of convenience in the customer's journey – having people buy directly from where the need is established lowers the chances that the consumer might lose interest if the website or eCommerce is slow or complicated.


And what about B2B? Although the products and services in this field are very much different, social commerce can be found in permission form on LinkedIn. Lead Gen Forms allows the consumer to download your content directly in the news feed without having to jump to a landing page, fill in contact details and wait for an automated email with the content you signed up for. While we obviously want the consumer to engage with our marketing ecosystem (and not only LinkedIn’s), you should consider this in B2B lead generation.


4. Direct Messaging

Based on the notion, that brands need to build much stronger connections with their audiences, apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger have seen brands take the conversation to direct messaging. While it can be used for both sales and service purposes, the format resembles a standard conversation – and environment that the target audience is already using in talking with friends and family.


This also means, that there has been some critic of the use of this medium, as there’s a huge difference in the brand direct messaging the consumer, rather than the other way around. Direct messaging, therefore, works best if you can encourage your audience to message you first, for instance by providing them with something of value such as an exclusive deal or coupon code.


5. Ad platforms become more expensive

10 years ago Facebook Ads we not around, while Google was reaping all of the fruit. While digital channels have for sure made advertising cheaper – compared to traditional channels such as TV – these will only get more expensive. As a CMO you are playing the ROI game and if you keep relying on ads, you will see limited results. You need to diversify your strategy, think more holistically and produce content that works on different channels, as my point earlier with repurposing video. People talk about the rule of 7: That a customer needs 7 impressions to take action. With the growing numbers of brands that people are exposed to daily, resulting in an increased irritation element of ads, I think it might even take more than 7. And bear in mind: 7 impressions from quality content provided in different channels.


Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has seen a decline in both user growth and public opinion. Although the social network is still the preferred marketing platform for many, it is relevant to mention alternative social media channels that have seen the light with promising levels of growth. For instance Snapchat, Pinterest, Medium and Reddit. These might work especially well for niche brands wanting to target the “under 30” segment, but if you build a strong presence on these channels now, it will surely pay off in a few years from now, as they continue to grow.